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State Dept. Daily Press Briefing July 24, 2001

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE Daily Press Briefing Index Tuesday, July 24, 2001

BRIEFER: Philip T. Reeker

CHINA 1-3 Reaction to Gao Zhan Sentence / Other Detainees Update / Secretary's Visit / Plane Compensation

MEXICO 3-6 Immigration Report and Recommendations / Upcoming Meetings

ISRAEL/PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY 7-9 Possible Presence of Monitors / Palestinian Suspect List 13 View on Response to G-8 Recommendation

MACEDONIA 10-11 Update / New Violence / Kosovo Border Closings

NICARAGUA 11-12 Allegations of US Interference in Presidential Elections

JAPAN~ 12 Japanese Investigation of Possible Stolen Information from US Base

IRAN~ 12 Maritime Incident with Azerbaijani Vessel

CUBA~ 12-13 US Security Preparations for Anti-US Demonstration

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING

DPB # 105

TUESDAY, JULY 24, 2001 1:04 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)

MR. REEKER: Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome back to the State Department on this fine Tuesday afternoon.

As you know, Secretary of State Powell is this evening in Hanoi, where he will be attending meetings of the ASEAN Regional Forum tomorrow. Ambassador Boucher of course is accompanying him, so I am here to take your questions.

I would be happy to begin with NBC.

QUESTION: China. Gao Zhan was sentenced today to 10 years in prison. Does the State Department have a reaction to that, and are we at all appealing for her release?

MR. REEKER: As you said, we understand that Gao Zhan has been found guilty and sentenced to 10 years in jail. We continue to urge the Chinese Government at every level for her early release on humanitarian grounds. As Secretary of State Powell said today, we are following it very carefully, and we will see what happens next.

We understand from Ms. Gao's lawyer that -- or that the lawyer has indicated that Gao Zhan is seeking a parole on medical grounds, and we are engaged intensively with the Chinese on this to urge the Chinese Government for her early release on humanitarian grounds, as I said.

QUESTION: The American who was sentenced about a week ago?

MR. REEKER: Li Shaomin.

QUESTION: Right.

MR. REEKER: As you will recall, the Chinese court determined that Mr. Li should be deported, and we hope that would happen soon. We are also engaged very intensively on Mr. Li's release, but I don't have any further details to offer at this point.

QUESTION: Were there other US resident scholars who were also sentenced today besides Gao Zhan?

MR. REEKER: There are other legal permanent residents, as well as a US citizen -- for instance, Mr. Wu Zianming -- about whom we have talked in this capacity, and we continue to urge the Chinese Government to promptly resolve the cases of those who have been similarly detained. But I don't have any additional updates on any of those cases today.

We remain concerned about the cases of other permanent residents as well, and we urge the Chinese to resolve all of these cases rapidly.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) analyze the fact that this condemnation happens a few days before the Secretary's visit to China?

MR. REEKER: That this-- what happens?

QUESTION: This sentencing happens a few days before the visit of Secretary Powell to China.

MR. REEKER: I think I will leave the analysis to the analysts, and then to you. Obviously we have been talking about this for quite some time. We have been urging a rapid resolution of these cases. And, as I said, we continue to urge the Chinese Government at every level for early release, in the case of Gao Zhan, for instance, on humanitarian grounds, and we are intensively engaged on this. We have been engaged with the Chinese in Beijing through our embassy there, we have been engaged here in Washington with their embassy, making our points very clearly.

QUESTION: On that, how will it affect the Secretary's talks in two days? I mean, will it make things more tense? Will it -- I mean --

MR. REEKER: I think I will let the Secretary address that. I think he has addressed that in the past, and his party will continue to monitor the situation very carefully. As the Secretary said, he is following it, we are following it and we will see what happens next. As you know, the Secretary is in Hanoi, as I mentioned. He will travel on then to Seoul and then to Beijing. Issues of human rights are things that we discuss regularly in our discussions with the Chinese. It is on the agenda, and so we will continue to follow these cases and others quite intensely.

QUESTION: Can you elaborate on the senior official who was quoted as saying he was dismayed at the conviction? Do you have any kind of stand on her guilt or innocence?

MR. REEKER: I can't particularly elaborate. As I said, we understood that she had been found guilty and sentenced to 10 years in jail. I noted that officials with the Secretary's party had some comments on that.

We are, as I indicated, continuing to urge the Chinese Government at every level for her early release on humanitarian grounds. And, as I said, her lawyer indicated she is seeking parole on medical grounds. So we are actively engaged intensively with the Chinese on this and, as the Secretary said, we will be following it very closely.

QUESTION: Do you have any comment on the fact that US officials were not allowed to witness the trial?

MR. REEKER: That is, indeed, a fact. We have discussed that before. We had requested to be allowed to attend, but no US representative was able to attend that trial. And I will remind you, of course, this is a legal permanent resident, not a US citizen. But we have expressed our interest in this. It is something we have taken very seriously. But we were not allowed to attend that trial, which is one of the reasons I can't comment on it further. We did not have access to the trial.

QUESTION: One more China question. Have there been any discussions by this building with the Chinese on reparations in the plane matter?

MR. REEKER: Not that I am aware of. That has been over at the Pentagon, where they have been reviewing that issue, and I just don't have any updates there. But last week we discussed at length that that has really been something that the Pentagon has focused on.

QUESTION: But this building would have talks with the Chinese to work out --

MR. REEKER: Once the Pentagon has made their review and made a determination of what might be reasonable cost. But I would refer you there first to see if there were any developments in that.

Are we ready to switch from China? One more?

QUESTION: Has anyone from the State Department had contact with Gao Zhan's husband at all today?

MR. REEKER: I could check in on that. I don't know the answer to that question. I would be happy to check with you on that.

QUESTION: On immigration. Phil, the Secretary sent a memorandum to the White House on Friday night.

MR. REEKER: He did?

QUESTION: Could you be more specific on immigration problem for Mexico, more specific of how many people it's considering, the report - - a million to million? How it's going to be worked out with the illegal residents that are already in the United States, and Mexicans who are thinking to come and work in different areas of the United States?

MR. REEKER: I don't think I can be particularly more specific because this is an ongoing process. We talked about it at great length in the past couple of weeks in terms of the ongoing and continuous discussions that we are having with the Mexicans and internally in our own interagency process on what we might be able to do in terms of Mexican migration and migrant worker issues. I think some of the reports in the media, as we indicated before, are premature because decisions haven't been made yet in terms of what we will do.

As you know, there is a bi-national working group on these issues, and it is doing what both presidents -- both President Bush and President Fox -- asked that working group to do, to identify actions that both countries can take to make migration safe and orderly. And we have been having very good, cooperative dialogue with the government of Mexico on these issues, and the discussions are very much ongoing.

I think you will recall that the working group first began meeting in the spring, and we have been keeping the White House very much informed of the progress of those talks. They have had periodic updates, reports that go to the White House regularly on the discussions and progress we have been making on migration and labor issues. And so it is very much a continuing process.

I would remind you, too, as we said earlier, that the President and the Secretary have stated that the Administration is not considering any type of blanket amnesty. I think Mexico has put on the table a number of ideas about regularization of status. That is what we talked about before, that we would be looking at steps that we might take to put people on the path toward regularization. But there is no particular deadline in this process. We don't want to set any artificial deadlines. It is an important domestic issue for us.

As you know, the Secretary of State is working on this with the Attorney General from the US side, and they work very closely with their Mexican counterparts.

QUESTION: On the upcoming meeting on August 9th with the Foreign Minister of Mexico and the Attorney General of Mexico -- I'm sorry, the Secretary Interior of Mexico -- what will be the discussion? The proposals made by the State Department and the Justice Department to the President of the United States, different ideas, or the relation to the ideas of the Mexicans?

MR. REEKER: Again, I think you are going on the wrong track if you are talking about proposals made to the President of the United States. We are continuing a dialogue with the Mexican counterparts through our bi- national working group on the subject at hand, and that is to make migration orderly and safe. These are issues of importance to both our countries, and that will continue in the next round of talks we have between the bilateral working groups.

So it is a process. It is premature to suggest any specific recommendation, any specific proposal. We are looking at all kinds of ideas within the framework of taking steps to address the issue that is of concern to both our countries.

QUESTION: So this memorandum is not a formal proposal to the President of the United States?

MR. REEKER: No. As I indicated, as this process has gone on, we have regularly updated the White House. That is our job. The working group -- the interagency process between the Department of State, the Department of Justice, Immigration and Naturalization Service, those that have an interest in this process -- keep the White House updated on how that is progressing. The President has charged this working group with dealing with this issue, with looking at it. So, of course, we keep him updated.

But, again, I don't have anything final, other than to say we are determined to keep working on this and working closely with our Mexican counterparts.

QUESTION: The same issue. The spokesperson from the White House actually talked today to the Associated Press. He spoke about two different recommendations. One was to give legal status to some illegal Mexican immigrants in this country, and he also spoke about the granting of permanent resident status to these illegal aliens over a period of time, which is completely different than the guest worker program. So what are you trying to achieve here?

MR. REEKER: Again, I think the bottom line is that there are no final decisions on this. It is an ongoing process. It is part of a continuing dialogue. As I indicated, we have had bi-national working groups working closely together for some time since the spring, since both our presidents determined that we would work on this problem. It is something we both want to address.

The focus is on a temporary worker program. And, again, some of the press reports that have suggested blanket amnesty, these types of things are not what we are considering for undocumented workers. And we have been having good, cooperative dialogue with the Government of Mexico on this. There are questions about how to address the situation of Mexicans that are illegally in the United States, and we need to do that, and that will continue to be the subject of our ongoing talks. But our goal is to, you know, identify actions that both our countries can take to make migration safe and orderly and legal, and those are the approaches we are going to continue to have as we address this.

QUESTION: Are there ways that these illegal aliens, the illegal Mexicans will get the permanent residence through the temporary guest worker program, or that's the --

MR. REEKER: No, that's not what I am trying to say. Let me say it one more time. We don't have definitive proposals; we have ideas we have been discussing with the Mexican Government, ideas on how both our countries can take steps to address this issue. But it is far premature to be making the kind of statements that you are suggesting. So this is a process and continuing. If you look at what my colleague from the White House said, he also did not suggest that there were any definitive decisions. Nothing has been finalized. We are looking at different ways. There are all kinds of suggestions in how one might deal with this.

But what we are looking at is adjusting status of undocumented Mexicans as an issue for Mexico. That has been put on the table. It is important that the United States Government address this, too, because we have to address this honestly, and we are looking at ways that we can do it that serve our nation's interest as well as the interests of Mexico.

So we will continue that dialogue, and we are just not at the final point yet by any means.

QUESTION: On the Mexican thing, does this emanate or initiate from the State Department or the White House, the whole Mexican Americanization?

MR. REEKER: As you recall, when President Bush and President Fox met, they jointly created the bi-national working group to discuss immigration issues. So this is under the auspices of our two presidents; on the American side as an interagency process. The State Department is working very closely with the Department of Justice, and of course the Immigration and Naturalization Service, which is a part of that Department, to address these issues, and working with counterparts then from the Mexican side.

QUESTION: So is that why he is coming to the United States in September?

MR. REEKER: Who?

QUESTION: The President of Mexico.

MR. REEKER: I think we have a very vigorous relationship with Mexico on all kinds of levels. Migration is one topic.

QUESTION: But he has a major -- a meeting with him on September 1st -- September. The President of Mexico is coming to see Bush --

MR. REEKER: I think you want to talk to the White House, Trudy. You know that those questions are raised at the White House.

QUESTION: Well, that's why I'm asking, is it a White House or a State Department?

MR. REEKER: If the President of a country comes to visit our President, that is a White House question. So I would direct you to the White House.

QUESTION: But he is coming in September?

MR. REEKER: I would direct you to the White House to answer those questions.

QUESTION: Okay.

MR. REEKER: Any more questions for the White House, I would be happy to direct you?

QUESTION: The Middle East?

MR. REEKER: Middle East. Ready to switch from Mexico to the Middle East?

QUESTION: Where do we stand vis-à-vis the possible beefed-up presence of the CIA to monitor the cease-fire in the occupied territories?

MR. REEKER: I think right off the bat we want to make sure that we are not confusing issues here. I keep hearing this; we addressed this a bit yesterday in terms of the CIA and its role in the security process, facilitating the security dialogue and contacts between the two sides, and the question of third-country monitoring.

So let's make sure that we are not confusing the issues here. As I said yesterday, in terms of the CIA's role, we discussed that issue with the parties. The CIA has facilitated security contacts. You know that that has gone on for some time. And CIA Director Tenet was of course in the region some weeks ago, helping them to establish a framework by which they could pursue very important security contacts to establish security and get the violence down, to break the cycle of violence.

That is not to be confused with the discussion about monitors. The Secretary noted last week, for instance, that it could be very useful to have a monitoring function during the cooling-off period, as envisioned in the Mitchell Report recommendations. And that, of course, remains our view. We fully endorse the G-8 statement which came out of the G-8 meeting saying we believed the third party monitoring accepted by both parties would serve their interests in implementing the Mitchell Report recommendations.

So our focus right now, of course, remains on implementation of those recommendations from the Mitchell Committee as quickly as possible, and we continue to work actively with the parties to accomplish this. But let's not confuse issues out there.

QUESTION: Israel already said they reject the idea about the third party monitors, which was conditional by the acceptance of both parties. One party already rejected it. But they are saying they would consider an increase in the number of CIA personnel assigned to help monitor the truce brokered.

Now, are you acting on that consideration?

MR. REEKER: I could just replay for you everything I just said about the role of the CIA and what we have discussed many times at this point.

QUESTION: You don't see a monitoring --

MR. REEKER: A monitoring -- as the Secretary said, a monitoring function is envisioned under Mitchell. It's in there. We believe that a third party monitoring function would serve the interests of the parties, but it must be accepted by both parties. Right now our focus has to be on ending the violence so that we can move ahead into implementing the Mitchell Report recommendations, and that continues to be our foremost goal. Our officials here and in the region are in continuous contact with both parties in an effort to reduce violence and move as quickly as possible into the next phase of the Mitchell Committee process.

QUESTION: Does the State Department see a monitoring function during, what, the cooling-off period or the building-confidence CBM period, or what?

MR. REEKER: I think if you look at what the Secretary has said about that, and I really don't have anything to add to that, a third party monitoring accepted by both sides would serve both sides' interests in terms of implementing the Mitchell recommendations. And I would refer you back to Mitchell and look at how it outlines that. That could be important.

But, again, in the past 24 hours, we have to regret acts of violence that have occurred in the region and reiterate once more that both sides have an obligation to exert maximum effort to halt this ongoing tragedy and avoid escalation, desist from provocation and incitement, and strive to create and sustain that environment of trust that is absolutely necessary. And that means focusing on security on the ground, making 100 percent effort to end the cycle of violence.

QUESTION: I'm sorry I'm thick today. But I just want to be clear about this before I move on. There is no monitoring function for the CIA personnel until the violence ends?

MR. REEKER: I don't know where you are getting "monitoring function" and "CIA personnel." I just -- I can't say it another time. The CIA has worked to facilitate the security contacts between the two sides. That is something that has gone on for a long time.

QUESTION: We know that.

MR. REEKER: Okay?

QUESTION: Yes.

MR. REEKER: And there's nothing more to add.

QUESTION: But there is --

MR. REEKER: We need to focus on the security talks so that they can focus on ending the violence, bringing the violence down so that they can move into implementation of the Mitchell Report. In Mitchell, they talk about monitoring. We've talked about third country monitoring. The Secretary has been quite clear on that, in terms of something that is acceptable to both sides. Let's not confuse that with the other issue of CIA facilitating security context.

QUESTION: On the Mitchell Report, cease-fire is part of Mitchell Report.

MR. REEKER: Right. Ending violence.

QUESTION: Exactly.

MR. REEKER: And we have talked about the need for violence to end so that we can move into a cooling-off period so that we can move into confidence-building, et cetera.

QUESTION: Okay. Do you see a cease-fire as part of Mitchell Report followed by the cooling-off period -- so you don't see a role, a monitoring function, during the cease-fire?

QUESTION: In other words, no link, right? Is that right?

QUESTION: No, the cease-fire is part of the Mitchell Report. Do you see a monitoring function for the CIA possibly during the --

MR. REEKER: What Mitchell talks -- again, this will be the last time I will say it, you keep talking about a monitoring function for the CIA. You are mixing totally different issues here. Is that clear?

What we want to see is work on the security side to bring the violence down -- that is absolutely vital -- and then we can move into Mitchell. The monitoring function as envisioned by Mitchell, and as the Secretary has said, and as the G-8 statement said, talks about third party monitoring accepted by both parties that could serve their interests as they implement the Mitchell Report recommendations. That has nothing to do with the CIA.

QUESTION: A second question on the subject (inaudible)?

MR. REEKER: This is only the second question?

QUESTION: Just to make it clear for everybody -- I'm not going to be the only confused person here. The Palestinians have submitted a list of more than 50 suspects they want Israel to arrest and interrogate who they accuse of carrying out operations against Palestinians. Most of these people are from the settlers.

Do you back the demands of the Palestinians -- what is your position on that list (inaudible)?

MR. REEKER: I have seen reports on such a list. Our position is what I have already described today, and we certainly described before, continuing to encourage both sides to exert maximum efforts to enhance their security cooperation, what we just discussed, and work together to prevent violence and terrorism. That is what they need to be focused on. That is certainly what we are focused on in our high-level talks with both sides in this situation, both here and in the region.

Trudy, did you have something else?

QUESTION: No, I was going to ask you if he meant -- is that what he was confused about, whether they were linked --

MR. REEKER: You would have to ask him what he's confused about.

QUESTION: No, I meant would your answer be on a link?

MR. REEKER: I don't think so.

QUESTION: They weren't linked? Okay.

QUESTION: I was late for five minutes. I don't know that you already talked about it. My question is for Macedonia.

MR. REEKER: Yes.

QUESTION: And can you please comment with a few words the latest developments? And, as we all know, today negotiations are stopped due to the situation in Kosovo -- in Tetovo, I'm sorry.

MR. REEKER: Yes. Obviously you have heard the President's statements today from Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo, where he was very clear that the United States stands against all who support or use violence against democracy and the rule of law. And that is why -- as he spoke to those American soldiers in Kosovo who are working to help interdict the flow of arms into Macedonia -- that is why, as the President indicated, he imposed sanctions against individuals and organizations that have assisted the insurgents, the armed ethnic Albanian extremists in Macedonia.

And so as we speak, NATO officials are working to end the fighting in the Tetovo region and restore the cease-fire. All sides need to exercise restraint. They need to take every action they can to respect the cease-fire. Every single bullet that they fire is a wasted bullet that threatens lives and threatens the political process. And what they need is a political process. There is no military solution to the problem in Macedonia. And, as I have said before, all of the people of Macedonia know that. So they need to continue with the negotiating process, they need to respect the cease-fire, the cease-fire is an open-ended commitment. It is crucial to providing the right atmosphere to pursue political dialogue.

And, again, as President Bush said, the greatest challenge to a Europe whole and free and at peace is right now in Macedonia, where armed insurgents are threatening peace and stability. And it is time for the elected leaders, the legitimate political leaders in Macedonia from all ethnic groups to work together with the European Union envoy, Mr. Leotard, with Ambassador Pardew, our Special Advisor for the Balkans, to overcome the remaining differences they have and continue with negotiations to achieve a settlement that can keep Macedonia in peace and on the road to Europe.

So we will continue to do everything we can, underlying our commitment to Macedonia, to its territorial integrity, to its sovereignty. It is absolutely vital, and the President has spoken to that quite forcefully today, where he spoke from Camp Bondsteel. So I think we need to move ahead in that direction, and this violence has to cease, the cease-fire must be respected.

QUESTION: One more short question. I have heard that there is a deadline that the Macedonian Government posted until 5:00 p.m. for each side to answer, for example, who broke the cease-fire. So on Reuters, for example, was news that now the border crossings are closed. Do you know more about that?

MR. REEKER: I am aware that currently the border crossings between Macedonia and Kosovo are closed. I have to refer you to the Macedonian Government on that issue.

Our point, to reiterate once again, is that the fighting very close to those border crossings in the Tetovo area, of course, has got to stop. They've got to address the cease-fire. You know very well that NATO and the US have made very clear how much we stand behind Macedonia's territorial integrity, its sovereignty and, of course, the fact that we have given no assistance to armed ethnic Albanian extremist groups. We want to support the political process and this is a time not to focus on blame or who is responsible for violating the cease-fire, but to stop, for everyone to stop the armed activities and to focus on the negotiating table where, obviously, there are difficult issues at hand.

These are difficult issues. That is why, for over a decade, these are issues that the people of Macedonia, of all ethnicities, have had to grapple with. Now is the time where they really have to come together to focus as leaders on achieving something that then all of the people can use to move ahead and pursue, as the President said, a path toward Europe. And that is what we want to continue to support, to see Macedonia have its rightful place in Europe, where the people of Macedonia of all ethnicities can prosper and look ahead to a peaceful, successful future.

QUESTION: There is a story today in the Washington Times about Nicaragua, that the --

MR. REEKER: I think I missed that one.

QUESTION: -- that the State Department sent a couple of weeks -- a few days ago, an official to try to confirm a unilateral opposition candidate against the Sandinista's candidate for the presidential elections in Nicaragua. I just want to see if, in fact, it is true that the State Department sent somebody to interfere in a political situation in Nicaragua.

MR. REEKER: Well, I reject the, you know, suggestion of your question which was more like a statement. I would have to check for you on exactly who has traveled to Nicaragua.

I think we have made quite clear before, and we can go back and look at transcripts, our views of the Sandinista regime, what it meant for Nicaragua in the past. I don't think there is anything new in that suggestion. But, in terms of specific travel, I would have to go back and look at that and we can check through the Press Office of the Bureau.

QUESTION: Besides what Sandinistas mean for the people of Nicaragua, you are not against any candidate in Nicaragua if he won the elections?

MR. REEKER: I think we have had a very clear focus on supporting free, independent elections, but also making clear our views based on experiences that I think all of us in the hemisphere have seen from the past, to remind the people of Nicaragua about that and our views on that.

So I will have to check with the Bureau for an update on that. I wasn't aware that there was any particular news about it today.

QUESTION: A question on Japan. Tokyo police are investigating a Japanese man suspected of taking secrets, documents, from US Air Force base and for possible ties to Russian agents. Do you have any comment on that?

MR. REEKER: I don't. I am not even aware of the report. Sorry.

QUESTION: Caspian region. My question is regarding the incident that took place yesterday in the Caspian Sea between Iranian warship and Azerbaijani vessel when Iranian aircraft and the warship violated the air and water space of Azerbaijan. The vessel, with BP representatives on, was conducting exploration of the field on the Azerbaijani sector, when Iranian warship demanded the Azeri vessel leave immediately the location, moves back, and threatened to use all means for the vessel to leave. And today the BP representative announced that they have stopped exploration works on the Caspian Sea for now. Do you have anything on that?

MR. REEKER: No. I thought I did, it sounds familiar. But I don't. Unless Chuck can help me here.

I will have to look into it for you. It may be that I read the same wire story you did and we will have the Bureau check into it. But it did not sound like it involved the United States directly, and we will have to look into it and see if we can get reports on it. So we will double check on that.

QUESTION: In Cuba on Thursday, apparently there is going to be a mass demonstration where apparently 1.1 million people are expected to come out in opposition to the United States. Are you planning on bolstering the security -- there is a US Interest Section, isn't there?

MR. REEKER: That's right. There is a US Interest Section there.

QUESTION: Are you planning on increasing your security?

MR. REEKER: We don't normally discuss our particular security steps that we take, other than to say that security is a high priority for us. In terms of Cuba and any planned demonstrations there, I would hope that most people think of how they are going to spend their time and, you know, to have the regime calling out people by the tens of thousands to spend their time doing that, I think they could come up with far better things to do. Perhaps stay home and think about who is truly responsible for problems in Cuba. The Castro regime, as you know, has not been a model of freedom of speech and allowing people to express their own thoughts or to think about steps that the regime might take and Castro could take to open up to democracy and improve the lives of Cubans. So before they waste a lot of their time in an orchestrated demonstration, I would hope that they would have the opportunity freely to think about what they really want to do with their time and what is truly important to them.

QUESTION: Middle East.

MR. REEKER: Back to the Middle East.

QUESTION: How disappointed are you that one party refused the recommendation of the G-8 to send the third party monitors? I mean, are you accepting the reasoning, the Israeli thinking behind the refusal?

MR. REEKER: I think you need to look at what the G-8 statement was, which we endorsed, which reflected very much what Secretary Powell has said on many occasions, including when he was in the region, and it reflected US policy. And that is that third party monitoring, accepted by both parties, would serve their interests in terms of implementing the Mitchell Report recommendations. That remains a fact, that remains our view, and we will continue to have that view.

At this point, what both sides have to focus on and what we are focusing on is ending the violence, decreasing the violence so that they can move into the next stages in implementing the Mitchell Report recommendations, and that is where our focus is directed right now.

Anything else? Then we can call it a day. Thank you.

(The briefing concluded at 1:40 p.m.)

###

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