State Dept. Daily Press Briefing , 8/9/01
State Dept. Daily Press Briefing , 8/9/01
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE Daily Press Briefing Index Thursday, August 9, 2001
BRIEFER: Richard Boucher, Spokesman
ANNOUNCEMENTS 1 Former Secretary of State Kissinger Provides Department with Documents 1 Japan's Whaling Activities in the North Pacific
CHINA 2 Payment for Return of Surveillance Plane 13 Arrest of Liu Yaping
ISRAEL / PALESTINIANS 2 Timing of Arafat's Condemnation of Bombing in Jerusalem/Calls for Actions 3,5 Secretary Powell's Calls to Foreign Leaders 4,7 Holding Parties Accountable/ Monitoring/ Joint Public Statement on Ceasefire 5-6 U.S. Involvement in Security/ Arafat's Representation of Attack/ Mitchell Report 6 Targeted Killings/ Ambassador David Satterfield in Beirut 7 Hamas & PFLP
MEXICO 7-11 Migration/ Temporary Worker Program/ Border Safety/ Economy/ Trucks
AFGHANISTAN 11 Americans Held in Afghanistan/ Visas/ Taliban Decree Concerning Death Sentence
ITALY 12 Americans Held in Genoa/ Expression of Concerns Regarding Injuries
BURMA 12-13 Protests Concerning Aung San Suu Kyi CASPIAN REGION 13 Iranian Aircrafts Violating Airspace of Azerbaijan/ Energy Resources
MACEDONIA 14 Violence in Skopje and Prilep/ Meeting with Macedonian Slavs/ NATO
COMOROS 14 Island of Anjouan
MISSILE PROLIFERATION 15 Senator Biden's Comments
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
DPB # 114
THURSDAY, AUGUST 9, 2001, 2:21 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. BOUCHER: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. If I can, let me mention two things briefly off the top, which we will give you written statements on, more information. The first is that the State Department has taken possession of 10,000 pages of documents from Henry Kissinger. These are the transcribed secretarial notes of telephone conversations that Secretary Kissinger had as
Secretary of State between 1973 and 1976. These have been turned over to us
with Dr. Kissinger's agreement, and we have a statement for you on that. Those will be part of our records now.
The second thing I wanted to mention is we have a statement on Japan's whaling activities in the North Pacific, and we will give you our opinion of those as well. I will leave that for the written version for you to see, unless you have questions on that or other topics.
QUESTION: Is there any particular reason why he is handing them over now? Will they be available to people investigating Dr. Kissinger's activities?
MR. BOUCHER: There were requests that this be done, that they be made part of our records. The National Security Archive had written to the Department earlier this year requesting that the Department and the National Archives and Record Administration seek return of these documents to the official files. We asked Dr. Kissinger and he happily consented to that. And so these files are now part of our files. They will be part of the record, the way we handle government records, so that once they are organized, once they are reviewed and we have eliminated any personal records and then organized them, people will be able to make Freedom of Information Act requests, et cetera, for them and they will be looked at in the normal declassification schedule, which would be a 30- year schedule. So that's a few years from now still.
QUESTION: Does he acknowledge then that this is government property, which was an argument 25 years ago?
MR. BOUCHER: I know it has been an issue that has been argued all along. What I would say at this point is that these 10,000 pages of transcripts have been turned over to us, are being made part of the government records with Dr. Kissinger's consent.
QUESTION: Are there audiotapes and notes?
MR. BOUCHER: As far as I know, they are pages of transcripts.
QUESTION: Can you -- what can you tell us, please, about payment for the airplane to China, payment for the return of the surveillance plane? Is there a payment? Is it 34,000 or 34 million or a dollar-and-a-half?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't know.
QUESTION: You don't know? Okay.
MR. BOUCHER: What can you tell me about it?
QUESTION: Well, there is a report that there is a payment.
MR. BOUCHER: Okay, I'm sorry, I didn't see the report. I didn't have a chance to check. So I will --
QUESTION: I didn't either.
MR. BOUCHER: I'll have to check on that for you. I'm sorry I don't know.
QUESTION: Can you say whether Arafat condemned the bombing in Jerusalem today before or after the Secretary's call? Was it because of his call that Arafat condemned it?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't know the exact timing. I'm assuming that it was after, because the Secretary's making the call fairly early this morning, our time,
which would have been fairly soon after the bombing. What the Secretary in his phone call did was what the White House put in their statement. What we have said, I think pretty consistently today, is that we have called on Chairman Arafat to condemn the terrorist attack, to arrest and bring to justice those
responsible and to prevent future terrorist attacks. Those are the basic elements of the phone call from the Secretary to Chairman Arafat today.
QUESTION: I don't mean to split hairs, but we always do on such subjects. Do you happen to know if either the Chairman or the Secretary refer to the form
this condemnation might or should take?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't know.
QUESTION: Like a public statement in Arabic? Is it something that is to be
conveyed, or is it sort of like, you know, I'm going to condemn it. How much currency will this condemnation get, is the point, or do you know -- did the US ask for a particular type of approach?
MR. BOUCHER: We've made clear all along that condemnations need to be clear and that actions need to be clear as well. It's important and the Secretary has
said we are pleased to see the condemnation made clear. The Secretary also asked for the actions -- for the actions to arrest people and to prevent further action. So these elements are things that we are working on and that we will continue to press for. The condemnation that I've seen from him is pretty clear, and very public. I don't know what language it was made in, but we've seen it on the wires, which usually indicates it is visible.
QUESTION: I know it has only been an hour or so, but has the Secretary spoken to Prime Minister Sharon yet, and --
MR. BOUCHER: He got out of the meetings with the Mexicans about 25 minutes ago, so --
QUESTION: No, it was an hour ago.
MR. BOUCHER: A little more. Anyway, not that I'm aware of. Not when I walked out here.
QUESTION: And when he calls for restraint from both sides, is he saying that the Israelis should not do one of their standard retaliation attacks?
MR. BOUCHER: He made quite clear that we are looking for both sides to exercise restraint and not to allow the violence to spiral out of control again. And
therefore, we would urge the parties -- both parties -- to take steps, and we have made quite clear that on the Palestinian side, we are looking to see some specific steps, in terms of arrests and prevention.
QUESTION: Okay, but you haven't really answered that. The Israelis have --
MR. BOUCHER: That is about as much as I can answer. I am not going to speculate on hypothetical reactions to speculation on what the Israelis might do.
QUESTION: Have you asked the Israelis not to retaliate?
MR. BOUCHER: We are in touch with both sides in the region. As you know, the Secretary has not yet spoken to Prime Minister Sharon. But we have made the
point that the Secretary made in public, that now is a dangerous time, and people need to exercise restraint. We shouldn't take actions that make the situation spiral out of control.
QUESTION: After the last mass casualty attack -- the disco bombing -- it was increased international pressure on Arafat that led to him calling on the cease- fire. Is the Secretary going to ask the EU and other international players to increase their calls on Arafat to stop the violence?
MR. BOUCHER: As you heard from the Secretary outside, he has spoken today to the Belgian Foreign Minister, who is now in the presidency of the European Union. He has talked to the European High Representative Solana. He has talked to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, and I am sure will be keeping in touch with other international players. Because there is a strong international view on this. There is a strong international view that the violence needs to cease, and that we need to implement the Mitchell recommendations in all their aspects. And we think that people around the world agree with that, and would make that clear.
QUESTION: You hear a lot of calls now, a lot of them from former officials,
calling for accountability, that there needs to be - that the United States needs to hold both parties more accountable. Is there any way that you can -- or are you developing any new ways to hold the parties accountable for their
actions without necessarily having to call from the podium? I mean, what other ways can you hold them accountable?
MR. BOUCHER: I would ask the people that are proposing these ideas to explain them rather than have me try to explain something that other people are proposing. I am not going to sit here and speculate on how to elaborate somebody else's idea that hasn't been elaborated, I guess.
QUESTION: On the Secretary's conversations with Annan, Michel, and Solana, did he initiate those phone calls, or did they call him?
MR. BOUCHER: I'm pretty sure he initiated them all. Generally, he came this morning with a list of people he wanted to talk to.
QUESTION: There is a report today quoting (inaudible) Abu Sharif as saying that -- I'm not sure on what authority -- saying that the United States is preparing some kind of draft plan on the monitors to be ready by Monday. Is there -- is this pure speculation? Is there anything in this at all?
MR. BOUCHER: I would call that speculative. As I have told you before, we have been discussing the issue of monitoring accepted by the parties in the implementation of the Mitchell Report, and we will continue to discuss that with the parties, how that might work, what the ideas are. But I think particularly on a day like today, when there has been this horrible attack, and we feel great sympathy for the victims, it is important to keep our eyes focused on what needs to be done, and that is for the parties to take the steps, for Chairman Arafat to take the steps that are necessary to stop the violence. And that is what we are looking for.
QUESTION: In addition to his condemnation, Arafat also suggested that the Israelis and the Palestinians might make a joint public statement of an intention to observe a cease-fire. Is that something you think is helpful, or is it down to actions rather than words at this stage? And has the Secretary any plans to call any Arab leaders on the situation?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't know who the Secretary will end up talking to. I am not aware of any specific people that are queued up for phone calls at this point. But I wouldn't be -- I don't want to say he won't, because he very well might.
As far as the issue of the cease-fire, note the President's statement. It says quite clearly, "I urge the parties to return immediately to the cease-fire commitments they previously made and to renew effective security cooperation."
QUESTION: The Secretary said that, if at some point the violence were to go
down, there are new ways that the United States could be involved in security. Can you expand on that?
MR. BOUCHER: No, not at this point.
QUESTION: In that statement, the Secretary also -- and we've heard it many,
many times before -- spoke of his concern over provocation. Again, splitting a hair, possibly. But he did speak to Arafat. Is this attack today being represented, by chance, by Arafat as provoked by something Israel has done? Or is the Secretary speaking in general terms?
MR. BOUCHER: I think the Secretary is speaking in general terms. I will leave it to Arafat to characterize what he thinks of the events and why they happened. What we see is that there was a horrible criminal attack that killed any number of people and that it should -- that the parties and particularly Chairman Arafat needs to take steps to prevent these kind of attacks, to arrest those
responsible. But that also in this dangerous situation, the inflammatory situation created by this attack, that it is important to exercise restraint as well.
QUESTION: I was just wondering and I think you answered whether the Chairman had said this attack was provoked by Israel.
MR. BOUCHER: I am not going to try to explain what he said. He can explain
that himself if he wishes to.
QUESTION: You've been repeating the same sort of calls for restraint in the
last several weeks now. What happens if they don't listen to you? Is there a Plan B?
MR. BOUCHER: There is only one way. There is no Plan B. The way is to stop the violence, and to get into the implementation of the Mitchell Report. That gives the parties and, above all, the people what they want, which is a chance for a normal life and a chance for a return to peace talks. This road of violence and bombings and retaliation really only leads to more violence and
QUESTION: The plan is a little bit grand. There have been suggestions, refinements. The police refer to one Dennis Ross yesterday suggested, insist on public accountability - assist publicly on accountability. Martin Indyk had
some suggestions in an article yesterday. It doesn't attack or change very much what the Administration is doing, but it fine tunes it a little bit, like maybe blending the period of calm you are seeking with the six week cooling off period, thereby getting to the confidence building measures maybe a little faster. Is the Administration entertaining any of these experienced people's recommendations, which really, as I say, don't strike at the heart of what you're doing, but sort of suggest maybe it could take a little adjustment.
MR. BOUCHER: If you take the basic goals, which have been clear from the beginning, even before the Mitchell Plan, end the violence, return to normal
life including economic life, and get back to negotiations. You've seen those elaborated in the Mitchell Report. You've seen the ending the violence part
especially elaborated in the discussions with Mr. Tenet. And certainly our discussion since then has been, how do you get the parties to really do this, to stop the violence? What kind of steps do they need to take, what role can we play in helping them do this, so that they do stop the violence and get into the implementation of the Mitchell Report.
We have talked to the parties about that implementation, as well. So, yes, we are always looking at ideas for how to get them to do that. But fundamentally, it's not us waving a magic wand or monitors waving a magic wand that are going to stop the violence. It is leaders leading, security officials taking the actions that are necessary to maintain security, and the parties cooperating
with each other rather than perpetuating a cycle of violence.
QUESTION: Really you're saying that attacks like this one justify the policy of targeted killings, that it's a preventative measure from attacks like this occurring. What do you say to that?
MR. BOUCHER: I think we've discussed that amply before. The way to stop these attacks is for the parties to take their responsibilities seriously, and for the parties to cooperate on security matters.
QUESTION: Are Miller and Satterfield -- and/or -- going out to the Middle East next week?
MR. BOUCHER: Satterfield is already in Beirut, and he will be going on to Damascus, and then down to Israel and for meetings with the Israelis and the
Palestinians. Let me check on Miller; I think he is joining him out there, but I'm not sure.
QUESTION: This morning, I think before the bombing, Foreign Minister Peres said that the Israeli insistence that the violence must stop before any sort of implementation of Mitchell can begin holds the whole process hostage to anybody with a gun.
Does the US Government have any comment on that, or do you agree with that? I mean, we hear calls from you and people in this Administration to stop the violence, but some say come down as well. There's a nuance there.
MR. BOUCHER: I suppose there are nuances that can be explored if the violence comes down. The Mitchell Committee Report called for the cessation of violence. It called for a maximum effort. It called for a 100 percent effort by the parties. When we were in Ramallah, Chairman Arafat said he would make a maximum effort to bring the violence down.
So we are looking for the effort, we are looking for a lower level of violence, bringing the violence down. And at that point, I guess we can start discussing the, how quiet is it.
QUESTION: Richard, if he hasn't made any of these arrests that are suggested, can we conclude that he is not making the effort you expected, and that would be kind of a statement of accountability?
MR. BOUCHER: I mean, hasn't made the arrest since -- in the few hours since the bombing -- I am not sure I would draw conclusions from that.
QUESTION: The US has been calling for arrests --
MR. BOUCHER: I would say that the fact that we are still calling for more action indicates that we don't think there has been enough action.
QUESTION: You called for arrests for a long time, and it's not just about this bombing?
MR. BOUCHER: Yes.
QUESTION: He hasn't done it.
MR. BOUCHER: We are continuing to say we think that more action is necessary.
QUESTION: Can we do Mexico?
QUESTION: Do you have any comment about the broadening of Arafat's cabinet to include Hamas and PFLP people?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't -- I am not aware he has actually done that.
QUESTION: No, he is calling for it. And he --
MR. BOUCHER: I'm not going to comment at this point.
QUESTION: He is actually negotiating with Sheikh Yassin.
MR. BOUCHER: I am not going to comment at this point, I don't think.
QUESTION: Can we do Mexico?
MR. BOUCHER: Mexico.
QUESTION: Secretary Powell outside talked about the need for there to be a legal path to migration, and no matter what we do, we have to respect those people who have played by the rules. He also said, though, that we also have to recognize the contributions that undocumented Mexicans have played and are playing in the country. How do we reconcile those two statements?
And can you also, as a follow-up, give us any elaboration on which areas there is most agreement on, and which areas are the most ticklish ones?
MR. BOUCHER: It is a good question, and the balance between those factors is what we are going to have to try to achieve in whatever we come up with. I would describe today's discussion, as I think the Secretary and the Mexican side both indicated, was really a discussion of principles, elements. First of all, the principles upon which we would base a temporary worker program; the goals of safe, orderly migration; of having a program that is a shared responsibility, and the other goals that they enunciated.
Then they talked about the factors that go into the design of that program. You might say the factors that have to be considered. So these are among the factors that have to be considered. We didn't finish designing the program today.
QUESTION: Could you tell me in which areas -- the Secretary really concentrated on the issues of migration, temporary worker program. There were other issues on the table having to deal with border safety, the economy and those kind of things.
Are we to assume from this that the real sticking point is the design of the
temporary worker program and how the migration is going to work in the future?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't know that I would describe it as a sticking point so much as what we are doing now, since the beginning of the Administration, particularly the meetings between President Fox and President Bush in Mexico, you have had a really very significant and positive expansion of cooperation
between the United States and Mexico across the border. There are a great number of things that we are doing now, and the Secretary, Attorney General Ashcroft talked about some of those things, as did his Mexican counterpart.
Both are very pleased with the progress we have been making in that kind of cooperation.
And, in fact, they discussed other elements of cooperation, more things that we can do together. But this meeting was more designed to address the issues of the bigger issues that are coming up, and that is the whole issue of temporary workers and status of undocumented people and things like that.
QUESTION: Are we to infer by this also that we will not see a formal plan document by September, it sounds, when the Secretary said we are not in any hurry? And the Mexican leaders also talked about we need to do this right and do it necessary. Does that mean we are going to see less specifics than we assume we might see in September?
MR. BOUCHER: Let me do everything I can to downplay your expectations, since that is one of the rules of my profession. But I don't think I am in a position to predict exactly where we will be in September. Obviously, the meeting of the Presidents is very important and we will want to keep in touch and keep working with the Mexicans. But I think the Secretary made clear his emphasis is on getting it right. The Mexicans made clear that we are going to keep working on this together for the weeks and the months ahead. So I wouldn't expect that it will all be finished by the time the Presidents get together.
QUESTION: Is it at all a sign of potential problems, the fact that six months into these talks, they haven't moved past principles and precepts?
MR. BOUCHER: I would say that what we have been doing in many ways has been
very positive for people on the border. It has been very positive in terms of the safety elements, been very positive in terms of the cooperation between the United States and Mexico on the border. There's been a lot of emphasis on that, a lot of effort placed on that. We've also begun to work both internally - I'm sure in Mexico they've been doing the same thing -- on sort of what are the elements we need to see in a regular program, a temporary worker program. And these are some big issues that are important to us, important to Mexico, important to people in our Congress and elsewhere.
No, I wouldn't infer anything particular from the fact that we have been doing a lot, concentrating on doing a lot on the border, and now we are getting some
other big issues that are important to us.
QUESTION: On their disagreements on the details of amnesty, a cutoff date, for example, on what happens to those who --
MR. BOUCHER: We didn't discuss numbers or dates at this point.
QUESTION: That was my question. No discussion whatsoever of numbers?
MR. BOUCHER: Only to the extent that we discussed the numbers of people in different categories, different types of people who are in the United States and who might benefit from programs that already exist, and that sort of thing. But no discussion of a temporary worker program, what the numbers might be.
QUESTION: Is there basic agreement on how many people are involved?
MR. BOUCHER: We really didn't address it in those terms either. The only numbers that were discussed were in terms of some of the existing programs, how many people qualify for those, things like that.
QUESTION: Two questions. Did you discuss third country workers, and also, do you think that a plan for a temporary guest worker program could be implemented before a final policy on migration, in its totality, could be agreed upon? Could you agree upon that first and implement that, and work out other areas of migration?
MR. BOUCHER: I think there's a desire on both parts to address a whole number of areas, and understand as we go into the temporary worker program what the
implications might be for other areas as well. How many pieces are brought together at any given moment is not something I can predict at this point.
In terms of third countries, I would say -- just say with the Mexicans, we talked about Mexicans.
QUESTIONS: Several of the participants spoke about important progress and things like that. One of them, I think, said progress on technical aspects.
Can you just kind of give us some sort of indication of where this progress is taking place, because it is really quite difficult to get a grip on this, and it would be useful for us to have something solid we can latch onto. Is that too much to ask?
MR. BOUCHER: Should I read him all five pages, or no?
QUESTION: Oh, five pages, yes.
MR. BOUCHER: Let me -- there has been a lot of progress in terms of the -- I'm adopting your British accent -- (laughter) -- there has been a lot of progress in terms of the cooperation in the border area, cooperation between law enforcement officials. There has been a lot of progress in terms of cooperation between people on the ground, but also the broader cooperation between drug enforcement agents, between the Attorney General's office and the Mexican counterparts.
They have been working together on how to prevent the kind of deaths that have occurred earlier along the border areas. They have been working together on
cracking down on some of the smuggling that goes on there. And they have been working together on a number of other law enforcement efforts which, as part of today's meetings, Attorney General Ashcroft also discussed with his counterpart.
I think in terms of further detail on that, I would probably want to leave it to the Department of Justice to go into some of the specific cases that they have worked together, some of the specific programs that they have together. But
there has been, in fact, a great deal of cooperation on law enforcement matters, particularly regarding the border.
QUESTION: I meant specifically progress in this meeting on the future aspects of the whole migration issue, rather than things that --
MR. BOUCHER: I would cite first of all the reaffirmation, continuation of this kind of specific cooperation and progress along the border. Second of all, that there is broad agreement in principle about what kind of program we want to design. And, third of all, that we got into the discussion of the various factors and elements that need to be worked in and balanced as we go into that program. So that, from the ministerial level, I would say that the officials, the senior experts and officials that are going to try to work out the details of the program, have a lot more structure and guidance in terms of what they
will try to work out next.
QUESTION: The Secretary said several issues came up. Did the issue of Mexican trucks come up?
MR. BOUCHER: Yes, briefly.
QUESTION: Anything to --
MR. BOUCHER: No new announcements; just looked at the state of play.
QUESTION: On the Americans held in Afghanistan, the Taliban says they are giving visas. Do we confirm that on our side, that we have received that notice? And also I want to ask about these reports that the US believes a Taliban decree will prevent these people from being sentenced to death. The
Taliban says it doesn't know if such a decree would answer any of those.
MR. BOUCHER: Let me try to answer both. We have remained in touch with the
Taliban representative in Islamabad, our chargé in Islamabad has been in touch with the Taliban chargé.
As of this afternoon in Islamabad, the Taliban had not yet issued a visa for our consular officer to go to Kabul and visit the detainees. But we did receive
assurances from Taliban representatives that this will happen. But it hasn't happened yet. So we will continue to press for the visa and for access to the detainees. Our concern remains the welfare of these Americans.
On the issue of the decree, we are aware of a decree that was issued in June
that says or appears to say that expulsion is required of foreigners for proselytizing. But I would say that I am not in a position to make a determination on this particular decree or how it might be applied.
QUESTION: I'm sorry, one thing. On the assurance, did they indicate this is forthcoming quite quickly? Do we know that?
MR. BOUCHER: I am not sure we know an exact time on that.
QUESTION: On the Taliban, is there some kind of -- I mean, I know you want to get this resolved as soon as possible. But the next couple of days with the
Taliban is kind of their weekend. Have they given any assurances to you that they would be willing to work through their kind of holy period on this? Do you see that they sense the urgency of resolving this quickly?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't know whether they sense it, but we have certainly made it clear that we want to get visas, we want to go in there, we want access to these people, we want to be able to look after their welfare, and that is irrespective of our weekend or theirs.
QUESTION: Have you said that you would be able to see them when you got the
assurances for the visa?
MR. BOUCHER: We have assurances we will get visas. We don't have the visas
yet, and we don't have access yet. So that is what we are working on.
QUESTION: Can I ask a question -- unless anybody has any more on Afghanistan, if I can ask a question on the Americans being held in Genoa. Are you -- there have been a lot of countries that have protested with the Italian Government for the treatment of the protesters at large. I know you made a concern about some of the injuries. But have you protested the Italian Government for their tactics on how they dealt with the protesters?
MR. BOUCHER: I made clear yesterday that we have expressed our concerns to the Italian Government about the injuries that took place during these arrests.
There were, as I reported yesterday, several Americans injured as they were being arrested. We made clear our concerns about that, and we have also said we look to the Italian investigation to tell us more about what happened.
QUESTION: There's a group that is currently outside the White House at Lafayette Park. They have been protesting -- they started protests concerning Suu Kyi, who has been the elected president or prime minister of Burma, now called Myanmar. And she has been detained by a --
MR. BOUCHER: We are pretty much aware of that situation on a daily basis.
QUESTION: Anything new? Is there anything new as far as the State Department in trying to seek her freedom?
MR. BOUCHER: We have, for years, we have addressed this issue repeatedly from here. We have addressed directly with the Burmese authorities. We have supported the UN efforts that are going on out there. We have noted that some people have been released -- political prisoners have been released in Burma. I think it is something like 87, but frankly there's as many as 1,500 still in
jail. We have been very concerned about her welfare, about her situation, and about the need for recognition of the democratic process in Burma, and we have continued to press that on every occasion.
QUESTION: Can I follow up? I understand that Mr. Boyce was in Burma last week. Did he bring back any more details of the dialogue between Suu Kyi and the Junta? Your chargé said that there is a ray of hope. Is that still your position?
MR. BOUCHER: I think our position has been that that dialogue has proceeded, and that we see the dialogue has proceeded, and that we see the dialogue as being positive. As you know, the United Nations Representative -- Razali, right? Yes, Malaysian -- has been working this, and we have very much supported his effort. We have kept in very close touch with him all along, and indeed, Deputy Assistant Secretary Boyce was out there about a week ago to check in with people, find out where things stood, and offer our support and encouragement for that kind of dialogue.
QUESTION: Did he meet Suu Kyi?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't have a list yet. I don't remember exactly who he met.
QUESTION: Has this building asked for an explanation or received an explanation as to why LiuYaping was released and then re-arrested in China? Do you know
MR. BOUCHER: I'm not aware of the news that he was re-arrested. We heard from some --
QUESTION: Yes, he has already been thrown back into --
MR. BOUCHER: We had heard from some that he was being released. But I am not sure that -- he is Inner Mongolia.
QUESTION: He had a haircut, and ate dinner, and they threw him back in jail.
MR. BOUCHER: All right, I'll check on the situation and see what more we can get you on that.
QUESTION: New subject? Richard, at one of the last briefings, you were asked about the situation in the Caspian region, or to be exact, Iran's last actions there. And since the incident between the Iranian gunboat and the Azeri vessel, there have been some reports on Iranian aircraft violating the airspace of Azerbaijan.
I believe that the last reports have come just today. Oil companies still put on hold the exploration works on the whole oil fields. Do you have something on that?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't have anything on the incident that you tell me happened today. I will check on that. I did check, because I think we were asked last time why we were so slow in reacting to the first incident, and in fact, the
first incident occurred on July 24th, and we checked on it. And the next day, July 25th, my esteemed colleague, Mr. Reeker, made quite a clear response from this podium. And you will find that in the transcript. We have made clear, at the time of the incident, our strong concern about the approach that was taken in this case, the resort to the threat of force, and I would just say that we continue to strongly support market-oriented economic development in the region, and the development of energy resources of the Caspian Sea in a commercially
viable way through international investment and on the basis of existing production sharing agreements.
So we do not believe that any threat of force or use of violence has a place in this situation.
QUESTION: On Macedonia? There seems to be some violence trying to interrupt the possible signing of an agreement on Monday?
MR. BOUCHER: Yes, there has been some violence yesterday in Skopje, and in Prilep. We condemn the violence, we deplore the burning of a mosque in Prilep, as well as attacks on civilian properties that occurred in both of these cities. We continue to urge citizens of Macedonia to respect the law and to remain peaceful, to avoid violent demonstrations or mob action.
We are concerned about the reports of continued fighting in Tetovo and we reiterate the need for a durable cease-fire, which is a precondition for NATO deployment. So we are calling on all sides to uphold their cease-fire pledges and to move forward with the peace process.
QUESTION: Is there anybody from this building that met with a group of Macedonian Slavs outside, that made quite a large --
MR. BOUCHER: We met with them when they were inside, before they went outside to make a large -- what was it you were going to say, noise? Mr. Armitage met with them this morning, and Mr. Reeker did. Do you want to say anything about it?
One more, I guess.
QUESTION: On Macedonia again. So from this stage, it said that cease-fire is holding, generally, but killings and violence is an everyday occurrence, still. If the situation doesn't change, and when or if the political agreement is signed, is there going to be a deployment of NATO troops? I guess my question is, would the criteria for the assessment of the fulfillment of the preconditions -- for that to happen?
MR. BOUCHER: We went through the criteria that NATO was looking for yesterday. NATO, of course, is evaluating this situation and deciding how we can proceed. And those discussions are going on at NATO in Brussels. We're looking for the political agreement. We're trying. At this point the effort is to encourage the parties to observe the cease-fire completely, and second of all, to try to bring the political process to a real closure. At that point, NATO would also be looking for durable cease-fire agreement to hand in the weapons and things like that. But certainly the elements that are needed right now are for people to observe the cease-fire and and for them to conclude, finally, the political arrangements.
QUESTION: Do you have anything from your own independent sources on what's happening on the island of Anjouan in the Comoros?
MR. BOUCHER: No. I don't think I have any independent source -- no.
QUESTION: Yes, on Senator Biden, who is making a case with the Chinese regarding missile proliferation to a bunch of countries. Do you have anything to add on his comments, or just in that --
MR. BOUCHER: No. He seems to do quite well speaking for himself, and I'll speak for us, and he can speak for himself.
QUESTION: Thank you.
MR. BOUCHER: Thank you.
(The briefing was concluded at 2:58 p.m.)