Daily Press Briefing for June 16 -- Transcript
Daily Press Briefing
Richard Boucher, Spokesman
June 16, 2003
ANNOUCEMENTS 1-2 Certification of Serbia and Montenegro
IRAN 3-7 Use of Violence Against Iranian Demonstrations 3-6, 14 Iranian Nuclear Program / Reports of Missile Cooperation with North Korea
SYRIA 7-8 Report of Syrians Taking British Citizens to Tehran
GREECE/TURKEY 8-9 Bilateral Discussions
ISRAEL/PALESTINIANS 8-10 Status of Roadmap / Establishment of Palestinian Authority 9-11 Efforts to Combat Terrorism in Region 11-13 Ambassador Wolf s Travel to Jerusalem
JORDAN 13 Secretary Powell s Upcoming Meeting with the Quartet in Amman
DEPARTMENT 12-13 Secretary Powell s Phone Calls
JAPAN 14 Request for Handover of a Marine
CHINA 15 Charles Lee Detention
CAMBODIA 15 Secretary Powell s Travel to ASEAN Meetings
BURMA 15-16 International Community s Discussion on Release of Aung San Suu Kyi
MR. BOUCHER: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. If I can, let me tell you about the certification for Serbia and Montenegro off the top, and then we can go on to your questions on that or other topics.
Secretary of State Colin Powell has determined and certified that Serbia and Montenegro have met the criteria under Section 578 of the Foreign Operations Export Financing and Related Programs Act. He has also determined that the competent authorities of Serbia had simultaneously met the criteria related to the termination of restrictions imposed by Section 576 of that Act. And these decisions are being conveyed to Congress.
What this means is that the United States is in a position now to continue funding the assistance programs for Serbia and Montenegro, having made the appropriate certifications to Congress that Serbia and Montenegro have been cooperating with the war crimes tribunal, among other standards that had to be met.
We have welcomed the recent actions by Serbia and Montenegro and by the Republic of Serbia to improve cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. However, the Secretary's decisions are not an indication that we believe that Serbia and Montenegro has fully met its obligation to arrest and transfer all indictees to the tribunal. We have made clear to union and republic authorities in Belgrade that they have an international obligation to fully cooperate with the tribunal, and that the United States continues to expect further action to be taken in order to meet those obligations.
And we continue to call on all states of the region to cooperate fully with the tribunal, including by arresting and transferring Radovan Karadzic and Ratko Mladic.
So I'm happy to take your questions on this or other topics.
QUESTION: On assistance, does this mean simply they're eligible, or is there some money that's been held up for some long time that now can get there?
MR. BOUCHER: I think it's a matter of continuing programs that have been underway. Our programs are designed to help foster stability in the country, help promote democracy, and help promote integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions. So a variety of programs. This allows the funding to continue beyond June 15th.
QUESTION: Two questions concerning the same issue. First, does it mean that it is or it is not the last certification? And secondly, what is your position concerning Serbia and Montenegro request for Partnership for Peace?
MR. BOUCHER: The question of whether it's the last certification, I don't really know the answer to that. I think it's done year by year by our Congress and the law, so it would depend what the laws say in future years. Right? I don't remember whether it's an ongoing requirement, but, in any case, the Congress can always ask for further certifications when they give us more money in the future.
The issue of Partnership for Peace is one that we addressed when we were out in the region once or twice. We certainly are generally supportive of the direction, but I don't have any new news on that.
QUESTION: I wasn't concentrating perhaps, but you went on about 576, a separate --
MR. BOUCHER: Yeah, there are two pieces. There are two legal aspects to the resolution. I'm not even sure I have them, but essentially you certify the conditions and then you -- I don't have it with me. You certify the conditions under one section and then you have to say in another section that certain other criteria have been met, including the certification. So it's just the way the law is written. You've got to check two --
QUESTION: What are the other criteria apart from the cooperation with the ICTY?
MR. BOUCHER: The section of law, the 578, has cooperation with the tribunal in terms of transferring people, in terms of access to testimony and access to information, and then there are other -- I just don't have it all with me. There's things regarding respecting minorities and human rights and that sort of stuff, and in cooperation with the Republika Srpska.
QUESTION: Can you give us an idea of the amount of money (inaudible)?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't have the amount of money with me. I will have to get that for you later.
QUESTION: Can we go to something else?
MR. BOUCHER: Yeah.
QUESTION: What is -- what do you folks make of the upsurge in Iran -- the protests, the reform? It's a reformist movement, evidently. Does the U.S. support it?
MR. BOUCHER: We have been quite clear, I think, in this administration that the United States stands with the students, with the demonstrators, with those in Iran who are asking for more rights, who are asking for freedoms, who are asking for a chance to join the modern world. It's true, as they say, as the demonstrators say, that Iran's policies with regard to weapons of mass destruction, with support for terrorism, opposition to the peace process, human rights have kept Iran back from its ability to move forward in terms of modernization and have kept Iran back in terms of the ability to provide for its people in terms of jobs and dealing with some of the issues internally.
So I think we've made quite clear where we stand. The White House, I think, put out a statement over the weekend that expressed that, as well. And we've been concerned about the use of violence against the demonstrators and really think it's time for the voices of the Iranian people to be listened to and heard and let them move forward in terms of joining the modern world.
QUESTION: Can the -- the Government of Iran is saying that the U.S. has been helping the students.
MR. BOUCHER: Our -- first of all, the demonstrations are not about the United States, they are about Iran by Iranians about Iranian policy. They are not -- don't have anything to do with the United States and so we offer our support, our encouragement. We've made clear what side we stand on, but these are Iranians protesting Iranian policy, and they need to be seen that way, not blamed on something outside.
QUESTION: Can you give us a statement of how concerned the U.S. is by the Iranian nuclear program as it's progressing?
MR. BOUCHER: How concerned?
QUESTION: How concerned?
MR. BOUCHER: 42? I don't know exactly how to quantify our concern. We're very -- we've been very concerned about the Iranian nuclear program for many years. We've been calling on other governments not to cooperate with it, we've been trying to point out to people the kind of program that Iran was entering into and the fact that we felt that their civilian program was actually being used as cover for other activities. And now, through the efforts of the International Atomic Energy Agency, we have a report from the Director General of that agency that says that Iran had a very extensive nuclear program, just as we had been saying, and that they were, in fact, engaged in a full cycle nuclear program, which leads -- has led to many concerns on the part of others.
So this is currently being discussed and debated in Vienna this week at the International Atomic Energy Agency headquarters, where the Board of Governors has taken up the issue. And we think it's appropriate not just for individual governments to express their concerns, but for the Board of Governors to express their concerns about the nuclear program, to call on Iran to fix the problems with that program, to answer all the outstanding questions about that program, and, indeed, to sign and implement without any delay the additional protocols, which is the more comprehensive International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards.
So we are concerned. We're raising -- we've raised those concerns for a long time but this week it looks like the International Atomic Energy Agency Board is actually taking up those concerns and trying to tell Iran what they have to do to fix them.
QUESTION: Richard, can you get a little bit more specific about when you say, "We offer our support"? It seems that -- I just want to clear up -- the Iranians are saying that you're offering material support to these demonstrators. Are you saying the U.S. is offering a kind of rhetorical support?
And then I have a follow-up. Does the State Department or the administration have a position on legislation that's been proposed by Senator Brownback to create a fund that would essentially support these students?
MR. BOUCHER: I'm not sure if we've taken a position on the legislation. Certainly, from my vantage point here, I can tell you that all that we're involved in here is expressing our moral support, our rhetorical support, our solidarity with the demonstrators. That's as much as I can speak for at this point.
QUESTION: It's moral support. And does that -- I don't know if you can speak to it, but are there any kind of national -- NDI programs or IRI or USAID programs that may be working with these people?
MR. BOUCHER: I frankly don't know. But we'll see.
MR. BOUCHER: Terri.
QUESTION: Have you heard anything about reports out of Seoul that there have been container -- that there are containers headed for Iran from North Korea shipping missiles?
MR. BOUCHER: I guess I've heard some -- I've seen those reports. I don't think we have any information that I can share with you on that.
We have certainly taken seriously Iran's -- North Korea's missile programs and its exports. We work closely with other countries who are likeminded in this. We have expressed concern also to other governments about their military cooperation with North Korea, and we think that everybody should refrain from missile cooperation with North Korea.
But, at this point, beyond saying that it's well known that they produce and export missiles, I don't think there's anything specific that I could say about those reports.
QUESTION: Is the U.S. looking into it?
MR. BOUCHER: At this point, I wouldn't say there's anything I can say about those reports.
QUESTION: Does the U.S., in the question of how the U.S. is aiding Iran, aiding the students, as the Iranian Government says you are, does the U.S. have -- has the U.S. funded at all this Iranian TV station out of California that seems to be --
MR. BOUCHER: I really don't know. I'm sorry, I didn't have a chance to check. I'll find out if there's any funding like that.
Okay, head to the back. David.
QUESTION: The Iranian Government says that it's filed a protest over what it calls U.S. interference in Iranian affairs via -- I believe it's the Swiss Embassy.
MR. BOUCHER: We checked on that this morning. As far as we know, nothing has been received like that at this point. They have quite vocally made clear their opposition to our statements in their public statements.
QUESTION: Maybe VOA's broadcasting to Iran in that language may be increased, or people or funding?
MR. BOUCHER: I wouldn't speculate at this point. I'm sure VOA can give you the information on their current broadcasts. But we have quite extensive broadcasting and I think our point of view is quite clear.
QUESTION: On the Aegean. Mr. Boucher, on June 10th, Mr. Reeker, answering to my questions regarding the Aegean --
MR. BOUCHER: Let's finish with Iran, I think, first. Okay?
MR. BOUCHER: Terri.
QUESTION: What kind of action is U.S. looking for the IAEA Board to take at this point?
MR. BOUCHER: All the things that I just specified two minutes ago. We're looking for the Board to make clear its concern, to call on Iran to fix the problems, to call on Iran to sign the additional protocol and to support the efforts of the IAEA to find out more information and get compliance.
QUESTION: But in what format? I mean, are you looking for a resolution? Are you --
MR. BOUCHER: That's being discussed out there right now. We think it's important for the Board to get together and collectively make a statement, but I'll leave the actual negotiation to our folks out in the field.
QUESTION: But you do expect this meeting to end with some kind of an agreed statement of some kind? It's not enough for individual governments to express their dismay of this?
MR. BOUCHER: Yeah, that's basically our view. There are a lot of people expressing their point of view and their concern about the Iranian program, including Dr. ElBaradei at the beginning of his opening comments, but there will be a meeting throughout the week and we think this is an opportunity that the Board should take to get together and express together their concern and call on Iran to fix the problems.
QUESTION: Evidently, in response to the IAEA call for Iran to sign these more advanced protocol --
MR. BOUCHER: Additional protocol, yeah.
QUESTION: -- that Iran is saying that, well, in exchange for nuclear technology information we're happy to do that. I assume that's a nonstarter.
MR. BOUCHER: That's a nonstarter. Virtually every country in the world has accepted these additional protocols. I can't remember, but there are very, very few exceptions, one of which is Iran. And it's not a bargaining point; it's a point of living up to international standards that everybody else feels comfortable living up to.
QUESTION: Richard, can I just go back to interference in Iranian affairs? Does the State Department consider --
MR. BOUCHER: I haven't confirmed any interference in Iranian affairs.
QUESTION: I know, I know you haven't. And I just want --
MR. BOUCHER: Just in case we're not --
QUESTION: Does the State Department consider the broadcast of Radio Farda on AM frequencies in Iran to be not a form of interference? And does the State Department, pretty much as a matter of policy, commit not to interfering in Iranian affairs internally?
MR. BOUCHER: We've never considered throughout the last 50 years that the provision of fair and accurate information, truthful information to people around the world, is, in any way, interfering with somebody's internal affairs.
QUESTION: And on the --
MR. BOUCHER: I'm not here to make commitments. I'm expressing our policy point of view. I'm not going to give you a sweeping --
QUESTION: Can I follow up?
MR. BOUCHER: Sure.
QUESTION: At the same point, while it's not interfering with the affairs, what is your hope that some of these radio broadcasts, the other things that you're doing regarding public diplomacy in Iran -- is the goal to foster more understanding between Iranian and American people, or is to foster your views of what the regime is doing to the Iranian people and perhaps foment some more --
MR. BOUCHER: The goal is the same goal that you all have. It's to keep people informed. Simple. That's it. Keep people informed.
QUESTION: The Middle East?
MR. BOUCHER: Middle East? Well, changing subjects, we're going to have to finish with Iran and go to him, then we'll come back to you.
QUESTION: Richard, apparently, the Syrians have taken two British subjects and had forcibly returned them to Tehran, and I know that you had said a week ago that, or earlier last week, that Secretary Powell had spoken to the Foreign Minister of Syria. Is there meddling with --
MR. BOUCHER: I don't know about this specific instance, and I think if they're British citizens you'd have to leave it to the British to comment.
QUESTION: All right.
MR. BOUCHER: All right. He was going to change the topic.
QUESTION: On June 10th, Mr. Reeker, answering to my question, stated that the Aegean problem is not a NATO or international or even American owned, but bilateral, and I'm wondering why.
MR. BOUCHER: I suspect Mr. Reeker explained it on that day. I don't have anything different to say to you today. I'm sorry.
QUESTION: But why, then, for example, is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not bilateral too, but also international with involvement of the UN, U.S., EU and Russia, the well-known Quartet?
MR. BOUCHER: I can't generalize about international problems in that way that says that just because we're involved in one in a certain way we have to be involved in every problem in the world in the same way. The fact is, some problems are best solved directly by the parties. Sometimes the parties ask for the international community to help out. Sometimes the international community finds them of such particular concern that they need to do something collectively. But each problem is addressed in a way that we think can best lead to a solution. The goal is not to make a big issue out things. The goal is to solve them. And to the extent that Greece and Turkey are able to solve this problem, I think we're all going to be better off.
QUESTION: But do you have otherwise any frame of criteria which problem is becoming bilateral or --
MR. BOUCHER: Yeah, the framework of and criteria is what's the best method to solve the problem. And we look at every problem with that in mind. What's the best path to a solution? If we think it's a bilateral one, we'll say so.
QUESTION: So in the case, then, of Greece and Turkey, you conclude that it's bilateral?
MR. BOUCHER: That's exactly what my friend here said the other day, and I stand by his words and his explanations, which are probably even more eloquent than mine.
QUESTION: There are effort to stop violence in the Middle East. Those support will include Hamas as the Egyptian mediator working right now. As today, what the U.S. position toward Hamas? Are you confident that Hamas will be included on such a agreement or are you still calling on crackdown Hamas and eliminating them so the roadmap could move forward?
MR. BOUCHER: I think we have been clear, the President has been clear, even just over the weekend, that the Palestinian Authority needs to set up a security force that can take control of the area, that can defeat the terrorists and deny -- do everything they can to defeat those who want to deny the establishment of a Palestinian state.
The goal is to establish a Palestinian Authority, Palestinian institution, a single Palestinian Authority, as Prime Minister Abbas has said, that can take control of security in its areas and provide security to Palestinians as well as to prevent attacks against Israelis.
The idea of a ceasefire as a step along the way is a good one, but, ultimately, it has to lead to that kind of dismantlement that the President talked about -- denying them the ability to carry out attacks -- because Hamas is clearly an obstacle to peace that, along with the other violent groups, al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, they've continued acts of terrorism, acts of violence that have resulted in death and destruction.
So we condemn those acts. They harm the legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people for an independent state. They harm the process of creating the institutions of a Palestinian state. And we have had a major effort underway in the last -- well, the last several months, but particularly focused since the Red Sea summits, to make sure that they are denied the wherewithal to carry out these acts.
QUESTION: Yeah. A couple of questions on this. First of all, Omar Suleiman, the Egyptian guy, is talking directly to Hamas, as far as I understand it --
MR. BOUCHER: I'm not sure he's actually there. I think it's his deputy. But anyway --
QUESTION: He was there recently, wasn't he? Anyway, the Egyptians in general are talking directly to Hamas to try and arrange these things. You -- do you approve of the way they are handling it by talking directly to Hamas, who you, yourselves, refuse to talk to? And if so, isn't this rather a contradiction that you're getting somebody else to do something which you refuse to do yourselves?
MR. BOUCHER: Jonathan, first of all, we're not the puppet-masters. We don't control everybody in the world, we don't approve of every meeting that everybody in the world has. The fact that the Egyptians and the Palestinians are talking to this group is a question you can ask the Palestinians and the Egyptians, "Why are you talking to this group?" But I'm not approving their meetings, I'm not encouraging their meetings, I'm not sending them out on meetings. They are taking actions that they think are appropriate.
As we've said, we think a ceasefire with this group -- with these groups -- could be an appropriate step along the way, but it has to lead to the dismantlement of the infrastructure, as we've always said. That's our policy position on what's going on, but we're not in a position to approve other people's meetings.
QUESTION: I think I -- there's a contradiction there, you see. You say you don't approve of these contacts but they might be an appropriate -- they might --
MR. BOUCHER: We don't -- please, don't misconstrue what I said.
QUESTION: I think you said that.
MR. BOUCHER: We don't approve these meetings. That's not the same as approve of. You can look in the dictionary.
QUESTION: Okay. Well, no -- I haven't finished yet, at all.
MR. BOUCHER: Oh.
QUESTION: So --
MR. BOUCHER: I do have to go to catch a plane sometime, if we can keep that in mind.
QUESTION: Oh, okay. The other thing -- you said the idea of a ceasefire is a good one. Your concept of a ceasefire would, would be what, exactly? Would it -- there also seems to be a contradiction between that and the idea of dismantling Hamas and other such groups. If you have a ceasefire with somebody, then presumably there are guarantees for Hamas of some kind. No?
MR. BOUCHER: Jonathan, don't, don't --
QUESTION: What kind of ceasefire do you envision?
MR. BOUCHER: I'm sorry. I really do think I've answered this about 12 times. A ceasefire as a step along the way to dismantling their abilities may be a good idea, it may be a step along the way, but that's about as much as I can describe to you about it.
QUESTION: Richard, can you tell us --
QUESTION: But when you talk about dismantling, but when you talk about dismantling them, are you saying -- if there's a ceasefire, Jonathan is right in a way that both sides agree to leave each other alone --
MR. BOUCHER: That's one kind of ceasefire. There's a --
QUESTION: Are you saying that Hamas should be involved with dismantling their own infrastructure?
MR. BOUCHER: Look. Look around the world and you can find 27 different examples of ceasefires that have led to something, that have not led to something, that have been ceasefires in place, that have been ceasefire on the way to turning in weapons. I'm sure there's a zillion ways of looking at this.
QUESTION: So that Hamas, in effect, could be involved in its own dismantling?
MR. BOUCHER: I'm not going to comment further on this. I think I've explained our position on this. I don't want you to go making assumptions about the word "ceasefire." You'll have to ask the parties what they've agreed to, and if it's a step along the way towards ending the capability, then that would be a good thing. That's all I'm saying.
QUESTION: Richard, can you bring up to date on Mr. Wolf -- who he's seen, his whereabouts, and how long he might stay on, if you know?
MR. BOUCHER: Well, Mr. Wolf and his team are in Jerusalem. He doesn't have the full team out there with him yet. He's got a couple people and they've been very active working with, I would say, political and security officials from both sides, both Israeli and Palestinians' officials.
We are coordinating with the Egyptians, as well, since they are out there on the ground working some of the same issues. And his goal at this point is to help facilitate the implementation of the commitments that were made to President Bush at the Red Sea summits in Sharm el-Sheikh and Aqaba. So he got there over the weekend -- got there on Saturday -- and has been very active since then in trying to promote security cooperation, trying to promote progress on the security front that helps both Israelis and Palestinians.
QUESTION: And a quick question. Sharon's emissary, Mr. Weissglas, does he have any dates, any meetings with State Department officials you're aware of?
MR. BOUCHER: There aren't any meetings over here. I think that's been the pattern in the past, as well.
QUESTION: Yes, it has.
MR. BOUCHER: So you'd have to check elsewhere on the dates and meetings.
QUESTION: I have. Yes, thank you.
MR. BOUCHER: Sir.
QUESTION: Richard, just a quick question. Were you at all briefed before -- was Ambassador Welch briefed, and are you -- do you -- expecting sort of a debrief after these meetings between Suleiman's deputy and Hamas? Are you being kept informed, as it were? Is Ambassador Wolf going to be kept informed or --
MR. BOUCHER: Yes.
QUESTION: Yes. Okay.
MR. BOUCHER: Yes. Absolutely.
QUESTION: So you are --
MR. BOUCHER: In all kinds of ways, we're in touch with the Egyptians and others who we are working together with. You'll note in the roadmap --
MR. BOUCHER: -- it cites specifically the role that we and the Egyptians and Jordanians can play in such security, and we coordinate very, very closely with each other and at different place on the ground in the region as well as in terms of conversations.
QUESTION: But this meeting was coordinated closely, obviously. You didn't approve the meeting, but you were coordinating closely?
MR. BOUCHER: This meeting? You mean their meeting with Hamas?
QUESTION: Yeah, their dealings with Hamas.
MR. BOUCHER: You know, I can't say we've gone through their talking points or anything like that --
QUESTION: Right. Okay.
MR. BOUCHER: It's -- we keep informed on each others' activities whether this -- you know, I don't want to try to imply any degree of involvement in this particular event, but we coordinate very closely with them.
QUESTION: Could you update us on the Secretary's phone calls over the weekend and this morning?
MR. BOUCHER: I think you're aware he made a lot of phone calls on Thursday and to some extent Friday morning. Saturday he talked to High Representative Solana of the European Union. He talked to Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal. And over the weekend he talked to Foreign Secretary Straw, but frankly I don't -- I can't remember if that was Saturday or Sunday. That's pretty much it since then.
QUESTION: Solana and Saud were on Friday, then?
MR. BOUCHER: Saturday.
MR. BOUCHER: Yes.
QUESTION: Richard, there's been a lot of talk in recent days about sending monitors to the Middle East, and, in fact, Senator Lugar over the weekend said it might be something that the administration should think about. Are you -- is there any change in the U.S. position, the administration's position? What is the U.S. position?
MR. BOUCHER: The position is the one we expressed in Rome and Genoa. We've got John Wolf and a team on the ground right now to help monitor the situation. We're doing what we said we would do.
QUESTION: But in terms of actual peacekeepers or anything like that, why isn't that --
MR. BOUCHER: That's not monitors. That's above and beyond. That's something we discussed quite extensively last week. There's really nothing new on that.
QUESTION: But even the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is saying that it's something that should be looked at.
MR. BOUCHER: I really have to refer you back to the briefing last week. There's nothing new on that.
QUESTION: In June 22nd, Secretary Powell, if I am correct, will meet with the Quartet in Jordan --
MR. BOUCHER: Yeah.
QUESTION: Any momentum that will push things forward, you expect?
MR. BOUCHER: We certainly hope so. We certainly think that the Quartet members can do, can do a lot in this situation to try to help the parties, support the parties in establishing security, cooperating on security. So I don't -- I don't know that I can predict exactly where we'll be when the Quartet meets, but we felt it was important to have a Quartet meeting at this time because of the contribution that all these parties can bring to the situation to try to help move things forward.
QUESTION: Question on Japan.
MR. BOUCHER: Okay.
QUESTION: Okay. So the Japanese Government has formally requested the handover of a Marine charged with rape in Okinawa, and so will the United States consider this kind of a pre-indictment handover?
MR. BOUCHER: We have understandings with the Japanese Government on those things. I think we're looking at the situation right now, but I don't have any answers for you quite yet.
QUESTION: Richard, on Tibet. The Dalai Lama's delegation has come back to China and they seem to have been encouraged by the reception they had there and the talks they had with officials. I'm wondering, do you have any comment on that trip now that it's over?
MR. BOUCHER: I will have to see. I will see if I can get you something later. Yeah.
MR. BOUCHER: Okay. Sir.
QUESTION: Yeah, Mr. Ziyal, the Turkish Under Secretary who is on his way to Washington, may be here already.
MR. BOUCHER: I think he's here already.
QUESTION: Is he? Okay. Believes that you will release the money in the supplemental for Turkey, you'll agree to do it this week. Where do you stand on that?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't know. I have to check. I'm sorry. I don't know.
QUESTION: Have you spoken about Iran, and particularly about the Director General's speech this morning? You have the text.
MR. BOUCHER: Yep. At some length, I think. But that gives her a chance to come back to the Iran question.
QUESTION: Yeah, exactly. Do you have anything to say about the EU decisions, the don't rule out to use force against WMD threats and all that?
MR. BOUCHER: No, I don't. I suppose that, like us, the EU will be saying, "Now read the whole policy. Don't just focus on one sentence," as happens with our National Security Strategy's words about preemption. But I think it's always been clear to us that diplomacy may not be able to succeed in and of itself, and we have to be prepared to consider other means.
QUESTION: Has there been some U.S. lobbying, because this is some kind of a change, maybe, in the EU attitude?
MR. BOUCHER: I think we have made quite clear what our views are. Our views are well considered. I don't know to what extent the EU consulted with us, but I think they reached these decisions on their own.
QUESTION: On Charles Lee. We heard that according to the U.S. Consulate in Shanghai, after Charles was force-fed the first time on May 31st, they left in the tube, which went from the nose into his stomach, there for four hours as a form of torture. And now he was sent to the cell with four other inmates, and whenever he tried to do the Falun Gong meditation exercise there, the inmates will beat him up. And how would the State Department comment on this and respond to this?
MR. BOUCHER: I'm not going to comment on every aspect of his detention. I think we've expressed our concern. We've intervened on his behalf as often as we could. We've followed the case very closely, but I'm not going to be able to give you a daily update or comment on particular reports about this and that. I'm sorry.
QUESTION: I'm not asking your reports, but how would you responds to this?
MR. BOUCHER: You're asking about specific reports. No, I'm not --
QUESTION: The torture to a U.S. citizen?
MR. BOUCHER: -- I can't respond -- I can't respond to specific allegations like that. I'm sorry.
QUESTION: Can you discuss a bit of what the Secretary intends to try to achieve in Phnom Pen, particularly vis-à-vis Burma?
MR. BOUCHER: The Secretary, when he goes to the ASEAN meetings, the ASEAN Regional Forum and the Post-Ministerial Conferences, will be looking to take up the issue, to get some focus on the issue. I think you've all seen the news this morning that ASEAN, indeed, has had a discussion already of Burma and is looking to Burma to release Aung San Suu Kyi. As long as that detention continues, I think you'll find that'll be the -- an area of specific focus from the international community.
But it's not just her. There are other supporters of the National League for Democracy who remain in detention. And the whole process that Ambassador Razali was trying to move forward of steps towards democracy seems to have failed because of the actions of the government there, the regime there.
So the more that the ASEAN countries are able to make clear that their neighbor and fellow member has been moving this in the wrong direction, thwarting the efforts of a Malaysian diplomat working for the United Nations, then I think the better. But I expect the primary focus at this point will be on her release and the release of others who were detained.
QUESTION: The ASEAN countries have said that they typically don't want to interfere in other members' affairs, but the junta in Rangoon is saying that the reason for the protection of Aung San Suu Kyi is that -- it's so she doesn't get assassinated. Is that just sheer stupidity on their part or --
MR. BOUCHER: Oh, it's very tempting. I would just say it's kind of a ridiculous explanation. The threats to her have come from the regime and not from anybody else. She's -- she and her party won an election. She's been jailed repeatedly for speaking out and others have been jailed for merely expressing their views. All the threats to her seem to come from the regime, and not from anywhere else.
Okay? All right, thank you. [End]
Released on June 16, 2003