World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


State Dept. Daily Press Briefing for July 28

Daily Press Briefing Richard Boucher, Spokesman Washington, DC July 28, 2003

INDEX:

LIBYA 1-2 Statements by Muammar Qadhafi about Pan Am Flight 103 1 Compensation for Families of Pan Am Flight 103

BURMA 2 Aung San Suu Kyi Update 2 Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act Imposes Sanctions

IRAQ 3, 6-7 Jim Baker to Assist Ambassador Bremmer? 13 Turkey Considering Deployment of Troops 13-16 30 Countries Confirmed for Multilateral Stabilization in Iraq 18 India and Pakistan Positions on Aid to Ira

q LIBERIA 7 Update on Fighting/ECOWAS Meeting in Accra 7 Bridgewater in Guinea/Kansteiner in West Africa 7-8 West African and Nigerian Deployment of Troops?

ISRAEL/PALESTINIANS 8 US Policy Toward Hamas and Islamic Jihad 10 President Bush and Prime Minister Sharon Meeting 10-11 Roadmap Update

PHILIPPINES 9 Peaceful Resolution to Manila Weekend Incident 9 US/Philippines Relations in the War on Terrorism

NORTH/SOUTH KOREA 9-10 Lack of Progress Toward Multilateral Talks 10 John Bolton s Beijing Talks Focus on North Korea 10 President Bush and Prime Minister Koizumi Discussions 17 UN Security Council Discussions

WAR CRIMES 11-12 International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and Former Yugoslavia 12 Allegations Against British Troops in Ira

q CAMBODIA 16-17 Elections Update

DEPARTMENT 17 Secretary Powell s Diplomatic Phone Conversations

MIDDLE EAST 17-18 Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz Comments on Arab Media Bias

TRANSCRIPT:

MR. BOUCHER: Good morning, everybody. It's a pleasure to be here. I have no statements or announcements. I'd be glad to take your -- oh, let me just call your attention, though. The Secretary did -- put out a statement on the death of Bob Hope, and I think you all have that already.

Now, with that reminder, I don't have any statements or announcements of my own.

QUESTION: In that statement, he talks about being in a skit with Bob Hope. Do you have any idea where, when or what the substance of that skit was?

MR. BOUCHER: No, but I'll try to check on it for you.

QUESTION: It was ASEAN, two years ago. (Laughter.)

MR. BOUCHER: Okay, George.

QUESTION: Have you seen the statements by Muammar Qadhafi and his eldest son concerning their willingness to sort of accept responsibility for Pan Am 103, but then saying that they don't really mean it? And is this issue coming to a head?

MR. BOUCHER: The -- let me get this exactly. The statements, I believe, that you're referring to were some statements made on television by the son of Qadhafi. That does not, in any way, constitute the kind of statements and acceptance of responsibility that Libya needs to make under the terms of the United Nations resolution.

It's important that Libya meet all of the requirements of the UN resolution, including acceptance of responsibility and payment of appropriate compensation. There are no shortcuts. Bars are not being lowered. Libya knows what it has to do, and that's meet the requirements of the UN resolution.

The lawyers for the Pan Am 103 families are handling compensation discussions for Pan Am 103 families, so I will refer you to them about the status of their discussions. I think they had some more discussions on compensation last week, and you'll have to check with them as far as how they stand as far as finalizing their arrangements.

QUESTION: But on the responsibility issue, is there something in -- is there something in writing from the Libyan authorities that --

MR. BOUCHER: It's an issue that's been discussed before, but we haven't seen, at this point, the acceptance of responsibility that would meet the standards of the UN resolutions.

Sir.

QUESTION: Richard, can we go back on Burma and latest story that Burma's government, military government, is now trying a campaign against the leaders there, that arrest is imminent and they're trying to tell the world that military government is (inaudible) and they have arrested her.

MR. BOUCHER: Well, they made some accusations about Aung San Suu Kyi's undermining democracy, which is absolutely outrageous and flies in the face of the facts. The onus for failure to establish a genuine dialogue is clearly on the side of the junta. Aung San Suu Kyi and other members of her party were the victims of a premeditated attack on her motorcade. The junta orchestrated this attack, has still not provided a full accounting of the dead, the injured and the missing. We remain very concerned about her welfare, and the international community continues to seek access to her.

Once again, we would say the Burmese junta needs to release her and her supporters immediately, develop jointly with the National League for Democracy and other political parties some concrete plans to restore democracy in Burma, and then begin to implement such a plan.

Today, the President is scheduled to sign the Burmese Freedom and Democracy Act that will impose sanctions on Burma. Secretary Powell will be at the White House ceremony for that.

QUESTION: The U.S. Embassy has been in touch with the Burmese Government there. So what kind of response do you get there, and why it's taking so long that -- 12 years now, I think?

MR. BOUCHER: Well, you would have to ask the Burmese regime about that. They're the ones who have been blocking progress. We do continue to press these issues with the junta, the leaders in Burma, in Rangoon, particularly the need for them to provide complete information, but also to allow access to Aung San Suu Kyi and allow her to carry out her activities as she does peacefully whenever she gets the freedom to do so.

QUESTION: Finally, do you think this legislation will make any difference?

MR. BOUCHER: We would hope so. We would hope the increasing pressure on the regime in Burma would make the message very clear and make the consequences very clear of its failure to act and to allow genuine dialogue on the restoration of democracy.

QUESTION: Can I ask you about two stories that appeared in The Washington Post over the weekend, first about Jim Baker, and the second about Afghanistan?

One, is it true that you guys are considering sending Baker to Iraq to complement or to help out Ambassador Bremer?

MR. BOUCHER: No, it's -- that's totally wrong.

QUESTION: Okay. And, two, the new money for Afghanistan?

MR. BOUCHER: Well, that's more or less right. (Laughter.) Let me fill you in on the Afghanistan question.

The United States is considering an effort to increase Afghan assistance levels and to accelerate reconstruction efforts there. The United States has made a long-term commitment to Afghanistan's stability and reconstruction. We'll continue to pursue these goals regardless of our responsibilities elsewhere until success is achieved.

We have already provided significant assistance to Afghanistan, including in the areas of health, education, security and infrastructure. We fully intend to bring the benefits of reconstruction to the Afghan people. By accelerating our efforts, we can make those benefits available in the next ten months.

To accelerate reconstruction, we'll place special emphasis on reconstruction projects that demonstrate to the Afghan people the concrete, visible programs that are improving their lives. We'll work with others to help Afghanistan realize its vision of becoming a stable, self-sufficient nation.

Bottom line on this is we've provided a lot of support to Afghanistan. We're looking at programs that can help accelerate the delivery of benefits from that support and expand the support that we give to Afghanistan to try to build on our successes there.

QUESTION: Would the figure of $1 billion in the next year be something approximately correct?

MR. BOUCHER: Approximately correct. We're talking about numbers in that range, but we can't say for sure until we've identified sourcing for the funds because we're trying to find it in existing budgets.

QUESTION: In '04?

MR. BOUCHER: It's in the next ten months, so it would be -- yeah, it would be '04 money.

QUESTION: And how does that compare to the --

MR. BOUCHER: Let me double-check on that. There may be multiyear money involved as well.

QUESTION: How does that compare with the current level of non-military assistance to Afghanistan?

MR. BOUCHER: It would be a significant increase, but our support has already been quite substantial. I think the numbers, if you remember, in -- at the Tokyo conference we pledged something like $300 million, and in the year after Tokyo we delivered -- obligated -- something on the order of $700 million. So we've already given substantially more than we pledged originally, and this would be a further increase to continue to, as I said, build on our success.

We are also looking at further efforts with the international donors. This is something we regularly discuss with other donors and we're talking to the World Bank now about putting together an international donors conference, and what they're looking at is Dubai in September.

QUESTION: Did the problem get (inaudible) promise to give money and the follow-up on actually getting them to hand it over?

MR. BOUCHER: Yeah, and we've done a lot in terms of actually delivering and handing over our assistance. These projects that we undertake with new money, with this other money, will be designed to actually do real things on the ground. We continue to work with other donors to see that their money is spent effectively and to generate further funds.

QUESTION: Have you pressured the other countries, though, to give their money as one of the co-founders of the original donors conference?

MR. BOUCHER: There are a variety of ways. One is working with the international institutions. Two is there are donors group --

QUESTION: Public shaming.

MR. BOUCHER: Yeah, public shaming sometimes works, although we use that infrequently, as you may have noticed. (Laughter.)

No, we work with the international organizations. There are donors assistance groups that meet regularly, particularly in Kabul itself, to coordinate the assistance and delivery of assistance. The Secretary of State has regularly raised it in his meetings with Europeans and others, and we do always work with other governments to make sure that what is pledged is delivered and is effectively seen by the people who live in Afghanistan.

Sir.

QUESTION: The billion dollars you're talking about is actually new money, and now much is this accelerated from previous budget (inaudible)?

MR. BOUCHER: It's -- I can't tell you exactly yet. We're not seeking further appropriations. We're seeking to find the money within existing resources. But until we know exactly where the money is coming from, I can't describe all the sources of funding.

QUESTION: Let me just double-check. You said you gave a figure of 700 million. Would that be approximately the amount you expect to disburse during 2003?

MR. BOUCHER: I'll have to double-check on it. I think that's the amount that we've committed and spent to date. Let me get the exact figures, because there's always differences between the two. But what we've done so far is on the order of 700 million, but I'll get the exact numbers for you.

QUESTION: So far? You mean since the Japan Tokyo conference?

MR. BOUCHER: Since the donors conference in Japan, right.

QUESTION: So that's over, in fact, 18 months also?

MR. BOUCHER: I'll double-check on the exact time period.

QUESTION: On Afghanistan. Richard, on the other side, how does aid package result because fighting is still going on between Taliban and the Pakistan forces, and President Karzai is killing Pakistan infiltrations and also cross-border terrorism and he is seeking more peacekeeping forces from United States and international community.

MR. BOUCHER: There is a lot being done throughout Afghanistan. There is still some fighting going on, some security problems. But, generally, there are projects underway in schools, in hospitals, in facilities throughout Afghanistan, roads underway. The major road project is well along. And so I think that people are working throughout Afghanistan, with perhaps a few small exceptions because of the security situation, and that will continue.

We've also looked carefully at the security situation and discussed with those NATO countries that are already out there, as well as NATO itself, which is taking over some of the security responsibilities for ISAF, how to continue to improve the security situation there so that projects can go forward throughout the country.

Okay, George.

QUESTION: Newt Gingrich talked about the road project as an example of --

MR. BOUCHER: And we talked about that as well.

QUESTION: But I don't suppose you have with you the number of miles completed, do you?

MR. BOUCHER: No, but it's on the AID website, complete with pictures of asphalt. So check the AID website and you can see the picture of the asphalt there.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

MR. BOUCHER: Remember, you don't lay asphalt in the winter.

Adi.

QUESTION: Change of subject?

MR. BOUCHER: Go back, yeah.

QUESTION: Richard, can you say a little bit more about the Baker thing, other than totally wrong? I mean, was this ever being considered, if you know?

MR. BOUCHER: False, inaccurate, insubstantial. Neither Baker nor the Secretary had ever heard about it. It's a dead parrot.

QUESTION: A dead parrot?

MR. BOUCHER: Yeah.

(Laughter.)

QUESTION: What about the articles that says "others" it was considering? It didn't name anybody else, but it was saying there were other people that the Bush Administration was interested in bringing in to help out Bremer. So is it -- are you denying that Baker was involved, or other names, too?

MR. BOUCHER: I am denying that Baker was going to be appointed to take over Iraq. Are there others? Nobody in a similar position that we have heard about.

Are there people going out to help Bremer all the time, including people from the State Department? Absolutely, we continue to work that.

QUESTION: Richard, there was a suggestion in that article that article that Baker's role might actually be to muster international support --

MR. BOUCHER: Well, there were two different versions of the article -- one Friday afternoon on the web, one Saturday on the --

QUESTION: Is that also out of the question?

MR. BOUCHER: Baker is not being asked to be involved in this, nothing substantial to that -- Secretary Baker.

Okay. Adi was going to change.

QUESTION: Do you have an assessment from your Embassy in Monrovia regarding the newest fighting there, and then if we can go from there?

MR. BOUCHER: The fighting between the government and the rebel group, the Liberians United for Reconciliation and Democracy, continued through the weekend on Bushrod Isle, immediately north of town. Fighting was also reported on the outskirts of Buchanan, where the Movement for Democracy in Liberia forces were reportedly attacking government positions.

The Economic Community of West African States will hold a planning meeting today in Accra, Ghana, to discuss the appropriate next steps for dealing with the situation. The United States will be represented there by, among others, Ambassador Mary Yates, and the representatives of our United States European Command.

So this continues the close coordination with the West African States, particularly with the Nigerians, who are sending in the vanguard battalion, and that's part of the ongoing effort.

We have strongly urged the rebels and the government to adopt a ceasefire proposal made by Ambassador Blaney, our Ambassador in Monrovia, that the sides agree to the Po River as the ceasefire line.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Pamela Bridgewater was in Guinea over the weekend meeting with the parties to the current fighting to press for an end to the violence, and she pressed that proposal for a ceasefire on the Po River as well.

We have urged the Movement for Democracy in Liberia in the strongest terms to avoid worsening the situation, and especially not to attack the port at Buchanan. Such action would undermine all of the efforts being made to deploy an international force to stabilize the situation and efforts to reach a peace agreement in Accra. We will hold this group responsible for its actions.

I would note as well that Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Walter Kansteiner will depart today for West Africa. He'll be traveling to the region to discuss the situation in Liberia with regional leaders, and I'll get you his itinerary when we have it later.

QUESTION: Richard, is it expected that a deployment date will be set today in Ghana by the ECOWAS forces, this vanguard force that it will actually get in on this date? Has that been decided?

MR. BOUCHER: Well, we -- that will be for the West Africans and the Nigerians to set. I'm sure that will be discussed with them, but I'll have to leave it to them to decide when to set a date for their deployments.

QUESTION: Richard, can we assume Mr. Kansteiner will go to Ghana and Sierra Leone at least?

MR. BOUCHER: I wouldn't make any assumptions at this point about his travel. I'll give you the itinerary when we have it. It's not set yet.

Charlie.

QUESTION: Also on Liberia, the group that's been attacking in Buchanan is not the LURD, it's another group. Has the U.S. been in touch with leaders of that group?

MR. BOUCHER: We have. I don't have the details on exactly where. I think they have been present in Accra where we have worked with -- tried to work with them and get them to agree to the ceasefire. So I'll have to double-check and see if we've been in touch with them there or somewhere else.

Sir.

QUESTION: I'd like to ask a question, too, about Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Is the State Department, in any way, working on policy guidelines or some document that would revise U.S. policy towards these two groups; for example, distinguishing between the political and military wings?

MR. BOUCHER: No. We have made very, very clear that they are on our terrorist list for good reason; that we make no distinction between political, social or military activities for these groups; and that these groups, since their major purpose is to support terrorism, they need to be eliminated as a source of terrorism.

QUESTION: Has the State Department at all been in contact or contacted by the National Security Council regarding this?

MR. BOUCHER: We don't get into questions within the U.S. Government, but what I just told you is U.S. Government policy. There is no vacillation on the question of Hamas and PIJ. These are terrorist groups. We have made absolutely clear that their capability to carry out terrorism needs to be eliminated and that we don't differentiate in any way between their social activities and their military ones. We think it's a single organization.

QUESTION: Would the State Department consider changing that --

MR. BOUCHER: No. Look, you're -- no.

QUESTION: The situation in the Philippines seems to have returned to normal, but I'm just wondering if you have anything you'd like to say about the events of the weekend that hasn't already been said by Ambassador Ricciardone or by your own staff?

MR. BOUCHER: Well, I think we've put out statements over the weekend from -- Ambassador Ricciardone made very clear what our view was. I'll have a statement for you shortly after the briefing, I think, once I get a chance to double-check it. But, basically, we're pleased that the incident in Manila over the weekend ended peacefully without any loss of life. We understand President Arroyo has announced investigations regarding the circumstances of the incident, as well as the allegations of the dissident troops, and we support her handling of the crisis.

QUESTION: Now, I presume -- is the statement also going to say that you think that there's no substance to the allegations, at least --

MR. BOUCHER: I think we'll leave that to her. She has promised to look into them, so we'll leave that to see what she -- we've supported the way she has handled the crisis.

QUESTION: What about -- and you've supported also, and continue to support and have confidence in her role as an ally in the war on terrorism?

MR. BOUCHER: Absolutely. No one should be under any doubt that we support the legitimate civilian government of President Arroyo.

QUESTION: That's not my question. You have no concerns about her government's support for you in the war on terrorism?

MR. BOUCHER: We have excellent cooperation with her government in the war on terrorism.

Jonathan.

QUESTION: The South Korean Foreign Minister said that he had the impression that the attempt to arrange multilateral talks involving North Korea had bogged down. Is that also -- is that an impression that you share?

MR. BOUCHER: I don't think I'd be able to make a characterization like that because you have to ask, "Compared to what?" And I realize there are a variety of people who have put out statements about this time for talks or that time for talks, but the fact was the North Koreans have not accepted going to talks in a multilateral setting that would include Japan and South Korea. That's been our proposal. We haven't seen them accept that. We certainly hope that they would and that they would, obviously, we could use those talks to get them to verifiably and irreversibly eliminate their nuclear weapons programs.

But until one is able to predict North Korean behavior, it's hard to say that you expect anything or don't expect anything. We'll see what happens when it happens.

QUESTION: Well, did anything happen over the weekend?

MR. BOUCHER: No, I don't have any new news for you. John Bolton has been out in Beijing, has discussed North Korea among other subjects. He gave actually quite an extensive press conference. But there's no news, no new developments, on the question of North Korea's accepting the five-party talks that we've proposed.

Ma'am.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.) Can you brief us on the telephone conversation between the President and the Prime Minister Koizumi?

MR. BOUCHER: The President spoke with President -- Prime Minister Koizumi this morning, and I'm sure the White House will be glad to brief you on the phone call.

Sir.

QUESTION: Regarding the Powell -- regarding the Bolton trip to China, he mentioned the necessity to go to UN (inaudible) in the press conference in Beijing yesterday. Can you tell us something on that? Why did he say at this moment such a very sensitive issue.

MR. BOUCHER: Because it's U.S. policy and has been U.S. policy for some time that we believe that the Security Council should look at the situation with regard to North Korea. We've talked to a lot of other people in New York about moving that forward and we'll continue to discuss it with the Security Council members.

QUESTION: Was there any coordination between the Foreign Minister of Korea's statement that the kind of bogged down issue and the Secretary Bolton's statement?

MR. BOUCHER: I'm not aware of any coordination at all, no.

Ma'am.

QUESTION: I wanted to ask you about Sharon's visit, if you have any news on the schedule of meetings and what the Secretary will be discussing with him. And anything you want to say about that subject, I'll take it.

MR. BOUCHER: I love questions like that. (Laughter.)

Tomorrow, President Bush will meet with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. We would also expect the Secretary to meet with Prime Minister Sharon tomorrow. We would note that Israel has dismantled three checkpoints in the West Bank and the Israeli cabinet has announced approval of a list of criteria for prisoner releases. We welcome this. We welcome the further progress that's being made on the commitments that they made at the Aqaba summit.

Meetings last week with Prime Minister Abbas went well, both the President's meeting and the Secretary's meeting, where they went into some detail about how to establish more security for Israelis and Palestinians, and also how to expand economic opportunity through the Joint Committee on Economic Development that President Bush announced earlier on Friday.

So we'll continue to work with both parties to advance the roadmap and to expand cooperation. Both sides have obligations and responsibilities, and we'll work with them to try to advance the goals that we all set together in Aqaba.

QUESTION: Same subject. There's a report this morning, Richard, that says that the United States is at least quietly supporting a move to remove Carla Del Ponte as --

QUESTION: Can I follow up on --

QUESTION: Richard, does the State Department have any -- does Ambassador Wolf have any role, in a monitoring sense, on the privacy wall that's being put up that there is so much contention about? Is that anything that involves his duties?

MR. BOUCHER: Ambassador Wolf has certainly looked at the concerns of both sides, the issues that are being raised to both sides. Our Acting Consul General Jeff Feldman and our Ambassador Dan Kurtzer are also discussing these issues with each of the parties.

So I don't know in whose discussions the issue of the wall has come up more, but, certainly, we understand it's a concern of the Palestinians. It's an issue that the President discussed on Friday. And it's an issue that we would expect the President to discuss with Prime Minister Sharon tomorrow.

QUESTION: Richard, as a follow-up to that, what is the concern of the United States, the root of the wall or a wall, period?

MR. BOUCHER: I think I'll leave it with what the President said last week.

Okay. You were asking about the tribunals.

QUESTION: Yeah.

MR. BOUCHER: Here is the situation with the tribunals. And it's not so much about the prosecutor herself, but there are discussions going on about the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the Former Yugoslavia. We have strongly supported their efforts to bring to justice those who have committed serious violations of international humanitarian law.

There are discussions now going on in New York on the idea of having separate prosecutors for the two tribunals. That's an issue actually that's been around since their inception. It's been raised now by some members of the international community, and it's an issue that the Security Council is currently examining.

So we'll study that proposal, and then after that decision is made -- then, more or less, in the same timeframe now, the Secretary General has to decide by September 15th what to do about her term, and he'll make a recommendation around that time that we will then review.

QUESTION: Do you guys like the idea of two prosecutors?

MR. BOUCHER: This is a proposal that some others have made. The Council is currently examining it. We're looking at it seriously, but I don't have a final position on it yet.

QUESTION: Can I ask about that?

MR. BOUCHER: Okay.

QUESTION: The ICC says that it's received dossiers on allegations against British troops in Iraq. Given your opposition to the whole concept of the ICC, do you have any comment on that?

MR. BOUCHER: No, I don't at this -- at this stage. Obviously, we're not a party and we'll have to see.

QUESTION: Yeah. On the possible deployment of Turkish troops in Iraq, Secretary Powell said, you know, they expect to announce a response from Turkey as soon as possible. Why this need of urgency?

And, secondly, now that the visit is over, how do you -- any achievements? How do you define the visit?

MR. BOUCHER: We found the visit very useful and very important, in terms of the cooperation between the United States and Turkey. We settled a number of things about how to move forward, in terms of assistance and support for Turkey. We noted, I think, a lot of the things that are going on, in terms of Turkey being a humanitarian base, in terms of the involvement of hundreds, if not more, Turkish firms already in the reconstruction effort in Iraq.

And we looked at other things that can be done, both those that the Turkish Government had proposed in previous visits, and we gave them back a -- we gave the Turkish Government a non-paper that went through some of those and how those might work.

And then we looked at this issue of Turkish forces for -- to support stabilization as part of an international contingent to help stabilize Iraq. The matter has been under discussion. We have had discussions with a number of countries including NATO members, as you know.

Why the Secretary said he expected to hear back as soon as possible? Because that's what the Turkish Foreign Minister told him, that they would take it up and look at it immediately in Ankara, and then we'll see when they get -- when they get done. They're studying the request. We have been assured it's under active consideration, and we'll expect to hear back when they're ready.

QUESTION: Most of the countries who are, you know, proposing to send troops, they also say that it will be much more easier for them to do so if there is a UN mandate or a NATO mandate. Why doesn't your side make it easy for yourself?

MR. BOUCHER: Well, I mean, let's -- first, let's get the facts straight. Okay? The United Kingdom and Poland have already made their intentions clear to lead multilateral divisions in Iraq. We know of 30 countries already whose participation in stabilization operations is confirmed. So the effort being made for stabilization in Iraq is clearly international.

We're continuing our discussions with a number of other countries regarding possible confusions -- contributions. There should be no confusion on that point is what I was going to say.

The fact is some of those countries with whom we have discussed international contributions have raised this issue. As I say, there are 30 already that are confirmed as participating. They have raised -- several countries have raised the issue of mandate. You have seen it in the public statements of India, I think, most clearly. To some extent, it's been discussed by France and Germany, maybe a few others.

So we have looked at this. We're continuing to consider it and discuss it. Whether we actually go forward or not in the United Nations will depend on how those discussions proceed. And at this point, I don't have a judgment for you.

QUESTION: Just one last thing because, if I'm correct, it was the other way around because Secretary Powell said they want a response as quickly as possible. And, whereas, the Turkish side said it might take some time but they will, you know, look into it actively. And Powell -- Secretary Powell said he is glad to hear that, you know, they are going to look into it --

MR. BOUCHER: They both said we would like to wrap this one up soon, and the Turkish leader, Turkish Foreign Minister, said he would be taking it up on his return to Ankara. So I don't think there is any question about that.

Let's slow down. Jonathan had one.

QUESTION: Yeah. On the Turkish request, the stories from Turkey say that they are thinking in terms of several months before they secure domestic agreement to this. Is that fast enough for you?

MR. BOUCHER: I think we'll have to see what actually happens. We'll wait to hear from the Turkish Government on those timetables.

QUESTION: And, secondly, you talked about 30 countries. Can you give us a list of those countries?

MR. BOUCHER: Albania, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Estonia, El Salvador, Georgia, Honduras, Hungary, Italy, Japan*, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Mongolia, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, UK and Ukraine.

QUESTION: And those are all providing forces?

MR. BOUCHER: Their participation in stabilization operations is already confirmed.

QUESTION: What does that mean? What are the Mongolians contributing, for example?

MR. BOUCHER: I have to see exactly what it is, but it's their active -- they'll be part of stabilization --

QUESTION: How about Honduras and El Salvador? Some of these countries are quite small.

MR. BOUCHER: They -- yes.

QUESTION: But, so, I mean, so it will be helpful to know, you know, kind of just a general idea of what it is they are providing.

MR. BOUCHER: I am sure the military can give you some kind of rundown. It may be that we'll leave it, as we did before, to the individual countries to describe the precise nature of their contributions. But many of these countries are not quite small. Many of these countries are pretty large and will make substantial contributions.

QUESTION: Yeah, just the ones that I was -- Estonia, for example, I just pulled those out because you read them so quickly. But are any of these people, as were some of the members of the coalition of the willing, providing what you said would fall in the moral or political support?

MR. BOUCHER: No, these are people whose participation in stabilization operations is confirmed.

QUESTION: Who will have people with boots on the ground?

MR. BOUCHER: Who will have some form of direct participation in stabilization operations. Each will have to provide the details on its own contribution.

QUESTION: Would that be to -- financing projects, for example, or does it --

MR. BOUCHER: Stabilization is more than projects. Projects is reconstruction. Stabilization is the military and police activities that need to be carried out to provide security for the Iraqi people.

QUESTION: Now, can I just ask one --

QUESTION: Of those 30 countries, how many -- is the United States picking up the tab for the participation of any of those countries? And, if so, how many of those countries?

MR. BOUCHER: I don't have the exact figures on that. I think some of that is left to be worked out. Some of these countries are happy to participate but don't have the wherewithal or the resources to do so. And we have looked, indeed, at how we might help them, but I don't have exact figures for you yet.

QUESTION: Is that a yes without an exact figure?

MR. BOUCHER: That was yes without the exact figure. Yeah.

David.

QUESTION: Richard.

MR. BOUCHER: Let's slow down.

QUESTION: I was wondering if you had any observations on the Cambodian elections.

QUESTION: Back where we were.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

QUESTION: I'm sorry.

MR. BOUCHER: Okay.

QUESTION: On the list. Is this -- are we going to end up like with how we were with the coalition of the willing?

MR. BOUCHER: With you guys making fun of countries that are stepping up to do the right thing, no matter how large or small they are.

QUESTION: Okay.

MR. BOUCHER: Is that where we're going to end up? I don't know.

QUESTION: I don't know, Richard. That was, I believe, one newspaper that did that.

MR. BOUCHER: Yeah, okay. Let me not generalize then.

QUESTION: That's not what I'm asking. I'm asking, are there countries who are participating, but who would like to remain anonymous?

MR. BOUCHER: Not that I've mentioned. (Laughter.)

QUESTION: No, no. I know.

MR. BOUCHER: I'll have to --

QUESTION: Remember the last time when we went through the coalition of the willing the first time, there were some countries you named that then decided they didn't want to be -- or at least one whose name was taken off the list, and then put back on the list, and it was very confusing. So --

MR. BOUCHER: As I said, these are all countries who are participating. Whether there are others who were participating, but we haven't mentioned them, I don't know. I'll have to check for you.

Sir.

QUESTION: On the list, none of the countries are from South Asia -- India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka and Nepal. Where do they stand now?

MR. BOUCHER: You'll have to ask each of them where they stand. The Government of India has made some statements. I don't know if the others have.

Sir.

QUESTION: My question was about the Cambodian election. It might be premature, but do you have any reflections on the conduct?

MR. BOUCHER: Well, it's a little early to try to give any judgment on it, but I can give you some observations on the conduct, as you said. The voting was carried out in a generally orderly fashion. So far, the election mechanics have gone smoothly. Ballot counting is underway. That's a crucial step, obviously, that must be conducted in accordance with the election law, and must be fully monitored.

We won't be able to make an overall judgment on the election until the process is fully completed. Preliminary results are expected on August 8th. There were reports of some election irregularities and allegations of vote buying and voter intimidation. Our embassy is following up on those reports. Initial estimates of voter turnout suggests that it may have been lower than in previous elections, which had extremely high turnouts.

The election campaign featured less political violence and greater opposition access to the media than in previous elections. Technical problems with the voter registration list prevented some from voting. The National Election Committee must investigate allegations of irregularities expeditiously, correct any problems found, and punish any transgressors.

So, by and large, things went smoothly. The overall conduct of the elections was marked by less violence and more access to the media than in previous times, but there were some election irregularities reported and we would expect those to be looked into and followed up by the National Election Commission.

QUESTION: Can you go back to Bolton's trip to China? Do you have any outcome of his visit? Was he trying to deliver some message?

MR. BOUCHER: I don't have anything additional to what he, himself, said in Beijing. I'd have to leave it at that, then.

QUESTION: Can you -- just one? So the UN path, that thing is now put aside, and you are working on the multilateral talks? Is that so?

MR. BOUCHER: No, I wouldn't put it that way. We continue to keep in touch with other delegations in New York, other members of the Security Council, on the issue of how the UN Security Council should deal with the issue of North Korea. We still think it's important for the Security Council to look at that issue and to look at that issue together, and we'll continue those discussions. There's just nothing -- no particular outcome to report at this point.

Terri.

QUESTION: Could you go through the list of calls the Secretary made over the weekend, perhaps? Anything on Liberia, particularly, or the Philippines?

MR. BOUCHER: He was kept informed of developments in the Philippines. On -- over the weekend he talked to, well, Secretary General Robertson, Foreign Minister Palacio and Foreign Secretary Straw. Some of -- I guess Foreign Secretary Straw was today. So some of those conversations, the situation in Liberia comes up, but not all of them.

QUESTION: That's it? Three calls?

MR. BOUCHER: Yeah, it wasn't a big phone call weekend. We have people on the ground working these things and reporting regularly back through channels, including to the Secretary, who gets regularly updated on the situation, several times a day, usually.

Joel.

QUESTION: Richard, we commented on it several times, but on the Arab media bias, and over the weekend Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz spoke to that fact and now the Arab media is denying this.

And also, in Bangladesh they've banned this issue of Newsweek. Can you talk to those?

MR. BOUCHER: I hadn't heard about the Newsweek ban. But no, I think I'll leave it to the comments that Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz made. It's something we've discussed here from time to time. I just don't have anything new to contribute at this moment.

QUESTION: Can I go one more back, please, on the list of countries? Even Pakistan is not on the list. I mean, big countries like India and Pakistan. I'm really -- I want to get into this. Where do they stand as far as supporting U.S. in Iraq?

MR. BOUCHER: The question of where do they stand is a question you have to ask them. India has made some public statements. India is, obviously, interested in the situation there, I think has made some contributions to the reconstruction effort, but made a statement that said they couldn't send troops without a stronger -- what they felt was a stronger UN mandate.

As far as Pakistan, one of many countries that we have discussed possible contributions to reconstruction and stabilization with, but for the moment I'll just leave it at that.

They will decide what they can do. We welcome any offers of assistance and support, but we'll leave it to individual countries to talk about what they're doing.

QUESTION: Can we go over 9/11 report, please, from the U.S. Congress? Saudi Ambassador Bandar, he accused the U.S. Congress on this report that saying that there are no Saudi hand as far as 9/11 report is concerned, but according to this and congressional sources that Saudi played a major role as far as financing the terrorists. I mean, where do we stand?

MR. BOUCHER: To the extent we are able to talk about these things at all, I talked about them last Friday. I would refer you back to that.

Thank you. [End]

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

At The UN: Paris Climate Agreement Moves Closer To Entry Into Force

The Paris Agreement on climate change moved closer toward entering into force in 2016 as 31 more countries joined the agreement today at a special event hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. More>>

ALSO:

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The End Game In Spain (And Other World News)

The coverage of international news seems almost entirely dependent on a random selection of whatever some overseas news agency happens to be carrying overnight... Here are a few interesting international stories that have largely flown beneath the radar this past week. More>>

Amnesty/Human Rights Watch: Appalling Abuse, Neglect Of Refugees On Nauru

Refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru, most of whom have been held there for three years, routinely face neglect by health workers and other service providers who have been hired by the Australian government, as well as frequent unpunished assaults by local Nauruans. More>>

ALSO:

Other Australian Detention

Gordon Campbell: On The Censorship Havoc In South Africa’s State Broadcaster

Demands have included an order to staff that there should be no further negative news about the country’s President Jacob Zuma, and SABC camera operators responsible for choosing camera angles that have allegedly made the President ‘look shorter’ were to be retrained... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On A Bad Week For Malcolm Turnbull, And The Queen

Malcolm Turnbull’s immediate goal – mere survival – is still within his grasp... In every other respect though, this election has been a total disaster for the Liberals. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Bidding Bye Bye To Boris

Boris Johnson’s exit from the contest for Conservative Party leadership supports the conspiracy theory that he never really expected the “Leave” option to win the referendum – and he has no intention now of picking up the poisoned chalice that managing the outcome will entail... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news