State Dept. Daily Press Briefing for October 15
Daily Press Briefing
Richard Boucher, Spokesman
October 15, 2004
- Designation of Jama'at al-Tawhid wa'al-Jihad as Foreign Terrorist
- Organization & Global Terrorist / Explanation of U.S. Designations
- / Description of Proposed United Nations Designation / U.S. View
- of Abu Mus'ab al-Zarqawi / Number of Designated Foreign Terrorist
- Organizations / Legal Process for Designation / Rewards for Justice Program
- Update on Deaths from Explosions in Green Zone / DynCorp
- Contractors Killed and Injured / United States Condemnation of Acts / Unspecified Number of Iraqis Killed / Embassy Review of Security Situation / Injured Americans
- Anniversary of Killing of Three DynCorp Employees in Gaza / U.S.
- Calls for Palestinian Action / Previous Arrests / Security Concerns
- Reports of Prime Minister Sharon Accepting Plan for Redeployment
- in the Northern Gaza Strip / Responsibility of Palestinians to End Violence and Terror
- Spanish Foreign Minister's October 12 Phone Call to Secretary
- Powell / No Discussion of U.S. Ambassador's Absence from National Day Ceremonies
- G-8 Meeting / Participants
- Situation in Port-au-Prince / Reasons for Moving to Authorized
- Departure / Purpose of Travel Warnings, Warden Messages & Authorized Departures
- Embassy Closed Today Out of Respect for Day of Peaceful Reflection
- Role of Former President Aristide and His Supporters
- Facilitation of Foreign Troop Deployments / Timeline / Discussions
- Joint Border Patrols / Coordination and Communications to Secure Border
- Acquittal of Opposition Leader Morgan Tsvangirai
- Upcoming Parliamentary Elections
- U.S. Concerns About Elections Meeting International Standards /
- U.S. Support of Efforts by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
- Circulation of Draft Resolution in Response to Secretary General Annan's October 3 Report / Commitment to Implementation of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1559
- October 14 Warden Message / Explanation of Reference to Recent Events
- Secretary Powell's Citation of Ambassador Miller
- Formally Known as The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
- Meeting Between Special Envoy Ning Fukui and Deputy Secretary Armitage / Agenda
- Election of Five New Members to the Security Council
12:15 p.m. EDT
MR. BOUCHER: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. If I can, I'd like to tell you about a couple of things at the top, and then we can go on to other questions, if you want.
The first, as some of you may have seen in the Federal Register today, we have designated the terrorist group Jama'at al-Tawhid wa'al-Jihad, along with many of its allies, as a --
QUESTION: Allies or aliases?
QUESTION: Allies or aliases?
MR. BOUCHER: Aliases.
QUESTION: Aliases, okay.
MR. BOUCHER: -- as a foreign terrorist organization under our laws governing terrorism, as well as the laws governing financing of terrorism. That's the Immigration and Nationality Act, and then as a specially designated global terrorist under Executive Order 13224. This is the organization run by Mr. al-Zarqawi that has carried out so many horrible attacks in Iraq and elsewhere trying to foment civil war and trying to hold back the progress of the Iraqi people.
So we've done those two designations within the U.S. Government. We are moving with others, including the United Kingdom and Iraq, to have a designation under the UN Sanctions Committee, UN Resolution 1267, so the names will be listed there as well.
The U.S. designation makes it illegal under U.S. law for persons in the United States or subject to our jurisdiction to knowingly provide material support to the group. They block property and interest of the group wherever we can block them, and they provide a basis for the U.S. to deny visas for representatives and members of the organization.
This is a step the Secretary of State takes, in conjunction with the Secretary of Treasury and the Department of Homeland Security. The international listing, which we and the UK and the Iraqis went for yesterday would mean that UN member states, all UN member states would be obligated to impose sanctions including asset freezes, travel bans and arms embargos, and prohibit their nationals and persons in their territory from making available to the groups' members any funds or other resources.
QUESTION: I think it's the Attorney General, but I may be wrong. I think they're part of the play, too.
MR. BOUCHER: The Attorney General, yes. The Attorney General, Secretary of Treasury and Department of Homeland Secretary.
MR. BOUCHER: Okay. Can I go on to other things?
QUESTION: Oh, no. Could we ask about this? Take care of this?
MR. BOUCHER: You want to talk about this first? Okay.
QUESTION: You know, they've made numerous claims of responsibility for killing lots of people. Where does he stand now on, in notoriety so far as, I don't know if you have to have a pecking order particularly, but we're getting the impression, some of us, that only Usama bin Laden is possibly a more notorious figure in U.S. eyes. His stock has risen in that trade, hasn't it, of late?
MR. BOUCHER: We're not investing in Zarkawi futures if that's what we're talking about here.
QUESTION: I wouldn't recommend that others --
MR. BOUCHER: I would not recommend that others do so either because this man is a wanted terrorist. He's a horrible criminal. He's appeared on videotapes beheading people. He's been responsible for the murders of many Iraqis and many Americans and many others.
This organization, as you say, has frequently accepted the blame, admitted the responsibility for some horrible acts and he's a wanted man. And we have, as you know, an ongoing and active effort to catch terrorists, including to catch these terrorists who are operating in Iraq, and we remain very determined to do that.
We don't have a rank order. The United States is engaged on many fronts, many ways -- law enforcement, intelligence, military efforts -- to catch terrorists around the world, and this is one of them that we do intend to catch.
QUESTION: How many does this make now on the FTO list?
MR. BOUCHER: Ooh, 39?
MR. BOUCHER: Okay, 39.
QUESTION: And you probably don't know this, and I guess it's, on the grand scheme of things, not that important, but you don't know offhand who the last or what the last group added was, do you?
MR. BOUCHER: I just don't know off the top of my head. It wasn't too recent.
QUESTION: Okay. Does this have -- what implications does this have for him as an individual? Just, is it the same visa ban, asset freeze and property seizure?
MR. BOUCHER: Yeah, it applies to all members of the group.
QUESTION: Including, obviously --
MR. BOUCHER: Including him as an individual. I mean, there's obviously much more severe things that we would like to do with him and get him to face justice. He's wanted for more severe things than this. But, you know, to the extent that the group or supporters or others might have money or try to move money in support of this group, this gives us the mechanism to clamp down on him.
QUESTION: He and his group have been singled out by you guys and the Pentagon and others for some time now. Why did this take so long to do? Is there any -- they claim responsibility for the attack on the Green Zone yesterday. Is there any significance to the timing of this happening --
MR. BOUCHER: No, this is something that's been in process for some time. Why did it take so long to do? I think, you know, the simple answer is it's a legal designation and therefore has to sort of go through a certain legal process before it can be done. We can't just say, "Well, they claimed responsibility, this group claimed responsibility, we think it's probably true, and therefore let's designate them." It has to go through a standard of, you know, research and compilation so that we can make the designation carefully.
QUESTION: Okay. And this means -- just another logistical thing -- that unless his group is somehow disbanded and goes to, you know, falls apart or you guys break it up, that in the next Global Terrorism report they will be -- it will be listed among Abu Nidal and others?
MR. BOUCHER: They would be listed and discussed among all the groups that are Foreign Terrorist Organizations.
QUESTION: Oh, sorry, one more thing. There is a Rewards for Justice -- there is a -- I believe it's a $25 million reward for --
QUESTION: Up to.
QUESTION: Up to.
QUESTION: Up to 25?
MR. BOUCHER: Once again, I'll have to check on that for this particular individual.
QUESTION: But did that not -- when that happened, people don't have to be designated to be -- to get on that list?
MR. BOUCHER: No. No, the organizations are designated. You can be a wanted man without your organization being designated.
Second is, I'd like to talk a little more about two issues that we discussed yesterday. The first is the deaths in Baghdad in the Green Zone. I have a little more information for you and actually a little less information on one aspect of it for you. But let's start with the more information for you.
The deaths that we can confirm among the people who were attacked by the explosions in the Green Zone include three American citizen contractors that were employed by DynCorp Corporation. They were working with the Bureau of Diplomatic Security. There is a fourth DynCorp contractor who is missing and presumed dead, and a fifth DynCorp employee who was wounded in the attack, and then another DynCorp contractor who was wounded in the attack on the Green Zone Café.
I want to make clear the Department mourns their tragic loss. We extended -- have extended our deepest sympathies to the victims and their families and will be working with the families of the deceased and the injured to help them in any way we can.
I have the names. We'll put out the names for you, the names and hometowns of these people. And I think DynCorp itself has put this out. I also want to make very clear that the victims of this outrageous terrorism attack were valued members of our State Department family and of our diplomatic security team in Baghdad. They are brave men who died in service of their country. The terrorists who attacked them were targeting not just Americans, but scores of innocent Iraqis. We condemn these acts and they will not succeed.
The second aspect of this event yesterday that I wanted to clarify is that we had an initial number of what we thought were the number of Iraqi citizens who might have been killed. It's now less clear what the number of Iraqi citizens was, so I can confirm what we know about the various Americans, but all I can tell you is there were an unspecified number at this point of Iraqi citizens who were killed in the attack on Vendors' Alley in the Green Zone yesterday. The investigation is still underway and unfortunately at this point in the investigation it's not possible to be precise. But we do know that many, that Iraqis were killed and that many were injured in these attacks and they, they are part of our concern about the losses.
QUESTION: Are the American, official Americans still confined to the compound as they were yesterday? Or instructed to stay within the compound?
MR. BOUCHER: Yeah. There have been -- the Embassy continues to review its security situation, but for the moment people are staying close to home and not going out.
QUESTION: Richard, the Direct Hire State Department employees that were slightly wounded, I presume are now out of any danger?
MR. BOUCHER: I have nothing new or different on them. I assume that that was -- they were treated yesterday and that they're okay.
QUESTION: But those numbers stay the same?
MR. BOUCHER: Those numbers stay the same, yeah.
QUESTION: Well, while we're doing DynCorp, you said there were two Americans hurt. Is it still -- are their injuries still considered minor, do you know?
MR. BOUCHER: There was -- no, there was one --
QUESTION: A contractor in each place.
MR. BOUCHER: Yeah, there was a contractor in each place, a DynCorp employee who was hurt in each place. I think one of those is more serious and one is relatively minor. I don't have an update on their condition.
I would also point out since there has been discussion in a variety of places of DynCorp recently, that the one-year anniversary of the killing of three of our security team in Gaza -- again, three DynCorp employees -- is today. It was a deadly attack on our employees in Gaza a year ago.
We have consistently demanded that the Palestinian Authority take action to locate, apprehend and bring to justice the killers of our three colleagues there. And I would just point out, as we've said before, that the Palestinian Authority's performance on this issue has been unacceptable to us.
QUESTION: Unacceptable by not acting or --
MR. BOUCHER: By not acting. We haven't seen them demonstrate either the will, much less the capacity, to investigate the case seriously. We have seen statements from time to time by Palestinian officials that they know who did it, and if that's true then they should take immediate action to arrest and prosecute whoever did it.
QUESTION: Didn't you suspend work on a project in the territory a few months ago as a result of their inaction?
MR. BOUCHER: We have not been going into Gaza and therefore not in a position to carry forward projects that require us. I would have to check on the exact status of particular projects.
QUESTION: Richard, haven't they --
QUESTION: Well, can we just follow up on this one particular issue?
QUESTION: I'm trying to follow up.
MR. BOUCHER: Charlie. Please.
QUESTION: Didn't they make some arrests? And are you distinguishing in your comments that those arrests were not the right people?
MR. BOUCHER: I think at the time that they made those arrests, we expressed certain skepticism that they had arrested the people who were really responsible for these crimes and felt that there was further serious investigation and action that needed to be taken, and that remains the case today.
QUESTION: When you said that you're not deploying into Gaza, is it specifically because there hasn't been action on this or because it's too dangerous with the operations that's going on?
MR. BOUCHER: Well, it's been the security concerns. Part of the security concerns is the killers are probably still at large. But I'll double-check on the exact status of projects or things we had underway in Gaza.
QUESTION: Do you have anything else or can we --
MR. BOUCHER: I've got one more thing I wanted to say to you. We talked yesterday about the phone call from the Spanish Foreign Minister to the Secretary of State on the 12th, and I think I told you at the briefing yesterday that this phone call was not about our Ambassador's absence from the ceremonies of Spanish National Day. That is correct. It was correct yesterday. I'm a little dismayed to see some reports today that don't note that fact and print a different story.
But I would point out as well, the Spanish Foreign Ministry has told us that they have not said in any way that that was what the call was about and, in fact, they are making the same clarification to the Spanish press so that you and the Spanish press can all know that this phone call with Foreign Minister Moratinos the other day was not some kind of protest, it was a phone call to discuss the Middle East, and particularly the situation in Gaza.
QUESTION: Did it come up?
MR. BOUCHER: No, that was the only thing that was discussed in the call.
QUESTION: Can we get into the Iran nuclear meeting a little bit?
MR. BOUCHER: No, the meeting is still going on and you can't get into it.
QUESTION: Well, who's there? What countries are there?
MR. BOUCHER: Everybody is there. All the G-8 political directors are there, all the G-8 senior officials are there.
QUESTION: And who is presiding? Who is in charge of the U.S.? There's this question whether Armitage was.
MR. BOUCHER: Mr. Armitage stopped by at the beginning of the meeting to welcome people and talk a little bit to them, and the meeting is being run by Under Secretary Bolton and Deputy Assistant Secretary Glyn Davies of the European Bureau.
MR. BOUCHER: Okay.
QUESTION: Richard, when you say presumably the G-8 is there, the EU is there as a G-8 observer, not necessarily a member of the G-8, but are the Dutch there as the president of the G-8?
MR. BOUCHER: I didn't eyeball everybody in the room. It's a standard G-8 configuration and that involves various European representatives.
QUESTION: Can we go back to Gaza? Do you have anything, any comment, any reaction to the Israeli decision to slightly pull back?
MR. BOUCHER: Somewhere I do.
MS. PITTMAN: It's in the front of your book.
MR. BOUCHER: Oh, that's right. It was attached. Thank you, Susan.
We have seen the reports, following the reports of -- that say that Prime Minister Sharon has accepted an Israeli Defense Force plan for redeployment in the northern Gaza Strip, as we have said that we would hope the action in the northern Gaza Strip would end quickly. Therefore, this is news that would be welcome if it's confirmed that they are pulling back.
We think it's important to underscore at this moment, as well, that the Palestinians have a responsibility for ending violence and terror, and particularly for ensuring that this area -- that no area is used for attacks on Israel with rockets, and that the source of those rocket attacks needs to be stopped. I'll stop with that.
QUESTION: Can we go back to Iran?
MR. BOUCHER: Yep.
QUESTION: There are reports out of Vienna that they're seeking security guarantees in order to end their enrichment program. Do you have anything on that?
MR. BOUCHER: I have no idea what the Iranians are seeking. I haven't seen any statements like that, but I think it's quite clear what they need to do to live in harmony with the rest of the international community, and that's comply with the requirements of the Board of Governors.
QUESTION: Richard, yesterday you guys went to Authorized Departure in Haiti. Today, the embassy has said it's closed down -- or it's closed today, reopen on Monday but --
MR. BOUCHER: Yeah. The --
QUESTION: Wait, wait. But --
MR. BOUCHER: The situation today is not a security measure though. I'll explain what it is, but go on.
QUESTION: All right. Well, yesterday, after you put out the Travel Warning, which was quite dire in its -- the embassy, the Haitian Embassy, within, like, five minutes of that coming out, put out a statement saying that calm had returned and that everything was fine. Is that your impression?
MR. BOUCHER: Well, the situation in Port-au-Prince is generally calm this morning. And the UN stabilization force and the Haitian police are carrying out operations, have carried out various operations overnight that should help contribute to security. Nonetheless, there are still reports of sporadic gunfire in some areas.
Our concern about the security situation, moving to Authorized Departure for some of our people, is based on the overall situation, not on the -- we can't change it day to day. It's based on the situation that has developed in recent days and that's what we take into account. So the potential for this violence to recur we think is still there and we've moved to Authorized Departure.
That, in no way, is any closing of the U.S. Embassy or abandonment of our task. It's, rather, an opportunity that we give to American employees and their dependents to leave if they should choose so because they feel uncomfortable in Haiti due to the security situation -- acts of political violence, the potential for criminal action and violence against American targets. So it allows people to leave should they choose to do so. We don't --
QUESTION: Well, but just on that point, Richard, the notice today, which says the embassy is closed says --
MR. BOUCHER: Okay.
QUESTION: -- at the end of it says, points out that it's gone to Authorized Departure and that this is a signal that the U.S. Government fears for the safety of its employees and that U.S. citizens should strongly pay attention to that kind of -- that's not an exact quote, but that's what, basically what it says, so --
MR. BOUCHER: Well, I think you have the Travel Warning that we issued yesterday.
QUESTION: No. It says specifically, Authorized Departure status is something that U.S., private U.S. citizens should look at as a sign of danger.
MR. BOUCHER: The U.S. citizens in Haiti are urged to consider departing until the situation is stabilized, as travel in Haiti still involves serious risks. That's the summary. That is our view.
QUESTION: No, no. I'm talking about the Warden Message from the embassy today.
MR. BOUCHER: I don't have the Warden Message, but generally they follow the same pattern.
QUESTION: Well, this one is unusual because it --
MR. BOUCHER: The Warden Message is used to inform local Americans in the community of the decisions that we have made. And as we are in our Travel Warning advising Americans to consider departing, we tell Americans that we have authorized the departure of some of our employees and reiterate our advice that they should be considering departing, that that is a sign.
Now, the closure of the embassy today: There is a coalition of business organizations in Haiti that includes the American Chamber of Commerce that asks private citizens to stay home today to mark a day of peaceful protest against the recent violence carried out by pro-Aristide supporters. As a result, most businesses and schools are closed. Government offices are open, but the embassy is closed today and employees are working from home out of respect for Haitian civil society calls for that day of peaceful reflection.
We will continue our efforts to assist Haiti in its progress towards creating a more secure, stable and democratic government, as well as the ongoing hurricane relief efforts, and we felt it was appropriate to heed the call of civil society for this day of reflection. And we have, as you know, sent out a Warden Message to that effect to the American community in Haiti.
QUESTION: Now there is another thing going on in Haiti which -- well, there are reports that the United States has decided to lift an arms embargo?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't have anything --
QUESTION: Again, I don't know if it's --
MR. BOUCHER: I'd have to check and see if there's anything like that.
QUESTION: Richard, do you know whether President Aristide is doing anything, one way or the other, urging calm or urging his supporters to --
MR. BOUCHER: I think, as we've said, we generally feel that he, and especially his supporters, have played a very negative role in the recent events and that people associated with him, supporting him or purportedly acting on his -- well, not acting on his behalf but acting in support of him, are responsible for much of the recent violence. So I think we've said generally the role has been negative. I'm not aware of anything particular that he has done to try to calm the situation.
QUESTION: Richard, has anybody from this government contacted Aristide or any of his kind of close aides to urge him to urge calm to these people?
MR. BOUCHER: Don't know.
QUESTION: Can you check?
MR. BOUCHER: I'll try to check and see.
QUESTION: Brazil has said it's worried that the number of troops being supplied are not enough, their need is getting more urgent. Is there any consideration being given to the U.S. sending troops back in?
MR. BOUCHER: There are a number of countries that are committed already to sending troops and we are working with the Brazilians and other governments to try to facilitate those deployments. The current troop level stands at 3,103. The total number of troops that the international community has committed to the stabilization mission is 6,100. So we have continued to press countries whose troops have not yet arrived to deploy as quickly as possible. We would expect the troop level to rise to roughly 5,100 by the end of November.
As more UN forces arrive, the UN Stabilization Force will then have the troops to carry out its mission to support the interim government and maintain law and order. We think that's a very important task and are therefore working, as I said, with the Haitian Government, with the Brazilians who are leading the force, and with other members of the Stabilization Force to try to make sure the troops get there as soon as possible.
This is something the Secretary has discussed with the Brazilian Government when he was down there. It's something that he discusses regularly with the UN Secretary General and something that we're working very closely with the United Nations on.
QUESTION: So the emphasis is on getting the nations who have made commitments to fulfill those commitments.
MR. BOUCHER: Yeah.
QUESTION: But any consideration to U.S. troops --
MR. BOUCHER: The emphasis is on getting the nations who have made commitments to get there as soon as possible.
QUESTION: New subject?
MR. BOUCHER: Sure.
QUESTION: Syria. Have the joint border patrols actually started on the Syrian-Iraqi border? And if they haven't, what's the holdup?
MR. BOUCHER: We discussed that the other day. I'd have to -- you'd have to check with the Pentagon as to whether they actually are even envisaging joint border patrols. The kind of discussions we had was about coordination and communication and steps that each side could take to make sure that its border was secure. I don't remember, frankly, if there were joint patrols involved between the Iraqis and the Syrians, but that's the kind of military situation on the ground that I don't have information on.
QUESTION: Richard, in Zimbabwe, the opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, --
MR. BOUCHER: Tsvangirai --
QUESTION: Whatever. (Laughter.) Has been acquitted in a treason proceeding and I wonder if you had a reaction. And is this, are things looking up on the human rights front in Zimbabwe?
MR. BOUCHER: Well, we welcome the acquittal of Morgan Tsvangirai in Zimbabwe. We would hope that this signals the end of the politically motivated prosecutions, and that it would open the door to constructive dialogue between Zimbabwe's political parties.
Again, this acquittal we see as a positive development and we would hope that it signals the Government of Zimbabwe is ready to approach the upcoming parliamentary elections in the spirit of election guidelines that are prevalent in the region, particularly those of the South African development community. To do that electoral reforms will be necessary, but unfortunately the electoral reforms that are currently under consideration by the Zimbabwean Government fail to address fundamental flaws in the election environment.
For these parliamentary elections to be free and fair, we think that there are a number of steps that are necessary, including establishing a truly independent election commission, ensuring balanced media access for all the political parties, assuring freedom of assembly and political campaigning and suppressing political violence. Those are the kind of steps that we are looking for. If this positive development of the acquittal is to lead to anything better, it's going to have to be followed by serious steps like these for electoral reform.
QUESTION: Do you know when the elections are?
MR. BOUCHER: I'll get back to you on that.
QUESTION: Also on elections --
QUESTION: No, wait.
QUESTION: Go ahead.
MR. BOUCHER: Yeah.
QUESTION: Before George asks if you've been able to make good on your Belarus promise, the -- I'm curious -- you say you hope that this is a signal that the Zimbabwe Government is beginning to end -- this is a court acquittal.
MR. BOUCHER: A court acquittal.
QUESTION: Is your opinion of the Zimbabwe justice system so low that you don't think that it's independent at all? Why do you think that this might be, or why do you hope that this is a sign of the executive of the --
MR. BOUCHER: Let me say, perhaps it's better expressed: We hope the executive would take it that way -- would take the opportunity of a judicial decision to acquit Mr. Tsvangirai as an opportunity for the government to do something positive as well in the field of electoral reform.
QUESTION: Okay. And last week I had asked you about a proposal, a law there that would ban foreign NGOs, foreign human rights organizations. I did get an answer later, but you obviously are not happy with this. But instead of amending it to make it less strict, Mugabe's government has actually made it stricter. It hasn't gone to parliament yet, but do you have anything on the changes that --
MR. BOUCHER: We'd have to go back and look at that again.
QUESTION: Mr. Boucher,
MR. BOUCHER: Oh. Can you wait? We have --
QUESTION: Yes, yes.
MR. BOUCHER: George has to remind me of my promise on Belarus.
QUESTION: You have most skillfully anticipated my question.
MR. BOUCHER: I see.
MR. BOUCHER: Belarus. Based on the government's persistent and serious infringements of human rights and democracy, we have serious doubts that the election in Belarus will meet international democratic standards.
The authorities have refused to register about 40 percent of the potential parliamentary candidates in this election. These refusals were largely based on insignificant or alleged errors in the candidates' paperwork, and they were directed disproportionately at opposition candidates.
We support the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, which has an election observer mission there that is monitoring the parliamentary elections. We are watching the overall election and referendum process closely.
The U.S. and the European Union have repeatedly called on Belarusian authorities to abide by international standards in conducting elections and referenda. Unfortunately, Belarusian authorities have not upheld their commitments in the conduct of past referenda and elections. And accordingly, the -- according to the reports of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe, the current campaign has been marred with irregularities.
QUESTION: Did they put a vote on the new resolution concerning Syria?
MR. BOUCHER: Concerning Syria and Lebanon.
MR. BOUCHER: Too many tabs.
Yesterday, the United States and France circulated a draft resolution in the Security Council in response to the Secretary General's October 3rd report on Resolution 1559, which deals with Syria and Lebanon. The United States, as you know, is fully committed to the implementation of Resolution 1559, and so we and the French have produced a draft that would support that end.
We believe that the Security Council should commend the Secretary General's report and accept his offer to update the Council by requesting periodic reports. Further reports by the Secretary General will be an effective means of encouraging fulfillment of the requirements set out in Resolution 1559.
The draft resolution provides for such reports and would reaffirm the Council's resolve in seeing 1559 complied with and implemented.
We are going to be discussing this text with other Council members in the next few days. There are consultations scheduled this afternoon, so at this point it's too early to say when the vote might be.
QUESTION: The European plan discussed in the G-8 meetings, any details about it?
MR. BOUCHER: I'm sorry? The --
QUESTION: Concerning Iran. The European plan.
MR. BOUCHER: Yeah. No, any information on what the Europeans are proposing that they do would have to come from the Europeans. And anyway, the meeting is still going on now so I don't have much I can say.
QUESTION: Can we stay on Lebanon? Did you ever get an answer to my question about what the "recent events" were that made people worry about shopping malls?
MR. BOUCHER: Yeah, yeah. The Warden Message that we issued on October 14th to the U.S. community in Lebanon said, in part, "In light of recent events, U.S. Embassy personnel are exercising greater caution with respect to visits to shopping malls in the Beirut area and recommend American citizens do the same."
The reference to recent events refers to the arrest of Ahmed Miqati by Lebanese officials and the attempted assassination of former Lebanese Minister Marwan Hamade.
QUESTION: And did any of those have anything to do with shopping malls?
MR. BOUCHER: I think they reflect a certain climate of violence that leads us to concern about areas where people might be congregating.
QUESTION: But this is specifically shopping malls, not restaurants or night clubs or whatever they have that people go to. Why --
MR. BOUCHER: Again, these are the recent events that are referred to that have raised our level of concern and therefore we put this out.
QUESTION: Mr. Boucher, Secretary Colin Powell, giving a speech yesterday in front of the entire U.S. Diplomatic Corps, praised only three ambassadors, among them your esteemed Ambassador to Greece, as you told us once upon a time here in the press room, Tom Miller. May we know the reasons why Tom Miller has been selected to be praised since I am in the process to write a dissertation regarding his era in Greece.?
MR. BOUCHER: You're going to write a dissertation on Tom Miller?
QUESTION: A book.
MR. BOUCHER: We are very pleased to see that you hold him in the same high regard and esteem that we do. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: I do, but can you answer the question?
MR. BOUCHER: And that, in fact, is the reason why the Secretary cited him as an example of the excellent work being done around the world by many of our ambassadors. Tom Miller is a fine example of that and the work that he did with the Government of Greece in ensuring a secure and successful Olympics, for which most of the credit goes to the Greek Government but which we tried to help with, I think is another example of Mr. Miller's many accomplishments as Ambassador to Greece.
QUESTION: I do want to open a dialogue with you regarding the Olympic Games, about November 17th, et cetera, et cetera, because you know better than I know what is going on. But that's the reason for which Mr. Powell has selected Tom Miller to be praised openly in front of the entire Diplomatic Corps, including John Negroponte of Iraq?
MR. BOUCHER: I think Ambassador Miller is a good example, again, of the fine work being done by many of our ambassadors. If the Secretary cited everything that all ambassadors have done around the world, we would have been there till midnight, and I'm sure he would have been happy to do so and could think of many.
But Ambassador Miller is a superb example of the kind of diplomats we have representing the United States, and among the recent things that he has worked with the Greek Government on is a safe and secure Olympics, the joint effort, especially the Greek effort to end November 17, and it's just cooperation across the board with Greece.
QUESTION: Another question from another subject. But, Mr. Boucher, you and I made yesterday a written agreement during the briefing. You stated on the record, answered a bunch of questions regarding FYROM: "The country is formally known at this point as the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia." But in the index of your transcript, you violated our agreement and you wrote, with capital letters: "MACEDONIA, formerly known as Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia."
I am wondering what happened since yesterday. Any explanation? What about the index? Are you going to correct it in the name of diplomacy and history?
MR. BOUCHER: I'll have to check.
QUESTION: You will check?
MR. BOUCHER: I'll have to check.
MR. BOUCHER: Ma'am.
QUESTION: China's Ambassador for North Korean Affairs met with Deputy Secretary Armitage this morning. Do you have the readout for their meeting?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't have a detailed readout at this point. The Chinese envoy, Special Envoy for North Korean Affairs, Mr. Ning Fukui, has been visiting with us today. He's met this morning with Deputy Secretary Armitage, the Assistant Secretary for East Asian Affairs James Kelly and our Special Envoy for North Korea Mr. Joseph DeTrani.
The discussions obviously concerned how to move forward on the talks with North Korea, on the six-party talks, how to get those moving forward again. But unfortunately, as far as we know, the situation remains stalled with North Korea not prepared to live up to its commitments to come back to talks.
QUESTION: Did they talk about only six-party talks or anyone raised the possibility of North Korea's nuclear test or even missile tests?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't know what subjects came up. All of those subjects fit within the context of these talks because the issue is six-party talks to achieve the denuclearization of the peninsula, to achieve an end to North Korea's nuclear weapons programs.
That is the way we see it. That's what we talk to people about. And those are the goals, in fact, that have been agreed to by all six parties, including North Korea, at the talks. The problem, the current problem, is that North Korea is not coming back to the table. We remain prepared to go at an early date and are happy to express that to the Chinese.
QUESTION: Has the Chinese envoy been visiting other capitals of the six parties?
MR. BOUCHER: Don't know. You'd have to check with the Chinese, but generally, they do keep up their conversations, whether it's Mr. Ning, personally, who's done that or other Chinese who have done it in different meetings. I don't know.
MR. BOUCHER: Yeah.
QUESTION: The other, in addition to the Zarqawi notice, there was another notice in The Federal Register today, which I'm sure you're all, you're up on, yeah, having to do with the lifting of sanctions, FAA-related sanctions on Ethiopia. Can you look into that since you obviously don't know anything about it and find out?
MR. BOUCHER: I didn't read that one very carefully, obviously. I'll look into it and find out. You might check with the FAA, though.
QUESTION: Well now, well, I would except that this is signed by the Secretary and --
MR. BOUCHER: Is it really?
MR. BOUCHER: Okay, then I didn't read it very carefully, if at all.
QUESTION: And the last thing is, do you have anything to say about the five new members of the Security Council?
MR. BOUCHER: Well, they take over on January 1st. I think the vote was today. Has it taken place?
MR. BOUCHER: Oh, okay. We'll offer our congratulations at the appropriate time.
QUESTION: What? Their election isn't the appropriate time?
MR. BOUCHER: We'll congratulate them today on their election, and we'll congratulate them in January on their membership.
(The briefing was concluded at 12:55 p.m.)
DPB # 168