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State Dept. Daily Press Briefing for October 20


State Dept. Daily Press Briefing for October 20

Daily Press Briefing
Richard Boucher, Spokesman
Washington, DC
October 20, 2004

INDEX:

IRAN
- European Proposal on Iranian Uranium Enrichment
- Iranian Pattern of Non-Compliance/Security Council Referral
- Light-Water Reactor Technology
- Iran Must Meet the Requirements of the International Atomic Energy Agency

IRAQ
- Two Macedonians Kidnapped and Reportedly Killed in Iraq
- Regional Conference on Iraq Hosted by Egypt/Sharm el-Sheik
- Removal from State Sponsor's of Terrorism List
- Fundamentally Changed Government

CYPRUS
- U.S. and U.N. Support for a "Yes" Vote in Referendum
- Resignation of Prime Minister Talat/Respect of Democratic Process

BURMA
- Dismissal of Prime Minister
- Call on Burma to Engage in Meaningful Dialogue

LEBANON
- Resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri


TRANSCRIPT:

12:40 p.m. EDT


MR. BOUCHER: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I don't have any statements or announcements, so I'd be glad to take your questions.

QUESTION: Do you any newer view of the proposal the Europeans are going to make to Iran, some goodies to get them to do what they promised to do a long time ago, halt the enrichment of uranium?

MR. BOUCHER: No, I don't. I don't --

QUESTION: Tomorrow's the day.

MR. BOUCHER: That's our understanding. They told us on Friday they would be making their -- they would be talking to the Iranians this week. It's a European proposal. You'll have to ask them about it.

QUESTION: What's your view of the European proposal, which I presume that you -- well, what's your view of the --

MR. BOUCHER: Our view is that it's a European proposal, that it's for them to describe, for them to make. We haven't bought on, signed on or endorsed it, but we know they're going to do it, and they like -- and, as allies, we've kept each other informed of what we're doing, what our views are.

Our view remains the same: that Iran has shown, unfortunately, no sign of compliance with the requirements of the International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors; they have shown a long-term effort to -- a long-term effort not to comply with the requirements of the safeguards and other agreements; and therefore, they need to be referred to the UN Security Council.

QUESTION: Right. But in this package that the Europeans shared with you, there is the provision for, if -- for giving Iran light-water reactor technology and other assistance in that way, if they come into compliance. And this appears to be strikingly similar to the kind of deal that you guys had with the North Koreans, which didn't work out. So I'm just wondering if you -- do you have similar concerns about the Iranians following through on their end of the bargain with the Europeans as you obviously have with the North Koreans and the Agreed Framework?

MR. BOUCHER: A couple of things to say: First of all, to repeat once again, this is a European proposal. What's in it, what they're going to propose, what they're going to say, is up to them, and they're going to tell you if anybody is going to tell you.

Second of all, I don't think the two circumstances are comparable, North Korea and Iran, because the histories are different, and although the pattern, to some extent, the pattern of violations of commitments and agreements is similar. But they are situations -- each has to be handled on its own merits and its own fashion based on a lot of different factors.

But third of all, I would say that the fundamental premise of the question is true, that we have long had concerns about Iran's acquisition of nuclear capability, of nuclear technology, because for many years we have seen a confirmed pattern of noncompliance with safeguards; we have seen the use of nuclear exchanges, nuclear technology, in order to develop what we can only describe is a nuclear weapons program. And therefore, we have been concerned and would remain concerned about Iran acquiring new capability and -- new capability in nuclear technology areas.

QUESTION: Okay. So your general proliferation concerns, though, are not or are spiked by the prospect of Europeans running around handing out light-water reactor technology?

MR. BOUCHER: Once again, if you think the Europeans are running around handing out light-water reactor technology, first of all, you'll have to get that confirmed by the Europeans.

QUESTION: I'm not asking for your confirmation. We already know this out of Vienna. I'm not -- so I'm asking for you to comment.

MR. BOUCHER: You're asking me to comment on something that I don't think --

QUESTION: I'm asking you to comment on something that you were presented with last week on Friday that you have seen.

MR. BOUCHER: And we're not going to be the vehicle for talking about what they presented to us.

QUESTION: I'm not asking -- they already talked about it, Richard. It's out.

MR. BOUCHER: They have not talked about it, as far as I can tell. I think there was --

QUESTION: You have not seen reports on --

MR. BOUCHER: I have seen a wire service report that pretends -- purports to quote from a paper that the Europeans have. Okay? Now, the wire service in this case may be correct and it may not be, but --

QUESTION: Well, I think you've probably seen several wire service reports.

MR. BOUCHER: I've only seen one. I'm sure all the wires have it by now. What I'm trying to tell you, Matt, is that I'm not here to comment on something the Europeans may be presenting because what the Europeans present and versus -- you know, drafts versus thoughts versus things they talk to us about versus things they might actually present tomorrow to the Iranians may -- I don't know exactly what they are going to present. We'll hear back from them after they do it.

But the bottom line for us has been and continues to be that the problem is Iran. The problem is Iran's noncompliance. The problem is that Iran, whatever the Europeans present, has had a consistent pattern of noncompliance and shows no inclination or effort to break that pattern of noncompliance, and that the issue needs to remain in focus, that the issue is not what might the Europeans be prepared to do if Iran were to comply fully, but is Iran going to comply fully or not, and I'm afraid the U.S. view is based on experience, based on the history of Iran.

Our view is that any discussion at this point of what might happen if the Iranians complied is probably pretty hypothetical because, consistently, the Iranians have shown a pattern of not being willing to comply and of not being willing to be transparent and open about their intentions and programs.

QUESTION: Do you think it's possible that the Europeans are going to go in tomorrow and present the Iranians with something different than they told you they were going to do? Because that strikes me as being, you know, a little bit distrustful.

MR. BOUCHER: I don't know what their final proposal is going to be. I would expect it to be very similar to what they briefed us on, yes. But I can't confirm on their behalf what they're really going to present.

QUESTION: And you're, but you're not -- and you're saying that it's strictly a European proposal. Are you suggesting that the United States has no interest in this?

MR. BOUCHER: We obviously have an interest. We are friends and allies, we're cooperating in all these matters, but it is a European proposal and not one that we have --

QUESTION: Right, but then, so I don't understand how you can say you don't have any opinion about it. I think it's a --

MR. BOUCHER: I didn't say we didn't have any opinion. I said that the -- our opinion is the problems with the Iranians, still, and that we're not at the point of trying to comment one way or the other on what the Europeans might provide.

QUESTION: I mean, one likely scenario is that the Iranians could agree in principle to some parts of the proposal, but not comply once again. How do we avoid the merry-go-round of not complying?

MR. BOUCHER: Because the issue, as framed by the International Atomic Energy Agency Board in September, is that Iran needs to comply and show evidence of real compliance before the next Board meeting in November; otherwise, the Board will have to make the decision of referral to the UN Security Council. That's the decision that we have put forward and one that we long ago supported.

And therefore, we realize there may be varying statements coming out of the Iranians in this up-and-coming period. I think what the Europeans have made clear, what we have made clear, what we all made clear together as the G-8 in Sea Island, was that the Iranians must bring their program into conformity with all the NPT safeguards and obligations that they have and all the IAEA Board requirements. And in September, we made clear in the resolution at the Board, Iran had to do that before the next meeting in November.

QUESTION: So regardless of what happens with the European proposal, the Iranians still have to do that?

MR. BOUCHER: The United States, the Europeans, the Board of the IAEA, remain united that the Iranians still have to meet all the requirements of the Board, and remain united behind the resolution that was passed in September that that needs to be done; the Iranians need to do that before the November meeting. So regardless of what people might say, regardless of what people might offer or float with the Iranians, the issue, fundamentally, comes down to: Is Iran going to meet all these requirements by the next Board meeting? And that's something that, as I said, history and experience guide us in our predictions.

Yeah.

QUESTION: If U.S. policy toward Iran is eventually successful and Iran comes into compliance, does the U.S., in principle, accept that they can have a light-water reactor?

MR. BOUCHER: That is so hypothetical that I would not want to say anything at this point --

QUESTION: Hypothetical about the U.S. policy being successful? That's what you're goal is.

MR. BOUCHER: I realize that's what our goal is, but we are also realistic enough to understand that Iran has shown no willingness or indication that it would comply with these requirements. And, unfortunately, that noncompliance persists to this day.

QUESTION: So your message to them is that they can't have -- you object to them having a light-water reactor?

MR. BOUCHER: Our message has been twofold, threefold, fourfold, I don't know. Anyway, all of the things that I have just said to you: First of all, that the issue is Iranian compliance. Whatever they say, whatever is offered, whatever is discussed, the issue is Iranian compliance with all the requirements.

Second of all, that we have been and remain concerned about Iran acquiring new technologies and capabilities in the nuclear area.

Third of all, I think we've made clear over the years that we don't see the economic or any other rationale for a country like Iran to try to generate power with nuclear energy, given that they, you know, we have often said that they flare off way more gas every year than they could get energy from nuclear power plants of the kind that they're talking about.

So we fundamentally have concerns about Iran acquiring more nuclear technology and capability, but the issue that we face is if Iran is going to comply. And at this point, Iranian compliance doesn't seem likely or in the cards, based on Iran's history and their current expressions and things that they're saying and doing right now. So if they do comply, then we'll face that situation and deal with it accordingly.

QUESTION: So it sounds as though the United States does not believe that Iran should have even a civilian nuclear power program because you say that it doesn't need it. Correct?

MR. BOUCHER: We have said they don't need it.

QUESTION: Right. And so therefore they shouldn't have one.

MR. BOUCHER: No, I've said exactly what I just said, and I'm not going to try to start speculating about things that are not coming to pass at this point.

QUESTION: Well, but your comment suggests that you would be opposed to them getting -- that you have concerns about them acquiring any kind of nuclear technology, including -- and that would include things for civilian power production. So I'm just -- and which would necessarily include a European offer, were there one, for a light-water reactor, which then means that you are opposed to the Iranians having any kind of nuclear power plant.

MR. BOUCHER: I think I'm not -- you're taking this four steps down the road. If, one day, we can stand up here and say, look, the Iranians have complied with all the requirements of the IAEA, that they have met the requirements of the Board, that they have ended their nuclear enrichment programs, that they have, you know, done everything that they ever promised people and then broke promises on, then I'll be happy to entertain questions about what kind of nuclear technology they should or should not acquire. But I just think we're so far from that point that it doesn't do us a whole lot of good to speculate on that at this point.

QUESTION: Just to understand the U.S. policy, is the U.S. policy goal limited to only having Iran comply, or is it broader that Iran should be denuclearized the way that's your policy with North Korea?

MR. BOUCHER: The U.S. goal has been and continues to be that Iran should comply with all the requirements of the NPT in terms of obligations and safeguards, that Iran should promptly and fully comply with its commitments and with all IAEA Board requirements. It's not only the U.S. goal; it's the G-8 goal that we stated together at Sea Island.

QUESTION: And it's no broader than that?

MR. BOUCHER: That's the exact terms that we put it in.

Ma'am.

QUESTION: Different subject?

MR. BOUCHER: Yeah.

QUESTION: Do you have any information regarding the two Macedonians kidnapped and, according to Al Jazeera, executed in Iraq?

MR. BOUCHER: We had something yesterday. Let me get something for you after the briefing. I don't have it with me today. It has been a situation of concern to us, but I don't think -- well, let me just see exactly what we have.

Sir.

QUESTION: Mr. Boucher, on Cyprus, the UN confirmed that allocated some funds to support the "yes" campaign during last April referendum in Cyprus, which simply means bribe politicians, reporters, TV stations, newspapers, et cetera, et cetera, violating Article 27 of the Charter of the UN, which prohibits any UN interference. The UN also noted that Cypriot President Tassos Papadopoulos' position that he would never make public the letters he and former UN Secretary General Special Advisor on Cyprus Alvaro de Soto had exchanged on this matter, and he, Mr. Papadopoulos, came under sharp criticism when he stated that, in the letter to him, Alvaro de Soto acknowledged that yes, the UN made available funds prior to the April referendum.

Any comment, since your government, with the kind services of the former Cyprus Coordinator Tom Weston was involved up to the teeth for a big "yes" to the Annan plan, however with big money involved?

MR. BOUCHER: No.

(Laughter.)

QUESTION: But why? It's a big issue.

MR. BOUCHER: You're making -- you're telling a story here that's not true. I can't comment on something that's a whole made-up story that's not true.

Yes, the United Nations, the United States and others made very clear their support for a "yes" vote in Cyprus. I'll let the UN account for how it spent its money in that regard, in terms of voter education or other activities they may have carried out.

But the premise of your question that the U.S. spent -- the UN spent $27 million bribing people into voting for the "yes" vote, I think it's just fundamentally wrong and you ought to start by asking the United Nations how they spent their money.

QUESTION: Fundamentally wrong, and apparently a big waste of money, too.

QUESTION: The $27 million dollars you mentioned, could you explain --

MR. BOUCHER: No, you did.

QUESTION: I never mentioned 27 --

MR. BOUCHER: Well, then I misunderstood you because I don't know what the figure is myself. But I think you started out with 27 million. But in any case, whatever money was spent by UN during that period, I'm sure the UN can account for transparently and openly.

And, you know, as all of us who were interested in seeing a good outcome to the effort the UN had put in and others had put in to try and get an agreement that was to benefit all of the people of Cyprus. We did go out and support it in our speeches, in our statements. And to what extent people spent money on things like voter education, I don't know, but I'm sure everybody can account for it transparently and openly. And the fundamental premise of the question that somehow money was being spread out to bribe people, I just don't accept.

QUESTION: It's a bunch of telegrams, not in the premise of my question. According to telephone various news service. I'm not trying to create any official story. Just seeing them written but, not the press exactly, but big news agencies are saying about this.

MR. BOUCHER: All right. Well, I'm sorry. But I think you'd better start out finding out who spent what money and how it was spent.

QUESTION: One more question. Every year, the U.S. Congress approve approximately $13.5 million -- once upon a time, it was 15 when you were Ambassador -- successful, actually, Ambassador to Cyprus --

(Laughter).

MR. BOUCHER: Well, I didn't get the deal either, so I wouldn't claim that title.

QUESTION: But anyway, which is administered by the UN Office of Project Services, and according to the press reports right now, part of them were channeled for the rapprochement "yes" to the Annan plan. Any comments? This all was verified by the Greek Cypriot Minister George Iacovou today at Lanarka International Airport.

MR. BOUCHER: Once again, U.S. funds spent in Cyprus, spent for bicommunal activities, spent to support peace on the island, spent to support rapprochement and cooperation between the two communities in Cyprus. This is money that we are quite open about, that, as you know, it's all recorded in Congress, reported to Congress how we spend it. And that's the purpose of these activities.

QUESTION: But not to the -- "yes" to the Annan plan?

MR. BOUCHER: Again, what we spent and how we spent it can be accounted for, and I'm sure that material is available

Yeah.

QUESTION: Let's go back to Iraq.

MR. BOUCHER: Yeah.

QUESTION: The dates and venue for the conference have now been officially announced and I'm just wondering -- I presume that you're pleased with --

MR. BOUCHER: Gosh, I was hoping to get away with announcing something that had been announced already.

QUESTION: -- pleased with both the date and venue and just what --

MR. BOUCHER: Sure.

QUESTION: -- what are you hoping to achieve at this, or what are you hoping the Iraqis are able to achieve at this conference?

MR. BOUCHER: Well, we -- yeah, I was going to say, first, to establish a context, the Egyptian Government, at the request of the Iraqi Government, has agreed to host an expanded regional conference, which would include Iraq's neighbors plus the G-8 and other international friends of Iraq.

We certainly welcome that. We applaud the Iraqi Government and the Egyptian Government's initiative and diplomatic efforts to make the arrangements for this conference and see it is part of their continuing diplomatic efforts, particularly the efforts of the Iraqi Government to secure the support of its neighbors for peace and stability in Iraq and the holding of free and fair elections early next year.

We thank the Egyptian Government for its willingness to host this conference and the broader role that it plays in supporting regional stability, and we think this can be an important contribution to those ends of regional stability, working towards the elections in January and looking what all the neighbors in the outside community can do to support progress along those lines.

We will fully participate. We'll be appropriately represented. And we welcome the positive response that's registered by members of the international community. As far as additional details on the meeting, we do understand it will start November 22nd and it will be held at Sharm el-Sheikh.

QUESTION: At what level?

MR. BOUCHER: At, we'll be appropriately represented. I think --

QUESTION: Well, I'm not asking for --

MR. BOUCHER: -- it's basically a ministerial-level conference.

QUESTION: So you would expect the Secretary to make an effort, at least, to get there?

MR. BOUCHER: I think the Secretary looks forward to going, yeah.

QUESTION: And another one on Iraq.

MR. BOUCHER: Sure.

QUESTION: Yeah, today, for the second time in its history, Iraq has been taken off the State Sponsors of Terrorism list, and I'm just wondering what you have to say about that. Why the -- obviously, since the President asked the Secretary to do it --

MR. BOUCHER: Why the two-stage? Yeah. Okay.

The first event that you're referring to was in April 2003 in the wake of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The President sought and the Congress approved legislation that authorized the President to make nearly all the State Sponsor of Terrorism-related sanctions inapplicable to Iraq by a presidential determination, and the President exercised that authority in May of 2003.

Existing laws provide that State Sponsor status can only be formally rescinded when the country's fundamentally changed government no longer supports international terrorism and has provided assurances that it will not support such acts in the future. That is done by a presidential certification to Congress that's followed by a determination by the Secretary of State that these legal requirements have been satisfied.

So we had to wait until the new Iraqi Government was in place and then able to provide those assurances before we could take the formal step to end the sanctions; now we've done that. So once the new Interim Iraqi Government assumed authority in June, it was possible to obtain from that government the necessary assurances and to satisfy the other legal requirements necessary for a rescission; that's been done. And effective with the President's certification to Congress on September 24th and the Secretary's determination of October 7th, the rescission of these restrictions is effective, and that's what appeared in The Federal Register today.

Specifically, the President has certified and the Secretary then determined three basic things: First, there's been a fundamental change in leadership and policies of the Government of Iraq; second, that Iraq's Government is not supporting acts of international terrorism; and third, that Iraq's Government has provided assurances that it will not support acts of international terrorism in the future.

QUESTION: Okay, I just -- this, all that is very well and good and I know that he did sign it on October 7th, but once again, I mean, it didn't take effect until its publication today in The Federal Register. So that -- I just want to get that out of the way. But also, the -- it is kind of unusual for a country to be -- have been twice placed and twice removed from this list.

MR. BOUCHER: Well, I don't think I'd say twice removed because the initial -- this is, you might say, a progressive two-step process that we had to follow in the case of Iraq because of the circumstances this time. The first was to spend the restrictions in May of 2003.

QUESTION: No, no, no, Richard --

MR. BOUCHER: And then the second is actually to remove -- oh, you're talking about taking them off in the '80s?

QUESTION: I'm talking their being on the list and being a charter member of this group and suddenly not --

MR. BOUCHER: Being a charter member and being taken off --

QUESTION: -- being taken off in '82, and being put back on in 1990, and now being taken off again.

MR. BOUCHER: Yeah, but let's -- whatever the wisdom of the step in the 1980s, I think everybody has to understand that there is a fundamentally changed situation. Iraq, unfortunately, for the Iraqi people and for the international community, Iraq had the same government throughout that period of the '70s and the '80s and the '90s, and that was Saddam Hussein. And among the many things he did was never to calculate the interest of his nation and his people, but rather to continue to try to acquire the weapons and technology that he used many times to kill his people and to attack his neighbors.

That period is over. Iraq has a fundamentally changed government. It is going to have a different relationship with the Iraqi people, and it is going to have a different relationship with the international community. So the two circumstances can be contrasted but not compared, in my opinion.

QUESTION: Well, that's fair enough, except for that my question really is that you said that these legal requirements to be made, that there has to be a fundamental change from the government and they have to renounce these kinds of -- the terrorism and support for terrorism and promise not to do it in the future. And that didn't happen in 1982. In fact, Iran -- I mean, Iraq, as you have noted in subsequent Patters of Global Terrorism reports, continued to support this.

So, you know, you said, "Whatever the wisdom of this step in the 1980s." Well, you know, was that a mistake?

MR. BOUCHER: I'll refer you back to the briefings of the time and I'll let the historians judge whether it was a mistake or not. I'm not here to brief on a decision made in 1982.

QUESTION: It's quite relevant to today, though.

MR. BOUCHER: No, I'm saying I just explained exactly why it's not relevant at all to today because whatever, however these criteria applied in 1982, they quite clearly apply now. There is a different leader in Baghdad. There's a different set of leaders. There is a different system of government. There is a different approach to governance. And there is a different relationship of Iraq with its neighbors. And those things are so obviously different that, as I said, I think the two situations can be contrasted but not compared.

QUESTION: But, of course, they can be contrasted, which begs the question though is why they were taken off in 1982.

MR. BOUCHER: And that's a question I leave you to research and historians to judge.

QUESTION: All right. To go back in a time machine and ask the briefer in 1982?

MR. BOUCHER: No, you can just pull the transcripts off the web, I'm sure, and you'll see what the briefer said at the time.

QUESTION: Well --

MR. BOUCHER: I'm sure the briefer stands by what he said.

QUESTION: Well, check that because I'm not sure you guys have '82 on the web.

MR. BOUCHER: Well, we might not.

QUESTION: No.

MR. BOUCHER: We might not. But I -- we've got it somewhere. Do I have it on CD? I can't remember.

QUESTION: I don't think --

MR. BOUCHER: I don't know how far back it goes. Anyway, it's out there somewhere. Try the National Security Archive or somewhere like that, if we don't have it. All right?

QUESTION: No.

MR. BOUCHER: No, we've got one more. Cyprus.

QUESTION: Yes. The Foreign Minister in the Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus, Mehmet Ali Talat, handed today the resignation of his "government" to the Turkish Cypriot leader Raul Denktash. Do you have anything on that, and how this development affects your efforts to end the isolation of the Turkish Cypriot community from the hands of the Turkish invasion and occupation forces?

MR. BOUCHER: On the first question of the government, we respect the democratic process in northern Cyprus. We understand that Mr. Talat will stay on as caretaker until a new government is formed or early elections are held. As you know, the efforts that we have been making, we'll continue to make, to work more closely with Turkish Cypriots and to offer them chances and opportunities that they haven't had, is based on our desire to support the effort of the Turkish Cypriot community to be more involved in trade commerce and other aspects of the world.

So it's not directed at a particular government. It's directed at the Turkish Cypriots as a community and our desire to try to help them and maintain their interest in reaching an agreement and becoming part of Europe and participating more broadly in the world than they have in the past.

QUESTION: You use "Government," in quotations, or you are saying the government?

MR. BOUCHER: They're saying the government in the Turkish Cypriot community.

QUESTION: That means recognition of the --

MR. BOUCHER: No, it doesn't change our recognition policy. We haven't changed recognition policy in any way, whatsoever.

QUESTION: Do you have any better understanding of what happened yesterday in Burma overnight and how this change may or may not affect U.S. policy?

MR. BOUCHER: Well, I mean, first, we are following events closely. But, no, we don't have any further developments to report. I think I would say, just generally, at this point, we see no indication that the leadership change will have any tangible impact on relations between the junta and the democratic opposition. That's unfortunate but that appears to be the way it is.

We note that the new Prime Minister was reportedly directly involved in the decision to carry out the brutal attack on Aung San Suu Kyi and her convoy on May 30th, 2003, and that we reiterate our call on Burma to engage in a meaningful dialogue and to engage in genuine national reconciliation and release Aung San Suu Kyi and all other political prisoners.

QUESTION: You say reportedly. Do you have any independent information on your own? I mean, at the time, I remember you were very active. I think there may have even people from the Embassy who were there when the attack happened on the convoy.

MR. BOUCHER: We did look into the matter extensively. I'm not sure, exactly, where that report came from or that I can tell you, but I think we find it to be a -- well, a report that is worth taking into account.

QUESTION: Okay. And then on a different subject, since you have registered a serious interest in the internal workings of Lebanon's politics lately, I'm wondering if you have any reaction to the events there this morning and Hariri's apparent decision not to --

MR. BOUCHER: Yeah, we've learned today that Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri submitted his resignation. We would note that this political step still takes place against a context that is seriously distorted by Syrian interference in Lebanon. We leave it to the Lebanese to work out the political implications and factors involved.

I understand there's a period of consultations before the appointment of a cabinet and, once again, reiterate our view that the selection of a cabinet and all matters affecting the Lebanese Government should be the result of a purely Lebanese process.

QUESTION: Well, considering that the resolution and the president's statement from the Council, Security Council, yesterday, are you still -- you still apparently have worries that the Syrians are going to try to impose their will on the formation of a new government?

MR. BOUCHER: I suppose that is -- yes, that is one of the things to worry about, but I think one has to understand the whole context is distorted by the Syrian interference that we've been talking about and we would hope that this matter, at this point, would be left entirely to the Lebanese to work out through their own political process without any interference.

QUESTION: All right. And did you ever get an answer to my question about whales yesterday?

MR. BOUCHER: We've been working on it. I think we've almost got something. We'll have it for you this afternoon.

QUESTION: Thanks.

QUESTION: Mr. Boucher --

MR. BOUCHER: Yeah?

QUESTION: You didn't answer the second part of my question: How this development in Northern Cyprus affects your efforts to end the isolation of the Cypriots --

MR. BOUCHER: Yes I did.

QUESTION: -- by the hands of the Turkish invasion occupation forces.

MR. BOUCHER: Well, I answered the question that our effort to -- our efforts to work with the Turkish Cypriots and to maintain their interest in joining Europe and being part of a united island, and our efforts to work with the Turkish Cypriots so that they have opportunities they haven't had in the past continue because they're directed at the Turkish Cypriot community and not at any particular government.

(The briefing was concluded at 1:15 p.m.)

DPB#171

[End]


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So… Boris Johnson is promising that he won't be holding a snap general election, if he's chosen as the next UK Conservative Party leader. Reportedly, he is even making that promise a feature of his leadership campaign, since a vote for Boris would therefore mean (wink wink) that his colleagues wouldn't have to risk their jobs and face the wrath of the British public until 2020. More>>

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