State Dept. Daily Press Briefing for August 26
State Dept. Daily Press Briefing for August 26 -- Transcript
Daily Press Briefing Richard Boucher, Spokesman Washington, DC August 26, 2002
ANNOUNCEMENTS 2 Statement on the Murder of the Macedonian Police Officer
CHINA/NONPROLIFERATION 2-4 Controls on Missile and Sanctions 5-6 U.S. Licenses for American Satellites and Verification
TERRORISM 3-6 Deputy Secretary Armitage and Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement
NICARAGUA 6-5 Corruption in Former President s Administration/Assistant Sec. Otto Reich 7 Assistant Sec. Otto Reich Trip to Nicaragua and Honduras
AZERBAIJAN 8-9 Voting Irregularities, Fraud and ballot-stuffing by Election Officials
RUSSIA/GEORGIA 8-9 Statement on Confrontation between Russia and Georgia
CYPRUS 9 September 6 Special Meeting on Cyprus and Special Coordinator
EGYPT/CONSULAR AFFAIRS 9-10 Conjoined Twins and Visa Issues with Egyptian National
SAUDIA ARABIA 10 Sayed al-Rashid - Saudi National Under Detention 10 His Royal Highness Prince Bandar s Meeting with President Bush
JOHANNESBURG SUMMIT 11 United States Commitment to the Summit
ZIMBABWE 11-12 President Mugabe s New Cabinet 12 Famine in Zimbabwe and the region
NATO/ICC 12-14 Secretary Powell s Letter to the Europeans on the NATO and the ICC 14-15 Article 98 and Military Maneuvers
IRAQ 15 Rep. Tom DeLay s Speech and Regime Change 15 Inspectors 16-18,19 Media Training for prominent Iraqi Expatriates 18 Former Secretary Baker s Opinion Editorial
IRAN 15 World Wrestling Federation
DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE 19 Trip Details in South Asia and the Pacific Rim 22 Discussions with Japan about Military Operations in Iraq 22 Kashmiri Opposition Group
PAKISTAN/INDIA 19-20 Amendment of Pakistan s Constitution/Former Prime Minister Bhutto
NORTH KOREA 20-21 U.S. Teams in the Region/Spent Fuel Storage Project
AFGHANISTAN 22 Foreign Minister Abdullah and al-Qaida Personnel 23-26 Diplomatic Security Detail for President Karzai
ISRAEL/PALESTINIAN 24 Bethlehem-Gaza Deal/Deputy Assistant Secretary Satterfield
SPAIN 25 Basque ETA Separatist Group Case
MR. BOUCHER: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. It's a pleasure to be back with you here. I think you have all seen the statement that we put out on the murder of the Macedonian police condemning the murder of two Macedonian police early this morning in Macedonia. So I won't repeat that statement now, but just taking note of that. I'd be glad to take your questions on that or other topics.
QUESTION: Any comment on the action taken by the Chinese with respect to nonproliferation?
MR. BOUCHER: I think our Deputy Secretary has had some comment out there.
QUESTION: He said he didn't understand it.
MR. BOUCHER: I think he said he has not read the whole thing yet. I'll find it.
We welcome the publication and promulgation by the Chinese on August 25th of controls on missile exports. As you all know, we have been discussing with the Chinese for some time the Chinese commitments that they made in November of 2000 to put in place a comprehensive set of missile-related export controls. This is potentially an important step. It may help advance China's efforts to prevent the proliferation of dangerous missile technologies. It's also a good step in the run-up to the October summit, although I have to point out it's not the only step that needs to be taken. There have been a number of issues under discussion with the Chinese, one of which is how they can make effective a system of export controls.
So the real measure of China's control over missile-related exports will be the effectiveness with which controls like these are enforced, and a real reduction in problematic exports by Chinese entities. We would intend to continue our discussions with the Chinese on the November 2000 missile nonproliferation arrangement, and I'm sure that Assistant Secretary for Nonproliferation John Wolf will continue to be in touch with his Chinese counterparts and will be following up with them.
QUESTION: Do you happen to know what -- the countries to which Chinese entities have sold problematic items in this regard are which?
MR. BOUCHER: I would have to go back to the actual sanctions, announcements that we've made. And I think in some, in many of those cases we were able to say, for example, some of those actions were taken under Iran and Iraq nonproliferation sanctions; therefore, we indicated what countries they were. But you would have to give me some time. I have to go back and see to what extent we are able to disclose the actual transactions, or at least destinations of equipment.
QUESTION: Can you say what impact this move would have in any way on sanctions that we have placed on some of these Chinese companies?
MR. BOUCHER: We'll have to see. As I said, there are a number of issues involved in our discussions with the Chinese of how to implement the November 2000 framework agreement, the agreements of that time. It all involves the Chinese putting in place an effective system of controls over missiles exports and making that system real -- take effect in a way that reduces proliferating activities by Chinese companies. So this will be -- certainly it's a welcome step, it's a positive step and one of the things, one of the things, that we've been looking for, and we'll follow-up in our discussions with the Chinese in the future on this topic.
QUESTION: While there, I believe Secretary Armitage also announced a new terror group?
MR. BOUCHER: I think he said that he had made decisions that would put this group, the East Turkmenistan -- Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement that would make them subject to the executive order on financial controls. I'm not able at this moment to give you the exact timing of when the assets might be blocked, but he has made the decision that this group should be subject to those financial controls.
QUESTION: Actually, I believe that he said that it was done several days ago that they were put on the list. Can you at least confirm that much? And also, apparently Counterterrorism had -- Frank Taylor had said in December that the United States did not believe this group deserved to be on the terror list. Can you both confirm that it has been, if it has, and why it's --
MR. BOUCHER: There's a couple thing. One, I'm not sure Frank Taylor said that. I think I'd have to double-check on that. But this is not the Foreign Terrorist Organization list per se; this is the making of groups subject to the executive order that can block and freeze assets, which is a slightly different standard, a slightly different action bureaucratically.
And that's what the Deputy Secretary has decided is to make them subject to this executive order that blocks assets, and he did make that decision and sign the papers several days ago. As you know, there's a time lag between the actual sort of signing of the papers, or signing of the decision, and the publication of the appropriate financial regulations, which take place by the Treasury Department. And I can't, at this point, give you the exact timing of that second step.
QUESTION: Well, what would stop it from being on the FTO list as well?
MR. BOUCHER: It's a different kind of review bureaucratically and in terms of the laws that apply, and therefore we'll have to look at that. That's something that we look at all the time with relation to a variety of the groups, and that decision has not been made on this group.
QUESTION: By putting it on this list, are you, in effect, calling it a terrorist organization? I mean, not an FTO officially, but are you calling it, loosely speaking, a terrorist organization? Is that implicit in the listing on the executive order list?
MR. BOUCHER: I'd have to look back at the language of the executive order and see exactly what it says. I'm sorry, I don't know. I don't remember what the order would be. It's Executive Order 13224. We're calling it a group that would be subject to Executive Order 13224.
QUESTION: And that's a bad group?
MR. BOUCHER: Yes.
QUESTION: Not necessarily a terrorist -- can I --
QUESTION: Can you tell us what makes it subject to these restrictions?
MR. BOUCHER: No, I'm not -- I don't think I'm able to do that because of the kind of information we might have about the organization. It's not something I can put out at this point.
QUESTION: Can I get back to the missiles for one second? You say that this is -- you see this as positive and it's a welcome step, but it's only one of the things. And I can't remember if someone asked you, what steps are you looking for further? Are you looking for the Chinese to punish these perpetrators, your friend QC Chen and others who keep getting slapped with sanctions? Or are you looking for steps beyond simply going after the violators of these provisions?
MR. BOUCHER: There have been a number of discussions with the Chinese about this whole area involving different steps. One that I want to put the emphasis on today is enforcement and actual real reduction in proliferating behavior by Chinese entities. That's where promulgation of regulations is an important step. There also needs to be enforcement of that and making the system effective.
QUESTION: You don't want to go beyond, what other steps you're looking to see?
MR. BOUCHER: No, I won't go beyond that now. Sorry.
QUESTION: I don't know if you can answer this, but what impact would this have on the sort of lingering and lonstanding issue of US licenses for American companies for satellites, I guess to help build satellites in China?
MR. BOUCHER: Those are all part of the understandings that were reached in November of 2000, and as you know, we haven't moved forward on licensing for US satellites because of our concerns that the Chinese have not moved forward to put in place an effective system of missile controls. So this is a positive step towards resolving those issues, but I wouldn't say it has any specific change in that regard right now.
QUESTION: The enforcement, is there a time limit? Like you're looking into maybe two years of this act and then decide?
MR. BOUCHER: No, I don't think we'll address it in those terms. We want to talk to the Chinese about the steps that they'll be taking to enforce this, to make this an effective system, about the kinds of instructions they're giving, about the kinds of actions they're taking to make sure that there is -- in the end, the bottom line for all of us is to see a reduction in missile exports by Chinese entities, and we need to know the Chinese Government is doing everything it can to prevent those kind of exports.
Do you have a follow-up?
QUESTION: The terror group, the financial control, you said that's globally, not just they cannot raise funds in China, but not in Turkey, not in any of the --
MR. BOUCHER: Well, the executive order pertains to financial transactions involving the United States. Now, a lot of global financial transactions and deals have some banking arrangement or passing through New York kind of arrangement that we can stop. But if it involves -- the executive order governs the United States.
QUESTION: So it's only the US, but they can still do things in Europe and --
MR. BOUCHER: Well, we have a lot of cooperation with other governments in this regard. And depending on this exact designation, it may be it's something that we do discuss with our counterparts in other countries to see if they don't believe that their actions along similar lines are also warranted.
QUESTION: One last thing. Then if the Chinese Government cracks down this group or make arrest and everything, they are entitled now to do that, right?
MR. BOUCHER: First of all, we don't give permission. Second of all, the issue, I mean what you're implying is that anything goes. And I can't say that. We'd never say that. The issue for us has always been that governments can fight terrorism and respect human rights at the same time; indeed, they are part and parcel of stopping the activity and the growth of these groups.
So, yes, it's necessary, and we recognize it's necessary for the Chinese Government to take actions against terrorists, against people who have supported and carried out actions of terrorism inside China and elsewhere. At the same time, we think that that can and must be done in a way that respects human rights and that follows fair practices of judicial procedure and things like that.
QUESTION: Is there anything you can say about what you're looking for in terms of verifiability now and the enforcement side on the missile exports, based on the fact that, I believe, that at least the State Department in the Clinton Administration believed they had commitments from the Chinese in November 2000 that obviously didn't work out very well.
MR. BOUCHER: We've always felt we had commitments from the Chinese in November of 2000 to implement an effective system of controls on missile exports to curb any exports by Chinese entities that might violate international standards on missile exports. That continues to be our goal. Unfortunately, we have not see that carried out. We have seen activities by Chinese entities that don't respect international standards and we've looked for action by the Chinese government to stop and curb those activities.
So we continue our dialogue with the Chinese on how to see these commitments effectively implemented. We will continue to discuss with the Chinese how these new regulations can be put in place, can be implemented, can be made effective and can result in a real result of curbing, stopping activity by Chinese entities that would violate international standards on missile exports.
So this is a step forward. It's an important part to have the regulations in place. It's an equally important part to see that they are enforced, and we want to talk to the Chinese about the actions that they'll take to enforce them, the actions on they'll take. And we'll be watching. We always watch to see if there is, in fact, a real reduction in missile exports.
QUESTION: Well, is it fair, then, to say that you really are not going to consider lifting sanctions on some of these Chinese companies or processing some of their licenses for satellites until you see action, until you see enforcement? No longer are you looking for just commitments or, like, a very good regulatory plan or something like that?
MR. BOUCHER: Well, part of the action we were looking for was the issuance of detailed regulations. So part of our discussion all along with the Chinese has been about their issuance of detailed regulations, and they have assured us, including in discussions with the Secretary, and others, that they were moving ahead on that front.
So we welcome this. This is a positive step, but it's one piece of the puzzle in getting the kind of result that we and the Chinese have both said we're committed to.
Shall we go somewhere else now? Nicaragua?
QUESTION: I just wonder if the State Department is helping the President of Nicaragua to form a case against the former president on corruption charges.
MR. BOUCHER: The answer is: I don't know. I will have to see.
QUESTION: And just quickly, how do US Government consider the government, what was the government of the former president of Nicaragua -- corrupt or not?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't know if we've had anything to say on that subject. I will see if we do. Okay?
QUESTION: Isn't Secretary Reich in that vicinity today?
MR. BOUCHER: See if my colleagues know.
MR. REEKER: He's arriving in Nicarague today and he'll go to Honduras on the 28th.
MR. BOUCHER: Okay. Nicaragua today, Honduras on the 28th.
QUESTION: I take it you don't have any background music to accompany the --
MR. BOUCHER: No, I wish I did, but I will sing it for you.
QUESTION: We had it Friday.
MR. BOUCHER: Oh, we had it Friday? I see. All right, let's see what we've got.
His goal is to keep in contact with the region's political and business leadership and maintain good relations with civil society. He's going down for face-to-face meetings with leaders of both governments and business and civil society in these countries; talk about how the US can support democracy in these countries, the importance of combating corruption, the possibility of a free trade agreement between the United States and the five Central American countries. As you know, that was discussed also during the President's visit there last year.
So he'll be in Nicaragua and Honduras, and then at this point no decisions about other travel in the region for him. Okay?
Did we post that, Phil?
MR. REEKER: No.
MR. BOUCHER: Okay. All right, where were we going? We were going to head back.
QUESTION: On the referendum in Azerbaijan, opposition and independent observers reported of widespread voting irregularities, fraud and ballot-stuffing by election officials. Do you have any reaction to the referendum on constitutional changes in Azerbaijan?
MR. BOUCHER: We've been closely following this reform, constitutional reform process that was the subject of the referendum. Based on what we've heard from the US Embassy and other international observers, as you note, there appear to have been widespread irregularities, such as the voter list fraud, multiple voting, ballot box-stuffing.
We are very concerned that this referendum on August 24th did very little to advance democratization or to lay the groundwork for presidential elections in the fall of 2003 that can meet international standards. We will continue to support political pluralism in Azerbaijan, as well as transparency in government.
We continue to urge the Azerbaijani authorities to work with the Office of Democratic Initiatives and Human Rights under the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems and others in the international community to put in place effective mechanisms to ensure fair and impartial electoral processes in the future.
QUESTION: A follow-up. You're saying you basically -- do you question the legitimacy of this referendum?
MR. BOUCHER: I think we looked for Azerbaijan to keep taking steps forward towards more open elections, particularly presidential elections in 2003, and that's where we want to see the effort placed.
QUESTION: And just a follow-up on the region. On Saturday, you made a statement about confrontation between Russia and Georgia. Russia continues to put pressure on Georgia. And do you have anything to add to this, or do you talk to the Russian officials about this matter?
MR. BOUCHER: As you note, the White House put out a statement on Saturday. We expressed concern through our diplomatic channels about the situation there. We've regretted the loss of life and deplored the violation of Georgia's sovereignty. Secretary Powell called Russia's Foreign Minister over the weekend, Saturday, talked to Foreign Minister Ivanov about this to express our concerns and discuss the situation there.
Georgia is beginning to move forces into the Pankisi area to establish government control there. We believe that those problems in that area should be first addressed by the Georgian Government. As you know, we've worked with the Georgian Government to try to make sure that they can take more responsibility there and to improve their capacity on border security.
So we would also urge Russia to cooperate with Georgia in that regard so that both countries, operating each in their respective territory, can deal with the question of international terrorists and Chechen fighters who might remain in Georgia.
QUESTION: Can I go back to Azerbaijan?
MR. BOUCHER: Can we go back to Azerbaijan for a moment? Okay.
QUESTION: Were you going to ask about Azerbaijan?
QUESTION: Go ahead.
QUESTION: Okay. You had suggested last month that it would be a good idea for this referendum that happened on -- whenever it was over the -- on the 24th that it be postponed. Are you disappointed at all that they didn't postpone it? And what do you make of the provisions in what was voted on allowing for the son of the president to succeed him?
MR. BOUCHER: Well, first of all, the benefit of this kind of referendum, if any, was going to be to lead to a more democratic system, to more progress overall towards democracy. In Azerbaijan, there was a bit of public debate. I'd say that may be one of the few positives that we saw out of it. There were nationally televised roundtables, and opposition parties and NGOs had a chance to debate and discuss this.
But really, we think it's important that they have a lot of reform in the electoral process and that they really concentrate on having an open and transparent election next year. And that's where our effort is now.
QUESTION: Yeah, but was there any benefit to this? You said the benefit of the referendum was going to be. Well, was --
MR. BOUCHER: Well, as I said, we were pleased to see that there were nationally televised roundtables, but overall we do not think that this referendum did much to contribute to democratization overall or to lead us towards what we think needs to be an open international election for a president that would meet international standards. And that's where they need to work with the organizations involved to move in that direction.
Okay, in the back.
QUESTION: This is about on Cyprus. September 6th will be a special meeting on Cyprus among Clerides, Denktash, and I was wondering if your Special Coordinator Tom Weston is going to be there and if you have to say anything on the subject.
MR. BOUCHER: I have to check on that. I don't know at this point.
QUESTION: I don't know if you have anything on this, but there's a report out there that the father, the Egyptian father of the conjoined twins is having difficulty coming to the United States because he's unable to get a visa due to some obviously increased security after 9/ 11.
MR. BOUCHER: He hasn't applied. This is Mr. Ibrahim. Our understanding is he has not applied for a US visa. And obviously when he does apply, if we find him eligible, we'll try to do processing as quickly as possible.
We take each of these cases on a case-by-case basis. We do want to make sure that all appropriate security standards are met, particularly since September 11th. But should he apply and be found eligible, we'd try to take care of him as soon as possible.
QUESTION: Can we move to a new subject? Can I ask you about Sayed al-Rashid? This is the Saudi national who is apparently under detention in Saudi Arabia. I have a feeling you're going to refer me over to the FBI, but how confident are you that the FBI will get the access it needs to Mr. al-Rashid?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't know that we have anything that we can say on that point right now. Thank you.
QUESTION: Same subject?
QUESTION: No, not the same subject.
QUESTION: This is a White House visit that Prince Bandar will be making tomorrow, and I don't want to ask you about that. But if you have any general comments about the state of US-Saudi relations going into the meeting, I would be grateful.
MR. BOUCHER: I see. Have you been doing this every day for the last three weeks?
QUESTION: Well, Pat was away for a while.
MR. BOUCHER: I see. So, well, others are interested, too. We've had excellent cooperation with Saudi authorities, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
QUESTION: Can you tell us --
MR. BOUCHER: Sorry, Terri was going to change the subject. You go first.
QUESTION: Are you changing it, Jonathan?
QUESTION: Yeah, I'm changing it.
QUESTION: Me, too.
MR. BOUCHER: Okay, let's do Terri, then.
QUESTION: The Johannesburg summit gets underway today, although without the heads of state in yet, for the most part. You are well aware, I am sure, that there has been a lot of criticism of the US that our head of state is not going. And I wanted to know how the US feels, whether it undermines the summit not to have the President there and what you think that it can accomplish, though we're well out of the -- well ahead of the end of the conference.
MR. BOUCHER: Well, I think the answer is absolutely not. The President, as you know, has attended already I think this year two summits that had development in the Third World as a major focus. That's the Monterrey conference and also the Group of 8 Meeting in Canada. It's a subject that he has taken many actions on, including announcing something like a 50 percent increase in the official development assistance that the United States is willing to provide in the form of the Millennium Challenge Account.
The President has made very clear all along that good stewardship of the environment and good governance of the economy and of the country are the keys to development, and these are efforts that the United States has been leading on, not only as we go with a strong delegation to Johannesburg, but also more broadly in terms of the financing that we're providing for development and the kind of policies that we have adopted.
So I think the President's commitment is quite clear. He's sending Secretary Powell and a strong delegation to attend this conference. And the United States, I think as you see from the reports out there, the United States is a very strong and active member of the conference.
QUESTION: I just want to move a tad bit north. What do you make of President Mugabe's new cabinet, and particularly the dismissal of the one person in the cabinet who you guys seemed to think was okay, the finance minister? Will the Secretary be seeking to meet or seeking to avoid meeting with President Mugabe when he is Johannesburg?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't think we have anything on the particular cabinet changes. Again, you know, the policies that have been followed by the Government of Zimbabwe have contributed to the suffering of its people. It's not just drought; it's the policies the government is following there. We have been appalled by the way they've decimated Zimbabwe's international standing and its ability to produce food at a time when they have a national emergency.
So I think if we look at the issues involved in the conference about how to achieve sustainable development, again, good stewardship, good governance are what we're looking for. And unfortunately, President Mugabe has not followed those sort of practices.
QUESTION: You don't think that this, the cabinet -- you know, a new cabinet is going to do anything to help?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't think we've seen the kind of commitment to the right kind of policy, or a commitment to not doing the wrong kind of policy, that could lead Zimbabwe in a better direction under his leadership.
Jonathan had one here.
QUESTION: Change of subject?
QUESTION: Before you change the subject, (inaudible) put out a statement today or yesterday disagreeing -- and it -- well, you're saying that the main reason for the famine, one of the main reasons, is Zimbabwe's policies affecting the food supply in the region. (Inaudible) put a statement today saying that the globalization, or rather the privatization of agriculture, the race to privatize and marketize agriculture in this region is contributing to famine in that region.
How do you react to that? That seems such a twist on things.
MR. BOUCHER: I would invite everybody to look around the world and find out where the most productive farmers are. And you may, in fact, find that they are in the countries that have the most private farming and the most private initiative to grow food.
QUESTION: And just one other on the same issue. We heard here that the United States is working with the countries in the region to replace the government in Zimbabwe. Subsequently, we heard from the countries in the region that this was not exactly so. Where does it stand now?
MR. BOUCHER: I think Mr. Reeker talked about that last week, right? So did Mr. Kansteiner, as well. We are working with a wide variety of organizations and groups in civil society in Zimbabwe to strengthen democratic institutions and respect for human rights and the rule of law in Zimbabwe. We'll continue to work with those groups to make sure the voices of the people of Zimbabwe are heard as they deal with the excesses of the Mugabe regime.
We are also consulting with countries in the region and throughout the world about how we can work together to foster development of democratic processes and institutions in Zimbabwe, and encourage fair and free elections. Once again, we continue to call on the government of Zimbabwe to halt its pursuit of unchallenged power and restore the rule of law, cease abusing the human rights of its citizens.
QUESTION: What did the Secretary say in his letter to European governments on August 16th on the question of NATO and the ICC?
MR. BOUCHER: He didn't say anything -- that was the Article 98 letter. I don't think he said anything about NATO in that letter. What he said was that these agreements are important to us, they are treaty friendly, they are provided for under the treaty, that's why they are called Article 98 agreements because it's Article 98 of the Treaty; and these agreements need to be concluded bilaterally with governments because, again, that's what the treaty provides for.
So the approach the United States has taken is a "treaty friendly" approach. We believe it's the most effective way to create an environment that respects the rights of parties to the Rome statute, to the International Criminal Court, to be members of that Court, but also respects our right not to be a party to that statute.
So we're moving forward in our discussions with a number of countries. We've, I think, recently concluded with East Timor and we'll continue to move forward with others.
QUESTION: Was this letter --
MR. BOUCHER: We've got -- that brings us to three so far, I think, we've got, but this is ongoing.
QUESTION: Was this letter to EU governments or to NATO members, or both, or to whom, exactly? Aspirants?
MR. BOUCHER: I would have to check on the exact lists of governments. It was to Europeans, but I would have to check on the exact list of addresses.
QUESTION: Okay, now, to follow up --
MR. BOUCHER: Was it the EU members? Was it aspirants, too? I'll double-check.
QUESTION: What is your version of the implications that the lack of Article 98 agreements would have on the US relations, the US role in NATO?
MR. BOUCHER: First of all, the United States commitment to NATO is very strong. It's a cornerstone of our security. There's no question of our commitment to NATO in terms of its role in enhancing our security and the security of all its members. These agreements, these Article 98 agreements, are bilateral agreements with individual governments. There's no connection between our decisions about supporting any particular candidate for membership in NATO and their decision about Article 98 agreements. But these things are important to us -- Article 98 agreements -- and we'll continue to pursue them strongly.
QUESTION: Same subject?
QUESTION: Yeah. Two very brief things, though. One, you don't happen to know if East Timor is actually an ICC signatory, do you? Because they very recently became a nation, and if they are --
MR. BOUCHER: I would have assume by the fact that we signed this agreement that they are, but I will double-check.
QUESTION: Well, you signed one with Israel and Israel is not.
MR. BOUCHER: Well, I'll double-check on that.
QUESTION: Okay. And the second thing is, do you have any message for the EU foreign ministers as they go into their meeting in Copenhagen at the end of the week to discuss this very issue?
MR. BOUCHER: Just the message that we've given the Europeans in the Secretary's letter and that I gave here today --
QUESTION: Which is that these are bilateral agreements--
MR. BOUCHER: These are bilateral agreements that are totally compatible with the treaty. They respect the right of members to participate in the treaty and the Court, and they respect the right of people like the United States not to participate for what we think are very important reasons.
QUESTION: And you don't believe that it is appropriate for the European Union to take a common position on this? This should be left up to sovereign countries?
MR. BOUCHER: It should be left up to countries to decide bilaterally, with the Untied States, whether they want to sign these agreements.
QUESTION: What's the basis for that position?
MR. BOUCHER: That the statute, the whole provision, is one of bilateral agreements.
QUESTION: Okay. Can I just follow up on the same point? Some officials have been quoted as saying that it might be more difficult for the United States to take part in joint exercises or military operations or military operations with NATO if countries have not signed these agreements. Is that correct? Would it be more difficult?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't think I want to speculate at this point. As I said, our commitment to NATO is very strong. Our activity with NATO will continue in every possible way, and I wouldn't want to speculate on that. What we hope to do is to be able to conclude these agreements so that there's no impediment anywhere to US forces and the United States continuing to play the important role we've played in international security.
QUESTION: Same subject. If aspirant countries, hoping to join NATO, refuse to sign such an Article 98 agreement, would that affect the United States' willingness to vote for them?
MR. BOUCHER: I think I just said no. No.
QUESTION: I know this was on Thursday, but Tom DeLay in Houston gave a rather nasty speech where he accused the State Department of having more loyalties to the European Union, and the President even repeated some of the charges on Sunday on the Fox News show, with regards to the President's policy of regime change in Iraq. So I thought this would be a great opportunity for you to tack off all the ways you're supporting the President's policy of regime change in Iraq diplomatically with lots of other countries to respond to the Majority Whip's perceptions.
MR. BOUCHER: I appreciate the opportunity. You know, if I didn't just get back from vacation, I'm sure I would have all the ways in my head, but no, the answer is the President's policy of regime change in Iraq is our policy of regime change in Iraq.
We are doing our utmost to work with the Iraqi opposition groups. We're doing our utmost to support efforts, any efforts the United States can make internationally. And we're doing utmost to, not only to get UN Inspectors back to Iraq, but also to work with other governments around the world so they understand the kind of danger that Iraq poses to all of us.
This has been a subject of the Secretary's consultations with foreign ministers for many months now, to make absolutely clear that when the President talked about the "Axis of Evil," when he talked about the dangers that the Iraqi regime poses to us all, that this is a real problem that we're going to have to do something about. And that has been the subject of our diplomacy from the Secretary on down for many months now.
QUESTION: So we're regularly telling foreign governments, I guess, foreign embassies and also through the Secretary that we would -- we are actually pursuing change in regime in Iraq?
MR. BOUCHER: Yes.
QUESTION: Did the US have any -- did the State Department have any role, advisory or otherwise, in the Wrestling Federation's decision to cancel its participation in this wrestling matches in Iran?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't know.
QUESTION: World Wrestling Federation?
QUESTION: No, not the World Wresting Federation. No, it's real wresting.
MR. BOUCHER: I don't know, is the answer.
QUESTION: What else are we doing now in public diplomacy? I understand that the number three guy in the State Department -- excuse me, Pentagon, talked over Radio Sawa on Friday.
MR. BOUCHER: Number three?
MR. BOUCHER: Oh, Doug Feith?
QUESTION: Yes. And we're inviting dissidents to come to the State Department to teach them how to communicate better?
MR. BOUCHER: Yeah. We have, I think, first on Radio Sawa, we've certainly encouraged US officials to make themselves available to this outlet, as they do to other media outlets, and to try to get the US message out in a variety of ways to the region -- again, the basic message being that Saddam Hussein's pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and the way he's acted in the past towards his own people and his neighbors are a problem, are a danger to the region and to the rest of us, and it's not a danger that we can allow to fester. It's a problem that we have to do something about and we have been talking to variety of governments about that.
As far as the media training, this will be from August 27 to 30th. We'll have 17 prominent Iraqi expatriates from North America and Europe, hosted here at the State Department for four days of media outreach and public diplomacy training. All of these individuals have a story to tell regarding the brutality of the Saddam Hussein regime and the ways in which the Iraqi people would benefit from a change in that regime.
The training we're providing will help them become more effective spokesmen and spokeswomen on behalf of the real people of Iraq.
QUESTION: Does that mean that you're going to be bringing them in here to see how the --
MR. BOUCHER: We'll share not only what we have learned in this process, but I think we'll also bring in outside experts and people from other departments to help with this training.
QUESTION: So you're training them, basically, to be spokespeople for the -- for an Iraqi -- whatever regime may follow?
MR. BOUCHER: I think we're training people to tell their story. We're training people to tell their real stories of their experience with the brutality of the regime. We're helping train people to conduct television interviews, to write op-ed pieces, to just get their story out about what they've experienced and what they've seen in their own voice about Iraq and about the situation.
QUESTION: You're teaching them the art of spin?
MR. BOUCHER: No, we're teaching them the art of getting the truth out.
QUESTION: Well, these people have been telling their stories for some time now. Is there some reason they --
MR. BOUCHER: Some of them have and some of them haven't.
QUESTION: But you think they could do a better job of it, so you want the --
MR. BOUCHER: I'm sure we could all do a better job of it.
QUESTION: Right. Well, what I mean --
MR. BOUCHER: Periodic refresher training might be necessary for others.
QUESTION: What is this? How to do television? Don't look at the camera, look at the interviewer? What is--
MR. BOUCHER: It's actually the other way around.
QUESTION: Isn't this part of Charlotte Beers' new campaign?
MR. BOUCHER: No, this is part of the work that we've always done with the Iraqi opposition. We, as you know, have a variety of contacts with Iraqi opposition figures, and the goal is to give them a bit of experience and training in how they can interact with you all to tell their story.
QUESTION: Right, so can I just go back? Specifically, what does that mean?
MR. BOUCHER: It means hold your head up, don't mumble, talk to the camera -- all the things they told me before I stood out here the first day.
MR. BOUCHER: It means how to write something that's clear and effective, and it means tell the truth.
MR. BOUCHER: And it means tell your story honestly, and emotionally and clearly to people.
QUESTION: How much -- how much is this costing?
MR. BOUCHER: Don't know.
QUESTION: You said prominent -- I think you said prominent once. Can you tell us, give us more details as to who these people are? I mean, they are so prominent, maybe we know them.
MR. BOUCHER: I can't give you a list at this point. They have -- we have to talk to them first about which -- who among them would like to be named or who would like to be able to go about his or her business in their own private fashion.
QUESTION: Could we do that tomorrow, perhaps?
MR. BOUCHER: We'll see at some point during the week whether we can't either tell you who they are or allow you to meet some of them.
QUESTION: Is this primarily directed at a foreign audience or is it primarily directed at an American audience? With the media training, and then they go out in the world and then they're writing op-ed pieces for the New York Times or the Amman Jordan --
MR. BOUCHER: I don't think we're going to choose their audiences. As you know, there's no such thing as single-audience media anymore. You write or read around the world and the same thing -- you read foreign newspapers and what appears in Arab World or else, or comes back here.
But as I said, the basic idea is to help people tell their stories. These are real stories of people who have firsthand experience with the brutality of this regime, and we don't think there's anything unusual in us helping them learn how to tell their stories.
QUESTION: Still on Iraq. Do you have any comment on Secretary Baker's piece in the New York Times yesterday, specifically as it relates to his proposal for a UN Security Council resolution on inspections?
MR. BOUCHER: Not much beyond what the President already said. You know, Iraq is already under requirements of UN Security Council resolutions to allow immediate, unconditional and unrestricted access for inspectors. Iraq has not complied with those requirements. The UN Security Council certainly plays an important role. And we have, as the President said, looked at the views of Secretary Baker, and the President said he welcomes -- or the White House said, I guess on his behalf, the President welcomes the views of people with experience in these matters.
QUESTION: One other question on this broadcast training. If these people are, as Eli suggested --
MR. BOUCHER: It's not just broadcast. It's print, as well. Just to make sure that group is discriminated against.
QUESTION: If these people are going to aim their information at an American audience, wouldn't that possibly be a violation of the Smith-Mundt Act?
MR. BOUCHER: No. I will check with the lawyer for the precise definition, but we have always operated under Smith-Mundt that materials and information that's prepared by the US government for foreign audiences can't be distributed domestically. This is training people to do whatever they do, wherever they want to do it, not specifically any materials developed for an audience.
QUESTION: And for South Asia, finally, starting with Deputy Secretary Armitage's visit to South Asia -- if any breakthrough in this visit or what he accomplished?
MR. BOUCHER: I think he, himself, has talked in both India and Pakistan about his visits. He was there Friday and Saturday in India and Pakistan. He had very productive meetings with senior officials in both countries. He's following up on the Secretary's visit to the region last month.
In India, He met with National Security Advisor Mishra, with Defense Minister Georges Fernandes and Foreign Secretary Sibal.
In Pakistan, he met with President Musharaff, Interior Minister Haider, and Minister of State for Foreign Affiairs Inamul Haq.
His discussions covered the full range of US relations with both countries, including bilateral relations and de-escalation of tensions. He mentioned -- I think in India, he talked about multilateral issues, about strategic issues and security issues.
We've seen the decrease in tensions between India and Pakistan over the last several weeks and months, but we remain concerned about the continuing high level of military mobilization of both sides of the border and the line of control in Kashmir.
So we're continuing to encourage the two countries to lower tensions and engage in dialogue to resolve their difference. And Mr. Armitage's trip was part of that effort.
QUESTION: Can you talk about the elections in Kashmir and also the elections in Pakistan?
MR. BOUCHER: I'm not sure I have anything new to say on either of those topics. Has there been some development to comment on?
QUESTION: And, let me put in different way. General Musharraf recently announced an amendment in the Pakistani constitution, and some people are saying that there is no constitution now in Pakistan because whenever there's a new government comes, elected government, they have original constitution, whenever the military comes in, the generals amend their own -- they make their own constitutions.
And now at the time of his announcement of this amendment, the US praised him that he's doing a great job. So what -- do you have any comments about -- do you have any comments about
MR. BOUCHER: Other than disagreeing with a lot of the assumptions in your question, do you have a question for me to comment on?
Let me go back to the question you asked before, okay?
QUESTION: On the amendments.
MR. BOUCHER: We've talked about the election in Kashmir before. I think the Secretary made clear during his trip that this can be one of the elements in moving forward. As far as the amendments in Pakistan and the upcoming election in Pakistan, we've made quite clear that return to democratic civilian rule in Pakistan is important to us. It's something that the Secretary discussed during his visit out there a month ago. It's something the Deputy Secretary discussed with President Musharraf during his visit there. And we look to the elections in October to be a step in that direction.
So we certainly want to see a process of full restoration of democratic civilian rule continue. These amendments had been out for public comment and I think, you know, we look for them to be implemented in a way that's consistent with that comment and with the Pakistani constitution.
But the bigger picture that remains important to us is the commitment that President Musharraf has made to return Pakistan to democratic civilian rule. That commitment remains important to us, as I am sure it is to him as well.
QUESTION: Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has been talking about returning to Pakistan and run for the parliament. There is speculation that General Musharraf said if she returns she will be arrested, but now she said she is determined to do. If she have any support from the State Department or --
MR. BOUCHER: We don't pick particular candidates or support particular individuals.
QUESTION: Unless I'm badly mistaken, there are now -- you have two teams, separate teams of people, in North Korea. What can you tell us about what these people are doing?
MR. BOUCHER: Two?
QUESTION: Two. One is MIA -- well, I know what they're doing but I wanted you to tell me. One is on MIAs and I believe there's a State Department component to that, and then the other one is KEDO.
MR. BOUCHER: There is a spent fuel team that's out there including a State Department person, and I'd have to check on MIA, whether there's an MIA team out there and whether the State Department is part of that.
We've had a working level team out there since August 24th in Pyongyang to discuss ongoing spent fuel storage project in North Korea. The delegation includes experts from the Department of State and the Department of Energy. The talks are entirely about the spent fuel program.
QUESTION: What is this? This is the nuclear plan that was --
MR. BOUCHER: -- part of the -- in Yongbyon. Yeah, this is an agreement in the Agreed Framework to safely store and monitor the spent fuel from the reactor in Yongbyon pending its eventual transport and disposal outside of North Korea.
QUESTION: Where do we stand in that? I mean, it seems a long time since --
MR. BOUCHER: This is an ongoing effort, it's an ongoing project, and it's one that we will continue to discuss. They have, on an ongoing basis, the need to talk about logistical issues, safety issues, technical issues, and that's what these teams do.
QUESTION: Do you know where the spent fuel is at the moment? Is it still at --
MR. BOUCHER: I don't know precisely where it is, no.
QUESTION: But you don't know about the --
MR. BOUCHER: The other one, I don't know. I'll have to check on it.
QUESTION: Does that include IAEA?
MR. BOUCHER: No, this is in connection with the Agreed Framework and the Korean Energy Development projects.
QUESTION: The spent fuel?
MR. BOUCHER: Yeah, yeah. I would imagine the IAEA has some role with it, but I frankly don't know exactly what it is.
QUESTION: I have one more. It's very minor, though. How many, if any, diplomatic license plates have you revoked in New York following your agreement with the City last week?
MR. BOUCHER: Do we know? I'll have to check.
QUESTION: I'm sorry. I was of the impression that the State Department actually was the one that issued these things.
MR. BOUCHER: The State Department is the one that's in charge of this, and I assure you I will check on it and get that information for you.
MR. BOUCHER: Okay, Ben.
QUESTION: Afghan Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah said that he believes that a large number of al-Qaida people are in northwestern Pakistan, including possibly bin Laden and Mullah Omar. Is the United States satisfied with Pakistani efforts to investigate these charges, these reports?
MR. BOUCHER: I would say that we have been quite satisfied with the effort that Pakistan has made in the northwest of its country --its northwest, right? Yeah -- including establishing government presence and activity in tribal areas. And I think US military and others, including Deputy Secretary Armitage, have expressed confidence that Pakistan will take whatever action is necessary to make sure that terrorists don't set themselves up in these places.
Let's go back.
QUESTION: Let me ask about the meeting between Deputy Secretary Richard Armitage and the Japanese senior officials. Are there any possibility they're going to talk about the future military operation against Iraq or some kind of cooperation for that?
MR. BOUCHER: I wouldn't want to speculate on that. I'm sure he'll discuss a full range of issues with the Japanese. I'm not in a position to give a precise list.
QUESTION: Richard, one in India, back to Secretary Armitage. Did he -- if he had any chance to meet any of the recent groups from the Kashmiri opposition groups who are operating in actions in Kashmir, including (inaudible)?
MR. BOUCHER: I'm trying to think if I have -- I gave you the list of the people he met with, so, no, I don't think he had a chance to meet with others.
Okay, Joel had one.
QUESTION: Is the so-called Bethlehem-Gaza deal dead? Israeli Defense Minister Ben-Eliezer has said that as far as he's concerned it's on hold, and thereafter both the Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Now, they said they won't exit from Hebron, but they've just gone after and seized a senior terrorist in Jenin who apparently has been active in the bus suicide bombings. Many of -- some of the people who have been injured are Americans.
Do you want extradition for those terrorists?
MR. BOUCHER: Let's try to separate this into three parts. On the Bethlehem-Gaza deal, we've seen different statements coming out. But I think what we would say is we were pleased with the arrangement and we are pleased that the sides took steps fairly quickly on implementation of the arrangement. We continue to consider this a positive development that the Israelis withdrew from Bethlehem. It's imperative that Palestinian security forces take full command of the positions that have been recently vacated by the Israelis so that they can prevent the recurrence of violence and terror.
So we have been urging both sides to remain committed to their agreement and continued security contacts, including contacts by local commanders. Regular detailed discussions will be critical to ensuring the long-term success of this initiative and improvement in the Palestinian humanitarian situation. So that remains something that's important to us and we continue to urge both sides to move, continue to move, down that road that they started with.
On the question of Jenin, you'd have to get details from the Israelis about seizing, according to reports, a Hamas figure in Jenin.
On the question of extradition, really, the bombing at the Hebrew University, I think that this relates to, is under investigation now by Israeli authorities and by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. They have been working very closely together. We've been talking in close consultation with the Israeli Government. It is just premature at this point to talk about extradition.
QUESTION: Richard, can you talk about Satterfield's trip to the region?
MR. BOUCHER: Sure. I think you've all seen the readout of the Task Force meetings that were held last week in Paris, 22 and 23rd, second meeting of the International Task Forces. They got reports from the working groups and they'll continue that effort.
Deputy Assistant Secretary Satterfield was out for that meeting. He is now traveling to the region on a series of regional consultations in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and he'll have discussions with Israelis and Palestinians in Jerusalem.
He was in Saudi Arabia over the weekend. He's now in Egypt and will be on to Jordan tomorrow.
During his visit he'll consult with the parties and regional leaders regarding how best to advance the cause of civil reform and maintain active security cooperation and work towards restoration of political dialogue between the parties.
QUESTION: A Basque ETA separatist group has been brought to court in Spain and the judge only administered a three-year suspension. Do you find that adequate or do you think --
MR. BOUCHER: I don't know that particular case, so I would have to look at it and see if we have anything on it.
QUESTION: One more on Afghanistan.
MR. BOUCHER: One more.
QUESTION: According to the reports now, US State Department security is going to protect or guard Karzai and not from the military.
MR. BOUCHER: Yes, we are. The State Department's Diplomatic Security Service is to assume protective responsibility for President Karzai sometime in September.
The Diplomatic Security Service will use multiple assets to accomplish the mission, to include their own personnel and support from the military and private contractors. This will augment Afghan security for President Karzai, and one of their tasks, one of their jobs that they look forward to, is to train Afghan security detail for him. That's about as far as I can go for security reasons, but yes, we are going to help assume some of the burden of security and work with Afghan security personnel to do that and to help them grow as a group that can do that for long term.
QUESTION: -- Karzai garment, and also, what will be the difference between what now he's getting this security and what you are expecting to give him.
MR. BOUCHER: Well, our Diplomatic Security Service are people who are trained in the provision of personal security and protection for VIPs, so this is exactly what they do, and do quite well for us overseas, for foreign dignitaries visiting the United States, and in some cases for foreign leaders.
The goal, I think, this comes about as a result of discussions between the Afghan Government, including President Karzai, to make sure that he has effective protection. And as I said, they'll be working with the Afghan protection personnel to make sure that their resources are augmented by whatever expertise and resources we can provide, but also so that we can provide the kind of training and experience for them that will lead them to be able to take over this job for the longer term.
QUESTION: How much is this going to cost?
MR. BOUCHER: I'm not going to speculate as to how much it may cost?
QUESTION: Oh. So this is an open-ended, multi, possibly-multi-billion dollar thing we're talking about here? Well, you know, you've got to have some idea, I hope, and you have to ask Congress for the money, don't you?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't know if we need a specific line item for this, but I'm told at this point I don't have any particular -- I don't have an estimate.
QUESTION: How many people --
MR. BOUCHER: Again, that's the kind of detail we can't get into for security reasons.
QUESTION: And the precedent for this? Are there any precedents?
MR. BOUCHER: Yes.
QUESTION: And they would be? Where Diplomatic Security has taken over --
MR. BOUCHER: Assumed protection. We've done an awful lot of training in working with foreign protective services. We protect foreign dignitaries who come to the United States.
QUESTION: Yeah, but --
MR. BOUCHER: And I think we've done this kind of thing for President Aristide of Haiti, maybe others.
QUESTION: Did the Karzai government ask for this, Richard?
MR. BOUCHER: As I said, discussions between us and the Karzai government -- this is a follow-on to the military. You know, we had military assets out there that were immediately provided and this is a follow-on to do it with people who are more specifically trained in VIP protection.
QUESTION: And do you know for how long?
MR. BOUCHER: No.
QUESTION: For how long?