State Dept. Daily Press Briefing for October 13
Daily Press Briefing
Richard Boucher, Spokesman
October 13, 2004
- Status of Naivasha Peace Talks
- Situation in Darfur
- Humanitarian Assistance
- German Policy on Troops
- Securing Iraq's Border with Syria
- Draft Inspector General Report on Radio Sawa
- Secretary of State as Ex Officio Member of the BroadcastingBoard of Governors
- G-8 Meetings and U.S. Representation
- Views of Legislation Creating an Office of Anti-Semitism
- President Karzai's Security Detail
- Role of Dyncorp
- Reports on Conduct of Contractors
- Compliance with IAEA Requirements
- Referral to the UN Security Council
- UN Reform
- Secretary General's High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change
- Economic and Social Council
- Committee Assignments
- Implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1559
- Washington Visit of Ambassador Ning Fukui, Chinese Envoy to North Korea
- Contact with China Outside of the G-8 Context
(12:45 p.m. EDT)
MR. BOUCHER: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. It's a pleasure to be here. I don't have any statements or announcements, so I would be glad to take your questions.
QUESTION: Well, let's go to Sudan, for -- after a stretch of not getting involved with the situation.
There's a UN report now that things are getting worse, tougher to get aid through. You know, things were looking a little better for a while was the impression we were given. Is there a down turn now?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't have an overall characterization of the situation. I think we are -- we remain very concerned about the situation in Sudan. It remains a key focus of our efforts two ways. One is, the Naivasha talks have resumed and that Vice President Taha and Mr. -- Dr.Garang are both there, and we have senior officials out there. We have supported very much the work of the Kenyan mediator, General Sumbeiywo, on behalf of the IGAD, it's called. And we are working very hard out there to try to secure, try to help them finish up the final details of the agreements that they have previously reached. And in fact, over the weekend, the Secretary spoke both to Vice President Taha and Dr. Garang to encourage them to find solutions to the problems that they were facing out there. So that's one thing. And it's an important track and it could have a contributing benefit for the situation in Darfur if they get the overall governance of the Sudan and arrangements in Sudan worked out in those details.
Second of all, we're focused very much on the situation in Darfur. We have been working very closely with the African Union and others to help with their planning and support their planning. We have let the contracts for logistical support for the expanded force of African Union troops -- that's about 3500 troops. So we have contracted already for building camps, maintaining vehicles and radios, procuring office equipment, providing transport of equipment or personnel, and we're coordinating with the Nigerians, with the African Union, with other troop-committed, troop-donor countries to help the African Union get in there quickly. And then, of course, we maintain a very high level of effort on humanitarian assistance to get humanitarian assistance into Darfur and help the people there.
Okay, thank you. Charlie.
QUESTION: As a follow-up to that: Richard, who is the contract with? It's DynCorp, isn't it? Or is it not? And how much is the contract for?
QUESTION: And when was it offered as a solution?
MR. BOUCHER: The -- I don't know exactly how much the contract is. As you know, we had 6.8 million available. We have now obligated the additional 20.6 million the Secretary announced in his testimony a few weeks or a month ago. Whether the contract is for that full amount, I don't know yet. I'll have to check on that.
We also would note Canada has made a contribution of $15 million, which we very much appreciate, and we're urging other donor nations to help out as well. But I'll have to get you details on the contract.
QUESTION: Is that 15 million Canadian dollars?
MR. BOUCHER: I -- mine just has a dollar sign next to it. Either way, it's more than I make, so I don't --
QUESTION: I'm not suggesting anything. I just wanted --
MR. BOUCHER: No, I don't know. Frankly, I don't know.
QUESTION: If I could change the subject?
MR. BOUCHER: Yeah.
QUESTION: Germany, Iraq? There have been different comments come out from German officials today about their policy towards sending Iraq troops -- troops to Iraq. Are you satisfied that the policy hasn't changed? And is there any concern that, that contradictory statements might play into the U.S. campaign with the different stances on Iraq?
MR. BOUCHER: First of all, I'm not here to explain German Government policy.
I do note that we saw the statements in The Financial Times this morning. We also have subsequently seen the statements from the Chancellor's office, where he made very clear that German policy has not changed; and I think he said, "and it won't change." So if that's the position of the Chancellor, that's the position of the German Government.
It's -- and then that, then, led us actually to go back and read the story, read the exact quotes from the Defense Minister, and he said German policy hadn't changed either. So I'm not quite sure what all the fuss is about this morning. But anyway, any further clarification would have to come from the German Government.
I would note the Secretary of State picked up the phone and called Foreign Minister Fischer this morning, and, as these reports were coming out, just to ask if he'd changed something. And the Foreign Minister said, "No, we haven't."
QUESTION: A follow-up on Iraq. Yesterday, when the Secretary was interviewed by Al Hurra, he was talking about what the Syrians need to do as far as securing the border with Iraq. What is the U.S. trying to do as far as actually help the Syrians meet this goal? He -- the Secretary talked about the fact that words are one thing and actions are actually quite another, and he called for specific action. But what, what is the U.S. actually doing to, you know, help the Iraqis secure the borders?
MR. BOUCHER: Well, I think that -- you mean help in terms of money, troops, equipment, or?
QUESTION: No, well, I mean, just --
MR. BOUCHER: What we have done in -- is to meet with the Syrians in a tripartite way: The U.S. and the coalition, the Iraqis and the Syrians to talk about how we make arrangements along this border, how we communicate with each other along this border, how we each do our own part for ensuring the security of the border. Then in terms of the actual sort of deployment of people and the instructions to their people, that's something for the Syrian Government to take care of for them to do their part in this whole enterprise. And certainly, the efforts that the Iraqis have and the United States have on the Iraqi side of the border have been active and ongoing, and our desire now is to see the Syrians adopt a proactive attitude there and to patrol the border and police -- control the border and to communicate with people on the other side, with the Iraqis especially, in order that they jointly take care of problems that might exist there.
We have had, I think, positive meetings in terms of trying to work out those kinds of arrangements, and now it's the moment that actual deployments and policing and efforts have to be undertaken.
QUESTION: Would you describe the U.S. and Iraqi efforts to secure the borders as a success?
MR. BOUCHER: I think certainly you can check with the military on what their estimates are in terms of what they've interdicted and what they've been able to track and what they've been able to prevent, but we all know that the efforts on one side of the border can't be successful without efforts on the other side of the border. You can't completely control an area if people have places of refuge, places to hide or places to stage from. And that's why it's very important on all of Iraq's borders that the cooperation of the neighbors is secured, and Iraq has made a major effort to make sure they do have the cooperation of their neighbors in protecting their borders.
QUESTION: On this, Richard, you say it's now time for deployment. What exactly was decided when those two delegations or groups went over to Syria in the past couple of weeks that you are now saying that it, that -- MR. BOUCHER: But they really -- at this point, it gets into military matters that I don't think I'm in a position to describe the kinds of efforts that we would expect to make. But it basically has to do with where people are put and ensuring the kind of communications and information sharing that's necessary for this to become an active enterprise that prevents people from using this area and from crossing this border.
QUESTION: But on the political level, the decisions have being made, so now you're just waiting for the military decisions to be made?
MR. BOUCHER: Well, the military, some of the military decisions have been made as well. What we're waiting to see is how -- for it to actually work out on the ground.
QUESTION: A different subject. Can you tell us what the status of this IG report on Radio Sawa is and talk a little bit about whether the State Department is pleased with the work that it's doing?
MR. BOUCHER: The --
QUESTION: The radio, not the IG.
MR. BOUCHER: Yeah. Can I say we're pleased with the work the IG is doing as well, please?
QUESTION: Well, it doesn't sound like you are pleased.
MR. BOUCHER: No, we are always pleased with the work the Inspector General is doing and we value very much the contributions that that office and the Inspector General make to improvement of management of State Department operations.
QUESTION: Well, then maybe perhaps you should tell people at the BBG, and others, that they should stop bad-mouthing the IG.
MR. BOUCHER: I'll -- let me say what I can to answer your question, first.
The Office of the Inspector General is in the process of preparing a report that reviews the Broadcasting Board of Governors' Middle East Radio Network Launch and Broadcast Initiatives. The -- our Inspector General has jurisdiction both over the State Department, as well as the Board of Broadcasting Governments -- Governors, which is independent from the State Department.
The report has been prepared in light of the Office of the Inspector General's mandate to review all Department and Board of Broadcasting Governors' programs on a periodic basis, so it's a periodic report. The report is currently in draft; it has not been released. I can't comment on particulars of a report that's still a -- in a draft form, and -- even though it appears that a preliminary draft might have made its way to The Washington Post.
I would point out that our new Acting Inspector General, who came on board a couple of months ago, raised concerns when he saw this report about the criteria that were being used in preparing the Radio Sawa Report. And so he asked for clarification of some of the facts and some of -- the legal basis for the Radio Sawa's operations. And the report is now being reviewed and revised to be consistent with the facts and the legal basis as it emerged.
So that's a standard practice for an OIG report. It goes through a number of revisions for different reasons, as it's finalized. And so, that's -- and in this case, that's the source of the revisions, not particularly comments that were made by the Board of Broadcasting Governors, I'd have to say.
QUESTION: Richard, what criteria does he have a problem with? Like, what are the concerns about the criteria, and what kind of clarification is he asking for?
MR. BOUCHER: Well, again, as I said, he wanted to look at some of the facts and also the legal basis for the operations of Radio Sawa.
This subject came up at our staff meeting this morning. The Secretary made clear to the Inspector General that he, for one, was looking for a report that compared the operations of Radio Sawa to the legal basis and mandate for Radio Sawa: How did they do against the goal as it's stated in law? And that, I think, is one of the questions, already, that the Inspector General had been looking at in order to clarify the facts and the legal basis for the operations of Radio Sawa.
To get to the point that your colleagues also raised, I think our general view of Radio Sawa is very positive. It's a start-up operation that has been able to grab a lot of attention among its target audience, grab a lot of market share in many places. And we think that's an important part of building up an operation that can represent the United States to some extent in the world. And that's what they do, and we think they're doing that very well.
We're obviously also always interested in whatever the Inspector General can tell us about how they're operating and how they can -- operations can be improved or made -- any way improved or made more consistent with the kind of mandate and basis that they have for operations.
QUESTION: Well, but Richard, I don't think there's, even in this draft report that you can't comment on, I don't think there's any dispute that they grabbed a market share. I think the question is whether they're fulfilling what you stood from the podium and said that Radio Sawa was intended to do, which is get the people in the region to understand the U.S. a bit more. And, I mean, does it, you know -- are you, at the end of the day, even if you kind of reclarify the criteria and the, you know, legal basis, at the end of the day, are you willing to accept an independent report and also the reports of various public diplomacy and Arab experts that say that perhaps -- well, that perhaps you're not fulfilling what you intended to do?
MR. BOUCHER: You're making judgments down the road about a report that you haven't seen yet and hasn't been released and hasn't been finalized, so it's not time to start making judgments. When this report is finished, the Inspector General's Office will make it available, as they usually do, with things that they -- where they can. I would expect they would make it, at least in some fashion, available on their website, so we'll be able to see what they end up with when they end up with it. But to start making judgments on Radio Sawa right now based on a press story about a preliminary draft of a report that's being revised strikes me as a little bit unfounded.
So I -- your colleague asked, what's our general impression? That's our general impression. They've been able to succeed in their first goal, which is to establish market share. They have the attention of their audience. They do have regular newscasts. They did broadcast the President's speech to the United Nations, live, to the Arab world, which we think is, you know, an important example of things they can do.
And we'll look forward to hearing more from the Inspector General about how their operations can be improved or whatever procedural or legal matters the Inspector General decides to raise. This is truly an independent report from the Inspector General that nobody is trying to influence.
The Secretary said he wanted an independent report that was able to determine how well they're succeeding against the criteria that they -- on which they were established and the goals that have, that have been set for them. And we'll -- that's what we expect we will get from the Inspector General. And if there are improvements to be made, I'm sure they can be made at that time.
QUESTION: Okay, a couple of technical things on that.
MR. BOUCHER: Okay.
QUESTION: Do you know for a fact that she hasn't seen the report? You said --
MR. BOUCHER: I guess no, I don't know for a fact she has not seen the report. But she has not asserted that she has.
QUESTION: No. The other thing --
MR. BOUCHER: How can it be the final, because there is not a final yet?
QUESTION: How was it that they screwed up and used the wrong criteria? And has this happened before with other -- are other IG reports suspect?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't know they screwed up and used the wrong criteria, Matt. I'm not, myself, privy to the --
QUESTION: Okay. Well, you said that during the morning staff -- or you said that the Acting Inspector General had raised concerns about the criteria that were --
MR. BOUCHER: That were used. About the facts and legal basis. That has raised concerns about them. And whether they screwed up and used the wrong criteria or whether there are aspects of the criteria that need to be clarified, I just don't know. And that's a matter for the Inspector General, frankly.
QUESTION: Well, there are people from the BBG who are quoted in the story, on the record, by name, as saying that the criteria used was the VO -- was the mandate, the VOA charter, which Radio Sawa is a different entity.
MR. BOUCHER: Yeah.
QUESTION: Is that correct?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't know. But that will be something that the Inspector General will want to clarify what exactly their mandate is and what their charter is.
QUESTION: Can you dispute charges that you're kind of re -- they're moving the goal posts and changing the criteria to get a better result?
MR. BOUCHER: No, that's not true. Yes, I can dispute that. It's not true. The Inspector General is doing an independent, objective, factual report based on the law, and he has obtained the facts and he is obtaining legal clarifications, and it's on that basis that he will produce an independent report that tells us all what we need to know about Radio Sawa and its mandate and how it's doing.
QUESTION: Well, was there some concern that the Acting Inspector General raised about the accuracy, independence, and -- of the draft?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't know if he -- if he questioned the accuracy or independence of the draft. I think it's the responsibility of the Inspector General to get it right. And if he wants to know exactly what the legal basis is, exactly what the facts are, then that's his job.
QUESTION: Well, if his responsibility is to get it right, that would suggest that the draft was not right.
MR. BOUCHER: You're automatically saying that something --
QUESTION: No, I'm asking a question.
MR. BOUCHER: Well, you're suggesting.
QUESTION: I'm just ask -- I'm just trying to figure out what's going on here.
MR. BOUCHER: All right, Matt. I'm not saying the thing was wrong. I'm saying the thing can be made better. Whether it was wrong or not, I frankly don't know. I'm not involved in drafting of IG reports and I shouldn't be. IG reports are independent products from the Inspector General. If the Inspector General wants to say, "We had it wrong and we fixed it," that's up to him. But as far as I know from the Inspector General, they asked for clarifications of the law involved, of some of the facts of the matter, in order to produce a report that is on a more solid legal and factual basis. That's what we expect from the Inspector General and we look forward to seeing the report when it's done.
QUESTION: Well, so there were questions about the legal basis for what -- for what -- for what was reviewed?
MR. BOUCHER: I said that he asked for the clarification of the facts and the legal basis.
QUESTION: Well, no, you just said more solid legal basis, implying to everyone who understands English that the draft wasn't good enough --
MR. BOUCHER: I'm not implying, I'm not suggesting, I'm not making sweeping judgments at this point. I'm not trying to pick up implications. I'm just saying these are the facts. This is what's happened, and we will look forward to seeing the report when it comes out.
QUESTION: I know, and my last one is very technical. The State Department's relationship to the BBG is what -- you said the Secretary is a member --
MR. BOUCHER: The Secretary is an ex officio member and has a representative who sits on the Board, yeah.
QUESTION: Which is usually the Deputy Secretary?
MR. BOUCHER: Usually the Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs.
QUESTION: New subject?
MR. BOUCHER: Please.
QUESTION: Thank you. Back to DynCorp, but a different country -- Afghanistan.
MR. BOUCHER: I did not confirm DynCorp has a contract in Darfur. I'm not sure about my facts.
QUESTION: No, no, a different country.
MR. BOUCHER: I know, but somebody said earlier, implied that, and I don't want anybody else picking it up, because we don't know it's true. It may be, but maybe not.
QUESTION: All right. There was an unflattering portrayal of DynCorp's activities in Afghanistan, like they were portrayed as kind of a marauding presence there without rules and regulations governing their activities. Do you have anything to say about that?
MR. BOUCHER: The -- I think it's first important to remember the mission in Afghanistan, protecting high-level people. President Karzai's security effort is a difficult one. It's a very dangerous environment. We all know that there are a lot of very nasty people would like to do harm to President Karzai and other Afghan leaders. And therefore, the security operation is very important.
Since November of 2002, the State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security has been responsible for President Karzai's security, and in doing that we've received assistance from DynCorp contractors, but the State Department has the responsibility and the supervision of this operation. It's a very difficult mission, it's a very dangerous mission, and we think overall, the security detail out there has done an outstanding job and we appreciate the efforts of everybody involved.
At the same time, we have seen these reports, and from time to time have heard others -- reports of aggressive behavior by some of the contractors. And we have addressed that issue with the contractors on the ground, as well as with DynCorp management. We'll continue to raise these issues and address them as necessary, but we do understand the difficulty of the task and the need to do everything possible to make sure that President Karzai and other senior people are protected.
QUESTION: Richard, when you say to protect Karzai that the Bureau of Diplomatic Security receives assistance from DynCorp --
MR. BOUCHER: Yeah.
QUESTION: The pay very, very -- not something --
MR. BOUCHER: They have a contract with DynCorp.
QUESTION: And it's a -- do you know how much that is?
MR. BOUCHER: No, I don't.
QUESTION: But it's not an insignificant amount of money?
MR. BOUCHER: It's a significant operation and therefore, I would expect it involves a significant --
QUESTION: Can you -- when you say that from time to time, reports of aggressive behavior arise and you have raised this, do you know if it was raised with DynCorp, a particularly aggressive behavior that happened during one of the Secretary's trips to Kabul?
MR. BOUCHER: I know there were questions raised at the time by, in fact, by members of the press corps, and that those were discussed, at least on the ground with people. I don't know if they were raised with the headquarters.
QUESTION: Okay, but not -- I'm not talking about the press corps. I'm talking about the --
MR. BOUCHER: No, there were questions raised by our people and the press corps during one of the Secretary's visits --
MR. BOUCHER: -- about some of the -- some of the operations, the way that some of the contractors were conducting their operations in their protective duty. And I know that those issues were discussed on the ground with the contractors. But whether they were, in fact, raised with headquarters or not, I don't know.
QUESTION: Have you seen any change in their behavior since these issues have been raised with management?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't have a sweeping judgment. They do come up from time to time when we raise specifics. But as I said, we all understand that they try to do the best possible job, both from the point of view of their posture, but also from the point of view of their overall responsibility to protect their -- President Karzai. It's a balance and --
QUESTION: Can I follow on this?
MR. BOUCHER: -- the balance gets readjusted periodically, but it has to be kept in mind with the overall importance of the mission.
QUESTION: Without making it a sweeping judgment, can you say if the issues have been coming out less frequently or more frequently?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't know at this point.
QUESTION: About his meeting, a couple of, two or three logistical questions. These are not foreign ministers, are they?
MR. BOUCHER: No.
QUESTION: And do you know --
MR. BOUCHER: Political directors and senior officials.
QUESTION: Do you know -- well, we're talking G-8. Do you know which G-8 countries might attend, at this point?
MR. BOUCHER: All of them.
QUESTION: You expect them all?
MR. BOUCHER: Yeah.
MR. BOUCHER: Yeah.
QUESTION: On that and the attendance. I got the impression yesterday in this building that Bolton would be the highest level U.S. official there, but I see that today in Tokyo, Deputy Secretary Armitage says he's rushing back from Asia to go to the meeting. Is that -- are you aware of this? It was at one of his press availabilities that you guys had posted the transcripts on your website.
MR. BOUCHER: We --
QUESTION: My understanding --
MR. BOUCHER: You didn't see that in the transcript.
QUESTION: No, no, no, no --
MR. BOUCHER: Did you maybe read too fast?
QUESTION: My understanding was that was the original -- that was the plan, as I had heard it yesterday.
MR. BOUCHER: I have checked around and there is no -- as far as I know, there is nothing specifically scheduled for the Deputy Secretary at this point. But I'll continue checking and see if -- his return --
MR. BOUCHER: He is returning Thursday, so it's conceivable. But as far as I know, it's not planned or scheduled at this point. We'll just have to see. And if I get more --
QUESTION: We'll have to go back and look at the transcript if Bolton --
MR. BOUCHER: If he plans on being there, and my guess is he'll be there.
QUESTION: And it's not that he would supersede Bolton -- that Bolton and he would co-chair.
MR. BOUCHER: I don't know what specific reason for it --
QUESTION: Or do you have it for more than just day's meeting? Do you know if this will go into the weekend or?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't know that there is anything more than a day's meeting that's planned.
QUESTION: And has the Secretary done any -- telephoning usually is what he would do -- done anything to be in touch with higher up officials in these various capitals about this proposition which came in, I understand yesterday, on a piece of paper?
MR. BOUCHER: Well, the discussion needs to proceed at the level of senior officials and political directors. That's where the G-8 works issues together: nonproliferation issues, political issues, issues of their relationships of importance to them. The impetus for this discussion comes from the Secretary's discussion with G-8 foreign ministers in September, and comes from the efforts that the Europeans are making to look at what they can do to get the Iranians to comply with their obligations to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
It has been a frequent subject of discussion between the Secretary and his counterparts. He is not making any particular phone calls in anticipation of this particular meeting, but it's an ongoing effort both at the ministerial level and at the more detailed sort of level that is going to be worked on Friday.
QUESTION: Are you concerned -- on a policy level -- are you concerned that if something is set in play it would vitiate or at least work against the U.S. determination to get this issue to the Security Council?
MR. BOUCHER: The point, I think, that everybody has made -- the G-8 countries, the European 3 and the United States -- is that Iran needs to comply with its own commitments and the requirements of the IAEA Board. That, that is the only thing that would vitiate the process, that would change the process. Iraq -- Iran is either going to comply with the requirements or it's not. If it doesn't, if it continues not to, we continue to believe -- I wouldn't even put an "if" on it, I'd just say "punkt." We continue to believe that Iran's past behavior merits referral to the Security Council.
So, but I think every -- if Iran came around and did what they're being asked to do, everybody would take that into account.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) Iraq, because if the Europeans get something in action, either genuinely or ingenuously, couldn't the Iranians seize on that and start some sort of a dialogue? And then how would you --maybe I'm looking too far ahead -- how could you then go to the UN and expect the same Europeans who are negotiating with Iran to support a decision?
MR. BOUCHER: Again, like -- we're not going to jump seven steps down the road and predict failure and wimping out and all that sort of stuff quite yet. The point, I think --
QUESTION: But you will at some point? (Laughter.)
MR. BOUCHER: If it happens, we'll deal with it. Where we are now and where I think the Europeans are now, and they have made this clear as well, is that Iran needs to comply with the requirements and the commitments that it's made. Okay? And so that's what this discussion is about. This discussion is not about how to engage in some extended dialogue.
The September International Atomic Energy Agency Board meeting said, "We are looking for reports; we're looking for action before the November meeting by Iran to meet these requirements." The Europeans have said they're looking for action to meet these requirements. If that action doesn't take place, then it is likely that other countries will be more supportive of the U.S. goal, which is to move this matter to the Security Council.
And so, on Friday, we're going to discuss -- hear from the Europeans on the work they have been doing on how to get the Iranians to comply, and we're going to discuss with them, further, what to do if, in the Security Council, if there is agreement in November to refer it there.
QUESTION: All right, I'll let it go.
MR. BOUCHER: Yeah.
QUESTION: I have one more question, which I've kind of forgotten now. But you don't -- do you expect Friday to be a kind of decisive meeting, or do you think you'll just be in listening mode in terms of listening to some of the ideas that the European has, or do you expect a course of action to be determined?
MR. BOUCHER: Yes.
QUESTION: To be a decisive meeting?
MR. BOUCHER: No, I also consider it to be a listening mode to terms of working on the course of action.
If you look at how this issue has evolved; the decisive points are when Iran is faced with a decision of whether to comply or not. And so in terms of the political decision to make clear to Iran that they must comply, I would say that was made at the September Board of Governors meeting and reinforced by the G-8 ministers dinner in New York. That fundamental political decision has already been made that the period we're in now is one of telling -- making clear to Iran that they need to comply and how they must comply.
The meeting on Friday, then, becomes sort of the working implementation of that about how do you do that, and it may decide how do you go forward, but the kind of big political decision you were asking about I think has pretty much already been made by the ministers when they got together and said between now and November we need to make very clear to Iran that they need to comply.
QUESTION: But it surely won't be an indecisive meeting?
MR. BOUCHER: Never.
QUESTION: Can I --
MR. BOUCHER: Let's do one or two others and then I'll come back.
QUESTION: The Secretary met today, I think, with the head of this Eminent Persons Panel that's studying United Nations reform, and I wonder, did he present recommendations to the Secretary, what were they, did they advance, you know, U.S. thinking on this issue.
MR. BOUCHER: I think he talked to you all a little bit on the way out the door, and I would just say that it was a good meeting with former Prime Minister Anand. They discussed the work that Mr. Anand is doing as Chairman of the UN Secretary General's High-Level Panel on Threats, Challenges and Change. This is a broad mandate. They have a lot of things to look at. So they did talk about the Security Council issues. They also talked about ECOSOC. They also talked about coordination with other organizations, a whole lot of different topics that this group is looking at. The -- I think the summary is that Chairman Anand said they're still working on it, and the Secretary said we look forward to seeing it when it's done. That's pretty much where we are at this point.
QUESTION: On that?
MR. BOUCHER: On that.
QUESTION: On the Economic and Social Council, which has been problematic for you guys in the past, what particularly would the United States like to see done about the selections that that commission makes for various, various agencies?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't think -- we have not tried to stake out positions on all the issues that this committee is looking at, and so I'm not aware of what we might have said in the past, but I don't think we have anything new to say at this point.
QUESTION: Would you like to see the commission recommend something whereby, say, countries that have been branded as, you know, serial human rights abusers do not get to sit on organizations -- on commissions like this, the Human Rights Commission and things like that?
MR. BOUCHER: Again, the United States has had -- has made very clear our views of some of the people that have taken over some of these organizations or participated in some of these organizations. Whether the committee will address that or not is up to them. It wasn't a subject of discussion today and all I can say is they will look at all these matters and we'll look forward to seeing what they come up with.
QUESTION: Can you update us on what's going on in the Security Council regarding the implementation of Resolution 1559?
MR. BOUCHER: There have been continuing discussions in the Council. I'm not aware of anything new today, frankly.
Yeah. Okay. Ma'am.
QUESTION: We learned that China's North Korea Envoy, Ambassador Ning, is coming to Washington this Friday after two-day visit in Seoul. Can you provide us more information about that?
MR. BOUCHER: Well, Ambassador Ning Fukui, Chinese Envoy for North Korea, will visit Washington on Friday. He'll have discussions here with a number of U.S. officials regarding the six-party talks and how to move the process forward. At the State Department, Ambassador Ning will meet with Deputy Secretary Armitage, with Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs James Kelly, and with the U.S. Special Envoy for Negotiations with the DPRK Joseph Detrani.
QUESTION: Can you confirm that Mr. Detrani is going to Beijing next week, and whether he will meet with North Korea's number two leader Kim Yong-nam?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't know where the story came from, but he's going to meet with Ning Fukui on Friday in Washington. There are no plans for him to go to Beijing.
QUESTION: Thank you.
QUESTION: Just -- sorry.
MR. BOUCHER: Sorry, one more.
QUESTION: Just the timing. The U.S. invited China to participate at G-7 minister meeting for the first time on October 1st. I'm just wondering, would the U.S. consider or think it's helpful to invite China to observe the G-8 meeting? Probably too late, but since the topic they're going to discuss, and bring Iran's case to UN, and China will have a say in UN Security Council --
MR. BOUCHER: We keep in touch with China about International Atomic Energy Agency business, about UN Security Council business; about threats to us all like Iran. But we don't do it in the G-8 context. This is an established group of experts and senior officials who have been working on these issues in the G-8 context. And so we'll keep in touch with China in other ways.
QUESTION: Richard, yesterday in The Hague, you guys came down in support of a request by Libya to amend the Chemical Weapons Convention so that they could -- you don't know anything about this, do you?
MR. BOUCHER: No, I don't.
QUESTION: Okay, could you take the question. I want to know --
MR. BOUCHER: I'll take the question and figure out what --
QUESTION: The Libyans are asking to -- for a change in the treaty that would allow them to change what used to be a mustard gas production plant into a pharmaceutical drug factory.
MR. BOUCHER: Hmm.
QUESTION: You guys like the idea, but I'm wondering what exactly about the change, what you want to see changed in the treaty.
MR. BOUCHER: Okay. I'll find that out for you.
QUESTION: And did you ever get an answer to my question yesterday about the Lantos bill and the creation of the anti-Semitism office and envoy position?
MR. BOUCHER: The -- I mean, first of all, let me repeat the Department's record on anti-Semitism, I think, is very clear. We have been very active against anti-Semitism. The Secretary has sent people to represent the United States at conferences and represented the United States himself directly at the OSCE Conference on anti-Semitism, which I think everybody recognizes was a very important milestone and step forward in efforts against anti-Semitism.
We put years of efforts into these issues, Holocaust issues, religious freedom issues, and we feel that anti-Semitism is one of the important priorities that we have sustained, and we don't feel that in order to sustain that effort -- we did not feel that in order to sustain that effort it would require a separate office and an annual report.
So in terms of this legislation, we opposed creation of a separate office for the purpose and opposed the mandating of a separate annual report when these proposals appeared in a measure that was introduced in the House. The bill has now passed both the House and the Senate.
We expressed the view that separate reports on different religions or ethnicities are not warranted given that we already prepared Human Rights reports and Religious Freedom reports on 190 countries.
We did support a bill that was introduced in the Senate by Senator George Voinovich, which only required a one-time report and didn't establish a new office for this purpose. That being said, if this bill becomes law, we will implement it.
QUESTION: Okay, well, would you like to see the President not sign it or veto it?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't have anything on that.
QUESTION: Are you -- so you are -- and there is a concern that this might -- that this may -- that this bill, if it becomes a law, may give the impression that the United States is being -- that it's favoring one religion over another?
MR. BOUCHER: Our feeling was that the issue of anti-Semitism is something that has been important to us that we have been active on and is adequately covered by our efforts and by all of the other reporting that we do.
QUESTION: So, reluctantly, if it becomes a law, you will create this office?
MR. BOUCHER: If it becomes a law, we will implement the law.
QUESTION: Even though you opposed it?
MR. BOUCHER: We will implement the law.
QUESTION: All right.
QUESTION: Thank you.
(The briefing was concluded at 1:25 p.m.)
DPB # 166
Released on October 13, 2004