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From: (Dimitrios Hristu)






Tuesday, June 20, 1995

Briefer: Robert Gelbard

Nicholas Burns



Russian Ambassador Churkin's Activities in Region ........13-15

U.S. Troops in Macedonia .................................18-19

Secretary Christopher's Mtg. with FM Sacirbey of Bosnia ..21,25

--Military Situation on the Ground .......................21

--Future Diplomacy .......................................21

--UNPROFOR/Rapid Reaction Force ..........................21

U.S. Support for UNPROFOR/Rapid Reaction Force/Funding ...21-27

Senator Nunn's Suggestion for Deadline for Talks .........24-26

Deny Flight Operation--Rotation of Forces ................28



Violations of UN Embargo Against Serbia ..................28-29



DPB #89

TUESDAY, JUNE 20, 1995, 12:42 P. M.



Q Nick, do you have any comment on Ambassador Churkin's travels -- Belgrade, Pale, back to Belgrade, etc. -- besides what you see in press reports? Are there any Russian-American communiques that you would like to share with us?

MR. BURNS: That I'd like to share with you?

Q I'm sure you wouldn't like to share the communiques. But can you tell us anything about the U.S. Government's view of his travels?

MR. BURNS: Ambassador Churkin is a very active diplomat with a lot of experience in the Balkans. He has been in the Balkans for the last two days. We understand that he's had meetings with Mr. Milosevic and with the Bosnian Serb leadership in Pale.

We were not informed of his trip before he took it, and we do not now have any detailed briefing on the substantive contents of his trip.

Needless to say, we have a very close relationship with the Russian Government. We understand that Ambassador Churkin's trip is not being carried out in the context of Russia's membership in the Contact Group. You might then see it as a bilateral effort by the Russian Government to have diplomatic contacts in the area.

As I mentioned yesterday, part of Russia's value as a member of the Contact Group is that it can carry on discussions with the Serbian leadership in Belgrade and in Pale in a way that perhaps some of the other countries -- including the United States, at least with the Bosnian Serbs -- cannot. Therefore, we do look forward to a full briefing from Ambassador Churkin on his activities. We expect that to take place, and we expect the continued close coordination with the Russian Government on this issue.

Q Can I follow up on that? You said yesterday and you said again today that you expect a full briefing from the Russians. The fact that you are emphasizing this so much publicly suggests that you have some doubt that you will actually get this full briefing, particularly since you weren't told in advance.

So how close a relationship can you have with the Russians if they're off on their own?

MR. BURNS: We have a very close relationship and a good relationship. Forgive me if I've misled anyone in the room. We are absolutely confident that we will receive a full and detailed briefing from our friends in Moscow. I wouldn't at all be surprised if that's done at the ministerial level. If it's not, I'm sure it will be done with Jim Collins or Dick Holbrooke or Bob Frasure, the leading officials on our side who have responsibility both for the relationship with Russia and for the relationship with the Bosnian problem. We're not at all concerned about that.

The Contact Group operates as a unit. As I've said before, the Contact Group has not been perfectly cohesive over the last year. There have been a number of occasions where we've had some tactical differences with the Russian Government.

In recent weeks, however, we've had very fine coordination with them. It is not unusual for a member of the Contact Group to have its own bilateral contacts in the area.

Let me give you an example, Bob Frasure's missions: Some of them have been American missions, some of them have been carried out with the encouragement and, indeed, under the aegis of the Contact Group. They have varied.

If Mr. Churkin can produce movement on the diplomatic track that would be beneficial towards our objective, which is a diplomatic settlement, a political settlement, then we would very much support that. But we have no doubts that we'll be getting a full briefing. When we do, I'll be in a position to talk about that.

Q But even when Frasure did bilateral stuff, didn't you alert the other Contact Group countries beforehand?

MR. BURNS: Sometimes because of the pace of events, frankly, in the past, we have not been able to alert ahead of time all of our friends and allies in the region. We've certainly made an attempt, as soon as we could, to let them know what was happening and to give a full readout afterwards.

There is a certain measure of trust here that you have to assume, and that we are assuming. Again, we look forward to talking to Ambassador Churkin when he emerges from the Balkans.



Q A violation of the U.N. embargo, sanction, against Serbia has increased the tension between the United States and Cyprus, because they have some offshore banking -- Russian offshore banking, and some companies which they are serving to Serbia. And we heard about that the two lawyers, they are planning to sue the U.S. Ambassador in Cyprus. Do you have any comment on the latest development on this subject?

MR. BURNS: Our Ambassador in Cyprus, well known to you -- (laughter) -- is doing a very able job of representing United States interests in Cyprus; and he, of course, has had some conversations, as we discussed, I think, last week with the Government of Cyprus, not about the actions of the Government of Cyprus on Serbia sanctions, but about some individuals in Cyprus.

So we're not pinning any blame here on the Government of Cyprus. It's rather directed towards individuals in Cyprus who may, we think, have been involved in transgressions against the sanctions that are in place, and we're concerned about that, and we're pursuing it with the Government of Cyprus because we expect, of course, that the Government of Cyprus can bring some authority to bear on these particular individuals.

Q Thank you.

MR. BURNS: Thank you.

(The briefing concluded at 1:51 p.m.)


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