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U.S. Department of State 95/12/06 Daily Press Briefing

From: hristu@arcadia.harvard.edu (Dimitrios Hristu)

U.S. State Department Directory

Subject: U.S. Department of State 95/12/06 Daily Press Briefing


U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE

DAILY PRESS BRIEFING

I N D E X

Wednesday, December 6, 1995

Briefer: Glyn Davies

FORMER YUGOSLAVIA

Asst. Secretary Holbrooke's Travel to the Region ........1,4

Purpose .................................................1-3, 5, 7-8

--Confidence-Building Measures ..........................1-2

--Concerns of Bosnian-Serbs .............................2-7

--Meetings ..............................................3

--Equip/Train Bosnian Government Forces .................6-7

Afghani Fighters/Foreign Forces .........................8

Missing French Pilots ...................................8-9

Secretary Christopher's Travel to London Conference .....10

War Criminals

--Bosnian ForMin Sacirbey Statement .....................10-11

--U.S. Soldiers Involvement in Capturing War Criminals ..11

[...]


U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE

DAILY PRESS BRIEFING

DPB #176

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 6, 1995, 1:08 P.M.

(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)

MR. DAVIES: Welcome to the State Department briefing. I have just one thing to give you right now up front and that is, as some of you may have noted, Ambassador Holbrooke, up on the Hill, testifying in front the Senate, mentioned that he was traveling to the region. I wanted to just spell out for exactly where he's going to be and what he's going to be doing.

Ambassador Holbrooke will travel to Zagreb, Belgrade, and Sarajevo over the weekend. He'll depart Friday and return on Sunday. He will be accompanied by members of the team that was with him before, including Chris Hill, his Deputy in EUR -- The European Bureau -- Brigadier General Kerrick, Lt. General Clark, James Pardew.

Ambassador Holbrooke will meet with the parties to the Dayton agreement to help re-enforce the momentum for implementation and build on the work being done in London. He will be completing plans for the NATO deployment and discussing a number of confidence-building measures to be carried out among the parties, including, of course, in the Sarajevo area.

With that, your questions.

Q Is this trip being undertaken to meet the objections of the Bosnian Serbs and the French and others who feel that the Serbs need more guarantees or assurances?

MR. DAVIES: No, not at all, Carol. The trip is being taken because we're now about two weeks out, or two weeks from Dayton, and about another week or so to go until Paris, and there's a lot going on. He's going out to the region to touch base again with the people who were at Dayton to see where things stand and to make sure that the very fine momentum that the process has enjoyed up until now continues -- certainly through Paris and beyond.

Q When you talk about confidence-building measures, what confidence-building measures does he have in mind, or the U.S. Government have in mind? Well, just answer that.

MR. DAVIES: He's not going out there with -- he's certainly not going out there to reopen the Dayton agreement. That's not part of what's happening here. The agreement was initialed and it will signed as it was initialed in Paris on the 14th.

He's going really to talk about implementation of the agreement and to discuss with the parties how the various annexes on the ground -- once IFOR goes in, after the signing -- how the various annexes are to be brought into being, actually made concrete on the ground. So he'll be talking about all aspects of it -- the elections, the return of refugees; really everything.

He's not going out there with a laundry list of things that he's got to absolutely get done, because, of course, the Dayton agreement is a comprehensive agreement that covers just about all contingencies. But anytime to move to implement an agreement such as this, there are details to discuss and that's what he's going to do.

Q You were the one, though, who raised the issue of confidence- building measures. I just wanted you to be more specific about what those confidence-building measures -- what do you mean by "confidence- building measures?"

MR. DAVIES: Obviously, there are those in various areas of Bosnia who are concerned about how this is going to play out as the agreement is implemented. He'll be going out there to talk to the parties about ways to make sure that, as we implement this, people are as calm and willing to participate as we would like them to be.

Q This is not in response to the Serbs --

MR. DAVIES: Carol, it's not confidence-building measures -- big "C" -- as was the case back in the days of the Cold War, when we were meeting in various multi-national contacts with the Soviets and we had elaborate rafts of measures negotiated at Helsinki and elsewhere. It's not that kind of a thing at all. The confidence-building measures, such as are in the Dayton agreement now, you can read as you leaf through the various annexes.

Q This is not in response to the protest from the Bosnian Serbs --

MR. DAVIES: No.

Q It is not?

MR. DAVIES: No, this is not in response to the protests.

Q What do you mean when you say that there are people who are concerned about how this is going to play out? You said that they're going there, in part, because there are people who have concerns about how this agreement is going to play out.

MR. DAVIES: Sure, sure. But what I don't want to do is characterize it as Ambassador Holbrooke going out there in response to some of the concerns that we've seen expressed by some of the people on the ground who will be affected by this. That's not the central purpose of this.

The central purpose is to go out and talk to the folks who initialed the agreement and who will sign it, to touch base with them since it's been two weeks since everybody was together at Dayton at the signing, and to among other things, talk about, obviously, confidence- building measures, ways to make sure that as the agreement begins to play out that those who will be affected by it don't become unduly alarmed by events as they occur.

I think it's a mistake to read too much into this.

Q Will he be meeting with Karadzic or Mladic?

MR. DAVIES: No, he won't. He won't meet with Karadzic or Mladic. He'll talk to the folks who were at Dayton.

Q (Inaudible)

MR. DAVIES: I'm sorry?

Q Will he be meeting with Koljevic -- Nikola Koljevic?

MR. DAVIES: I don't know. I don't have his list of meetings in front of me. He'll be traveling to the capitals and talking to the leadership in each of the capitals.

Q When he meets with Mr. Milosevic, will he be discussing the fate of Karadzic and Mladic?

MR. DAVIES: I don't know that he'll necessarily be discussing individuals. I think, again, they will talk about the agreement. One of the aspects of the agreement is, of course, the whole question of war crimes and making good on the various parties' commitments to the War Crimes Tribunal process. So I'm sure that will be among the issues he'll discuss.

Q On this trip, when was it decided he would go? Or has this always been foreseen?

MR. DAVIES: In terms of an exact moment when it was decided he would go, I don't have anything on that for you. I think there's always been some thought to going out and doing a round, a kind of shuttle round, such as he did in the run-up to Dayton, and touching base with everybody. That's what this is -- just preparing the way so that London and Paris, especially, go smoothly and well.

Q How is the United States and its partners to this accord going to prevent the mass exodus of Serb refugees from Sarajevo? What are you going to do --

MR. DAVIES: I'm not going to speculate on what's going to happen on some of these doomsday scenarios that we've heard from various actors out there. We just don't expect that there's going to be any kind of a mass exodus.

Q If you read the papers, and I'm sure you do, every single story about this topic quotes reams of Bosnian Serbs living in the Sarajevo suburbs saying the same doomsday scenario that you're talking about. It's not like it's some isolated observation. It's pervasive throughout the entire Bosnian Serb community.

MR. DAVIES: Sid, I've read the same comments being made by some out there. I've also read that many welcome the fact that this peace accord is now going to begin to be implemented. We simply don't believe that we're going to be faced with the suburbs of Sarajevo going up in flames. That's just not what we see happening here.

Q (Inaudible) the Dayton agreement may be nibbled away by some of the people who are now expressing reservations about it?

MR. DAVIES: No, no. Those who initialed the agreement and who will sign the agreement in Paris have been expressing no misgivings to us. Nobody has been nibbling away at it; none of the signatories has been coming to us and asking us to revisit portions of the agreement.

Q Going back to questions that Carol was asking, could you give us one example of a confidence-building measure?

MR. DAVIES: Sure. I can take a look at the agreement really quickly and give you an example of what we're talking about here. I'll give you a good one. A confidence-building measure is certainly the cantonment of some of the weapons, some of the troops of the various parties.

The agreement spells out ways in which forces would be required to go to cantonment areas, and there are all kinds of arms control provisions that play out over the months after the signature of the agreement that we expect will ultimately have an effect on the level of the forces. In other words, bring the forces down.

Q But the movement of weapons is not required to begin until the signing on the 14th, is that not right?

MR. DAVIES: That's correct.

Q So again, what is he going to bring to this process that is not already on paper?

MR. DAVIES: What is Ambassador Holbrooke going to bring to the process?

Q Yes, his team.

MR. DAVIES: He's going to be discussing -- and this time he will have had some sleep, because at Dayton, obviously, by the end everybody was pretty tired after three weeks of negotiating this -- they're going to go back and simply discuss again some of the provisions that are already agreed to in the Dayton agreement, with a view to getting at some of the details that may still be out there.

A lot of it is simply to touch base with the parties to the agreement and see what questions they've got about some of the details of the agreement.

Q Is there any concern about the referendum the Serbs are going to hold before the signing in Paris on December 14?

MR. DAVIES: No.

Q What if the results of this referendum will reject this Dayton agreement? Do you have any apprehensions concerning this matter?

MR. DAVIES: We're not concerned about it, certainly not greatly, and I'm not going to speculate about what the referendum will achieve or result in.

Q There's no political recognition with this referendum?

MR. DAVIES: I don't even think that question has come up about whether we would -- between the parties -- I don't think that's an issue.

Q The Bosnian Serbs have already initialed the accord.

MR. DAVIES: That's correct, right.

Q Why are they now -- it's odd that they're now calling for a referendum.

MR. DAVIES: This referendum will have no bearing on the accord itself. The accord has been initialed. It will be signed by the parties in Paris on the 14th, and we fully expect and have no reason not to expect that after the 14th the agreement will play out as written.

Q Assistant Secretary Holbrooke mentioned that he would address congressional demands. Was he talking about arming and training Muslim troops or Bosnian troops or --

MR. DAVIES: I didn't see his full testimony, so I don't know the context, which makes it a little difficult for me to answer that question. I don't know whether that was the particular -- whether the equip and train issue was what was at issue. I just can't help you.

Q But about training and arming the Bosnian Government troops, is that part of the discussions during his trip in the Balkans?

MR. DAVIES: I don't think that that will necessarily be at the forefront, because, of course, as the agreement is written and as we expect it to play out, we first want to get at the problem of any imbalance of forces through the arms control provisions which, as I mentioned earlier, talk about cantonment of forces. There are some provisions for actually bringing down numbers of some of the heavy weapons over time.

That's the process to look to first before we even worry too greatly about equip and train. Equip and train -- that whole issue is certainly out there, but it's not the first order issue. The first order issue is build-down of forces.

Q He also said -- maybe you can't square this -- but he also said that equip and train is going to happen even if the Serbs reduce their forces. I hadn't heard that before.

MR. DAVIES: I don't know that I can help you with that. I haven't heard it either until you mentioned it. So I just don't want to comment on that.

Q You said earlier that there are those who are concerned about how this is going to play out. Who are you referring to?

MR. DAVIES: Of course. The people Sid mentioned who have been quoted liberally in ticker items and in newspaper items and who have appeared on the television who have concerns about this. I mean, this is a big deal for the people of Bosnia. We're talking about peace for the first time, really, in years. For all of the people of Bosnia, this peace and this peace agreement are a change. Of course, there are some in areas -- if you look at that line that goes across the map of Bosnia that will be the line between the Republic of Srpska and the Federation, part of drawing that line, that agreement reached among the parties, was, of course, the fact that there are certain areas that up until now have been under the control of one side, and they will move to the control of the other side. So the people in those areas have concerns.

Q On the one hand you said, it seemed to me quite affirmatively at the start, that Holbrooke's mission was not a response to those kinds of concerns that have been expressed so vehemently in recent days, and yet now you're saying -- you're acknowledging, yes, they do have concerns, and this is something --

MR. DAVIES: Sure, of course, people have concerns. I never said people didn't have concerns out there. I never said that Holbrooke's mission is principally -- he's not running out there like a fireman to put out a fire on the part of these people who have concerns about the treaty.

The treaty is a long, complex document. It's got 11 annexes to it. There's a lot to discuss. There's arms control provisions. There are elections. There is the new government of Bosnia to talk about and how that's going to be set up.

Then, of course, very importantly, my colleagues at the Pentagon are working night and day to make sure that the military annex to the agreement is implemented properly. As we move here to the signing and beyond when IFOR goes in, there are a lot of details and issues to talk with the parties about.

So he's got a lot on his plate, not just some of these concerns, but, sure, these concerns are part of the mix.

Q Last Sunday The New York Times had a front-page story about the threat that could come to the U.S. forces in Bosnia from former Afghanistani fighters who are possibly poised to create some trouble there. What are the thoughts of the Administration over this --

MR. DAVIES: The agreement that was initialed at Dayton and will be signed at Paris discussed or includes a provisions that within a period of time -- thirty days of signature on the 14th -- all foreign forces, all irregulars, all others are to be out of the country.

So we look to the parties to the Dayton agreement to make good on their commitment to ensure that forces that are not nationals of those forces on the ground are out of the country. So that's essentially our answer to that.

Any more Bosnia?

Q The missing French pilots. President Chirac is threatening action, speaking to Milosevic. What's the U.S. --

MR. DAVIES: We're concerned about the pilots, and we're doing everything we can to help the French as they seek to gain their release. Of course, we look to the Bosnian Serbs to do everything they can, the presumption being that if anybody knows where they are, it's the Bosnian Serbs who do.

Q You're saying that the Bosnian Serbs know where they are, and therefore --

MR. DAVIES: We don't know where the airmen are. We're very concerned about them. Obviously, we're doing everything we can to seek their release, to help the French. We're making de marches to the parties out there on the ground to try to find out where they are and to seek their release.

So we're working with the French and others to find them and to have them released. But I don't have anything for you on where they are.

Q (inaudible) the Bosnian Serbs not know where they are?

MR. DAVIES: I don't know how the Bosnian Serbs cannot --

Q I mean, you injected an element of doubt there.

MR. DAVIES: Since we don't know where they are, we can't really comment on whether anybody else necessarily does. We look, though, to the Bosnian Serbs to find them and to see that they're released.

Q Have we presented any ultimatums?

MR. DAVIES: We're working, as I said, with the French. These are French airmen. They're taking the lead on this, as they properly should, and I'm not going to get into the details of the diplomacy of how we're trying to make this happen.

Q Will it be part of IFOR's mission to find those guys?

MR. DAVIES: It's not part of the Dayton agreement, so there's nothing specifically written in the Dayton agreement that talks about going to find the airmen. But you can bet, I think, that once we get forces in-country, they will certainly be on the lookout.

The more people we have on the ground, the more people who can help in this effort ultimately to find them. But, no, it's an issue of great concern to us -- the fate of these two pilots -- and we want to do everything we can, both now and in the future, to help the French find them and seek their release.

Q Will American forces engage in battle to rescue those guys, if necessary?

MR. DAVIES: You're asking a question that's really speculative. I'm not going to spin out various scenarios -- whether they'd be in a building that's guarded by others or in a field. We don't know. We don't know where they are, and we don't know what measures might be necessary to gain their release. But, as I say, it's a priority for our government, as it certainly is for the French, and we'll be doing everything we can to find them and to gain their release.

Q Middle East?

MR. DAVIES: Anything more on Bosnia?

Q Do you have the whereabouts or the agenda of Dennis Ross in the next 24 hours?

MR. DAVIES: He's in Israel today. Dennis, of course, is always busy in traveling around the region. I know he's in Israel. Of course, we all know that's he been in Syria. He plans to remain in the area for at least several more days, and he'll be coming back in fairly short order to report to the Secretary on what he's been able to accomplish.

Q Is the Secretary going to be in the region between the 14th and 19th of December?

MR. DAVIES: The Secretary's view of the peace process is that he goes to the region whenever he believes that his presence in the region would be helpful to move the process forward.

Q You can't confirm that the Secretary is planning to --

MR. DAVIES: I can't confirm anything like that, no.

Q Dennis is definitely coming back to Washington?

MR. DAVIES: My understanding, as it is now, is that he'll be out there a couple more days in the region, and that he'll be back in a couple of days. I can't give you his flight number. I don't know exactly when he's coming back.

Q I only ask, because it might be more convenient for him just to stay there and meet the Secretary.

MR. DAVIES: Nice try, Sid. (Laughter)

Q Will the Secretary be going to the London Conference?

MR. DAVIES: I don't know that the Secretary has yet decided whether he'll be going to the London Conference or not. He's very concerned, obviously, to make sure that the debate back here in the Congress and in the public also has his attention. So he will be making that decision, I think, very soon, if he hasn't already, and we'll be announcing it.

Q A statement made by Foreign Minister Sacirbey was focusing on the difficulty of peace without prosecuting the criminals of war. He speaking about Mr. Karadzic and Mr. Mladic. Who's going to take on with this criminals of war and take them to be prosecuted in The Hague now that the United Nations has reduced its participation?

MR. DAVIES: I can't put words in the mouth of the Minister. I can't speak for him. He has to speak for himself. But I would direct you back to the Dayton agreement and its provisions on this issue -- the issue of war crimes and bringing the war criminals to justice. It will not be a mission of the Implementation Force -- the NATO forces going in -- to go chasing after indicted individuals.

The parties, all members of the United Nations, certainly, and the parties to the agreement have the responsibility to follow through on that matter and do everything they can to make sure that these indicted individuals are brought to justice.

Q On that point, Glyn, I understand the Washington Times had a front-page story, big headline, the other day that the soldiers will not be hunting the criminals -- the indicted people -- but they will be able to arrest the leaders, as such. How are they going to go about this? I think the story read like this. Will they be carrying pictures of these criminals or indicted people, or something?

MR. DAVIES: I don't want to get down in the weeds of the issue, because I'm really not best placed to address it. You're really talking about what kinds of instructions the forces on the ground will have on the issue, and you should look elsewhere, really, for that answer.

I think what we've said is that if these indicted individuals come into our field of vision or area, then we will take appropriate action to see that they're brought to justice.

Q (Inaudible) the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina to turn over information about these people, their whereabouts and so forth, to American forces?

MR. DAVIES: I'm not going to stand here and lay out a prescription for how we're going to proceed to bring these people to justice. The point is we're committed to doing everything we can to do so, but we're not going to alter the primary mission of the Implementation Force, which is spelled out in the Dayton agreement, to the extent that we would have groups of soldiers going out to hunt for these people. We're just not going to do that.

[...]

(Press briefing concluded at 1:53 p.m.)

END

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