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U.S. Department of State 96/02/26 Daily Press Briefing

From: DOSFAN <gopher://dosfan.lib.uic.edu/>

U.S. State Department Directory

U.S. Department of State

96/02/26 Daily Press Briefing

Office of the Spokesman

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE

DAILY PRESS BRIEFING

I N D E X

Monday, February 26, 1996

Briefer: Glyn Davies

ANNOUNCEMENTS

[...]

Bosnian Federation Military Commanders' US Visit ..........1-2

[...]

ISRAEL/TURKEY

Signing of Military Cooperation Agreement .................5-6

[...]

BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA

Equip-and-Train Program, Departure of Foreign Forces ......2,21-24

[...]

MALAYSIA

List of Major Drug Producing & Transiting Countries .......26-27

[...]

SERBIA-MONTENEGRO

Soros Office in Belgrade Closed ...........................29

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE

DAILY PRESS BRIEFING

DPB #31

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 1996, 1:31 P.M.

(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)

MR. DAVIES: Sorry. I'm a couple of minutes late. Welcome to the State Department briefing. There's a lot going on to cover.

[...]

Secondly, to note for you that there's also a statement on the visit to the U.S. of the military commanders of the Bosnian Federation. Just in brief, the senior military officers of the Bosnian Federation -- General Rasim Delic and Major General Zivco Budimir -- are in Washington today to meet with senior Administration officials, including the National Security Advisor, the Deputy Secretary of Defense, the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

The meetings for them commence a week-long orientation tour for the commanders in the U.S., during which they'll be shown training facilities and activities and exposed to the ways in which military forces are organized in a democratic society. They, of course, will be here as well, discussing some of the aspects of the train- and-equip program. Their trip here to the United States is a demonstration of the President's commitment to stabilize the military situation in Bosnia- Herzegovina. A stable military balance will help ensure that war does not return to Bosnia when IFOR leaves. The effort is conditioned, of course. The equip-and-train effort is conditioned on the removal of foreign forces from Bosnia-Herzegovina.

[...]

Q Israel and Turkey: They signed a military cooperation agreement. Do you have any comment on it?

MR. DAVIES: Israel and Turkey?

Q Yes, last weekend, Friday, they signed a military cooperation agreement?

MR. DAVIES: I don't. I don't have any comment on that. I haven't seen that.

Q Can you take the question?

MR. DAVIES: We can look into that and see if we've got some comment.

[...]

Carol.

Q You were talking before about the Bosnian military commanders who are here. You said that they were going to discuss the train-and- equip program.

MR. DAVIES: Right.

Q Does this suggest that it's moving forward again now and is not being delayed because of the presence of foreign fighters?

MR. DAVIES: I don't know that the effort to prepare equip-and- train has ever been really delayed or slowed down. Our requirement that foreign forces leave Bosnia remains before the equip-and-train program will commence on the ground in Bosnia. So it's really up to the Bosnian authorities -- President Izetbegovic and his lieutenants. Of course, President Izetbegovic is now, unfortunately, resting after his heart ailment, but that the Bosnian Government will get these foreign forces out of the country. That is a hurdle that they've got to jump before we can begin equip-and-train on the ground.

There's nothing wrong in our view in continuing to prepare the groundwork for equip-and-train so that if the Bosnians meet that challenge, we can go ahead with equip-and-train.

Q It seems to me as if you're sending two signals. On the one hand, one day, Nick Burns says that the contract has been delayed, at least by two weeks -- maybe more -- because you're having problems with the Muslims getting all these Iranians and others out of the country. And on the other hand, you're having these military commanders come over so that you can have apparently high-level discussions about train-and- equip which suggests to me as sort of a schizophrenic approach.

MR. DAVIES: I wouldn't call it "schizophrenic." First of all, the visit of these Bosnians -- these Federation officers -- is about more than equip-and-train. They're here to get a little look at, a little taste of how a military operates in a democracy. That's very important to the future of Bosnia that they see how that works and take back some conception with them.

We haven't changed our position that the foreign fighters must leave Bosnian territory in order for equip-and-train to go forward. But equip-and-train, it's a complicated effort. We've got a fairly senior American official, James Pardew, who devotes all of his time to it. He has a number of people who work with him.

We're not going to put on hold efforts to prepare the way so that equip-and-train can go forward if and when the Bosnian Government meets its commitment to get foreign fighters out of the country.

Q The contract still has not been let, right? The contract still has not been let?

MR. DAVIES: I don't know that it has. I think if there's progress that's occurred -- the latest wrinkle that I've got here is that the Institute for Defense Analysis, this private sector company, is in the midst of making an assessment. We hope that that assessment by the Institute for Defense Analysis is available to the press in the near future. It may be that that assessment is in fact complete. So now we're trying to work out getting you some word about what they've come up with.

There are some concerns on the part of the Bosnians that are natural about public distribution of the assessment. Because, of course, the assessment is all about the Bosnian military, its strengths and weaknesses. So they have, I think, some natural security concerns.

Q That's not the contract you were looking for, is it -- the Institute?

Q I was talking about the overall contract --

MR. DAVIES: Who would run it? I don't know the status of that. I can check that for you.

Q What is the status of trying to get the fighters out? Any progress over the weekend?

MR. DAVIES: I don't know of any specific progress over the weekend. We keep talking to the Bosnian Government about it and trying to get them to -- holding their feet to the fire, as it were.

Q They're over a month in violation, or the deadline for the removal of the foreign fighters. But you're proceeding with the preparations for equip-and-train. The deadline on equipment is D-plus- 90. There is no deadline on training, is there? They've already violated -- other than the one they've already violated? So why proceed with it if they're in violation of an important aspect of Dayton?

MR. DAVIES: Why proceed with preparations?

Q Yeah. They've already violated the deadline.

MR. DAVIES: That's right. And everyday that they remain in violation, obviously, compounds the problem.

Q So at what point do you make the decision to pull the plug on training? They've already violated it.

MR. DAVIES: Judd, we haven't reached that point yet.

Q But you have. You reached it on January 19.

MR. DAVIES: That was the deadline -- you're quite correct -- by which they were to have gotten foreign fighters out of Bosnia. Yes, this is obviously serious. In our assessment, there are still foreign fighters in Bosnia. The Bosnian Government knows that it's serious. But I don't see any contradiction going ahead with laying some of this groundwork.

Q Groundwork for what? The fact is, when you have high-level Bosnian military over here, you're already beginning to engage in training. They're in violation of at least one, if not more than one, aspect of Dayton.

MR. DAVIES: Ultimately, of course, the Bosnian Government must get the foreign fighters out of their country. If they're able to do that, then we can proceed -- and we haven't yet done so and we won't -- to do what we can, following through on our commitment to work with other nations to ensure that when IFOR leaves at the end of their year's deployment, there is on the ground a better balance of forces so that fighting does not recur -- so that the temptation is removed for the forces to engage in fighting based on some kind of an imbalance in forces.

We are leading the effort to provide the Bosnian Federation with the capability but they now hold the key to this and that key is the presence of the foreign fighters in Bosnia. So we look to them to get the fighters out.

We have not yet reached a point where we're going to throw up our hands and say, "Okay, no more movement of any kind to prepare" because they haven't gotten the fighters out. We'll just have to see how things go.

We're not even half way through our year yet in Bosnia. Only about a third of the way.

Q What happens on March 19, though?

MR. DAVIES: We'll have to see. I can't predict for you what will happen on March 19.

[...]

Q Malaysia seems to have been included as one of the 3l countries of the major drug-producing and drug-transiting countries in the Administration's drug report to Congress. Why was Malaysia included in the list despite Malaysia's tough stance on drug-trafficking?

MR. DAVIES: The list is a list of nations that, according to some fairly specific standards that we set, are major drug-producing or transit countries -- actually, major drug-producing and transit countries.

A country, for instance, is determined to be a major drug producer on the basis of the number of hectares of opium, coca, and cannabis cultivated or harvested. It's determined to be a major transit country if there is a significant transit of illicit drugs through that country on the way to the U.S.

The key date to look for is the end of this week, March l, Friday. That's the date on which we'll make some announcements about whether or not the nations on that list have fully cooperated with the United States or have taken adequate steps on their own in meeting the counternarcotics goals and objectives of the l988 U.N. Convention on Drugs. So that's the key date.

The list is not much different from the list that's appeared in the past -- with the exception, I believe, that Cambodia and Belize have been added. In the President's letter, which I think you all have access to, there's a fairly lengthy explanation of why those countries were added.

So this is, if you will, a fairly mechanical step where we simply note the countries that fit those criteria for being producing and transit countries; and stay tuned for March l, the date by which the President must transmit to the Congress his certification decisions about those nations.

Q Will this be on the list in play? What action would the Administration, or the U.S., take against countries on that list?

MR. DAVIES: As I tried to explain, there isn't any action that's yet called for. I think technically, as I understand it, we are bound to cut by half all of our aid flowing to those countries if they do not receive certification by March l.

So we'll have to wait and see whether or not Malaysia and the others receive certification on March l, but the actions countries can take are spelled out in the U.N. Convention on Drugs. I don't think it's any secret to those in charge of narcotics' policy and in charge of the governments of those nations what actions we're looking for -- obviously, actions to reduce the production of these drugs or the transit of these drugs.

[...]

Q I have an unrelated question. There's a report out of Belgrade that the Soros Foundation office has been shut down by a court citing faulty registration papers by Soros. Do you have any information on that?

MR. DAVIES: I don't have anything on that, and I apologize for ignoring you. You've got bright lights behind you.

Q It's okay we see.

MR. DAVIES: I don't. I'm sorry.

Q Thank you, thank you.

MR. DAVIES: Sure.

(The briefing concluded at 2:4l p.m.)

(###)

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