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USIA - State Department Report, 96-11-05

U.S. State Department: Daily Press Briefings Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The United States Information Agency (USIA) Gopher at <gopher://>


(Pakistan, North Korea) (360)

There was no regular briefing, but State Department Spokesman Nicholas Burns did speak on-the-record with reporters. No transcript is available of this briefing.

PAKISTAN -- The United States government had no advance notice of the November 4 dismissal of Pakistan's Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and her government, according to Burns. Bhutto was dismissed on charges of corruption and mismanagement by President Farooq Leghari. Miraj Khalid, former speaker of the Pakistani national assembly, has been named interim prime minister until elections can be held February 3, Burns said.

"The United States is a good friend of Pakistan," Burns said. "We are a good friend of many years, and we do look forward to continuing good, stable relations between the United States and Pakistan in this very difficult environment. We understand from our embassy this morning that Islamabad is calm. There have been no disturbances to speak of on the streets following the dismissal of the government." Bhutto and her husband remain at their home in Pakistan, Burns said, but he could not say if they were being held under house arrest.

Burns added that "the dismissal of the government appears to be in accordance with the Pakistani constitution....

"Obviously, we have an interest in the stability of Pakistan, and we will continue to accentuate the positive in our relationship with Pakistan. But as for the specific dismissal itself -- I want to be very clear that we're not going to comment on the dismissal itself."

NORTH KOREA -- Burns said that the North Korean government issued a public statement November 4 saying that it was willing to consider the issues surrounding Evan Carl Hunsiker as humanitarian, and not about espionage. "We were pleased to see that language," Burns said. "We believe it is a humanitarian case."

Hunsiker, a U.S. citizens of Korean descent, was taken into custody by North Korean security agents August 24 after crossing the Chinese-North Korean border at the Yalu River. North Korea had charged the American as a spy for South Korea, but the United States maintains he is innocent.

From the United States Information Agency (USIA) Gopher at gopher://

U.S. State Department: Daily Press Briefings Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
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