U.S. Department of State Daily Press Briefing #188, 96-11-21
From: The Department of State Foreign Affairs Network (DOSFAN) at <http://www.state.gov>
U.S. Department of State
Daily Press Briefing
Thursday, November 21, 1996
Briefer: Glyn Davies
Welcome to American University Students and
German Embassy Counselors for Press & Info ............ 1
Statement -- Signing of Protocol
--New U.S. Bolivia Extradition Treaty .................. 1
Announcement -- Anniv. of Dayton Peace Agreement ....... 1-2
Announcement -- Kashmir Hostage Reward ................. 2-3
Announcement -- Political Crisis in Belarus ............ 3
Allegation of China Missile/Technology/Chemical Weapons
Sales to Iran ........................................ 3-6,11
Secretary Christopher's Discussions on
Non-Proliferation in Beijing ......................... 6,12
Peru's Acquisition of MiG-29 Aircraft .................. 8-9
Alleged Czech Arms in Zaire ............................ 10
U.S.-Syrian Discussions on Non-proliferation ........... 12
Territorial Disputes re: Aegean ........................ 6-8
Turkey/Greek Relations w/European Union ................ 14-15
U.S. Cobra Helicopter Sales to Turkey .................. 18-19
Aleksandr Lebed Mtg. at Department .................... 8
Congressman Richardson/Dept. Official Travel to Region . 9-11
Senator Spector's Trip to Region ....................... 11
--Smuggling Networks/Money Laundering .................. 13
--Municipal Elections .................................. 17
DART Team in Bukavu .................................... 13
Refugees in Eastern Zaire .............................. 13-17
Reports of Military Exercises in Yellow Sea ............ 14
WTO Panel on Helms-Burton .............................. 15
--Status of Negotiations on U.S. Military Presence ..... 17-18
African Candidates for Secretary General ............... 18
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 1996, 1:17 P.M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. DAVIES: . Welcome to the State Department briefing. Gentlemen, would
you care to -- no? We'll hear from you later.
I have a few announcements to start off with before I go to your questions.
First to welcome to the briefing three students from the American
University. I'm not sure where they are, but welcome to you. And also to
welcome two Counselors for Press and Information and Public Affairs at the
German Embassy. Gentlemen, Detlef Lingemann and Ulrich Kloeckner are
Second, on Bolivia. Some of you will have noticed on the public schedule
that Acting Secretary of State Talbott will sign the Protocol of Exchange
of Instruments of Ratification of the new U.S.-Bolivia Extradition Treaty
at a ceremony to be held in the State Department Treaty Room this afternoon
at 4:30. That is open to press coverage. We have an announcement for you on
that and a fact sheet which goes into some of the details of it.
Let me just say that the new treaty, which is the result of several years
of discussions and negotiations, will make it easier for both nations more
effectively to prosecute drug traffickers and criminals.
Third, I wanted to speak briefly about the anniversary of the initialing of
the Dayton Peace Agreement, and we have an announcement on this as well, a
year ago today. The talks in Dayton, Ohio, led by the United States,
culminated in a peace agreement which ended the fighting in Bosnia, the
worst in Europe in 50 years.
The agreement also charted the course for the creation of a self-sustaining
unified Bosnia and Herzegovina.
A year later, there is cause for satisfaction. The war has ended. The cease-
fire has held. The military forces have separated and demobilized. Its
authority unquestioned, IFOR has guaranteed the peace.
Building on the security provided by IFOR, the international community has
also made a determined start in implementing the non-military provisions of
Those civilian institutions mandated by Dayton as necessary to rebuild the
country are now operating.
National elections have brought into existence a joint government which is
beginning to take shape. Civilian implementation efforts continue to shift
from emergency humanitarian assistance to reconstruction activities.
Preliminary accomplishments include repair of homes, reconstruction of
roads, railways and local utilities, and loans to small and medium
enterprises. All of these efforts also provide jobs for the local
Now, of course, much more remains to be done in Bosnia, but the challenges
that we face in the coming year are those of peace and not of stopping a
war. Demonstrating that the reconstruction of Bosnia would take time, the
President pledged U.S. reconstruction assistance over several years.
Ultimately, of course, it is the parties who are responsible for the
success of the peace agreement. On this first anniversary, we call upon
them to rededicate themselves to building a democratic future for
Second to last, I have an announcement on Kashmir, a reward offer that
relates to American citizen Dr. Donald Hutchings, the respected American
medical doctor who was abducted by unknown persons July 4, l995.
It has been more than ten months since we have received any information on
Dr. Hutchings or on Keith Mangan, Paul Wells, and Dirk Hasert, citizens of
the United Kingdom and of Germany. They are, of course, believed to be with
Dr. Hutchings. Dr. Hutchings' family, friends, and the U.S. Government are
urgently seeking verifiable information on Dr. Hutchings' whereabouts and
condition. We are, therefore, requesting that people who have such
information come forward now to help us locate Dr. Hutchings.
Those who do provide information may be eligible for a substantial reward
and possible relocation under the Counterterrorism Rewards Program, and
there are a number of ways to convey information to the Rewards Program.
One is through the mail by addressing information to Heroes, P.O. Box 96781,
Washington, D.C. 20090. The telephone number is 1-800-HEROES1, and on the
Internet there is a Web site, which is HEROES@HEROES.NET. So those are
several ways to convey information.
My final announcement relates to Belarus. The political crisis is
intensifying in Belarus. The escalating political crisis there is a matter
of concern to the United States and, indeed, to all democratic nations.
The manner in which the referendum scheduled for November 24th has been
conducted, has created an atmosphere of instability and fear within Belarus
that has alarmed the international community and will have negative
political and economic consequences for the people of Belarus.
Several senior Belarusian government officials, including the Prime
Minister, have demonstrated their understanding of the danger to their
nation's future by tendering their resignations.
It is not the goal of the United States to dictate to the people of Belarus
what form of government they should have. We do, however, consider it
essential that all parties in Belarus act exclusively within the framework
of the Belarusian constitution and of OSCE principles with full respect for
democratic norms, freedom of speech and assembly, and basic human
Along with other OSCE participating states, the United States urges once
again that all parties in Belarus seek a compromise that both upholds the
Helsinki principles that Belarus also has pledged to accept and offers a
foundation on which to build strong and democratic institutions.
QUESTION: I'm sure you have seen the latest story about the Chinese
missile technology sales --
MR. DAVIES: Who could miss it. It was on the front page of a major
American newspaper. (Laughter.)
QUESTION: Well, do you have anything to say about it?
MR. DAVIES: Well, you know the basic mantra here, George, which is that
when we see reporting based on alleged intelligence reports, we decline to
comment on the reporting. We decline to comment or to confirm any such
alleged intelligence reports. So I'm not going to get into talking about
the information that is contained in the article specifically because it is
all based on intelligence, alleged intelligence reporting, that has
been allegedly leaked.
But what I can do, of course, is very briefly reiterate to you our position
on the subject of leaks, and this is not meant in any way to confirm in
fact the article is based on a real U.S. Government document. We don't know
that and we don't comment on alleged leaked documents.
But there is in the government always at some level, there are leaks that
occur. What we have now, though, is a situation that is perhaps qualitatively
and quantitatively a little bit different from situations that have existed
in the past.
So what I have to say, I guess, would be addressed to those who would
allege to have government documents and hand them over to members of the
press. It is quite simply that this kind of systematic activity is very
damaging to the national interest, and those who are leaking documents that
they purport to be government documents may well be committing crimes. It
is a crime to hand over classified information to those not cleared to read
the information, and I think that is an important point to make.
Now, in terms of setting aside the article in specifics, but to talk just a
little bit about the general subject matter, which is this question of
shipping military materials to Iran from China, our views opposing any
cooperation with Iran, not just on the part of China but any other country,
As Secretary Christopher noted in his public remarks yesterday in Beijing,
he again made clear our strong concerns about Iran's efforts to acquire
dangerous weapons of various kinds.
We have repeatedly said that we have serious concerns regarding Chinese
missile cooperation with Pakistan and Iran, cooperation which could
contribute to Pakistan and Iran's acquiring delivery systems for weapons of
mass destruction. We have concerns about the reports of transfers by
Chinese entities of dual use chemicals and equipment that could be used in
Iran's chemical weapons program, and concerns about China's transfers of
sophisticated conventional weapons to Iran.
Now we have raised those objections, our objections, to such activities at
the highest levels of the Chinese Government, and, as Secretary Christopher
indicated at the conclusion of his meetings, and I quote, he said, "Our
discussion generally on nonproliferation has advanced our cooperation in
this area of vital interest, but we agreed we must do more to achieve our
QUESTION: Would these arms transfers that you mentioned, not the
newspaper, be in violation of the MTCR or the D'Amato Act?
MR. DAVIES: I don't have any information to relate to you today about
arms transfers that would violate either act. The United States Government
in its dialogue with the Government of China sets a high standard against
which we measure Chinese activities in this regard.
We have had a long-running intensive dialogue with the Chinese about their
arms transfer activities, but of course everything we do, Jim, we do
obviously mindful of the law, within the law, and we pay strict attention
to what the law dictates in terms of what transfers do or don't violate the
So, I mean, you know, because you followed this all the way back to the
Ring-Magnets issue and back into the past beyond that, that certainly in
this building and around town, an awful lot of effort is spent evaluating
these reports. A great deal of diplomatic effort is spent by Under
Secretary Lynn Davis, by Bob Einhorn, who works for her, by members of the
National Security Council, by the Secretary, and others, raising these
issues with the Chinese and clarifying with them precisely what the nature
of these reports are and what the facts are, and we follow up on every
report that we receive.
QUESTION: Well, in your evaluation, are you looking at the information
with a view of possibly imposing sanctions on China?
MR. DAVIES: I'm not going to get into any steps we might prospectively
take. You know that with the Chinese, as a result of our intensive dialogue
with them, we have received certain assurances from them.
We believe at this stage that, in fact, the Chinese are operating within
the assurances they have given us. But we will continue to be very vigilant
on this subject and to raise with the Chinese at every opportunity every
report we receive that we believe is credible of such arms transfers.
QUESTION: The Iranian arms buildup in the area and also those Syrian and
Iranian corporations on upgrading the Syrian some SCUD missiles was well
over defensive purposes. They are changing the military balance, on the
whole, in this area.
Do you have any concern? Do you urge these two countries? For example, in
both countries some missiles are arranged; most of the NATO countries of
which you are allies with.
MR. DAVIES: Clearly, we're concerned and have been for some time about
the capabilities being developed by certain countries in the region. We pay
particular attention to Iran and their efforts to obtain not just these
missile technologies and conventional capabilities but also weapons of mass
destruction. We believe that they do have a policy of seeking to acquire
weapons of mass destruction.
So this is part of our dialogue with all potential supplier nations around
the world. We believe it's very important not to supply such materials to
the Iranian Government, and we make that point quite clear in our dialogue
with other nations.
QUESTION: You said you believe the Chinese are operating within the
commitments that they made to us. By that, do you mean that they are living
up to the letter of the MTCR and the D'Amato Act?
MR. DAVIES: By that, I mean that in our view we've not seen any reason to
question their behavior. If the Chinese were not living up to the MTCR,
there's a mechanism for dealing with that. The United States Government
would be the very first to raise concerns with the Chinese if we thought
there were legitimate concerns to raise with them.
I don't right now have anything to announce by way of specific concerns
that we've got vis-a-vis China.
The Secretary, yesterday, held discussions in Beijing with Chinese
officials. He went over this at great length. He works on this issue not
just when he's in China but when he's back here in Washington.
We've hammered out with the Chinese, in essence, an understanding about
what it is precisely they will be doing, what it is precisely our
understandings are. At this stage, I don't have anything to report to you
that would indicate that they've gone beyond those understandings.
The Greek Foreign Minister, Theodhoros Pangalos, during a press conference
today in Athens, in the presence of the entire leaders of the Greek
Ministry, and more than 50 reporters, admitted finally that the Simitis
government made a real concession asking Turkey to address the Imia issue
to the International Court of Justice prior to the delimitation of the
continental shelf -- something which is clear that is going to partition
Greece in the Aegean.
Could you please comment, since this specific policy is your great desire
to express many, many times by President Clinton and State Department
Spokesman Nicholas Burns?
MR. DAVIES: I don't have any particular comment for you on that.
QUESTION: But that's your proposal?
MR. DAVIES: I just don't have anything on the continental shelf in
QUESTION: In the same press conference, when Mr. Pangalos has been asked,
why his government is doing that prior to the delimitation of the
continental shelf, he stated -- avoiding to answer direct -- "Any Greek
reporter who is not writing in favor of this policy undermines Greece."
Could you please comment, since the Pangalos philosophy is against the
freedom of the press and the freedom of expression, it's obvious that the
Pangalos policy vis-a-vis to the Aegean undermines Greece and not, of
course, the reporters?
MR. DAVIES: Mr. Lambros, it sounds like you've got a question for Mr.
Pangalos or his government, not for me.
QUESTION: It's to you because you are fighting for the freedom of the
press and freedom of expression. The U.S. is leading actually to this
direction. So you are the spokesman, you're dealing with the press. I'd
like you to comment?
MR. DAVIES: Let me say this. I question the premise of your question. I
don't have any information that the Pangalos government is, in fact,
working against freedom of the press, so I can't take it beyond that.
QUESTION: In the last 48 hours, Turkey repeatedly is violating the EU
Turkish borders in the Aegean against the existing treaties and conventions
and in freezing the Athens FIR against the existing IACO rules. I'm
wondering if you have any comments since your Embassy in Athens follows the
situation very closely in the last 24 hours?
MR. DAVIES: No comment at all on that.
QUESTION: The IACO Spokesman, Mr. Dennis Shanion S-H-A-N-I-O-N -- stated
yesterday that in the EU Turkish borders area, "There are only the Athens
FIR, Istanbul FIR, and the Ankara FIR and nothing else. In the air space
over the Aegean is under the Athens FIR jurisdiction."
Based on that statement, Mr. Glyn Davies, which clearly defines the IACO
rules, what is the U.S. position vis-a-vis to the limits of the Athens
MR. DAVIES: This, by the way, is the last question that I'll go to you on
today because there are a lot of others who have questions. You've tried me
before on FIR, as you've tried me before on such issues, and I simply don't
have anything to offer to you. I'm more than happy to talk to you after the
briefing, but in the interest of some of the other issues that people
have to raise, I'll go to other questions.
QUESTION: Glyn, what can you tell us about Aleksandr Lebed's meetings in
the State Department?
MR. DAVIES: I know that he was in the State Department this morning. He
met with Acting Secretary of State Talbott. He also met with John Herbst,
who is the senior official in the Department today. He's acting for Jim
Collins as the official in charge of our relationship with the Newly
That meeting broke up just before I came out. I don't have any kind of a
readout on it but I do know that it was a good long meeting and a good
exchange of views.
QUESTION: Could you comment something about the acquisition of MIG-29
airplanes for Peru?
MR. DAVIES: Yes. The United States is disappointed by Peru's acquisition
of MIG-29 aircraft. As a guarantor of the 1942 Protocol of Peace,
Friendship, and Boundaries of Rio de Janeiro, we strong urge both countries
-- Peru and Ecuador -- to maintain their pledge of October 6, 1995, which
is, "It is essential to avoid the risks of an arms race so as not to
undermine the end of hostilities or otherwise damage the peace."
We applaud the Peruvian-Ecuadoran dialogue on security matters and urge the
countries to develop further confidence and security-building measures. On
October 29, the two countries signed an accord in Santiago which committed
them to begin next month continuous talks on the substantive issues
underlining the dispute.
The United States believes that finding a solution to the border dispute
will allow both countries to focus their scarce financial resources on
economic development and programs which support social well-being rather
than on building up their militaries.
QUESTION: Couldn't this break the military agreement in the region?
MR. DAVIES: I'm sorry?
QUESTION: Could this break the military agreement in the region, the
MR. DAVIES: Between the two countries?
QUESTION: Yes. And another in the region?
MR. DAVIES: We have a concern about the sale. I don't have for you now an
estimate that would indicate that this is somehow, in a fundamental way,
going to change the military balance in the region. It's a sale -- it's an
acquisition by Peru of aircraft that does give us a degree of concern.
QUESTION: The U.S. does not sell high-performance jet fighters to South
America, but there are some elements in the government which think that
policy should be revised. Does this sale, or purchase by the Peruvians
impinge in any way on the internal debate going on on that subject?
MR. DAVIES: If I answered that question straight, I'd have to acknowledge
that there is, in fact, some kind of an internal debate going on.
What I can say on the question of sales of military equipment to Latin
America is that we've had a policy of restraint in our arm sales to Latin
America. That policy of restraint has served us well. It's a policy that's
been on the books, so to speak, for sometime; for decades, really.
Right now, George, I don't have any plans to report to you that we're going
to change it.
QUESTION: Do you have anything on a possible trip to North Korea by
Congressman Bill Richardson?
MR. DAVIES: I do. Our understanding is that Congressman Richardson
intends on traveling to North Korea next week. Obviously, for details on
what he plans to do, you would want to get in touch with Congressman
Richardson or his office.
His plan, specifically, as we understand it, is to seek the release of the
detained American citizen, Evan Carl Hunziker. Details of the trip and of
this plan to obtain Mr. Hunziker's release have yet to fully finalized, so
I don't want to get out in front of the Congressman.
But I can say, though this is a trip that he is taking on his own hook, the
Administration fully supports it. We view it as an important humanitarian
mission. As I say, if you would like more details, you might want to talk
One additional detail I can give you is that he will be accompanied by a
working-level State Department official.
QUESTION: On the question about arms, do you have something on Czech arms
MR. DAVIES: I don't have anything on Czech arms in Zaire.
QUESTION: Back on Richardson, is he going to raise other issues such as
the submarine incident?
MR. DAVIES: George, you would have to ask him. What we're aware of is
that he's going primarily on a humanitarian mission to seek the release of
Mr. Hunziker. We've called on the North Koreans repeatedly to release
Hunziker. We hope very much that if Richardson is going -- and we
understand he will next week -- that he will obtain Hunziker's release and
bring him because, because Hunziker is an innocent man.
QUESTION: Have you had any recent contact with the North Koreans
concerning this trip? Do you have any idea of --
MR. DAVIES: I don't have any specifics to report to you. You know that we
talk on occasion to North Korean officials in New York.
QUESTION: Do you know what time that was?
MR. DAVIES: I don't know. Those are fairly frequent contacts. We have
them, I would say, almost on a weekly basis. I don't know if we've had one
QUESTION: A follow-up.
MR. DAVIES: A follow-up? Yes.
QUESTION: North Korea. This working-level official will have contact with
the North Korean Government? The State Department --
MR. DAVIES: The working-level official traveling with him?
MR. DAVIES: I assume so, since he'll be with Mr. Richardson.
QUESTION: Which kind of subjects he or she will talk with North
MR. DAVIES: The focus of this trip is to talk to the North Koreans and to
seek the release of Evan Carl Hunziker who has been held now for some time
and who ought to be released by the North Koreans. We've called for him to
be released. Beyond that, I don't have any further information.
QUESTION: About the trip of Senator Arlen Spector in Damascus yesterday,
is this mission coordinated with the government on behalf of the President?
MR. DAVIES: No. This is a mission that Senator Spector is engaged in on
his own. It's not a mission that he is on on behalf of the United States
Government. He's not carrying any messages from the Administration. He's
not traveling at our request. That's another case where you ought to
address questions about it to his office.
QUESTION: A Israeli-Syrian summit in Washington, do you think that's a
MR. DAVIES: I don't have a particular reaction to that. Obviously, the
work he's doing is work in the cause of peace. Therefore, as a general
matter, we support his efforts; we support the efforts of anybody seeking
reconciliation and peace between those two nations.
But as to specifics, I think we'll wait until Senator Spector comes back.
Perhaps we can have a talk with him and decide what progress, if any, he's
made and take it from there.
QUESTION: On the Iran-Chinese relationship.
MR. DAVIES: Sure.
QUESTION: We've been framing these questions in relation to missiles or
radar technology. Does the United States know of any large sale of chemical
warfare components from China to Iran?
MR. DAVIES: I don't have anything on that. I really don't. The issue of
the sale of chemical weapons, precursors, falls squarely in the same
category as some of these other allegations that have been made.
As the Secretary discussed at length in his press statement of yesterday,
we have, on non-proliferation issues -- on missile non-proliferation and on
chemicals -- worked intensively with the Chinese Government discussing
these areas. The Secretary went into this in some detail. He talked, for
instance, about missile non-proliferation and said, in his meetings with
the Chinese, both countries reiterated their October 1994 joint statement
commitment on missile proliferation that, of course, the Secretary
signed with Vice Premier Qian Qichen on chemical weapons.
The Secretary pointed out that the United States and China agreed to seek
ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention by the end of April 1997,
so that both nations can be original parties to the Convention. We think
In addition, on the issue of advanced conventional arms, the U.S. stressed
the risk that it posed for the stability of the Persian Gulf to sell any
such arms to Iran.
So they had a long discussion on non-proliferation issues, generally.
The Secretary described the result of the meeting as having advanced our
cooperation in this area of very vital interest to both countries.
QUESTION: Before, when I asked a question, you said that you have a
concern about Iran -- Iranian sales. However, to Syria, we know that a
couple of weeks ago we heard some press report that the Russians are
building some chemical factory in the Syrian territory. Also now, they're
upgrading their SCUD missiles to extend their ranges.
You have diplomatic relations with Syria. Did you raise the subject? Did
you raise this as your concern? What's going on?
MR. DAVIES: I can't confirm for you specifically that we raised that
report or that concern.
I can tell you, in general, that we do raise with the Syrian Government
these same non-proliferation issues. The Secretary of State has had many
opportunities, in fact, to do so and he's done so many times. But I don't
have anything specifically or in particular on that report of a chemical
QUESTION: Another subject. Today's Washington Post reports that
Yugoslavia is in a smuggling business, including some drugs to Europe and
the Western world. They are coming all the way from the East and transferring
to the West. Also, some money, for laundering purposes, goes to Cyprus. Do
you have anything to say about this subject?
MR. DAVIES: On the issue, generally, of smuggling through Serbia by
Serbian individuals, during the period when the embargo was in place, there
was developed in Serbia several systems or networks to smuggle all manner
of goods through Serbia.
It's clearly still the case that some of these systems or networks continue
to exist. What I don't have anything on for you, in specific terms, is the
continuing involvement of anyone in the government with those smuggling
activities. But is there still smuggling through Serbia? I don't think
there's any question about that.
QUESTION: What about the money laundering?
MR. DAVIES: I would guess that that's an active sub-set of smuggling.
There may well still be money laundering that occurs through Serbia.
QUESTION: The point, however, that the "product" is coming from Turkey,
too, and then it goes to Cyprus. I would like you to comment?
MR. DAVIES: What I remember about that map is that it's sort of tentacles
from all over the place.
QUESTION: Very important. Because it's a two-way traffic all the way from
Turkey all the way to Europe.
MR. DAVIES: That wasn't a question, but thank you for adding that.
Yes, Charlie. You had a question? OK. I'm going to come here first.
QUESTION: I just want to know if there's an update on the whereabouts of
the DART team, and any numbers on the refugee flowing into Rwanda?
MR. DAVIES: Sure. The DART team, yesterday, was able to get into Bukavu.
We don't yet have from them a report on what they found but they are at
work in Bukavu looking at conditions on the ground there -- the southern
end of Lake Kivu.
We don't yet have for you any kind of very specific analysis of either
numbers or position of the refugees in eastern Zaire. We are continuing to
look at the situation to gather information, both to the extent we can,
over eastern Zaire but also through sources in Rwanda, sources elsewhere in
Zaire -- in Kinshasa.
Of course, everyone has seen these reports of perhaps a rather large group
of refugees -- 100,000 is a figure that is often used -- that is somewhere
between Bukavu and Goma to the west of Lake Kivu. Those reports appear
credible to us, but we haven't yet confirmed them.
QUESTION: Back on China. Apparently coinciding with the Secretary's visit,
the Chinese military announced that war games had taken place in the Yellow
Sea. I'm not clear whether it was Taiwan-related or not. Are you alarmed by
this development, or are you pretty relaxed about it?
MR. DAVIES: I would say we're more relaxed than alarmed about these
developments. We've seen the reports. We're looking into the reports.
This is a different situation, of course, than the exercises that we saw in
the vicinity of Taiwan at the time of the Taiwan elections. These do not
appear to be anywhere near as provocative in terms of military exercises.
But we're watching them, and we have an interest in them.
QUESTION: Let me try. As you know, Glyn, yesterday, I asked a question
about Turkish-Greek tensions with the European Union that seems to have
brought the NATO operations to a deadlock. Yesterday, you didn't have
anything to say on it. Do you have --
MR. DAVIES: I did have something to say on it. I talked about not getting
into specifically talking about European security architecture, the back
and forth among the Europeans. There's no margin in it for us to weigh into
that and comment on it.
QUESTION: So you won't say anything about it? Today, I'm asking if you
would have anything to say about it?
MR. DAVIES: There you go. I've said what I'm going to say about it
QUESTION: There are some reports that the United States is willing to
broker an agreement between Greece and Turkey on that issue within
MR. DAVIES: I can't confirm those for you. I don't have anything on
QUESTION: Do you deny those reports?
MR. DAVIES: I'm not denying it. I just simply don't have anything on it.
We're always looking to be helpful. Whether we have offered our services
here, I don't know.
QUESTION: Glyn, do you have any comment on what the WTO said on Helms-
MR. DAVIES: Yes, I have something on that. Of course, this relates to the
European Commission, having started panel proceedings in Geneva, I believe
yesterday, against the Helms-Burton Act and other U.S.-Cuba laws.
Our position is that we've not ruled out any options we may want to pursue
at a later stage. But we have noted before that Helms-Burton and other laws
are grounded in long-standing foreign policy and security concerns of the
For these reasons, we don't believe that they are the sorts of measures
that should be placed in front of a trade panel. We're confident that the
Helms-Burton Act is fully consistent with our international trade
obligations. We don't think yesterday's action by the European Commission
should divert attention from the need for a more active approach to
promoting democracy in Cuba.
The U.S. and the EU and, in fact, others, we believe, should keep the focus
on achieving this shared goal of bringing democracy to Cuba.
As for the process itself, the proceedings that have begun, the World Trade
Organization rules call for the two parties to try to agree on three
panelists drawn from countries that are not parties in the case. If they
can't agree, either party can ask the WTO Director General to choose the
panelists in consultation with the parties. That's a process that has yet
QUESTION: I would like to revisit the Zaire numbers.
MR. DAVIES: Okay, sure.
QUESTION: I'm a little bit lost. Yesterday, you said perhaps 600,000 have
returned to Rwanda.
MR. DAVIES: That's correct.
QUESTION: Today, you're saying that there are perhaps up to 100,000 on
the move between Bukavu and --
MR. DAVIES: Or more. It could be more.
QUESTION: The "or more" is the part that I'm curious about because we
didn't start off at 1.1 million. Two days ago, you were talking 4- to 500,
000 perhaps still in --
MR. DAVIES: Howard, what we try to do in the spirit of openness is relay
to you essentially the variety of numbers that are coming at us -- the
United States Government -- from different sources.
We all -- all of us, including the United States Government -- heard the
UNHCR talk about 1.1 million refugees as the grand total from which you
could subtract 5- to-600,00 who have now repatriated themselves in Rwanda,
leaving up to a half million still in eastern Zaire. That's, I guess, the
outside limit. It could be the case that in some fashion you have something
on that magnitude as the problem in eastern Zaire.
What I was doing a minute ago is simply talking about the largest group of
refugees, at least according to reports that we've got, which is this group
of 100,000. I'm being conservative. It could be more. We've seen reports of
up to 200,000 who, we understand from reports, may have gone from the
Bukavu area northward, along the western edge of Lake Kivu, toward
There are, we believe, other groups of refugees. Their size, their precise
location and their condition, we don't know.
QUESTION: This looks like it's gone from half full to half empty in the
space of a day in terms of the kind of numbers that you're putting out
MR. DAVIES: No.
QUESTION: The UNHCR is still estimating --
MR. DAVIES: The UNHCR, in fact --
QUESTION: --700,000 using aerial surveillance data from the U.S.
MR. DAVIES: They even talked about more. They talked about 700,000 on
occasion, who are still in eastern Zaire. I'm not in a position -- I don't
think anybody in the U. S Government is -- to stand up here and confirm
that. The problem, the counting problem, all stems from the fact that these
many hundreds of thousands of refugees were never registered. So you don't
have anywhere any kind of a registry or a list or an accounting or a
computer tape that would help you know precisely how many refugees we
began with. And you can overlay on top of that the problem of the
displaced Zairians. You can talk about Burundian refugees, and there
are still many tens of thousands of those. And you can even start
subdividing the refugees and talking about the fighters, the Interahamwe,
the Ex-Far, as against those civilians who are with them.
So, it's very complicated, remains complicated. The effort of the United
States Government all around the world and certainly increasingly in the
region, as we move people into Rwanda and get them into eastern Zaire, is
to find out what the condition of the refugees is and to try to establish a
plan of what is needed to actually do something about their fate in eastern
Zaire. We are not there yet.
QUESTION: Is there any more on the Serb elections?
MR. DAVIES: I'm more than happy to reiterate what I said yesterday which
still stands very much, which is that the municipal elections in Serbia are
a source of concern to the United States because, according to the reports
that we have received, there have been efforts by, we believe, the
government to affect the process of vote counting.
Now our understanding is that the together party, the Zajedno Party, has in
fact now come into possession of the governance of Belgrade, the capital,
but there are in other parts of Serbia, in other municipalities, still on-
going disputes about who won the elections. We are very concerned at signs
that in fact the counting is being monkeyed perhaps by Serbian authorities.
And we would call on the Serbian authorities not to do so, to create
more openness in the process, and to resolve this issue in a democratic
fashion of precisely who won in these various municipalities around
Yes. Do you have a follow-up, George?
QUESTION: No. I want to change the subject.
MR. DAVIES: Okay. Do you have another question there?
QUESTION: On Panama. Apparently negotiations to extend U. S. military
presence there after 2000 have broken down. Do you have anything on
MR. DAVIES: I don't have anything on that. You are talking about the
effort being led on our side, I think, by Ambassador John Negroponte, who
is engaged in looking at the issue of what is to become of our presence in
that part of the world when current agreements end.
I don't have any kind of an update. I can't report to you the fact
negotiations have broken down or what their status is, but that's something
I could look into for you, sure.
QUESTION: The Government of Ghana has apparently expressed an interest in
promoting the candidacy of Kofi Annan as a potential successor to Boutros
Boutros-Ghali now that the U. S. has cast a veto concerning Boutros Boutros-
Ghali. Do you have anything to say about what the Ghanian Foreign Minister
MR. DAVIES: I don't have anything to say beyond what we have said in the
past, which is that the United States hopes very much that African nations
come forward with candidates for the post of Secretary General. We think
that given the fact that we have decided that Boutros-Ghali should not
serve a second term, that we should, first and foremost, look at African
candidates for the job. We, the international community, ought to give
African candidates pride of place in the consideration of who should
be the next Secretary General of the United Nations.
So we welcome all ideas that come from African nations both individually
and collectively as we work through this process and there are not very
many weeks left until the end of the year. We would hope that this could
all move in an accelerated fashion, and that the vote of the other day in
which the United States cast a vote against his candidacy could now be put
behind us, and we could move on to the issue of who is to succeed Boutros-
Ghali as Secretary General.
QUESTION: Do you think Kofi Annan would be a good candidate for --
MR. DAVIES: I don't think it is a good idea for me to commit the United
States Government one way or the other to Kofi Annan or anyone else. We
think that there are any number of qualified candidates in Africa, men and
women who could fit the bill, and we are very attentive to some of the
ideas being put forward.
QUESTION: The Foreign Ministry spokesman of Turkey said yesterday that it
will be wrong to link the Cobra, Super Cobra helicopter sales to human
rights conditions in Turkey. He seems to have indicated that the United
States is preventing the sale because of human rights concerns in Turkey.
So, could you comment on that?
MR. DAVIES: I don't have an update for you on Cobra sales to Turkey. I am
happy to look into that to see if I can develop something.
QUESTION: What is the last situation on the sale? Are you considering
their approval in the near future?
MR. DAVIES: I believe that that approval is now in the process, in the
notification approval process, as regards to the Congress. I don't have
anything specifically on it, but I am happy to look into it for you.
Yes. Thank you.
QUESTION: Thank you.
(The briefing concluded at 2:02 p.m.)