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U.S. Department of State Daily Press Briefing #48, 97-04-03

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

From: The Department of State Foreign Affairs Network (DOSFAN) at <http://www.state.gov>


862

U.S. Department of State
Daily Press Briefing

I N D E X

Thursday, April 3, 1997

Briefer: Nicholas Burns

DEPARTMENT
1       Welcome to Briefing Visitors
2-3     Secretary's Activities Today and Tomorrow
2,3     --Meetings with Portuguese Prime Minister
2       --Commerce Department Memorial Ceremony/Anniversary of Plane Crash
          in Croatia
2       --Meeting with Israeli Defense Minister Mordechai
2       --Meeting with Norwegian Foreign Minister Bjoern Godal
2-3     --Meeting with Serbian Opposition Movement
3       Acting Asst. Secretary Welch and NEA Director Deutsch in N. Iraq
3       U.S. Foreign Policy Town Meeting, New Orleans, April 7, l997
3-4     Death of Eugenie Moore Anderson, First Woman to Serve as
        U.S. Ambassador
4       Seminar on Criminal Justice Issues in the International
        Exploitation of Women and Children, April 7-11

IRAQ 4 Saddam Hussein's Control in Iraq 4-5 Secretary's Georgetown University Speech on U.S. Iraq Policy 5 Iraq and the Middle East Peace Process

MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS 5 Prospects for a Comprehensive Peace in the Middle East 7 U.S. Assistance to the Palestinians 8 Final Status Negotiations 8-9 Reported Pre-Conditions for Restarting Negotiations

ISRAEL 5-6 Israel Suspends Request for Extradition of Moussa Abu Marzook 6-7,13 Netanyahu's Visit to the U.S./Meetings/Agenda

SAUDI ARABIA 9-10 Al-Khobar Bombing Investigation/Canadian Detention of Individuals 10-11 U.S.-Canadian and U.S.-Saudi Cooperation in Investigation

ZAIRE 11-13 U.S. Call for Kabila and Rebel Alliance to Permit Assistance to Refugees

CHINA 13-14 Criticism of Statements re U.S. China Policy

NORTH KOREA 14 Schedule of KEDO Meetings


U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING

DPB #48

THURSDAY, APRIL 3, 1997, 1:15 P.M.

(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)

MR. BURNS: Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. Welcome back to the State Department. I want to introduce some honored guests. Mr. Mohamed Adwan Gaber, who works for Chairman Arafat and the Palestinian Authority. He is a press official who's been very helpful to American journalists with the traveling party and to myself and others at many occasions in Gaza. Nice to have you here.

I also want to welcome nine interns from the Atlantic Council here in Washington, D.C., who are with us. Thanks for coming.

I thought I'd take you through the Secretary's schedule today.

I have a couple of announcements before we go to questions.

The first is that -

QUESTION: How's her arm?

MR. BURNS: Her arm's okay. That was a sinker ball yesterday, by the way. (Laughter) It was sinker ball. It did sink.

And she's saving her hard ball for diplomacy. That was actually a stolen line from Tom Brokaw. I like that line.

QUESTION: Somebody wrote it for him.

MR. BURNS: Probably Betsy Steuart. Her arm is fine, and she'll return whenever they ask her to return.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) Roger Clemens -

MR. BURNS: Roger Clemens, that traitor, pitched a fairly good game yesterday for the Toronto Blue Jays. He's still a traitor.

He's a very good pitcher, though.

QUESTION: He pitches (inaudible).

MR. BURNS: No, but the Boston Red Sox defeated Anaheim in the ninth inning. Henry gave me the blow-by-blow just about an hour ago on his office computer. They scored four in the ninth to beat the Angels. We're off to a good start, Barry. So it was a good day for baseball - for Cal Ripken, Madeleine Albright and the Boston Red Sox.

The Secretary of State today. Secretary Albright went over to the White House for the President's meeting with the Portuguese Prime Minister. She's there now with the President for the lunch.

She is going to attend at 2:00 o'clock the celebration with the President, with Secretary Daley. It's a celebration of the lives, honoring Ron Brown and the others who perished a year ago on that tragic flight in Bosnia - Croatia, excuse me.

She's going there because Ron Brown was a friend of hers, and she wants to honor on behalf of the State Department all of those who perished on board that flight.

She has a meeting with the Israeli Defense Minister, Mr. Mordechai, at 4:00 p.m. this afternoon. I will be in that meeting and will be able to take some calls from those of you who are interested in that. We don't have a press opportunity for you, except for a camera spray, I believe.

She's then meeting the Portuguese Foreign Minister, Foreign Minister Gama, at 5:00 o'clock to review some issues that perhaps won't be coming up during the Portuguese Prime Minister's meeting with the President.

QUESTION: Any opportunity to do that?

MR. BURNS: Excuse me?

QUESTION: Any opportunity -

MR. BURNS: No, there isn't, because of the White House event.

QUESTION: The follow-up at the White House was not very productive.

MR. BURNS: We always give precedence to the White House and the President on these occasions.

Let me also say that tomorrow the Secretary will be meeting at noon with the Norwegian Foreign Minister, Foreign Minister Bjoern Godal. There will be a press opportunity - statements and questions and answers - at noon tomorrow with the Norwegian Foreign Minister.

We are looking forward to this visit. The Secretary is looking forward to it. We expect that European security issues, NATO enlargement, Russia, the Baltic countries, Bosnia, as well as the Middle East, of course, given Norway's role in the Middle East, will be high on the agenda for that meeting tomorrow.

Also tomorrow - I believe it's 4:00 o'clock - the Secretary will be meeting with the three leaders of Zajedno, the Serbian opposition movement. Mr. Vuk Draskovic, Mr. Zoran Djindjic and Mrs. Vesna Pesic will be here tomorrow to meet with the Secretary. They're in the United States to attend a conference in New York on ethnic relations. They have meetings with NGOs essentially, but the Secretary wanted them to come over to the State Department to talk about the situation in Serbia in the aftermath of the decision to respect the November 17th elections and to allow the opposition to take their seats in the various municipalities.

That's tomorrow afternoon.

I wanted to let you know that our Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs, David Welch, and our Office Director, Bob Deutsch, are visiting northern Iraq today, for talks with the leadership of the main Iraqi Kurdish parties - the KDP, the PUK, the Iraqi Turkomen Front, the Assyrian Democratic Movement, and the Peace Monitoring Force.

The discussions are focusing on the Ankara peace process that was put in place by the United States, Turkey and the United Kingdom last autumn. The United States continues to believe that reconciliation and stability in northern Iraq are in the best interests of all the inhabitants of northern Iraq. I'll be in a position tomorrow to give you a substantive readout on what David Welch and Bob Deutsch have accomplished in their trip to northern Iraq.

QUESTION: Could we try you on (inaudible) before you move on to the next one?

MR. BURNS: I've just got a couple more announcements.

QUESTION: No, I mean Iraq. Okay.

MR. BURNS: Let me just go through these. I've just got two more things really. I just wanted to let you know our next foreign policy town meeting will be on April 7 in New Orleans, Louisiana, and Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs Tim Wirth, who you just saw, will deliver the keynote address at 8:00 p.m. Other Department speakers are Ambassador Bill Twaddell, who is one of our point people in the Zairian crisis, and Ambassador Richard C. Brown, who will be talking about the economic outlook for Latin America. This continues our tradition of foreign policy town meetings around the country to try to bring our message to the American public.

I encourage all of you who want to attend - we've had a lot of journalists attend these - to go from Washington to one of the meetings - to do so. If any of you are interested, I'd be glad to arrange for you - special arrangements to talk to Tim and others while you're in New Orleans.

The last thing I wanted to mention, and some of the veterans of the press corps may remember this person: Eugenie Moore Anderson died on March 31st at the age of 87 in Red Wing, Minnesota.

She was the first woman to serve as an American Ambassador.

She was also an Ambassador on the cutting edge of our diplomacy in the post-World War II era.

As Ambassador to Denmark, she helped negotiate the enlargement of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization by working out an arrangement with Denmark that brought Greenland into the NATO defense orbit, and she also negotiated the creation and maintenance of the American bases there. She was a working Ambassador in the best tradition of American diplomacy around the world. She learned Danish. She got around the country. She distinguished herself. She was an appointee of President Harry Truman.

She also served as President Kennedy's Ambassador to Bulgaria, and she served President Johnson as the United States Representative to the United Nations Trust Organization.

I wanted to mention her passing, because she broke a ceiling in the history of American diplomacy and our diplomatic corps by being the first woman American Ambassador, and she deserves that distinction. She deserves to be remembered, and our condolences, of course, go to her family and her friends upon her passing.

Last, I just want to let you know, I have a notice to the press.

There's going to be a seminar held between the 7th and 11th of April, sponsored by the State Department in conjunction with the Department of Justice on criminal justice issues in the international exploitation of women and children.

There will be 25 Russian visitors - Russian Federation judges, interior officials, ministry of justice officials who will be attending, and this is open to the press. Although, curiously enough, open to the press but off the record. But I know a number of journalists have expressed interest in this because of the issue, which is the exploitation of women through prostitution, the exploitation of children, and it's an important international issue, and I wanted to draw some attention to it by mentioning it to you.

Barry.

QUESTION: Nick, some of us broke bagels this morning with a Mideast diplomat who can't be identified further, and I wouldn't have brought this up except your reference to Iraq. This was a rather quiet presentation he made off the record, but he did speak of Saddam Hussein being stronger than ever, and he also thought that some place along the line Iraq had to be included in any comprehensive settlement in the Middle East. He didn't give us an approach how to accomplish this goal, and I wondered, could you go down the first point. What do you think of Saddam Hussein's staying power? Isn't he pretty well entrenched, though, despite all your efforts?

MR. BURNS: He seems to be entrenched, but he's someone who is embattled, certainly, inside his own country, and he's certainly embattled internationally. The United Nations sanctions applied to Iraq in March of 1991 will remain. They'll remain, because he has been in fundamental violation of the sanctions and of U.N. resolutions for many years.

I see that Mr. Hamdoon made an intemperate statement up at the United Nations today, accusing Secretary Albright - basically trying to rebut some of the points that Secretary Albright made in her Georgetown speech. I think Ambassador Hamdoon ought to look to the letter of the United Nations agreement, resolutions and the sanctions resolution. Iraq is in violation, because Iraq never answered for what happened to the 600-700 Kuwaitis whom it took prisoner in the beginning stages of the Gulf War. Those people disappeared. Iraq has never answered for that.

Iraq is a state that is being contained by the international community because of its perfidy and because of its aggression against its own people as well as its neighbors, and that policy will not change, and they don't have a hope, as Secretary Albright said, of having the United States agree to lifting of sanctions until they comply with all of the U.N. resolutions. I don't think we're going to see that day as long as Saddam Hussein is in power.

The second point is most interesting to me. There's been dramatic, historic progress in the Middle East peace negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis since 1993 without the support of the Government of Iraq. I think that we can certainly continue once we resolve these very, very important and difficult problems on the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Once we do move forward in the future, we can resolve those problems without the help of the Government of Iraq.

QUESTION: Nick, are you saying that you think a comprehensive peace can be reached in the Middle East without Iraq, and without Iran, for that matter?

MR. BURNS: We are concerned about a peace between Israel and the Palestinians. We want those negotiations to resume at some point in the future, and we're working to that, as you know.

We want the Israeli-Jordanian peace to be solidified, and at some point in the future - and perhaps it's not going to be soon - but at some point in the future we do look to the day when Syria and Israel and Lebanon and Israel will be at peace. That will be a comprehensive peace.

The outlaw pariah states, Iran and Iraq, will have to then live in bitter isolation, as they deserve to live, unless they change their own policies or unless they change their own leaders.

QUESTION: Also on the Middle East, the Israeli Government announced today that it is dropping the demand for extradition of the man known as Abu Marzook. What happens now?

MR. BURNS: I know that Attorney General Janet Reno spoke to that this morning. She made a statement this morning that Abu Marzook would remain in the custody of the United States, pending a review of all available options by the Immigration and Naturalization Service. So this is a question that is in the hands of the Justice Department. The Attorney General spoke to it this morning, and I, of course, cannot improve upon her remarks.

QUESTION: What's the purpose of - under what grounds is he remaining in custody?

MR. BURNS: As you know, the Government of Israel notified us yesterday on its decision to suspend its request for his extradition to Israel. Based upon that decision by the Israeli Government, the Attorney General said this morning that he will remain in custody pursuant to a detainer filed by the Immigration and Naturalization Service. This will essentially place him in the position he was in before the Israeli Government filed its extradition request.

As the Attorney General said, the INS will have to look at all of the options available to it.

Since it's a judicial matter in the hands of the Justice Department, it's not really proper for me to comment further on this matter.

QUESTION: Is one of those options (inaudible)?

MR. BURNS: Excuse me?

QUESTION: Is one of those options extradition (inaudible)?

MR. BURNS: It's just not appropriate or proper for me to comment further because it's in the hands of the Justice Department.

QUESTION: Can you tell us if Jordan's requested extradition?

MR. BURNS: No, I simply can't comment on that.

QUESTION: Nick, can I - Monday's approaching, and as it turns out the Israeli Prime Minister will be in the U.S. on Sunday to pay a hospital visit to King Hussein. Will an American official see him before - what? -- before he gets going Monday here? And do you know if the Secretary will have her own session with him? We know he's at the White House around 11:00/11:30.

We know he has a speech at 7:30. Is there any gap to fill in?

Of course, we could ask the Israeli government.

MR. BURNS: We've seen the announcement by the Government of Israel that Prime Minister Netanyahu will travel to Minnesota to meet with King Hussein. It's always positive when leaders in the Middle East get together to talk face-to-face, and we would hope that they would have a productive meeting.

We have not yet arranged the schedule, I don't believe in complete, for the Prime Minister's visit. As to whether he'll see Secretary Albright separately, I just don't know at this point, but I'll let you know once those decisions are made. He certainly has an appointment with the President, which is the main event on the agenda. We're looking forward to these discussions, because we continue to believe it's very important for the United States to use its influence with Israel and with the Palestinians to try to help them find a way forward to resume and revive the peace negotiations. That's our objective.

I know that if you're reading the Israeli press these days - as I'm sure you are, and I have read it, too, and the American press as well, and the Palestinian press - that there are all sorts of ideas floating around about how will the United States try to bring the Israelis and Palestinians together.

I just can't talk about what ideas we may be considering. We want to have some quiet diplomacy for the next couple of days.

We are talking to the Palestinians as well as the Israelis and others. King Hussein's visit was extremely useful. We have great respect for him. It was a very constructive visit. But we're going to, I think, go into the silent mode for the next couple of days on what we're considering so that we can work out a proper way forward for the Palestinians and Israelis to try to resolve their own problems.

QUESTION: Any telephone calls by the White House?

MR. BURNS: Actually, let me check on that for you. There were none planned. There may have been one this morning. Let me check, and I can get back to you in the afternoon.

QUESTION: Nick, speaking of the Israeli press, there's a story - I believe it was in Ha'aretz this morning - which says that Chairman Arafat is maintaining a multimillion dollar slush fund in Bank Leumi in Tel Aviv, and that he's using it outside the purview of any of the organizations that are supposed to monitor the aid that he receives to pay for his own expenses, employees, some 4,000 people. Is that something - it's a charge you all have repeatedly denied knowing anything about.

MR. BURNS: We know nothing about it, and I wouldn't give the story a lot of credit.

QUESTION: Why not?

MR. BURNS: Because we've consistently said that the aid given by the United States and the international community is going to the Palestinian Authority for the purposes for which it's intended. We do monitor the use of American assistance.

We know where American dollars are going in Gaza and the West Bank. The money is being well spent. It's being spent to help the Palestinian people overcome significant economic problems - infrastructure problems in Gaza and the West Bank, longer term economic initiatives, $500 million over five years. It's money well spent. It's money that's helping to support the peace negotiations and support the Palestinian people who deserve economic support.

They've had a very tough road over the last 50 years, and they deserve this support. We stand by our aid program.

Yes, John.

QUESTION: This probably falls in the realm of things you don't want to talk about but indulge me. The senior official Barry referred to earlier who -

MR. BURNS: Yes, tell me who this official is. It would be a lot more interesting. I might be able to respond if you tell me who it is.

QUESTION: (Inaudible)

MR. BURNS: Secret journalism.

QUESTION: I don't actually need to cite him, because this idea's out there. It's not his. Anyhow, the suggestion that the two sides, the Israelis and the Palestinians, move quickly towards final status negotiations and leapfrog Oslo implementation or do both in parallel. Does the U.S. have any views on that?

MR. BURNS: We have a lot of views and a lot of issues, but we don't choose to surface those publicly.

There have been a lot of suggestions made; some publicly, some privately. We're going to continue, I think, to discuss all of these privately for the next few days.

QUESTION: Nick, both sides have set forth what sound like conditions for negotiations. You know what they are. The Palestinians saying, stop construction, and the Israelis saying, stop the violence. Where does that leave the United States? Are they preconditions. I know you don't like hypothetical questions.

But let's assume the Israeli Government doesn't change its mind about Jerusalem overnight and that the violence doesn't stop overnight in some form.

How do you proceed? Can you get them to the table? Are they real preconditions, or are they just demands?

MR. BURNS: Our hope is the following: That the violence will stop, that the Palestinian Authority will make very clear to its population and to all groups operating in Gaza and the West Bank that violence is not the answer, that terrorism is not the answer.

Our hope is that both sides - Israel and the Palestinians - will meet their commitments in the Oslo process and that they'll find a way to revive stalled talks because the talks are off right now because of the differences between them.

We have a lot of ideas that we're considering as to how we might help them more forward. Barry, I just can't go into the substance of those ideas.

QUESTION: No, no. I was asking - ideas don't have much meaning if, indeed, there are intractable preconditions. If those preconditions are not met, you could have all the wonderful - you could plan a meeting on Mars -

MR. BURNS: We would hope that both the Government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority would be flexible in looking at ways to overcome their present differences; that they not embed themselves so deeply in rhetoric that they forget what the major objective here is. They are the negotiating partners. They are negotiating partners. That means that they have to take into consideration the needs - the political needs, the sensitivities, the sensibilities - of the other guy, the other person, the other group across the table. They can't lose sight of that because their own fate, the history of the Palestinian and Israeli peoples is intertwined. They've got to work out these problems together.

That's how we look at this proposition.

Therefore, we would appreciate it and hope that both sides would retain flexibility, tactical flexibility, as we try to work out a resumption of Israeli-Palestinian talks.

Henry.

QUESTION: This is on the Middle East, but in Saudi Arabia.

Any problem? Canada holds currently two Saudi nationals, and you're familiar with that. There are a couple of issues that are arising for Canadians as a result of published reports in the United States.

One, of course, concerns the fact that the FBI now, according to the New York Times, feels that the Canadian claim that they have evidence that links this individual to acts of terrorism, and more particularly to the bombing of the barracks. Is that so in your view, that, indeed, the Americans now no longer consider this individual to be a prime suspect or somebody that is important to that issue?

Secondly, during a briefing this morning, which was conducted by the Foreign Ministry of Canada, a number of American journalists raised the issue of cooperation between Canada and the United States, stressing that Canadians at the moment are not agreeing to extradite this individual or allow extradition -

MR. BURNS: The journalists stress that?

QUESTION: The journalists stress this. But the suspicion is that they are talking to American officials before they're asking these questions - at least, my suspicions. And, secondly -

MR. BURNS: Why would you believe that American journalists would talk to American officials --

QUESTION: I get these flights of fancy every once in a while.

MR. BURNS: -- in such a conspiratorial way?

QUESTION: The second aspect of that is that -

MR. BURNS: We never do that around here.

QUESTION: And that Canada is in some way denying efforts of the FBI to contact and speak to this person. Given that very loose question, can you help us with the status of the gentleman Hani Sayegh?

MR. BURNS: We have a long-standing policy here at the State Department. We do not comment on on-going law enforcement matters. This is clearly a law enforcement matter. When this individual was detained in Canada, the FBI made a statement that they would be interested in talking to him. But it's a law enforcement matter, so I really can't take it much further.

I can tell you - and you won't be surprised by this - that we remember what happened at the al-Khobar barracks with great clarity.

We are determined to work with the Saudis, the Canadians, and anybody else to make sure we catch whoever bombed and killed 19 American servicemen. They will not escape justice. Sooner or later they will be caught. That's our message to them.

QUESTION: If I may follow up on that. Obviously, not withstanding your comment on the justice issues of this, there are diplomatic aspects to this. The question is, is the United States urging, asking, communicating with the Canadian Government for more cooperation? I would take you back to the G-7 concept, which is greater cooperation among these countries in fighting terrorism and whatever.

In other words, notwithstanding whether the man is guilty or not or where the evidence stands, is the United States satisfied with what Canada is doing at the moment, do they understand the situation that Canada is offering them? Or are you upset with Canada in terms of dealing with this individual?

MR. BURNS: Henry, I just can't comment on any issue pertaining to this particular individual because it's an on-going law enforcement operation.

I can tell you that we continue to have an excellent relationship in all respects with the Canadian Government. We obviously are having conversations on this issue. Let's wait and see how this issue ends before we take that much further.

QUESTION: So, Nick, you wouldn't agree with the New York Times in saying that Canada is rebuffing your efforts to -

MR. BURNS: I'm just not going to comment on any aspect of the issue, except to say we have an excellent relationship with Canada, and we expect that will continue.

QUESTION: "Rebuff" doesn't indicate an excellent relationship.

MR. BURNS: You can't always believe everything you read in the newspapers; even the New York Times, sometimes. I just don't want to associate myself with those comments. We have great respect for the Government of Canada. We'll deal with the Government of Canada. We'll communicate with them privately on this particular matter, not publicly.

QUESTION: Nick, (inaudible) the Zairian rebel leader to allow access to these refugees yet? You said yesterday that you had asked for it and it was a matter of urgency?

MR. BURNS: Yes. I'm pleased that you asked about that.

Because the United States wishes to renew today our call upon Mr. Laurent Kabila, of the rebel alliance, to permit the international community to assist the refugees, many of whom we believe are at risk in Kisangani, in central Zaire.

Let me take you through this just in a little bit of detail.

It's a very important issue, because 50 people died in Lula, in Zaire, this weekend because they didn't have international assistance. That international assistance was not permitted to reach them.

There are tens of thousands of Rwandan refugees in the Ubundu-Kisangani corridor. Their situation remains dire, unpredictable, and quite unstable. We're concerned that there must be rapid and decisive action to enable the refugees to be cared for and to allow them to return to their homes in Rwanda.

We have been in contact with the rebel alliance in support of the plan by the United Nations to repatriate many of these people.

In fact, Ambassador Dick Bogosian of the State Department spoke directly to Mr. Kabila yesterday by telephone to let him know personally of our very strong concern about the actions of the rebel alliance.

In addition, Ambassador Bob Hudec of the Department of State is discussing this issue today in Kisangani with representatives of Mr. Kabila.

We have welcomed in the past the cooperation that Mr. Kabila and his associates have given the international community. But, frankly, we need to see an improvement. We need to see more action by Mr. Kabila and his associates to help these refugees.

Yesterday, I understand that they have allowed the refugees who have fled Kisangani to stop at two sites. One is 16 kilometers south of Kisangani; the other is 25 kilometers south of Kisangani.

The UNHCR repatriation plan - that repatriation plan has been sent to Mr. Kabila. It was sent to him on March 29th.

It calls for the following. It calls for the United Nations to repatriate by air the most vulnerable of the refugees - those who are in danger of losing their lives or who are severely malnourished or unable to walk to these U.N. collection points.

This is an estimated 20-to-30,000 people. The remainder of the refugees - a much larger group; perhaps two to three times larger than the group of 20-to-30,000 - will return to Rwanda by road.

But the United Nations needs access to the airport in Kisangani and to the road leading out of Kisangani - east out of Kisangani - so that these refugees can begin to move.

The United States has given $3 million to the United Nations to rent an Iluyshin aircraft with staff, to fly that aircraft into Kisangani, and to get those refugees out. We cannot do that in a war zone without the help of Mr. Kabila. He has not yet given us that help. We appeal to him. We call upon him to give the United Nations High Commissioner that help. Because these refugees will be in very dire straights, indeed, without that concrete assistance by the United Nations.

We hope that this message, which we gave to him personally and directly via telephone yesterday, is being heard in Kisangani and in eastern Zaire, in general.

QUESTION: Why hasn't he given permission?

MR. BURNS: I believe that the rebel alliance is concerned about security issues. There is a civil war. There is fighting with the government troops. Frankly, the rebel alliance has a humanitarian obligation to help tens of thousands of Rwandan refugees who have been caught in the midst of this fighting. Fifty people died over the weekend. We cannot stand by and allow further people to die. We must act.

The United States has given the United Nations the money this week to fly that Iluyshin aircraft in there and to get those people out. That's the kind of action that we're calling on Mr. Kabila to take. If he wants to be taken seriously by the international community, he needs to act in a civilized way. He needs to be concerned about the welfare of these refugees.

Let me also say on the politics of this situation in Zaire. The United States, of course, remains fundamentally committed to the territorial integrity of Zaire. We understand that now the new Prime Minister - Prime Minister Etienne Tshisekedi - has begun to form his new Cabinet. He has talked about including members of Mr. Kabila's organization in that Cabinet. He has effectively held out an olive branch to Mr. Kabila. The United Nations Special Envoy, Mr. Sahnoun, hopes to convene peace talks this weekend in South Africa between the government and the opposition.

The United States supports the United Nations. We want the peace talks to begin this weekend. We hope that it can quickly lead to an effective cease-fire so that the fighting can stop and the innocent civilians who have been affected - particularly, the refugees - can be saved.

QUESTION: You heard the rebels have rejected Tshisekedi's offer to -

MR. BURNS: We've seen a statement by a rebel official that the offer has been rejected. We hope that the rebels will listen carefully to the offer of the Zairian Government.

Laura.

QUESTION: Who will be representing the United States - or will the U.S. be represented at this meeting this weekend?

MR. BURNS: At this point, the United States is not planning to send a representative. This is a simple meeting. It's being put together by the U.N. Envoy, Mr. Sahnoun with two groups: the rebels and the government. If we're asked to assist these talks, we'll, of course, be open to that, but we're very pleased to support it in its present basis.

Further on Zaire?

QUESTION: Regarding this weekend's meeting in Minnesota between Mr. Netanyahu and King Hussein, did the U.S. have any role in bringing that together?

MR. BURNS: I think this was an initiative of the Israeli Government. That's my understanding.

QUESTION: Following up on that. Will the State Department send any representative to the meeting? And, second, do you know who initiated the meeting? And, third, does the State Department have any reaction to Netanyahu's new talk about a broad, comprehensive peace being the only solution? Does this open the way for another Camp David, or is this an impediment to it?

MR. BURNS: I'd refer you to the Israeli Government for who initiated this and who is going to be there. I don't believe the United States will be present. I could be mistaken. I don't believe we have any plans to be there.

We do encourage face-to-face talks between Arab leaders and Israeli leaders. As for your last question, I think I've answered that today several times. I don't know when you got here but we had a long discussion of this. We're not going to say much about all these various options that are being bandied about because we think we'll be more effective if we engage in quiet diplomacy.

QUESTION: The Chinese Foreign Ministry is criticizing the United States for having two foreign policy voices - that is, Newt Gingrich and the State Department. Do you have any comment on that?

MR. BURNS: My good friend, Shen Guofang - Mr. Shen Guofang and other Chinese Government spokesmen - need not be mystified by the Americans. We're a democracy. In a democracy, you have separation of powers. You have an Executive Branch which is responsible for the conduct of U.S. foreign policy - for it's implementation - but you have a Legislative Branch directly elected by the American people. Here, you have the highest official in the Legislative Branch, the Speaker of the House - Speaker Gingrich - who also, of course, has every right in the world to comment upon United States relations with China, upon the Taiwan issue, or any other issue.

Frankly, it's a little bit puzzling to see this criticism from the Chinese Government that somehow Speaker Gingrich doesn't have a right to speak out. Of course, he does, and we'll defend his right to speak out.

We don't always agree with everything he says, and, as you know, the other day, obviously, he was speaking personally when he made the comments that he did about Taiwan. But he has every right to say what he did.

United States' policy toward China has been constant since 1979.

We've had a one-China policy. The Taiwan Relations Act has governed our unofficial relations with Taiwan. We've had an ongoing relationship with the People's Republic under the one-China policy.

There's no cause for concern here. There's no cause for confusion, and nobody in Beijing ought to be confused by American policy.

It's very clear. The Secretary of State and the Vice President have both been there recently. They've reiterated this with the Chinese Government. I think we're just seeing, perhaps, some - you know, there may be other reasons why the Chinese Government is making these statements. But I can tell you, I don't believe there's any cause for concern here whatsoever.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR. BURNS: Yes.

QUESTION: A question on KEDO. A KEDO delegation is going to North Korea in the coming weeks, or what's the situation with KEDO?

MR. BURNS: I will have to take that question and see.

I'm just simply not aware of all the delegations that KEDO is sending to North Korea, but we fully support KEDO, and I'll be glad to take the question for you.

Thank you.

(The briefing concluded at 1:47 p.m.)

(###)


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