U.S. Department of State Daily Press Briefing #163, 97-11-12
From: The Department of State Foreign Affairs Network (DOSFAN) at <http://www.state.gov>
U.S. Department of State
Daily Press Briefing
I N D E X
Wednesday, November 12, 1997
Briefer: James P. Rubin
1-2,3-6 Vote in UN Security Council on Iraq, Sanctions/Travel
restrictions, Iraqi officials on UN list of travel
1 UN Arrears
2,3 UNSCOM Inspection team schedule/U2 flights
3 Next Steps if Iraq does not comply
3 Continued US support for military intervention
14 Other Arab States position on Iraq UN Resolution
14-15 Definition of Immediate
6 Secretary travel plans/Security concerns
6-7 Murder of 4 AMCITS, Motive
7 Number of AMCITS in Pakistan
7-8 Threats to AmCits/Kansi Connection to Murders
8 HEROES Program
8 Threats to Official Americans
8-9 Doha Economic Conference Attendance
9 Secretary's Meeting with Netanyahu
13-14 President's Meeting with Netanyahu
9-10 Political situation in country
10 Meeting and Issues for Secretary Visit
10 Grossman meetings in London
10 Holbrooke trip
10-11 Aid Package
11 Extradition of Mexican narco-trafficker
11-12 FM trip to Washington
12 Four Party Talks
14 Turkish report of No-Fly zone Violations
15 Status of Aziz visa
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 1997, 3:00 P.M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. RUBIN: Greetings. Welcome to the State Department press briefing.
It's been a long morning, long lunch, and I apologize for the delays.
Let me start by saying that Secretary Albright was just informed about the
unanimous vote in the Security Council. And she was very pleased that the
entire world community has united -- that Saddam Hussein, as she said
earlier, tried to drive a wedge through the coalition, and instead he ran
into a brick wall of unanimity in the Council, and that the pressure has
now been ratcheted up on Iraq; that countries that previously have been
reluctant to support travel sanctions on the Iraqi leadership have now
changed their position and now support those restrictions. So we have
a united international community, united against the Iraqi leadership.
At the same time, Secretary Albright has been spending what she regards as
an unfortunately great amount of time in the last day or two trying to work
on another important issue, which is to obtain funding for the United
Nations arrears that we owe and the reorganization plan that she has worked
on so carefully.
Right now there is a real possibility that Congress may adjourn without
passing that funding for the United Nations. The frustration that is
developing is that we may be in a position where we may need to go back to
obtain support from the United Nations for further measures against Iraq,
and not having a package that the United Nations members are waiting for,
looking forward to, go down at the very same time we're looking for their
support could be very damaging to our interests in trying to deter and
contain Saddam Hussein.
I'd be happy to take your questions.
QUESTION: Jamie, on the UN thing, what does this say about future
measures, should you have to keep ratcheting up -- the unanimity that you
MR. RUBIN: I believe the signal is that the unanimity that didn't exist
on travel restrictions now does exist; and therefore, there is a greater
chance that, having given diplomacy time and having worked through the
Security Council, that countries will support stiffer measures, if those
are necessary. The resolution itself, as you know, says the Council will
consider further measures as required to ensure that Iraq complies with the
requirements of the United Nations.
So, again, we're taking this step by step, in a deliberate fashion, trying
to maintain as much support as possible, internationally, for this stand-
off, which pits Saddam Hussein against the world.
QUESTION: Is this an educated inference, or has she been told -- because
she's worked the phones very hard, and we needn't get into specific
countries unless you'd like to - but we know who the abstainers were, and
they are not abstainers any more.
MR. RUBIN: This is a good thing.
QUESTION: Does she have any - so we pretty much know who it is that had
to be brought along. Have these countries that have been brought along
given her any sort of assurance that, number one, they've had it up to here
with the situation; and number two, if the US gets tougher, they're along
MR. RUBIN: Well, again, we don't always consult with allies and friends
on every step coming down the road. I think we do have every reason to
believe that key countries are increasingly frustrated with the recalcitrance
of Saddam Hussein, and his refusal to change course, having been given
every reasonable opportunity to do so.
So what we are trying to do is to keep as much unanimity as possible in
order to keep as much pressure as possible on the Iraqi leadership, with
the hope - again, it is our hope that there is no need to take further
measures, including the use of force that we have not ruled out.
If the Iraqi regime reverses course, we believe it will be more likely to
do so when it is confronting a united international community.
QUESTION: When is the UN - the inspection team expected to go in again
and try to do its work?
MR. RUBIN: Again, that would be up to Ambassador Ekeus. As you know, the
Iraqi Foreign Minister has indicated that they intend to follow through on
QUESTION: You mean Butler?
MR. RUBIN: What did I say, Ekeus? Ambassador Butler. The previous UNSCOM
Chairman was Ambassador Ekeus. Forgive me, Ambassador Butler.
The Iraqi Foreign Minister has indicated that they intend to follow through
on their threat to toss out the American UNSCOM inspectors. I think
Ambassador Butler and the UN have made clear that they're in together and
they'll stay together and they'll go out together if that happens. It's our
view the international community has made clear its strong condemnation of
Iraqi measures taken thus far. If they were to take that additional step,
we could only expect that Saddam Hussein carrying out that threat would
cause the international community and the Security Council to react
in an even stronger manner.
QUESTION: Are you talking about another diplomatic step, or have you made
a decision that the next step would have to be some sort of military
MR. RUBIN: We have not ruled out military responses. What exact measures
we would take we're going to hope that we don't face this circumstance. But
again, we have not ruled out military responses.
Again, it's up to Ambassador Butler to make the decision of how to respond
if the threat to kick out American inspectors occurs. He will make the
decisions as to who will stay and who will go. So that's where we are as of
QUESTION: Practically speaking, do you think that you have support in
this country for continued talking and diplomatic action at the UN, while
Saddam continues to sort of thumb his nose at the UN and the international
MR. RUBIN: I guess we'll call this a two-part question. I think the
American people - and the Secretary, I know, believes this - would want to
know that the United States Administration - President Clinton and
Secretary Albright - went the extra mile diplomatically before resorting to
the use of force. That is the best way to achieve the objective - to also
demonstrate to our allies and friends around the world that we're going the
extra mile before considering the option that we haven't ruled out.
So that is something we're very comfortable with.
The time pressure is not a one-way street. In our view, with every day that
the inspectors don't do their job, it becomes one more day that Saddam
Hussein is away from having the clean bill of health declared by UNSCOM. At
some point, the baseline begins to be destroyed. And when UNSCOM has to go
back in, they have to start more from scratch than they would have if the
inspectors can go back to work right now.
So the person who's being - the regime that's being harmed by continued
time passing is the Iraqi regime.
QUESTION: Jamie, is it your understanding that Mr. Butler is going to
continue with the U-2 flights through the week, and everything is going to
progress as planned?
MR. RUBIN: I don't want to make any specific statement about when flights
will fly. That's up to Ambassador Butler to decide. It is our understanding
that he intends to continue to fly these UN reconnaissance aircraft.
QUESTION: And I know that the travel restrictions are something that was
agreed upon. And you talked about building further agreement or - unanimity
is the word you used for further action or further measures, should that be
needed. But some critics will charge, rather, that maybe Saddam had a lot
of wiggle room here, and he's still got a whole bunch of wiggle room. How
would you respond to that?
MR. RUBIN: I don't know what that means.
QUESTION: Wiggle room in that he's had a chance to move equipment around.
He's had this travel restriction. He's delayed stuff for, what - this is
going into the second week now?
MR. RUBIN: Right, I don't understand why the travel restriction is a
QUESTION: Well, wiggle room in that you're still not talking about
military action. You're not emphatically saying --
MR. RUBIN: Well, again, the objective here - although some of the critics
may have a different view - the objective is not to take military action;
the objective is to get the inspectors back to work. We are taking the
course that we believe is necessary - going the extra mile diplomatically;
ratcheting up the pressure in New York; uniting the world against Saddam
Hussein. Our experience over the last six years - unlike some of these
critics - I don't know quite who they are who would frame it the way you
said it - is that that is what Saddam Hussein responds to - the unanimity
of the world against him is what causes him to change his mind.
When he thinks that he can play one country off against another, he is more
likely to be recalcitrant. But once he's concluded that the whole world is
united against him, including countries that have a regular dialogue with
him, that he is most likely to reverse course. That doesn't mean he will in
this case; but it means it's our responsibility to have gone the extra mile,
tried to take all reasonable steps we could take before considering other
options. That's the responsibility of our government to do so, and that's
what we're doing.
QUESTION: Would the United States Government have preferred a tougher
version of the resolution?
MR. RUBIN: I know there's been some reporting on this. I was actually
with Secretary Albright when these decisions were made. She specifically
instructed the delegation in New York that all we were concerned about
achieving in this phase was as unanimous support as possible for the travel
sanctions, and then consideration of further measures.
There may have been other delegations in New York who sought stronger words,
but the United States certainly did not.
QUESTION: There's a bit of a level of frustration in the United States
that it's been unable to come up with any kind of solution which would
ensure that the scrutiny that the international community wants Saddam
Hussein to be under is not resumed? I mean, basically, he's had this time
with which he can be doing all kinds of things that the UN weapons
inspectors won't know about.
MR. RUBIN: Well, again, let's bear in mind what these inspectors do and
what they don't do. They are not in a position to know everything that's
going on in Iraq at all times; that's not what they do. The reason why some
believe we're in this stand-off is because they were getting closer to
uncovering an elaborate scheme to hide weapons of mass destruction programs
from them. But that means they've been hiding them all along. It doesn't
mean that a week has gone by and now they're able to hide them, and
before they weren't able to hide them. It means that the deception
and the deceit and the concealment program that is conducted at the
highest levels there has been going on all along.
So the perception that with each day, the amount of opportunity for Iraq to
suddenly begin building weapons of mass destruction is simply incorrect.
Frankly, we have other means of keeping track of what goes on in Iraq. As
Secretary Cohen, I believe, said yesterday, yes, there does come a point at
which the possibility of serious restructuring would have occurred, but
what we're talking about is months, not days.
QUESTION: How will the travel restrictions be enforced by the United
MR. RUBIN: Well, as I understand the way the scheme will work - and
please don't hold me to each detail, because obviously this will emerge now
that the resolution has just passed a few minutes ago - is that the
Sanctions Committee of the United Nations will draw up a list and inform
all the member states of who is on that list. They will obtain that list by
asking the UN Special Commission who they believe is responsible, who
issues the orders that prohibit the UN from doing its work, the UN Special
Commission. A list will be created, and the countries of the world will
be asked not to permit travel, presumably through visas and other
normal means that countries use, to that list of officials.
If there is deemed to be a reason to make an exception, for some overwhelming
diplomatic purpose, then that Sanctions Committee can make an exception.
QUESTION: Will Tariq Aziz be allowed to come to the United Nations, or is
it premature to --
MR. RUBIN: Well, I think that's a little premature. As a rule, again, as
the host country of the United Nations, it has tended to be American
practice to make sure that officials from countries are able to make their
case, and I don't think the objective is to prevent that kind of an event,
if that would help us resolve the crisis or get Iraq to reverse course.
QUESTION: Jamie, is it your understanding that senior Iraqi officials
will be able to visit the Arab League headquarters in Egypt, and does that
open a major loophole by allowing Iraq to continue lobbying officials of
the Arab world?
MR. RUBIN: I'll have to get you an answer of who this is going to apply
to. As I indicated, now that the resolution has been passed, I would expect
some number of days to pass before the Sanctions Committee develops its
list and issues these names to the 185, I believe - did I get that right -
185 countries in the world, and tells them who is on the banned list. So at
that point, that would apply.
An exception, for such a meeting like the one you described, would have to
be approved by the Sanctions Committee, which tends to act by consensus.
QUESTION: Jamie, is the Secretary going through with her trip, given all
this Iraq stuff?
MR. RUBIN: I am packing. I think those of you who are going should pack.
The Secretary intends to go forward with her trip at this time.
QUESTION: Has any of the itinerary in Pakistan changed?
MR. RUBIN: I don't believe so. Obviously, there will be some reflection
upon the security situation, and her security people may make recommended
changes. As you know, that's an issue that could develop at any time.
QUESTION: Segue, then, to Pakistan. Can we go to Pakistan?
MR. RUBIN: Yes.
QUESTION: Do you have any information you can impart on what happened?
MR. RUBIN: What I know is as follows. Four American employees of Union
Texas Petroleum and their Pakistani driver were killed this morning in
Karachi, when the vehicle they were riding in was attacked. Their names are
being withheld, pending formal notification of next of kin by the
Secretary Albright condemned this brutal attack earlier today, and we offer
our condolences to their families. We are working closely with Pakistani
law enforcement authorities to bring to justice those responsible.
She received an indication from the Pakistani Foreign Minister that they
intend to leave no stone unturned in their investigation of this effort. We
will obviously be considering what the appropriate assistance we would
provide to that investigation.
On Tuesday, the embassy and consulates in Pakistan issued a public
announcement about possible threats to Americans as a result of the Kansi
conviction. Although we were not aware of any specific threat in Karachi.
As far as who is responsible for this, let me say I've heard one report of
a caller claiming responsibility. We have no confirmation of any kind that
that caller's responsibility was authenticated in any way. We do not know
who is responsible for this murder. We do not know what the motives for the
killing were. As I indicated, we did take precautions in this regard.
As far as the question of whether Union Texas Petroleum will be evacuating
their employees - which I heard indicated - we are not aware of any full-
fledged evacuation plans at this time. If they did choose to evacuate their
employees, we of course, through our consulate, would assist them with
documentation or other arrangements.
So we have every intention of seeing the killers brought to justice. The
Prime Minister has expressed his resolve to apprehend the culprits. We will
be working on that.
QUESTION: Jamie, since it was an attack on Americans overseas, does it
appear that the FBI would be involved in the investigation?
MR. RUBIN: I would have to refer you to the FBI for that question.
QUESTION: Do you have any figures on the number of Americans in
MR. RUBIN: The figures that I have indicate that there are about 4,000
private Americans in Pakistan, of whom about 2,400 are believed to be in
Karachi. But we do not keep track of all of the different locations where
the hometown of these people is.
QUESTION: I know that you're referring from speculating, but the question
why this oil company was a target - has that been looked into?
MR. RUBIN: I would be impossibly - I think obviously the investigation
will look into the motives, the targets, when it happened, where it
happened, and try to make some --
QUESTION: And are you just - I just want to follow up on the Kansi, which
has obviously been a question all day. Are you ruling out that could be a
MR. RUBIN: We're investigating. I'm not going to rule anything in or
QUESTION: When you issued the warning related to Kansi's - was that based
on anything in particular? Just the general conviction, or does it go back
and include the snatching - to use that word - of him a few months
MR. RUBIN: We issued the warning as a public announcement about possible
threats to Americans as a result of the conviction, believing that one
should at least make citizens aware of the possibility - Americans - of
this. Although we were not, as I understand it, aware of any specific
threat in Karachi.
QUESTION: Jamie, when the embassy issues such a warning, how do they make
the local American community aware of it? I mean, I understand there's a
warden system when you're evacuating Americans, but when you issue a public
announcement like that --
MR. RUBIN: I'll have to get you details from consular affairs on
QUESTION: Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't this warning - this is a
worldwide warning. This is not unique to Pakistan; is that correct?
MR. RUBIN: I'll have to check. I believe that - I'll have to check on
whether this was a worldwide warning. I think that if you lived in Pakistan
and you heard about this warning, and the basis of the warning was the
possible conviction of Kansi, you probably were more concerned than you
were in some other part of the world.
QUESTION: Is there any consideration of triggering that HEROS program, or
offering some kind of reward for information about this?
MR. RUBIN: I think, again, this just happened; and that's a little
premature at this point. We were pleased to receive the assurances from the
Foreign Minister, and through the Prime Minister to the President, that
they are going to leave no stone unturned in this investigation. We are
going to consider how best to assist them in that investigation.
QUESTION: Just switching to official Americans who are in Pakistan, is
there any concern that Americans might be targeted, and any special
precautions being taken for diplomats who are serving in Pakistan?
MR. RUBIN: I'll have to check the status of our warning system for
diplomats in Pakistan.
QUESTION: Can we do Doha?
MR. RUBIN: Yes. One more on this? Yes.
QUESTION: In what way if any will it affect the Secretary's agenda in
MR. RUBIN: I think I was asked that question. I have no information to
indicate that we are changing our schedule or changing our plans for what
we will do in Pakistan at this time.
QUESTION: But in terms of discussions?
MR. RUBIN: I suspect this case will be raised, yes.
QUESTION: As you may have heard, the Egyptians are not going to the Doha
Conference. Do you have any reaction?
MR. RUBIN: Well, let me say we are obviously disappointed by this
decision by the Egyptian Government. We do not think - it's not been an
easy year to put on this conference. Obviously, the peace process is not
where we want it to be.
That said, more than 750 businessmen and 400 officials from over 35
countries will attend. I hope that is borne in mind. Those who attend will
benefit. They will benefit from a unique opportunity for public-private
sector networking, and by looking investment opportunities in this part of
the world. They will benefit, as others have before them in Cairo, Amman
Those countries that do not attend will not benefit. From the point of view
of the peace process, this is an important part of the peace process, in
our view. It is part of the infrastructure. It's important to keep it going,
even when the process itself is experiencing difficulties.
We are carrying this conference off in an environment that is difficult;
the Secretary recognizes that. But she believes it's very important for her
to follow through on the American commitment to have the United States
Secretary of State go, and we follow through on our commitments.
The list of attendant countries is a good one. Qatar, Israel, Jordan,
Tunisia, Kuwait, Oman, Yemen. In addition, there will be many extra-
regional representatives from North America, Europe and Asia. These
conferences have never been about doing a favor for one country or the
other; rather, they have provided a unique opportunity for public-private
sectors to look at the region through a modern lens -- trade, investment,
integration - rather than simply the lens of the progress of the peace
But are we disappointed by the failure of Egypt and other countries to go?
Yes, we are. We believe it is in their interest to go. As far as our
specific reaction to Egypt is concerned, we are disappointed. Clearly,
there are many issues on which we and Egypt agree. This is obviously not an
issue on which we agree.
QUESTION: A relation question. Israel TV is reporting that when the
Secretary meets Prime Minister Netanyahu in London, she is going to tell
him that she holds him responsible for the breakdown of the peace process.
Do you have any response?
MR. RUBIN: I think that I will make a practice of trying not to respond
to every report in the Israeli media. That is not the agenda -- who is
responsible for the difficulties in the peace process is not the agenda for
her meeting. I've seen the preparatory papers. I didn't see a heading that
says, who is responsible for the breakdown of the peace process. On the
contrary, they will be discussing a four-part agenda -- the time-out, the
question of security, the question of how to get to an accelerated
permanent status, and the question of further redeployment of Israeli
forces. That's what they will be talking about.
QUESTION: Jamie, on Bangladesh, the Bangladesh -- Secretary Albright is
making a trip to the region, including Bangladesh. The political situation
in Bangladesh has lately been wormed up with a lot of strikes and
demonstrations against the government. And the American ambassador also had
been very much active during this period of tension that is going on. Could
you please highlight some of the issues and the expected date of the
arrival of Secretary Albright in Dhaka?
MR. RUBIN: Let me say, first of all, on the question of the political
unrest in Bangladesh, violence often resulting in deaths is unfortunately a
pervasive element in the Bangladeshi political process. We have repeatedly
urged both major political parties to seek political accommodation. This
theme will figure prominently in Secretary of State Albright's upcoming
visit to Bangladesh. Ultimately, however, the political disputes in
Bangladesh will have to be solved by Bangladeshis acting in the best
interests of the people of Bangladesh.
We are going to try to get you a briefing for the Secretary's trip to India,
Pakistan and Bangladesh. At that point, you will get any further details
you probably would be looking for.
QUESTION: Assistant Secretary Grossman, when he was in London, he met one
of the Turkish religious party officials, Mr. Abdul (inaudible). Can you
give us some [PA(1]information about this meeting; for example, what's the
purpose, and what's the promises on this meeting?
MR. RUBIN: I have no information on that specific meeting. They normally
don't - we don't normally provide information on every specific meeting an
assistant secretary has. If we did, I suspect I couldn't fit it even in
this book. So we'll try to get you an answer to that question.
QUESTION: Mr. Holbrooke was in the area. Do you have anything on this
MR. RUBIN: Yes, I do have some information on Mr. Holbrooke's trip. He
spoke to me earlier today. He met with President Clerides and Turkish
Cypriot leader Denktash in Nicosia Monday night, and then with both leaders
jointly on Tuesday. The joint meeting took place at the Ledra Palace Hotel
in the UN buffer zone, and lasted nearly four and a half hours.
He indicated publicly that he didn't want to get into the substance of the
talks, but he indicated that they were very candid and intense, and were
held in a very positive atmosphere, with both leaders willing to approach
the issues openly and directly. There were no substantive results, nor did
we expect any. The purpose of these meetings was to keep the process going,
keep both sides talking, and create opportunities for progress.
From Nicosia, Ambassador Holbrooke and his party traveled to Ankara, where
Ambassador Holbrooke met with the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister
and Foreign Minister to brief them on their discussions. He briefed Greek
officials by telephone, as I understand it, and will be meeting with key
Greek officials in Brussels tomorrow.
He is now in Bonn, Germany, where he will consult with German officials. He
will then head to Brussels to participate in the conference with business
leaders from Cyprus, Turkey and Greece, November 14 and 15.
So I spoke to him earlier. He felt pretty good about the discussions. He
considered them a starting point, and they were very frank and very
QUESTION: Vietnam received an aid package of about $600,000 --
MR. RUBIN: Sorry.
QUESTION: Vietnam --
MR. RUBIN: Yes.
QUESTION: -- received an aid package of about $600,000 today. Could you
tell us what kind of aid that is, and is that the first since 1975?
MR. RUBIN: I will have to check. I believe it is the largest since 1975.
I don't know whether it's the first, in terms of government-to-government
We have offered our condolences to the Vietnamese people who have suffered
greatly in this disaster, and have responded to appeals for assistance from
the Vietnamese Government. The amount of disaster relief assistance
provided by the US has amounted to approximately $636,000. Several federal
agencies are contributing to the relief effort, which is coordinated by the
USAID's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance.
Ambassador Peterson has utilized his disaster assistance authority of $25,
000. AID has supplied plastic sheeting for shelter and portable water
containers, while the Department of Defense has shipped tents and shelter
material, medical equipment, blankets and clothing. For additional details
on the amount and kinds of assistance being provided, you would have to
obviously speak to AID.
In general, the US has been providing humanitarian assistance to Vietnam
prior to the disaster, amounting to amount $3 million per year. USAID has
given grants to American private voluntary organizations to provide
prosthetics and rehabilitation services. Some of you know that Secretary
Albright visited that kind of effort in Vietnam, and the State Department
has also provided Vietnamese returnees to Vietnam with reintegration
QUESTION: Jamie, yesterday, the United States requested another
extradition for a Mexican narco-trafficker. I just wanted to know if you
had any comment on that. And also, the Foreign Minister of Mexico is coming
to the State Department tomorrow to meet Secretary Albright. I want to know
if you have any comments on what they are going to discuss. And also, who
is going to represent the State Department in the meeting with Presidents
Zedillo and Clinton, Friday at the White House?
MR. RUBIN: We understand that a purported high-level member of the
criminal gang of the Arellano Felix brothers was captured on Saturday in
Mexico by local law enforcement authorities. We have requested his
provisional arrest pursuant to a possible extradition request. We commend
Mexican authorities for apprehending the suspect, and understand there was
rapid and effective cooperation between our two governments in this matter.
As far as any specifics on the charges, I would have to refer you to the
Mexican President - the second question - Ernesto Zedillo will make a
working visit to Washington on November 13 and 14. As you know, President
Clinton was in Mexico last May, and these visit exemplify the importance
and closeness of our bilateral relationship. During the visit we will
discuss important issues such as trade, law enforcement and migration.
Following President Zedillo's meeting with President Clinton on Friday,
they will visit the headquarters of the OAS to commemorate the signing of
an OAS convention against trafficking and firearms. Vice President Gore
will host a luncheon in honor of President Zedillo at the State Department
on Friday, November 14.
As you know, the Secretary will be traveling on Friday, but she will meet
with Mexican Foreign Secretary Gurria on Thursday at the State Department,
to sign a maritime boundary treaty. That will be a multiple signing
ceremony, which will also include the signing by Attorney General Reno and
Attorney General Madrazo of protocol to our extradition treaty, signings by
Secretary Daley and his counterpart, and also a presentation by General
McCaffery and the Attorney General of Mexico. So there will be a full-
fledged set of meetings and progress on the agenda President Clinton
set out in his last trip to Mexico.
As far as who will represent the State Department in the meeting with the
President, that is not normally information we provide.
QUESTION: On North Korea - on Korea, the Secretary said in her speech
today that she expected a plenary meeting to be held next month. I wondered,
is this the resumption of the talks in New York that failed in September?
MR. RUBIN: We did have working-level talks in New York on November 10,
with participation from South Korea, North Korea, the Chinese and the
The participants had earlier agreed that such talks might be held when
useful. Similar talks were held in July. We can't give you a read-out of
those discussions, but as we said in late October, the North Koreans have
indicated a willingness to resume discussions, and the four parties are
exploring how to proceed.
We are still working on trying to make that plenary happen as soon as
possible; and that's what we've been discussing in those working groups.
QUESTION: Well, I mean, she seemed a little bit more forward-leaning in
her remarks today.
MR. RUBIN: You can interpret --
QUESTION: Saying that it was expected to be happening next month.
MR. RUBIN: Well, far be it from me to contradict the Secretary of State.
I'm merely giving you a read-out of what happened in New York at the
working level. Her expectation, we hope, will be met by the work that is
done through these working-level contacts in New York.
QUESTION: It is fair, though, to compare what you might say about
Netanyahu with what the White House spokesman says, because you're on the
same level. There is no time in the President's schedule to see the Prime
Minister of Israel. The Secretary is seeing him. Can you help me put that
together? Is her meeting with him good enough? Or does she stand in for the
President? Are things not at an important enough pass that while the
Congress is spending a week in this country, the President can't find
ten minutes just to --
MR. RUBIN: I guess the later I do the briefing in the day, the more
likely I face the prospect of troublemaking.
QUESTION: You've got to do it before the White House and the Pentagon.
MR. RUBIN: All right, let me also state, far be it from me to ever
contradict or disagree or even show any space between the State Department
spokesman and the White House spokesman.
QUESTION: Indeed. You might want to correlate your two views.
MR. RUBIN: As I understand it, a meeting is planned. It's not a question
of whether there will be a meeting with the President with Prime Minister
Netanyahu; it's a question of when. So that's a scheduling matter. And
having known a little bit about the difficulties of scheduling with the
President of the United States, I'm not going to - you'll forgive me if I
don't dive into that.
QUESTION: No, but you can - (inaudible) - visit? A meeting on this visit -
MR. RUBIN: What I'm saying is that as I understand the position of the
White House that has been communicated to me, the question is not whether
there would be a meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu, the question is
when. Whether they will be able to have such a meeting in this visit, I
guess the answer is no. Whether they will be able to have a meeting this
year, I think the answer is they're working on trying to schedule
So Secretary Albright has been working on the Middle East peace process on
behalf of the President. When Prime Minister Netanyahu meets with her, I
can assure you President Clinton very quickly finds out what he said. So
there won't be any gap between what she does and what he knows, the
President. So we hope to have constructive discussions with Prime Minister
Netanyahu on Friday in London. Those will be communicated very quickly to
QUESTION: Isn't Arafat on Saturday?
MR. RUBIN: Correct.
QUESTION: And how about - here's a wild idea - the two of them coming
here and seeing the President?
MR. RUBIN: I haven't heard any discussion of that, any serious discussion.
Every day I hear somebody in this building propose a meeting between Arafat
and Netanyahu and somebody.
QUESTION: They're probably in other bureaus.
MR. RUBIN: Well, they're certainly not on the seventh floor, or at least
in the corridor where I work. But I have not heard any serious discussions,
serious planning, serious effort underway to schedule such a meeting in the
near term. But I wouldn't rule it out over some number of weeks or months
in the future.
QUESTION: Jamie, do you have any information on Turkey's report of
increasing Iraqi violations of the no-fly zone in the north? And is that a
MR. RUBIN: I don't have any current information on that. We can try to
get it for you. I expect the Pentagon might be in a better position, but
we'll try to get you an answer from this building.
QUESTION: Back on Iraq just briefly. You speak of unanimity, of course
speaking of the vote.
MR. RUBIN: Correct.
QUESTION: Can you give us some characterization of how countries like
Turkey and Saudi Arabia feel now about their being available? They may feel
the same. They have been available from the outset. But how are they lined
up now, should it become necessary to use the force option? Can you count
MR. RUBIN: Again, I don't think we're at that phase; I think we've made
that clear. When and if we begin consultations with countries about that
kind of a question, it would not be for me to say publicly what their
positions were. But I think you can conclude the following.
When the entire world, by the voice of 15 members of the Security Council,
take a stand against Saddam Hussein, that should increase the chances that
if we ever come to a situation where the use of force is considered - and
again, it hasn't been ruled out at this point - that it will increase the
chances that countries in the Arab world will see that the UN and the
United States and the French and the Russians and the British and the whole
world went the extra mile in trying to get Saddam Hussein to resolve
this problem diplomatically.
QUESTION: I have another question about the resolution. What is meant by
immediate compliance? A minute ago, Ambassador Richardson said that Saddam
Hussein would be expected to comply immediately with this resolution. But
of course, immediately doesn't mean one minute after it's passed. He may
need to hear from Tariq Aziz, or whoever he listens to, talk to the
Russians or the French or whatever. What is meant by immediate?
MR. RUBIN: Let me follow my pattern. Not only wouldn't I want to disagree
with Secretary Albright or Mike McCurry, I certainly wouldn't want to
disagree with Ambassador Richardson.
Immediately means as soon as the message finally gets through in Baghdad
and an order is issued. It will take a very short amount of time once the
decision is made. It's a one-man decision-making process there.
QUESTION: Does Tariq Aziz have - I heard he might be getting a visa
limited to five days?
MR. RUBIN: I don't know his current travel schedule. We can try to get
QUESTION: Well, I mean, if the US imposed travel restrictions? I mean, I
understood the visa would be --
MR. RUBIN: He didn't choose to speak today before the Council. So he may
have other places he wants to go.
QUESTION: Is it all right with the US if he hangs around?
MR. RUBIN: I'll have to get an answer for how his visa is restricted, if
QUESTION: Thank you.
(The briefing concluded at 3:40 P.M.)