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U.S. Department of State Daily Press Briefing #175, 97-12-05

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

From: The Department of State Foreign Affairs Network (DOSFAN) at <>


U.S. Department of State
Daily Press Briefing


Friday, December 5, 1997

Briefer: James B. Foley

1-4		US Protest over Charges Against American Citizen Richard
		  Bliss in Rostov, Russia
1-2		US-EU Summit/Signing of Science and Technology
		  Agreement/Transatlantic Information Exchange Service
		  Program/White House Briefing at 2:15 p.m. today on the
2		Statement by Secretary Albright on the 10th Anniversary of
		  INF Treaty
2		Panel on 50th Anniversary of the Bureau of Intelligence and
		  Research: Dean Acheson Auditorium; Monday, Dec. 8
2		Condemnation of the Murder of Opposition Leader Dokie in Liberia
5-7		Investigation re Burial of Amb. Lawrence at Arlington
		  National Cemetery
11		Secretary Albright's Schedule this Weekend

IRAN 4-5 US-Iran Soccer Match in the First Round of the World Cup Finals 10-12 OIC Summit: Ban on Iraqi Officials' Travel and their Attendance at the OIC Summit/ Egyptian FM Moussa at OIC Summit/Possible Protest over Sanctions on Libya

GREECE/TURKEY 7-9 Aegean Territorial Disputes/Confidence-Building Measures

IRAQ 9-10,12 Iraqi Claims of Humanitarian Aid Shipments Under UN Oil-for-Food Program Being Blocked 10 UN Resolution 1143 Passed Yesterday Extending Oil-for-Food

KOREA 12-13 Japanese FM Obuchi's Request that the US Increase its Contribution to KEDO


DPB #175

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 5, 1997, 1:00 P.M.

MR. FOLEY: Sorry to keep you waiting. I have a number of announcements.

First, the Department of State today called in the Russian ambassador to protest the Russian Government's filing of espionage charges against Richard Bliss, an American citizen. We are urging the Russian Government to release Mr. Bliss immediately. The United States is disturbed that the Russian authorities took this step, as there is no credible reason for the accusations made against him. Mr. Bliss is an engineer who was conducting legitimate business activities in a joint venture to develop a cellular telephone network in Rostov.

This incident could have negative consequences for our efforts to promote commercial ties with Russia, and Russia's desire to integrate into the international community. Many Americans will be watching these developments closely. We have raised this matter at the highest levels and will continue to do so. I'm going to post that statement.

Secondly, another statement I'm going to post, I'll just read from a little bit, on the ongoing US-EU summit. Today's summit is giving us an opportunity to review progress in the transatlantic relationship at the conclusion of Luxembourg's presidency of the EU. Our leaders have been renewing our commitment to the US-EU new trans-Atlantic agenda and continuing their discussions on a wide range of critical issues.

This morning, just before the opening of the plenary session at Blair House, Acting Secretary Talbott signed a science and technology agreement with Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jacques Poos and European Commission Vice President Sir Leon Britton. This agreement will serve as a broad framework for US-European scientific cooperation, enabling some of our most distinguished scientists and best research institutions to collaborate on a wider range of scientific endeavors and to initiate new programs. A key element in it establishes a common ground for handling the allocation and protection of intellectual property rights resulting from joint research.

Following the signing earlier, there was a demonstration of the Transatlantic Information Exchange Service, which we call TIES, a partnership promoted by the US, the European Union, private industry, academic, and NGO community representatives. This Internet-based project, developed as part of the new trans-Atlantic agenda initiative to build and strengthen people-to-people contacts between Americans and Europeans, brings together thousands of web sites on both sides of the Atlantic for building networks and joint projects.

Now, representatives of the TIES project are here with us today, and will be available here in the briefing room after my briefing to provide more information and answer any of your questions. Moreover, at 2:15 p.m. this afternoon - and I would refer your questions on this to that forum - at 2:15 p.m., at the White House, there's going to be a read-out on today's summit. Officials from the NSC, USTR, and the State Department will be briefing at that time. We're also going to have press packets available shortly, containing a number of the reports and statements, fact sheets, from the summit, all of which will also be available on our web site at

Thirdly, I'm posting a statement by the Secretary herself, marking the 10th anniversary of the INF treaty between the United States and the Soviet Union, which eliminated intermediate-range and shorter-range missiles.

We've got a lot of business today. Also, on Monday, Under Secretary Tom Pickering and Assistant Secretary Phyllis Oakley will join a panel of distinguished INR alumni, as we call them, who will look at the history and the contributions of the Bureau of Intelligence and Research throughout the Cold War. This is a panel that will be marking INR's 50th anniversary. It's going to take place in the Dean Acheson Auditorium, from 12:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. It's open for press coverage.

Lastly, the United States Government condemns the torture and murder of well-known Liberian opposition political figure, Samuel Dokie. His remains, along with those of his wife and sister-in-law, were found on December 3, in Bong County, Liberia. Mr. Dokie was last seen alive in the city of Gbarnga, where he was detained by men purporting to be members of the police security forces.

After a seven-year civil war, all efforts should be focused on national reconciliation and ensuring the rights and liberties of all Liberians. These killings do a great disservice to a nation trying to heal its wounds. It is essential that the government of Liberia show the people of Liberia, and Liberia's friends in the international community that no one is above the rule of law, and that human rights violators will be brought to justice.

We ask the government of Liberia to send a clear signal of its commitment to the rule of law and human rights by investigating the killings and ensuring that the perpetrators are apprehended and tried in a court of law.

QUESTION: On Richard Bliss, could you say who delivered the protest and who received it? And if both capitals apply, could you mention that?

MR. FOLEY: If both capitals what?

QUESTION: Apply - were there protests posted in Moscow and in Washington?

MR. FOLEY: Well, we called in - it was Ambassador Sestanovich, called in the Russian ambassador today to deliver a formal protest. We've been in communication with the Russian authorities in Moscow since the onset of this incident.

I can't tell you whether the protest also was delivered in Moscow. I think it carries more weight and significance, the fact that the Russian ambassador was called into the Department today.

QUESTION: Who did he see?

MR. FOLEY: Ambassador Sestanovich.

QUESTION: Who saw him?

MR. FOLEY: Sestanovich.

QUESTION: Oh, I'm sorry. The Russian ambassador, okay.

QUESTION: There were some reports that this is the result of Qualcomm failing or refusing to pay bribes to certain security officials in Rostov. Do you have any suspicions that might be true?

MR. FOLEY: I've not heard that, that there may be some connection. But clearly, there must be some reason behind this incident; a reason that we cannot define. But we have been committed very strongly to the expansion of American trade and investment in Russia, and to doing all we can to help integrate Russia into the world economy as it reforms its economy.

But it's our view that this will not occur, in fact, if legitimate businessmen are treated in this manner. And as I said in my statement, Americans are going to be watching this matter closely.

QUESTION: When you talk about this having been talked about at the highest levels, you're talking about Gore and Chernomyrdin, right?

MR. FOLEY: I believe there was planned a communication between the two of them. I can't confirm whether it's taken place yet.

QUESTION: Do you know if the Secretary talked to Primakov about this?

MR. FOLEY: She raised it with the Deputy Foreign Minister when he was here this week.

QUESTION: So that's what she discussed with Mamedov yesterday.

MR. FOLEY: Yes, among other topics, yes.

QUESTION: The reports have said both that Qualcomm says they had all the documents to bring this GPS system in, and that under questioning, the gentleman has admitted he didn't have the documents to bring them in. Do you know what the truth of the matter is on that?

MR. FOLEY: I do know that Qualcomm has assured us that all the equipment that Mr. Bliss was using was properly licensed with the Russian authorities.

QUESTION: When you say that you feel there's no credible information that substantiates these charges, how can you support that? How do you know that there's no credible information?

MR. FOLEY: We've stated clearly that the charge that Mr. Bliss was involved in espionage is utterly without foundation. I think that speaks for itself.

Q Jim, on another subject?

MR. FOLEY: Are we finished with this subject?


QUESTION: What happens next? What's the next step?

MR. FOLEY: Well, we continue to provide consular services to Mr. Bliss and to ensure that he's properly represented. I believe he has a Russian lawyer. But that's strictly on the level of our commitment to him as an American citizen, providing the services that we ordinarily provide.

On the political level, I think is where your question is directed. I think we have to await now a Russian response to this formal demarche, this formal protest that we've lodged, and the very clear message that we have conveyed -- and which I am conveying from this podium -- about the seriousness of this issue and the potential implications for our economic relationship with the Russian Federation.

QUESTION: A lot of people seem very excited about the fact that the United States soccer team is going to be playing Iran in the world finals. Does this do any damage to dual containment?

MR. FOLEY: Well, I wouldn't want to make light of a serious subject, although I'm tempted to because your question invites me to make light of it. I'm not aware that there was an Iraqi soccer or football team involved in the preliminaries, leading up to the world soccer finals. But clearly, sport is an arena which brings people together all over the world, and we support our team and wish them well in the World Cup this summer. And we congratulate both teams, including the Iranian team, on qualifying for the World Cup finals.

QUESTION: The US Soccer Federation suggested, tongue in or out of cheek, that maybe this could follow in the footsteps of the Ping-Pong diplomacy with China. Do you see anything positive, actually?

MR. FOLEY: I couldn't speculate on that, but clearly, in terms of the people-to-people dimension of the relationship between Iran and the United States, there has never been a problem in that area. And this goes back, I think, to the early part of this century, when Americans were involved in development and charitable work in Iran.

It is most unfortunate that, in the wake of the hostage crisis, that we've had an interruption in the excellent relations that have existed between our two peoples -- principally, in our view, because of certain very dangerous and destabilizing policies of the Iranian Government, which we believe need to be addressed, and need to be addressed in any authorized dialogue that we might have one day with representatives of the Iranian Government.

But in terms of the relationship between the peoples, it ought to be good. And if this soccer match is a sign of our ability to deal with each other, at least in this one area, in a civilized and positive way, I think that's something we could applaud.

QUESTION: What is the State Department doing to investigate the Larry Lawrence issue?

MR. FOLEY: Well, I don't have much to add from what Mr. Rubin said yesterday and from what has been said from other podiums in Washington.

We've received the letter from Congressman Everett. It's brought to light details that need looking into.

I think, as Mr. Rubin said, we're certainly not in a position now to say that Mr. Lawrence's representations as having been a member of the Merchant Marine are wrong. It bears looking into, and that's what we're doing.

The State Department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security is now seized with the matter, and they have begun a thorough investigation into the matter. They're going to do everything they can to verify this question that Congressman Everett has raised; and we'll be getting back to him.

QUESTION: During any background investigation for Ambassador Lawrence before he was appointed, shouldn't it have raised some red flags with the security people when they found no documentation of what he said was his service in the Merchant Marines?

MR. FOLEY: Well, I can just reveal briefly what actually happened. Then- Ambassador-designate Lawrence completed the government form -- SF-86 -- which is the standard form used to apply for a security clearance. Both in that form and in his personnel security interview, he indicated that he had volunteered in the Merchant Marines during World War II.

Now, Diplomatic Security tried to verify this information with Merchant Marine sources. However, no records to verify his service could be found. As the information was 50 years old and did not have bearing on his suitability to serve as a US ambassador, it wasn't pursued further at that time.

You have to understand that this was not a question of a military record. This really was an employment issue. I believe throughout the government, when it comes to investigating employment records that are of that vintage - some 40, 50 years old - that it's normally not pursued beyond the point of exhaustion if it's not deemed to bear on the candidate's suitability for the post or for a security clearance.

Also, it wasn't possible for, I think, Diplomatic Security to prove a negative at that point, either; also keeping in mind, as I just said, that it wasn't deemed terribly relevant or pertinent or important. But the Merchant Marine indicated that unless Mr. Lawrence or someone in his position had formally enlisted as a member of the Merchant Marine, that the probability of having a record of his service would be low.

Apparently, they also pointed out at the time - the Merchant Marine indicated that during World War II, the majority of individuals who served as seamen on Merchant Marine ships were not actually enlisted, so further reducing the possibility that this is something that the documents would shed light on.

I think these documents are, as I said, some half-century old. Many of them tend to be handwritten. They were not kept in one place. You'd have to check with the Merchant Marine on the disposition of their files. But it was something that, in the general course of investigations, when you're dealing with employment history that's some half-century old, it's not necessarily pursued further.

QUESTION: Isn't it relevant in checking out someone for access to classified documents, if it appears they may possibly have lied?

MR. FOLEY: Well, you're asking a hypothetical question. If, hypothetically, someone had lied, it certainly would have a bearing on something of this nature.

QUESTION: But that's why you check out someone's employment - well, one of the reasons - to check out whether or not they tell the truth.


QUESTION: And since there was no record to show that he told the truth, didn't that raise questions?

MR. FOLEY: Again, Diplomatic Security had to make a judgment as to the relevance of this to his bid to become an ambassador and his qualifications for access to classified information.

As I tried to explain to the previous questioner, we weren't talking here about military service. We're talking about the possible employment history, the record thereof of someone 18 years old at the time. Whether it was the Merchant Marine or working at the supermarket or anywhere, it's not necessarily within the capabilities of our investigators - or any, I would say, in Washington - to pursue that kind of verification, unless, again, it's deemed to be relevant to the issue at hand 50 years later.

QUESTION: So the security team didn't even contact his previous employers to see if that had been noted on those applications?

MR. FOLEY: I am not aware of whether he made references to the service in the Merchant Marine on previous applications. I couldn't answer that.

QUESTION: At what point did the security service tell someone that they hadn't been able to verify the information? I mean, was it after Togo West came out to say that was one reason why he was allowed a waiver for Arlington?

MR. FOLEY: I think that, as far as I understand, it was upon receipt of Congressman Everett's letter that we checked and determined that they hadn't been able to verify it. But I would have to check on that; I hesitate to be definitive on that.

As I understand it, I have some information here, if you bear with me one moment, that once the personnel security background investigation is complete, diplomatic security evaluates and adjudicates the information and drafts an executive summary of the investigation's findings before issuing a security clearance. So it's not clear that they would have conveyed this omission, if you will, or lack of verification on to higher authorities. I'd have to look into that for you.

QUESTION: It would be a simple matter of fact, though, whether it's in the executive summary or not, wouldn't it?

MR. FOLEY: That's why I agreed to look into that.


QUESTION: In a statement you released yesterday about the Aegean, you are talking with capital letters about Aegean territorial disputes. What do you mean by this?

MR. FOLEY: I'm not sure I got all of your question, Mr. Lambros. I heard something about capital letters.

QUESTION: In a statement you released yesterday, a statement with capital letters, "Aegean territorial disputes", with capital 's.' Could you please name some of them for the record?

MR. FOLEY: What piece of paper are you referring to?

QUESTION: I raised the question the other day to Mr. Rubin, what is the US policy vis-à-vis the new agreement?

MR. FOLEY: Oh, yes.

QUESTION: So yesterday I got this answer in writing, it was released publicly here at the Department of State. In the capital letters, it says, "AEGEAN TERRITORIAL DISPUTES."

MR. FOLEY: Yes, yes.

QUESTION: I would like to know, what do you mean by this?

MR. FOLEY: Well, there are issues between Greece and Turkey in the Aegean that are part of their bilateral relationship, are problematic, and which we do not take a position on, clearly; and which we urge both parties to deal with bilaterally, by whatever means they deem necessary and fruitful to their resolution, including bilateral talks, including the possibility of recourse to arbitration, notably to the International Court of Justice.

QUESTION: According to the Greeks and to the Turks, but you are talking about territorial disputes. It's very important. So I would like you to name, since you have said it with capital letters; it's very important. Can you name some of them? Even one?

MR. FOLEY: Well, I'm not going to comment on the statement. I think we could perhaps look into it for you and see if we can get something more precise. But as you know, Mr. Lambros, it's a question of semantics, which is important, issues or - one side terms "disputes," one side calls "issues." I think it's not fruitful for me to inject the United States into that whole nettlesome area; except to say that we encourage both parties to work out those problems bilaterally and by recourse to whatever means will help solve those problems, including the International Court of Justice.

QUESTION: In the same statement, you have connected the recent Greek- Turkish agreement over the air space of the Aegean with the confidence in the Aegean Sea. Do you mean CBM?

MR. FOLEY: Well, we have long favored confidence-building measures between the two countries in the Aegean, and we have supported Secretary General Solana's efforts at NATO in that regard.

QUESTION: So finally, they are connected there, too, because it seems to me it is a NATO agreement. In the meantime, making the statement on matters, you are making that bilateral. So do you agree that there is a connection between the agreement and the CBM? This is my question.

MR. FOLEY: I think the CBMs have to do with our general - insofar as we support CBMs - have to do with our general interest in promoting a lessening of tensions and improvement of relations in that area. That's not the same thing as questions which divide the two nations, particular questions.

Any other questions?

QUESTION: (Inaudible) -- in your proposal that there are territorial --

MR. FOLEY: Mr. Lambros, I think I've -

QUESTION: The last one.

MR. FOLEY: I hope it's the last one, because I think I've exhausted the topic, as have you.

QUESTION: You say there should be the International Court of Justice, but the Turkish Foreign Minister yesterday says different story. He proposed political solution on a package deal. So how do you comment?

MR. FOLEY: I think you should refer your question to the Turkish Embassy.

Any other questions?

QUESTION: Yes, could you comment on the Baghdad assertion that they would not start oil exports under the third phase until some of their needs under the second and first phase were met; that is, they are claiming that the US and other parties are delaying the food and medicine that they sold the oil for originally, and therefore they don't want to export oil? Do you have any instructions on that?

MR. FOLEY: Instructions?

QUESTION: Well, any comments?

MR. FOLEY: Well, we find this statement and their position bizarre and really hard to believe, and especially astonishing in view of their professed interest in meeting the humanitarian needs of their own people.

Their logic seems to be that they don't have enough money, through the sale of oil, to buy sufficient humanitarian goods; and therefore, they're going to try to solve the problem by refusing to earn any further income to buy humanitarian goods. Its' wholly illogical. It only makes sense if you understand Saddam Hussein's track record in this area, which has been one of erecting roadblocks in the way of the UN's humanitarian effort.

You'll recall that it took many years for the international community to get Iraq to agree to this program; that there have been Iraqi interruptions in the flow of oil; and that at the end of the day, it's clear that for Saddam Hussein, this whole humanitarian question is one which he exploits in order to stir up opinion in favor of his prime, and I think, sole objective, which is the lifting of sanctions without having complied with the UN Security Council resolutions that describe his obligations, which could, if fulfilled, lead to the lifting of sanctions.

I can comment, if you wish, on Iraq's track record and our track record, the international community's track record regarding the oil-for-food program. Iraq, for example, has claimed that there are as many as 80 contracts currently on hold. We believe the numbers are closer to 60 or so, since the inception of the program. But even if their numbers were accurate, this still represents less than 5 percent of all applications that have been submitted for consideration. They total somewhere between 1,600 and 1, 800.

Now, among those that were blocked, they fall into three categories: first, commercial items that are not humanitarian; secondly, dual-use items - those that could be used for military purposes; and third, contracts involving problem companies that have a history of sanctions violations. So virtually all the holds are for purposes of obtaining additional information on end-user and uses before approval. We can make final decisions on these applications as soon as the requested information has been provided.

Now, action was taken in the Security Council yesterday, and we welcome the unanimous passage of the resolution, 1143, which permits Iraq to sell up to $2 billion worth of oil in two 90-day periods to finance purchase of humanitarian goods. We are willing, as the resolution indicated, not only to find ways of improving the implementation of the humanitarian program, but also to consider additional resources which may be needed to meet the priority humanitarian needs of the people of Iraq. We are going to await Secretary General Kofi Annan's report in that regard.

It's clear in our view that to the extent that the humanitarian crisis exists in Iraq, it's principally the result of Saddam Hussein's own actions.

QUESTION: I want to follow up on that. Would you give us a lot more transparency on exactly how much has been delivered; what is being held up; the methods by which it's been delivered; and so on? Is there a briefing paper you could give us on that which would clear up - because there are a lot of claims and counterclaims, both by the French and Russians and the Iraqis on this whole matter.

MR. FOLEY: Well, I think that probably your best source would be the UN itself in New York. They can give you that information, since it's their program, I would assume.

QUESTION: With the OIC summit in Iran coming up, in the Administration's view, would it be a violation of the ban on the travel of Iraqi diplomats for senior Iraqi officials to attend that?

MR. FOLEY: I'd have to take the question, Sid.

QUESTION: Would you take it, please?

MR. FOLEY: Pardon me?

QUESTION: You'll take it?

MR. FOLEY: Yes, I will, yes.

QUESTION: Any comment on the fact that some of the Arab heads of government are going to show up in Tehran for the conference?

MR. FOLEY: Well, this is a - OIC is a long-standing organization, with many members - nation state members. It meets frequently, and we've had a long-time excellent relationship with the OIC and its members, and we applaud its role in articulating the concerns of the international Muslim community. So we have no problem with the OIC, and think that it does good work.

We certainly hope that the conference participants will support and reaffirm common policy goals which we and the OIC members share.

QUESTION: Do you have the Secretary's schedule for the weekend? There seems to be a gap.

MR. FOLEY: Well, she's going, as you know, to Geneva to meet Chairman Arafat tomorrow. I believe she's returning to Paris sometime Saturday or Saturday evening, and is in Paris until her departure - I think on Monday - for Africa. But she has planned bilateral meetings with senior French government officials on Sunday in Paris.

I believe that meetings with Foreign Minister Vedrine are confirmed. There may be others with senior French officials.

QUESTION: If this question has been asked, I apologize. But how do you feel about Egypt sending Amre Moussa to this OIC summit?

MR. FOLEY: Well, I kind of answered the question in the sense of --

QUESTION: Did you answer that specific question about Egypt?

MR. FOLEY: No, not on the Egyptian Foreign Minister's travel. But I think that often these meetings have taken place at ministerial level. I wouldn't read anything negative into that. I explained to George -- I think, who asked me the question - that we've had a long-time excellent relationship with the OIC, and we've supported its role in the international community previously. So I wouldn't really care to characterize his trouble there any further.

QUESTION: But more generally, I mean, the whole idea of this meeting taking place in Tehran and a lot of - you know, bringing together a lot of leaders to Iran that hadn't been there in quite a while, doesn't make you uneasy in terms of Iran's sort of re-acceptance into --

MR. FOLEY: No, I wouldn't read anything more into it. The fact is that it's being hosted in Iran, and so it's not surprising that OIC members would go there. I don't see that as any fundamental shift in Iran's position in the world, no.

QUESTION: Are you at all concerned about reports that some of the Arab leaders will be pushing to urge the US to lift sanctions against Libya at this meeting?

MR. FOLEY: Well, I wouldn't want to assume the outcome of the OIC meeting before it takes place. As I mentioned a moment ago, we do hope the conference participants will support and reaffirm common policy goals that we and the OIC share. So let's see what they do.

QUESTION: Iraq is complaining again about the oil-for-food program, and I wondered, the Secretary and her top aides said during the last trip that the United States would support efforts to try to make the existing program more efficient, and I wondered where that stood.

MR. FOLEY: Well, I answered, to some painful degree, perhaps, that question when you were out of the room, Carol. We've said that --

QUESTION: I'll look it up in the transcript.

MR. FOLEY: I think it's important, and Jamie Rubin has done so from this podium, to distinguish between the sanctions on the one hand, and the oil- for-food program on the other hand. And we don't retreat one iota from our commitment to the UN Security Council resolutions and the belief that Saddam Hussein must comply 100 percent and provide complete, unconditional, unfettered access to those sites.

On the humanitarian side, though, we've long been concerned about the plight of the Iraqi people. We had great difficulty in getting the Iraqis to agree, after many years, to the oil-for-food program. We recognize the Secretary General's statement earlier this week that there are problems in the program, and that he's going to come forward with specific proposals, perhaps at the end of January, early February, to address those problems. And he can expect our support when he comes forward.

I think there's nothing more to say at this point, except we have the really bizarre announcement that I referred to when you were out of the room, by the Iraqis, that they are not going to pump oil in the meantime; in other words, to again demonstrate their cynical manipulation of the plight of their own people, in order to pursue political goals which we are determined to block.

QUESTION: My question is regarding the KEDO program. Yesterday, the Japanese Foreign Minister, who is visiting in this city, met with Sandy Berger in the White House, and he asked them to supply some amount of money for the light water reactor, the project.

I know that Mr. Rubin said the other day, the whole situation has not changed. But it's very likely for Japan or South Korea to give pressure to the United States to give some amount of money to that program. The position of the United States is the same?

MR. FOLEY: Well, I don't have before me the figures -- I had them the other day - about the very significant American contribution to this program over the last several years. And I couldn't speak to Mr. Berger's meeting with the Japanese Foreign Minister; I'd have to refer you to the White House.

I can repeat what Mr. Rubin said here this week. We believe that our partners in the program are committed to meeting the contributions, the obligations which they shouldered. They've not indicated to us that they don't intend to meet those obligations. On the contrary, they have confirmed that they will meet those obligations.

Any other questions? Thank you.

(The briefing concluded at 1:40 P.M.)

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