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U.S. Department of State Daily Press Briefing #78, 98-06-29

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>


833

U.S. Department of State
Daily Press Briefing

I N D E X

Monday, June 29, 1998

Briefer: Lee Mcclenny

ANNOUNCEMENT
1		US to provide $3.55 million for humanitarian needs related
		  to Kosovo crisis.

KOSOVO 2 US calls on Belgrade to allow access for aid workers, diplomats, journalists. 2,7 KLA and UCK are facts of life in the region, and should be part of negotiations. 3 US is working closely with Kosovar Albanian leaders to bring UCK into the process. 4,5,7-8 Ambassador Gelbard spoke with senior leaders of the UCK. 5-6,8 Holbrooke meeting with UCK fighters last week apparently was unplanned. 6-7 US has not declared the UCK to be a terrorist organization. 7-9 US supports the territorial integrity of the Serbian - Montenegrin political system. 9 Diplomacy has not failed in Kosovo; the diplomatic effort continues. 9 Reports of intensified fighting in coal mines area west of Pristina concern the US. 10 Details of observer missions still are being worked on. 10 US believes the situation canít be resolved militarily. 11 Acting Secretary Talbott met with Macedonian officials today. 11-12 US supports autonomy, not independence, for Kosovo. 20-21 US has not put forward a position on an agenda for negotiations. 21 Next Contact Group meeting is scheduled for July 8.

PAKISTAN 12 US sanctions do not affect humanitarian needs loans. 12 Pakistani Foreign Minister met constructively with Acting Secretary Talbott today.

MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS 13-15 US believes UN Security Council action on Jerusalem would be counterproductive. 14 US has opposed enhanced status for the PLO in the UN General Assembly.

IRAN 16-19 First-time visiting Iranians undergo fingerprinting, as do other nationalities.

IRAQ 18 Press reports of an office opening for the PKK in Baghdad are not surprising.

CUBA 19 Meetings with US on migration issues are periodic.

TURKEY 21-22 Earthquake near Adana apparently caused 23 Americans minor injuries. 22 President Clinton has offered assistance to the Turkish government.


U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE OFF-CAMERA PRESS BRIEFING

DPB #78

MONDAY, JUNE 29, 1998 1:45 P.M.

(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)

MR. MCCLENNY: I apologize about the lateness. Itís basically my fault. We were trying to schedule something for after Bryan Atwoodís meeting, and then I was also waiting at the last minute for a final clearance on my first order of business. But you were going to say something? Go ahead.

QUESTION: No, I said there might be another briefing.

MR. MCCLENNY: I hope not.

QUESTION: But not by you.

MR. MCCLENNY: Okay. Weíll post this right after the briefing, but I was asked if I could say a little bit about this. Weíre posting a statement announcing that in response to urgent appeals from the United Nations and the international community, Red Cross, the US will be providing $3.55 million to international organizations addressing the humanitarian needs related to the Kosovo crisis -- $2.6 million to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees; $700,000 for the ICRC; and $250,000 to the United Nations Childrenís Fund.

These funds will address the needs of internally displaced persons in Kosovo and Montenegro, the needs of refugees and the local host population in Albania, and further planning and preparedness for the entire region. We commend the response of the international community and NGOs for their quick action to humanitarian needs in their region. Thereís more where that came from.

QUESTION: What was the total?

MR. MCCLENNY: The total amount was $3.55 million.

QUESTION: This is the largest fund, with other countries putting in money, too?

MR. MCCLENNY: I believe that is correct, but Iím not absolutely certain.

QUESTION: Do you know proportionally how much the US is contributing?

MR. MCCLENNY: I donít, as a matter of fact. As I said, I was just handed this before I came in. I donít see any more in the notice there. We have provided some assistance in the past, and I can get more details on it if youíd like. Iíd be happy to bring something out.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) -- to Kosovo now?

MR. MCCLENNY: No, not as much access as weíd like, as a matter of fact. This is one of the things we complain about consistently. Aid workers arenít getting as much access as they should; diplomats arenít getting the access they should; journalists arenít getting the access they should. Thatís a situation that persists today, as a matter of fact. We continue to call on the government in Belgrade to provide the access that the Contact Group and other countries have called on them to permit thatís critical.

QUESTION: Is that it for that?

MR. MCCLENNY: Sure, happy to start wherever youíd like to go?

QUESTION: Well, letís stay on Kosovo if we could. What brought the US or the Administration around to the proposition that the rebels, the independence-minded people should have a place at the table? And how would you expect Milosevic to negotiate with them?

MR. MCCLENNY: Well, sort of a two-part answer, if I could. One, I think Ambassador Holbrooke dealt with this in some depth from Europe in the last couple of days. But the point he made basically is that this is a recognition of a reality -- a situation on the ground. The UCK, the KLA -- whichever acronym you prefer -- has influence on the ground in Kosovo. By talking to them and by bringing them into the process, we think that improves the chances that the process of diplomacy and negotiation will be successful.

In response to the second question -- why would Milosevic agree to deal with them --whether he will is a question you should address to him. We think he should because there are facts on the ground in Kosovo that need to be dealt with.

QUESTION: Do you think he should be dealing both with the pacifist leader who says heís against it and there are people who are killing civilians because they should be in defense.

MR. MCCLENNY: No, Iím sorry; I wasnít clear about that. Apparently I wasnít clear about that.

QUESTION: Okay, Iím sorry.

MR. MCCLENNY: Weíre working in close consultation with the Kosovar Albanian leadership, which is headed by Dr. Rugova, to bring the UCK into that process. We donít think itís an either/or prospect. What has been true from the beginning and what continues to be true now is that the government in Belgrade should be dealing with the people on the ground in Albania -- excuse me -- in Kosovo. Boy, thereís a faux pas -- in Kosovo -- we can fix that in the transcript, though -- in Kosovo to deal --

QUESTION: Thatís what I mean -- they didnít get that one wrong.

MR. MCCLENNY: -- to deal with the just concerns of the people on the ground there and it is the militarist and highly militarized reaction from the Belgrade Government to the circumstances there thatís lead to the rise of the UCK. At some point in time, Mr. Milosevic is going to have to recognize that heís at root responsible for these problems and he can put everything back.

QUESTION: Iím sorry. Youíre still dealing with the -- whatís his name?

MR. MCCLENNY: Rugova -- absolutely. Yes. We met with Rugova yesterday.

QUESTION: Doesnít it vitiate the position of the people youíre dealing with? In other words, you project yourself to the world as dealing -- the guyís supposed to be a pacifist -- with dealing with people who simply want autonomy back, just recognition of the cultural separateness or something. And the other group, of course, is fighting -- apparently doing quite well lately on the ground -- to rip southern Serbia away from Serbia to create an independent state and give very little sign that theyíre particularly pacifist-minded. Does this situation mess up your policy? You donít look so much in favor of stability this way, do you?

MR. MCCLENNY: We are in favor of stability -- however it appears to anyone -- one way or the other. The situation on the ground is more complicated than the sketch youíve just drawn, in fairness. What weíre trying to do is get all the people whoíve got some influence together to try to address this. We canít walk away, and ought not to walk away; that would lead to the instability you made reference to, that could pour over the borders into neighboring countries and spread the problem. Weíre trying to recognize the facts on the ground.

Dr. Rugova represents a trend, if you will, a school of thought, in the Albanian Kosovo population. The UCK, obviously, represents -- or itís leaders represent -- one or more trends of thought in that population, as well. And weíre trying to involve all the people whoíve got something to say and have got some influence in these talks.

The other party, of course -- one of the other parties anyway -- is the government in Belgrade and what influence it has on the ground; and weíre working on them at the same time. Ambassador Hill was in Belgrade earlier today talking with senior leaders; heís in Pristina later today also -- earlier and then later -- working with Albanian Kosovars. Weíre working this as hard as we can.

QUESTION: Who was it I heard was in London?

MR. MCCLENNY: Iíve heard that Holbrooke is in London -- I believe heís there on private business.

QUESTION: He still wears a civilian hat, I guess.

MR. MCCLENNY: He does. Itís cheering to me to know that even senior people have to earn a living.

QUESTION: But when he comes back to the federal government, will he get involved in these negotiations again? Because he sounded pretty much like it was the end of the road as far as --

MR. MCCLENNY: Not clear to me; I havenít talked with him, -- I have to confess. Jamie Rubin on Friday or Thursday, the last time he briefed -- seemed to be suggesting that he wouldnít be as deeply involved in these issues as he has been in the past.

QUESTION: Who is Ambassador Hill talking to in Pristina?

QUESTION: I mean Rugova --

MR. MCCLENNY: I donít know that heís having contacts with the UCK, for example, but --

QUESTION: You said the leadership of the UCK --

MR. MCCLENNY: Itís multiple persons --

QUESTION: Have you found them?

MR. MCCLENNY: Sure. Oh, the UCK leadership? Iím sorry, I said leadership of the Kosovar Albanians. And there are people, clearly -- some of them have been here in this building before; weíve had some photo ops and some other things in the past -- Rugova and others.

QUESTION: Is he meeting with UCK or --

MR. MCCLENNY: He was meeting with Rugova and others, I believe. Iím not absolutely certain he had a meeting with Rugova since I havenít actually heard.

QUESTION: No meetings as far as you know with the UCK?

MR. MCCLENNY: Not as far as I know. We broke the ice on that issue last week. Ambassador Gelbard did speak with senior leaders of the UCK.

QUESTION: There is a fair degree of ambiguity about what actually happened the last few days of last week regarding contacts with the UCK, what happened when and what was said here at the podium. Could you address what Holbrookeís meeting represented to you? And when Gelbard -- what time of day Gelbard met in Switzerland, I believe it was?

MR. MCCLENNY: I confess, I donít have that level of detail; I donít know it myself, and I donít have it in the notes here.

QUESTION: Okay, because there were some statements made here that would indicate that the meeting might have already happened when you all were denying that it had not yet happened. And also, can you clear up what actually happened with Holbrooke? What was that? Was that planned; was it not planned? Did Holbrooke do it on his own; did the Secretary of State authorize it? How did that work? Was it, in fact, a chance meeting as you all say it was, or was it a whole planned thing, as the reporters who were with Holbrooke reported?

MR. MCCLENNY: Based on the information thatís come to me -- taking your two questions in reverse order -- my understanding is that the meeting between Ambassador Holbrooke and these two or a small number of UCK fighters was unplanned. I think it happened in the course of his walking through a village in Kosovo.

QUESTION: No advance work?

MR. MCCLENNY: Not as far as I know.

QUESTION: A UN representative went into a war zone and just met a couple of people you all have called terrorists.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) -- war crimes.

MR. MCCLENNY: No, actually you couldnít have, Barry. The lines are blurred -- whoís in charge of what. It varies from village to village to village. He traveled with a security detail; they passed through various checkpoints of various groups and they fetched up in one of these other towns. I donít know if there was any advance work; I would doubt it, quite frankly. It appeared to me, from everything I saw here, to be genuinely spontaneous.

In regard to your first question about timing; again, I said I donít know exactly what time x, y or z meetings occurred or how they occurred. There was a nuance in your question, though; Iím sorry if I forgot.

QUESTION: No -- itís just it was said here at the briefing that -- I think it was on Friday -- we plan very soon to meet with the leadership of the KLA.

MR. MCCLENNY: Sure.

QUESTION: This would have been, I guess, at hand at the meeting on Friday; and I would just like to know when the meeting took place in relation to that comment.

MR. MCCLENNY: Sure. I donít know what the relationship was, but I would reject the notion that anyone was trying to intentionally mislead you.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

MR. MCCLENNY: Well, if youíve got some evidence that there was some reason or some rationale for that thenÖ.

QUESTION: I wouldnít ask, and I would hope not, but I wouldnít ask if it wasnít clear to me. And secondarily, can you clear up once and for all what Bob Gelbard meant when he called this group a terrorist organization, and why are you meeting secretly with them?

MR. MCCLENNY: Weíve been down this road a whole bunch of times. We meet in private with lots of people at lots of times at lots of events and lots of organizations. I think what Ambassador Gelbard meant when he referred to acts by this group was that they have committed terrorist acts.

QUESTION: He called them a terrorist organization. When you say terrorist acts, as you all keep repeating, incorrectly, what he said. He said "terrorist organization."

MR. MCCLENNY: I donít have the transcript in front of me. Our view is that the KLA has committed terrorist acts, and weíve defined those on a couple of occasions here. Weíve been back over this ground any number of times, and I donít think thereís, frankly, a great deal of utility in beating this to death.

QUESTION: There is quite a bit of utility because you all have a policy -- I mean, not to make a big deal or hold your feet to the fire, but --

MR. MCCLENNY: Then why make a big deal?

QUESTION: Well, because you all are being so -- itís so difficult to understand what you all are doing and saying with these people, thatís why. The United States Government used to have a policy of not meeting with terrorist groups. If that policy has sort of gone the way of -- (inaudible) -- politics, then well thatís your decision.

MR. MCCLENNY: Do you have any evidence of that?

QUESTION: Any evidence of what?

MR. MCCLENNY: That that policyís gone by the wayside.

QUESTION: Well, you met secretly with the KLA in Switzerland at a very senior level on your part -- very secret, leaked it to a few newspapers afterwards. Thatís evidence of a group that you referred to as a terrorist organization.

MR. MCCLENNY: I thought we had dealt with this days ago, or I would have brought more -- some notes on it one way or the other. The Secretary of State declares, through a particular legal process, whether an organization is a "Terrorist Organization," with a capital "T" and a capital "O." Such a determination has not been made in the case of the KLA, and thatís really where it ends.

QUESTION: Is the US in favor of autonomy or independence for Kosovo?

MR. MCCLENNY: Weíve made it clear that we support the territorial integrity of the Serbia-Montenegro political unit.

QUESTION: Has US policy changed, by your overtures to these --

MR. MCCLENNY: Not as far as I know, no.

QUESTION: --whatever they are -- the acronym group?

MR. MCCLENNY: The UCK, KLA?

QUESTION: Well, itís different in Serbo-Croatian, but, yes, to them. It hasnít changed? Youíre meeting with them because you deal with reality.

MR. MCCLENNY: Because we deal with reality on the ground, yes.

QUESTION: Andrew Young lost his job as Ambassador at the UN just by happening to bump into a PLO official and this is a whole campaign to bring a group which has been described as a terrorist group into negotiations. Without getting into whether this helps bring about negotiations or not, you say this is no policy shift?

MR. MCCLENNY: No, itís not a policy shift.

QUESTION: Let me just talk about what happened at the Gelbard-UCK meeting. What details do you have?

MR. MCCLENNY: I donít really have any details. He met with two senior representatives of the political side of the KLA last week. This was the first high-level exchange between US officials and the UCK.

QUESTION: Friday or Saturday?

MR. MCCLENNY: I havenít given any detail more than that, quite frankly.

QUESTION: These are two different things? Iím a little bit confused. There was something in Geneva, and then there were fighters in the village?

MR. MCCLENNY: Yes, those are two separate items.

QUESTION: Oh, youíre not saying itís Holbrooke; there were two separate meetings.

MR. MCCLENNY: Holbrooke met with some people in Kosovo, and there are pictures of that, yes.

QUESTION: Forces, you mean.

QUESTION: Well, youíve got pictures to identify the guy.

MR. MCCLENNY: Gelbard met with two senior UCK or KLA people in a separate location; but I donít know that it was Geneva, frankly.

QUESTION: Oh, I see, but not in Kosovo?

MR. MCCLENNY: Not in Kosovo.

QUESTION: Holbrookeís meeting youíre not considering the first senior- level contact.

MR. MCCLENNY: We didnít see those people as senior, and it wasnít something, as far as I can tell, that was arranged in advance.

QUESTION: Okay, so as far as youíre concerned, the opening, so to speak, of this dialogue was in Switzerland with Gelbard?

MR. MCCLENNY: I didnít confirm a location, but with Gelbard, yes.

QUESTION: Or wherever it happened.

MR. MCCLENNY: Letís finish here; I think theyíve got some more they want to --

QUESTION: Can you give us the names?

MR. MCCLENNY: I donít have any more names.

QUESTION: Now, if the UCK were to enter into a dialogue, would there be conditions?

MR. MCCLENNY: Iím not aware that theyíve set any preconditions but weíre not there yet. Weíre still talking with them.

QUESTION: Iím still doing the numbers. You want Belgrade to, without any preconditions, stop the fighting and withdraw the troops.

MR. MCCLENNY: Yes.

QUESTION: Even if these folks gain ground, even as you negotiate with these folks --

MR. MCCLENNY: The fighting continues on the ground; thereís no doubt about that.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

MR. MCCLENNY: Iím not here to confirm that, quite frankly. There continues to be fighting, but I donít know that theyíve made great gains over a week or a month ago.

QUESTION: But you still want Milosevic to, without precondition, to stop the fighting and withdraw the troops to whatever you call it -- the barracks.

MR. MCCLENNY: All his troops back out, the police should return to the barracks if possible. It was the militarization of the conflict, the cultural conflict, the political conflict, if you will, thatís led to exacerbation of the situation there.

QUESTION: And when Holbrooke spoke so despairingly over the weekend, where does that leave US diplomacy at this point? I know Hillís in action.

MR. MCCLENNY: I read the articles, too, and was a little surprised at the negative spin, because the quotes were not dire sounding. But weíre not at the end of the string, the window isnít all the way closed. They were, Holbrooke, Ambassador Gelbard and the Secretary of State herself, to point out that weíre still several steps away from diplomacy having failed. Weíll continue to work it eagerly and aggressively. Chris Hillís on the ground.

QUESTION: Where does the gathering together of these observer missions stand? I think Ambassador Hill was working on that. Has there been any progress?

MR. MCCLENNY: Thereís progress on hammering out the administrative details. I donít have much to report to you one way or the other, but itís one of the projects that weíre working on -- and another sign, if I could say so, that we donít think the diplomatic string has run out yet.

QUESTION: But you donít have any idea when these missions might begin?

MR. MCCLENNY: Exactly when theyíll be up and running, I donít know. I think itís sooner rather than later. There are some administrative things that need to be worked out -- where to put them; how to communicate with them; how to move them around; making arrangements with local authorities so that they can have the kind of access they need to do their job. Thatís all very much in train and has been in train now for some time.

QUESTION: What do you know about the situation on the ground -- reports of a Serb offensive, heavy weapons --

MR. MCCLENNY: I havenít seen reports of a Serb offensive. I have seen press reports, but I havenít seen reports here. What I have received reports this morning are that thereís intensified fighting just west of Pristina, apparently in the area of the Belacevacís coal mines. I know that our defense attache was turned back when he attempted to visit the region earlier today. Journalists are also generally being prevented from gaining access there. Iíd note that this is of some grave concern to us because itís reminiscent of the circumstances that surrounded the atrocities that occurred in Decani -- keeping people out. But I canít confirm that thereís a big offensive underway.

QUESTION: Can I go back to the two meetings?

MR. MCCLENNY: I think weíve beaten the subject to death.

QUESTION: No, you didnít, because you didnít --

MR. MCCLENNY: Well, itís my stance that I have.

QUESTION: -- get asked this question. Did the two officials who met with these independent leaders or fighters or mixture thereof ask them to lay down their arms and agree to a cease-fire?

MR. MCCLENNY: Iím sorry, the two leaders who met with --

QUESTION: Yes, at your meeting -- I know what youíre asking Milosevic -- stop fighting. In the meetings last week, those two meetings weíve been talking about, was the same request made to the --

MR. MCCLENNY: Well, itís been our public position, and Iím sure itís our private position as well that the situation in Kosovo canít be solved through military means. We think everybody should set their weapons down, and back off and try to talk this out.

QUESTION: But you donít happen to know if they were told that?

MR. MCCLENNY: It was a private conversation, Barry. Iíve tried very hard not to disclose what we discussed.

QUESTION: A private conversation? The guyís on the payroll -- both of them are government employees. Theyíre meeting with people who are leaders in a war. And your policy is private in dealing with them, and public when dealing with Belgrade, right?

MR. MCCLENNY: Not always, no. We have quite a few private conversations with Belgrade as well.

QUESTION: A question on Dr. Rugovaís position -- as far as I know, heís always said that heís for independence -- or at least for the past several months, heís said heís for independence not autonomy, right?

MR. MCCLENNY: My actual recollection is different from that. Iíd have to check to be absolutely sure, but my recollection is different from that.

QUESTION: He said autonomy wasnít enough.

MR. MCCLENNY: Autonomy covers a wealth of possibilities.

QUESTION: And on that score, you said you still support the territorial integrity of Serbia-Montenegro. Do you support a possible third public alternative?

MR. MCCLENNY: I think that remains to be seen; thatís something that will have to be worked out.

QUESTION: But is that an option?

MR. MCCLENNY: Is it an option?

QUESTION: You havenít ruled that out, have you?

MR. MCCLENNY: No, I donít think weíve ruled anything out in terms of all that. It just depends on what the views and wishes of the people on the ground are.

QUESTION: Can you bring the Deputy Secretaryís meeting today with the Macedonians into this picture -- anything to tell us about it?

MR. MCCLENNY: I think theyíve met already, I had some notes on it.

QUESTION: Yes, 12:15 p.m.

MR. MCCLENNY: Yes, they did meet. I was up there a little while earlier. Weíre going to put out a statement here, if we havenít already. They discussed the very good and close relationship we have with the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia on a whole wide range of issues. We discussed Macedoniaís contributions to regional stability both through the support of the efforts of the international community to diffuse the violence in Kosovo and through the example they set as a stable democratic country in the region. They also discussed how we might deepen our economic relations and how to stimulate a more active business relationship between the US and Macedonia.

MR. MCCLENNY: Actually the Prime Minister will meet with the Vice President tomorrow in the afternoon, if I recall correctly. And I think he has a meeting either today or tomorrow with Secretary Cohen as well.

QUESTION: Can I just go back to -- Iím sorry to go back to the situation in Rugova because it seems that there --

MR. MCCLENNY: Iím sorry, which?

QUESTION: Rugova. It seems that he has changed over the last couple of months from originally saying autonomy; and he now seems to be saying independence. In your meetings with him -- have you sensed a change in his position?

MR. MCCLENNY: Iím not aware, frankly, of that. I know that what has been consistent is our position that autonomy is what weíre looking for; independence is not something weíve been supporting.

QUESTION: The Foreign Secretary of Pakistan is here at the State Department, meeting with senior high-level officials. Was he invited by the US Government and the State Department or on his own or official visit, number one? Number two, is it a sign of easing tensions and sanctions on India and Pakistan after President Clinton cleared the way to continue the sale of US wheat to Pakistan? And also, the World Bank and IMF have cleared the way to give $500 million to India as a loan.

MR. MCCLENNY: Iím taking your questions in reverse order because my memory buffer fills up. Sales of wheat would fall into the area of humanitarian assistance; so that would be already exempted from sanctions that have been imposed on Pakistan and India. The same could be said of the World Bank or IMF loan that the US agreed not to block last week.

With regard to the Pakistani Foreign Secretary today, he met earlier with Acting Secretary Talbott. I believe heís in lunch upstairs right now with senior officials from the Department. I donít frankly have any note on whether he was invited or whether he came of his own volition; but weíre certainly happy to receive him one way or the other. We have a strong interest in keeping our lines of communication open with both India and Pakistan, particularly in the wake of the nuclear tests. We donít wish to isolate either country.

Foreign Secretary Shamshad Ahmed of Pakistan has or had a luncheon today. I heard from people on the Acting Secretaryís staff that the discussions were constructive on both of our countriesí concerns about non-proliferation and the general situation in South Asia. We continue to talk with Pakistan and with India to try to lessen tensions in that part of the world.

QUESTION: Are you planning to invite also an Indian official?

MR. MCCLENNY: I donít know that we invited the Foreign Minister; but certainly we would like to keep our channels of communication open. I donít think itís necessary that there be an exact reciprocity in these sorts of things. As long as weíre having good communication, thatís good enough for us.

QUESTION: Are you trying to bring or in the near future both Secretary- level meetings here in Washington for India and Pakistan?

MR. MCCLENNY: Iím sorry, in what sort of format?

QUESTION: A high-level Indian official and a high-level Pakistani officials to meet here in Washington?

MR. MCCLENNY: A three-way meeting? I donít know that thereís any initiative underway in that regard. We think that they should be talking to each other, and we think we should be talking to each of them as well.

QUESTION: This was not an envoy you all had been expecting?

MR. MCCLENNY: Yes, "expecting" in the sense that it was on the schedule from sometime last week; but Iím not sure I understand the import of your question.

QUESTION: I just got the feeling that this was -- my memory may be failing, but it seemed that there was an envoy from Pakistan who was scheduled to come this week.

MR. MCCLENNY: That was a legislator; that was some time ago, and he came and went.

QUESTION: No, but then again this week. I thought there was -- or was it Indian that was --

MR. MCCLENNY: My memory is blank on that, no. I think this gentlemanís been expected for some time.

QUESTION: On the Middle East, do you have anything? Whatís going on? I mean, do you have any meetings any --

MR. MCCLENNY: I donít have anything to report to you one way or the other. I think that Mr. Ross and Mr. Miller are in the building right now, but Iím not absolutely certain.

QUESTION: But thereís nothing going on -- no consultations or meetings?

MR. MCCLENNY: Weíre continuing to work on the basis that weíve been working on for some time now.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) -- on what Bahrain is trying to pull off?

MR. MCCLENNY: Actually we do have something on that, Barry, thank you for asking.

QUESTION: And maybe next week, too.

MR. MCCLENNY: There are a couple of issues out there. These have been very carefully written, and I am not an expert in this area.

QUESTION: You never deal with the Middle East in a sloppy way, Iíll tell you that.

MR. MCCLENNY: Iíd like to think I donít deal with any issue in a sloppy way, but you and I know thatís not the entire truth.

QUESTION: -- almost to the point of saying nothing.

MR. MCCLENNY: Thatís dangerous, as well. On the question of a possible Security Council session on an alleged plan to expand the boundaries of Jerusalem, as weíve said before, Jerusalem is one of the most sensitive issues of the peace process. Security Council discussion of this issue, which the Israelis and Palestinians have already agreed is to be included in their permanent status negotiations, would be unhelpful to the peace process. Itís a little complicated in its writing, but I hope the import gets through.

We therefore think any action in the Security Council on this matter would be counter-productive. At a time when weíre trying to break a prolonged impasse in the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, the last thing we need is action by the parties or anybody else that raises suspicions and makes it even more difficult to get the process back on track.

QUESTION: Do you want to make the same statement for next week? What the heck.

(Laughter.)

QUESTION: Raising the status of the PLO, would that be something that would make parties suspicious, not helpful to the peace process?

MR. MCCLENNY: In fact, we oppose enhanced status for the PLO in the General Assembly. The PLO is not a state, and should not enjoy rights tantamount to those of a state in the General Assembly. We hope that other members of the General Assembly will join us in opposing a move that can only hurt the Middle Eastern peace process while overturning decades of precedent and practice regarding the status of members and observers in the General Assembly. I understand, parenthetically, that no Security Council action is being considered on this issue.

QUESTION: No Security Council -- youíre not going to have a meeting or --

QUESTION: Itís a General Assembly question, though.

MR. MCCLENNY: Thatís a General Assembly question.

QUESTION: Wait -- explain something to me on the Jerusalem --

MR. MCCLENNY: Iíll do my very best.

QUESTION: The US opposes Israelís actions on Jerusalem, but also opposes the Security Council saying anything about that. Is that a fair interpretation of your position?

MR. MCCLENNY: Thereís a difficult one. Iím stymied by the first half of your question because I donít remember what our position was. I will look into it.

QUESTION: Your position is that you oppose Israelís action on --

MR. MCCLENNY: That it was unhelpful, yes. Itís flooding back to me now.

QUESTION: And you oppose the Security Council acting on Israelís action.

MR. MCCLENNY: Indeed we do.

QUESTION: You mean Albright can call for a freeze, but no one else can.

MR. MCCLENNY: These are final status questions, basically. Thatís the bottom line. These are final status questions, and we think they should be resolved in the final status process.

QUESTION: But the Security Council is saying Israel shouldnít do this, right?

QUESTION: Well, they would. Why would that be helpful? That would seem to support the US position.

MR. MCCLENNY: We donít think pressure at this point in time, or anything that would undermine progress -- undermine the fragile sense that these parties can work together on this process is not helpful. Itís doesnít need more pressure.

QUESTION: Whatís the difference between the Security Council saying it and the US saying it?

MR. MCCLENNY: Weíve been invited in by the two parties to help work this out; thatís why.

QUESTION: At the time you were working on the peace process, this is unhelpful. But you just told us that thereís (Inaudible).

MR. MCCLENNY: No, thatís not what I said. Thatís not what I said.

QUESTION: Okay.

MR. MCCLENNY: Are there other issues?

QUESTION: One more thing, please.

MR. MCCLENNY: If itís a fair question.

QUESTION: Thereís an effort to have a presidential statement in the Security Council -- would you support a presidential statement?

MR. MCCLENNY: No, we wouldnít support pressure of any kind.

QUESTION: That narrows -- I mean --

MR. MCCLENNY: Weíve been invited to the process.

QUESTION: Your statement says action. I just wondered --

QUESTION: According to several wire reports, the Iraqis leadership gave their permission several --

MR. MCCLENNY: Do you want to go to the Middle East -- Iím sorry -- all right. Do you have a Middle Eastern question?

QUESTION: Would the United States use the veto in case there was any condemnation?

MR. MCCLENNY: Thatís a hypothetical question; Iím not going to get into it. Weíll cross the bridge if we come to it. Is there another Middle Eastern question?

QUESTION: On Iran, have you heard about these Iranian scholars who arrived in New York last week and were fingerprinted and photographed at the airport?

MR. MCCLENNY: I donít know anything about the specific case, but itís been standing practice for some time now that visiting Iranians are fingerprinted the first time they come into the United States.

QUESTION: But didnít the Secretary promise to change that?

MR. MCCLENNY: No. We made some changes in the waiting time and the background check process for first-time applications for visas for Iranians coming to the United States.

QUESTION: They can still expect to be fingerprinted and photographed when they arrive?

MR. MCCLENNY: On the first time into the United States, certainly they can still expect to be fingerprinted.

QUESTION: And why is that?

MR. MCCLENNY: Youíd have to ask the INS exactly why they fingerprint and what they use the photographs and fingerprints for; but I assume itís to prove positively their identification. But again, ask the INS why they do it.

QUESTION: But why Iranians and not --

MR. MCCLENNY: It happens to some individuals of other nationalities as well.

QUESTION: But when -- I believe -- I donít know if it was soccer players or -- it was the wrestlers that came in a couple of months ago and they were sort of -- they were fingerprinted and it was suggested they were delayed unnecessarily. And I remember Jamie saying from the podium that the Secretary was going to indeed look into this process and not make it so intrusive. And, well, the interpretation was that they were being singled out. So if the Iranian scholars were treated -- there was some suggestion they were treated the same way --

MR. MCCLENNY: The assumption behind your question is somewhat false. There have been some changes made in the process, and weíre making efforts to make it less intrusive, less drawn out, less problematic; but it wonít all change overnight.

QUESTION: Well I understand that, but I donít think it was false. Iím just saying it seems as though youíve had a couple of months to make the process go a little smoother. Iím not asking for a change -- Iím not talking about a change overnight and it doesnít appear as though that has occurred. Are you still looking into it?

MR. MCCLENNY: There have been some changes, as Iíve indicated now twice, at least, and I also said if you wanted more information about it, you should talk to the INS. Theyíre in charge of the actual process of fingerprinting and photographing.

QUESTION: But is it a concern that you want to make it -- not -- you donít want the Iranians to be singled out?

MR. MCCLENNY: Weíd like -- Iíve said this already, too, Crystal; please listen carefully. The Iranians havenít been singled out. There are other individuals of other nationalities who are also fingerprinted and photographed when they enter the United States. We would like to encourage people-to-people exchanges; and to the extent that we can within the regulations and laws of the United States, we will.

QUESTION: When President Khatemi comes here for the UN meeting in the fall, will he be fingerprinted?

MR. MCCLENNY: No. Usually diplomats who come to the United Nations go through a separate procedure for entering New York City.

QUESTION: Can I just clarify though -- I asked you and you said this procedure will not change -- the fingerprinting and the photographs --

MR. MCCLENNY: It hasnít changed so far. Itís not the Department of Stateís procedure.

QUESTION: Just to clarify, I thought the Secretary had indicated that she wanted that procedure changed, but youíre saying all of this --

MR. MCCLENNY: My recollection was that we werenít very explicit about that; we wanted in general to make the procedures smoother and nicer and less bad-feeling, if you will. Weíre working on that. Some changes have already been made.

QUESTION: It might change.

MR. MCCLENNY: Itís possible, certainly. I wouldnít rule it out. It would depend a lot on regulations and on US law how that can effectively be carried out.

QUESTION: According to several wire reports, Iraqi leadership gave the permission to open offices in Baghdad to several Kurdish groups -- Iraqi Kurdish groups. But one of them is the Iraqi Kurdish group, which the PKK is fighting against the Turkish Government and the Turkish security forces. Also the same report mentioned that the Iraqi army given more sophisticated weaponry to the PKK also. Do you have anything on the subject?

MR. MCCLENNY: The second question would be an intelligence question, or an alleged intelligence question, and I donít have anything on that; whether the Iraqis are giving more or more sophisticated weaponry to someone, I donít honestly know.

The first question on the opening of a PKK office in Baghdad, I have seen press reporting on that. We consider the PKK a terrorist organization. I donít think that will come as any surprise to you. I donít think anyone is particularly surprised that a government like the government thatís in Baghdad would be giving protection, if you will, or a place to rest their head to an organization like the PKK either. It strikes me as interesting, but not surprising.

QUESTION: Lee, do you have anything on these migration talks in New York?

MR. MCCLENNY: I donít. I had some stuff last week from memory I can tell you.

QUESTION: No, I mean going on today.

MR. MCCLENNY: Yes, that they met today. No, I donít think thereíll be much of a read-out right away. I think theyíre probably scheduled for two or three days; that was the drill in the times when I used to attend them.

QUESTION: These are regularly scheduled?

MR. MCCLENNY: These indeed were regularly scheduled. They are intermittent or sporadic; thereís not a set number of months that passes between each one.

QUESTION: Will anything change in terms of the migration patterns from Cuba to the United States?

QUESTION: A lot of good baseball players.

MR. MCCLENNY: Yes, a lot of good baseball players, right. No, I mean, itís kind of a very vague and general question. The truth is over months or years, there tend to be small peaks and small valleys in migration out of Cuba to the United States or other countries. In terms of the implementation of the bilateral agreement we have, the arrangements we worked out, no, they seem to be working fairly well. There are always issues that weíre working on to try to make hem function better. Some of those issues are the things that will come up in these meetings.

But no, I think in general -- particularly if one compares the present situation with what was the circumstance several years ago at the peak of the rafting crisis -- that this has been remarkably effective and a very useful agreement that weíve made with the Cuban Government. A lot of peopleís lives have probably been saved, and a lot of people have migrated now legally in a way that permits them to come to the country where they want to live.

QUESTION: Belarus? Iím fishing, anything on Belarus? On diplomats?

MR. MCCLENNY: No, I havenít heard much else on Belarus, I confess. I should have probably fished myself and seen if I could have gotten something for you. Iíll ask around and see if thereís something.

QUESTION: Have you got anything on the US-ROK working group meeting in July?

MR. MCCLENNY: No, I donít. I asked about that last week. Call me again later in the day and I may have something, because I did ask about it on Thursday or Friday.

QUESTION: The Russian Finance Minister is quoted by, I believe, -- (inaudible) -- saying that unless they meet their tax collection goals, devaluation of the ruble would be inevitable. There are a lot of other officials saying something different today. I just wondered if you had any comment.

MR. MCCLENNY: I donít, actually. I didnít think to ask for comment, and I think I, personally, enter those sorts of water at great risk to markets and other things. Iíd rather not inadvertently set off a stampede of some kind.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) -- rattle the markets --

MR. MCCLENNY: Iíd rather not emulate that.

QUESTION: Iím sorry, can we go back to Kosovo?

MR. MCCLENNY: Iím happy to look into it if youíd like. Itís probably really a Treasury matter, but Iím willing to look into it if youíd like.

QUESTION: Hereís where my memory fails. I donít recall that the State Department has taken a position on an agenda for the negotiations the US has been pushing for.

MR. MCCLENNY: No, I donít believe we have taken a position -- certainly not a public position -- on an agenda for --

QUESTION: I would ask you if you think independence for Kosovo ought to be on the agenda.

MR. MCCLENNY: Well, itís not something weíve been pushing for. It would appear not to be something that thereís any interest discussing in Belgrade. This is something that remains to be worked out; itís sort of hypothetical. Theyíre not at the negotiating table just yet. Weíre in the so-called proximity talks. I donít believe the issue has come up, but Iím not absolutely certain.

QUESTION: But as a negotiating document, much like Israel and the PLO, for example, or the Bosnians and the Serbians, whatever, isnít is something that fairly represents the position of one side or the other? You have to put both their positions in the agenda. So wouldnít it be inevitable that that would liberate -- independence for Kosovo would be something that would be on the table when they met, whether the other side agreed or not?

MR. MCCLENNY: Whether itís in the air, people thinking about it in the backs of their minds or on the table, I donít honestly know. I can reiterate for you -- and I certainly wouldnít want to preclude or in any way try to be responsible for characterizing the as yet probably undefined negotiating positions of these two very disparate groups of people. I could say what our view on the subject is, but I canít tell you what the Serbs ultimately will agree to or what they think, nor what the Albanian Kosovars think.

QUESTION: When do you think you might meet with them again?

MR. MCCLENNY: With whom?

QUESTION: The UCK.

MR. MCCLENNY: I donít know; I donít think thereís any particular set agenda.

QUESTION: Are you having regular contact?

MR. MCCLENNY: One would hope that they would join the discussions on the side of the other leaders, the Albanian Kosovar community, and that we would have some contact with them in that form. Thatís certainly our hope.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

MR. MCCLENNY: Itís more complicated than that. We want more. We want a representation on the Albanian Kosovar side, which represents the full breadth of Albanian view.

QUESTION: Wonít Rugova be the negotiator?

MR. MCCLENNY: Probably. Whether heís given the title of negotiator or whether heís simply -- heís clearly a father-like figure for many people in that country.

QUESTION: If you got to some place like Dayton, youíve got Milosevic and Rugova.

MR. MCCLENNY: Thatís very hypothetical, Iím sure.

QUESTION: Are you aware of Ambassador Gelbard traveling to the region at all this week?

MR. MCCLENNY: No, Iím not aware of any travel plans in the next couple of days. Iím not being dodgy there, but I did talk to some people about it and I donít recall anything for the next couple of days. But beyond that, Iím not certain. Certainly heís available if there were something.

QUESTION: And what level of representation will there be at the Contact Group meeting on July 8?

MR. MCCLENNY: July 8 -- I donít know that weíve determined that yet. I think itís a a political directorís meeting, but Iím not absolutely positive. It would be Gelbard or someone like that.

Have we exhausted everything? Thereís one more.

QUESTION: Do you have any report or did you get any news items from Turkey about the earthquake. I believe you have a consulate general in Adana.

MR. MCCLENNY: In Adana, we do have a consulate general.

QUESTION: Any US citizens wounded?

MR. MCCLENNY: There were some US casualties, but they were of a very relatively light nature. Let me see if I can find that for you. Our information is that there was an earthquake centered in Adana; that it measured about 6.3 on the Richter scale; struck southeast Turkey Saturday at 4:56 p.m. local time. We are told by Turkish authorities that there are an estimated 120 fatalities, half, reportedly, in Adana, 50 or so in Ceyhan, and the others scattered around. Are you impressed with my pronunciation of that name, which is not spelled anything like the way itís pronounced?

QUESTION: Could you tell us the name of the Greek Defense Minister whoís coming here next week?

MR. MCCLENNY: Iíd mispronounce it, so I just -- no deaths or serious injuries sustained to Americans at either the Adana consulate or Incirlik air base. President Clinton has offered assistance to the Turkish Government through our embassy officials. Thereís been no official Turkish response yet, but itís a fairly recent offer.

QUESTION: Was any of the equipment, any of the aircraft --

MR. MCCLENNY: No, I donít think there was any damage done. Incirlik Air Force Base is providing all kinds of answers to anyone who asks. I did get a little bit of detail -- 23 Americans were injured in some minor degree; eight Air Force personnel; three dependents; one retiree; two AmCit private contractors; and nine Turkish employees of the US Air Force in Turkey.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR. MCCLENNY: My pleasure.

QUESTION: Tomorrow again?

MR. MCCLENNY: Probably not. I think nothing tomorrow, but Iíll be around all day to answer questions.

QUESTION: How about Gelbard coming down here.

(The briefing concluded at 2:30 P.M.)


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