U.S. Department of State Daily Press Briefing #78, 98-06-29
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
Monday, June 29, 1998
Briefer: Lee Mcclenny
1 US to provide $3.55 million for humanitarian needs related
to Kosovo crisis.
2 US calls on Belgrade to allow access for aid workers,
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
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
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
11-12 US supports autonomy, not independence, for Kosovo.
20-21 US has not put forward a position on an agenda for
21 Next Contact Group meeting is scheduled for July 8.
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
14 US has opposed enhanced status for the PLO in the UN
16-19 First-time visiting Iranians undergo fingerprinting, as do
18 Press reports of an office opening for the PKK in Baghdad
are not surprising.
19 Meetings with US on migration issues are periodic.
21-22 Earthquake near Adana apparently caused 23 Americans minor
22 President Clinton has offered assistance to the Turkish
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
OFF-CAMERA PRESS BRIEFING
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
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
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,
MR. MCCLENNY: I believe that is correct, but Iím not absolutely
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
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
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
QUESTION: Iím sorry. Youíre still dealing with the -- whatís his
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
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
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
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
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
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
QUESTION: These are two different things? Iím a little bit confused.
There was something in Geneva, and then there were fighters in the
MR. MCCLENNY: Yes, those are two separate items.
QUESTION: Oh, youíre not saying itís Holbrooke; there were two separate
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-
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
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
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
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
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
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
QUESTION: Where does the gathering together of these observer missions
stand? I think Ambassador Hill was working on that. Has there been any
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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: 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
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
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
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
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
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
QUESTION: Your position is that you oppose Israelís action on --
MR. MCCLENNY: That it was unhelpful, yes. Itís flooding back to me
QUESTION: And you oppose the Security Council acting on Israelís
MR. MCCLENNY: Indeed we do.
QUESTION: You mean Albright can call for a freeze, but no one else
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,
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.
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
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
QUESTION: On Iran, have you heard about these Iranian scholars who
arrived in New York last week and were fingerprinted and photographed at
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
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
QUESTION: But why Iranians and not --
MR. MCCLENNY: It happens to some individuals of other nationalities as
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
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
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
MR. MCCLENNY: I donít. I had some stuff last week from memory I can tell
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
QUESTION: If you got to some place like Dayton, youíve got Milosevic and
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
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.)