U.S. Department of State Daily Press Briefing #121, 98-11-04
From: The Department of State Foreign Affairs Network (DOSFAN) at <http://www.state.gov>
U.S. Department of State
Daily Press Briefing
I N D E X
Wednesday, November 4, 1998
Briefer: James P. Rubin
1 Statements to be Released on Deputy Secretary Talbott's
Speeches; Demining Trust Fund; Swearing-In of Amb John
Shattuck to Czech Republic; and Joint US-Paraguay
1 Secy Press Availability with Danish Foreign Minister
1-2,4 Secretary's Contacts / UNSC Discussions & Impending
Resolution / Authorization for Use of Force / UNSC
1-3 Defense Secretary Cohen's Travels to Gulf Region
Accompanied by Under Secy Pickering /Gulf States Support
for Military Action / Secy Cohen's Mtgs in Saudi Arabia /
5-6 UNSCOM Cameras Not Substitute for Full Access / Monitoring
Declared and Undeclared Sites
6 Evidence of Reconstituting Weapons
6 Time Running Out?
4-5 Status of Appointment of Amb Holbrooke as US Permanent
Representative & Investigation
6-7 Deputy Secretary Talbott's Meetings with Foreign Minister /
MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS
7-9 US Role in Mediation & Implementation / Difficulties to
Overcome / Mutual Confidence
8-9,11 Dealing With Arrests & Detentions
9-10 Public Discussion of Security Measures / Security
10 Palestinian Work Plan
10 Permanent Status Talks to Begin in Near Future
10-11 Whereabouts of Amb Dennis Ross
11 Gaza Airport Approvals
11-13 US Assurance Letters to Both Sides / "Annexes" to Wye
16 Vatican Involvement on Final Status Talks on Jerusalem
13 UN Deputy Special Representative's Efforts
13-14 Asst Secy Rice's Trip to Region in Attempt to End Conflict
/ Meeting With Rebels /Zimbabwe President Mugabe's Action
14-15 US Sanctions / Overtures to US re Terrorism List
15 US Message to Countries Giving Sanctuary to Terrorists
15 Car Explosion Outside Kremlin
15 Theater Missile Defense Study / PRC Reaction
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
WEDNESDAY, NOVMEBER 4, 1998, 12:40 P.M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. RUBIN: Greetings. Welcome to the State Department briefing, here
We have several statements on some speeches that Deputy Secretary Talbott
is going to be delivering; on de-mining trust fund; on the swearing in of
John Shattuck as Ambassador to the Czech Republic; and on the joint US-
Paraguay statement. That will all be available to you after the briefing.
The Secretary will be having a press availability with the Foreign Minister
from Denmark At what time? Late morning, mid-day. Whether or not we will
have a briefing tomorrow, we will let you know at that time.
With those announcements, let's go to your questions.
QUESTION: Could you give us an Iraq update, please?
MR. RUBIN: Yes, Secretary Albright obviously has been talking both
internally and with others about the urgency of this situation. We are
aware that discussion of a resolution on Iraq has begun in the Security
As you know, we do not believe that an additional authorization for the use
of force is needed. In our view, previous resolutions provide an adequate
basis for such a step if necessary. However, we would be supportive and
expect a clear, straightforward resolution which sends an unambiguous
message to Iraq along the lines of the Council's October 31 press statement
- namely that the Council rejects Iraq's escalation of this situation, and
the Council regards Iraq's suspension of cooperation with the UN inspectors
as a flagrant violation of Security Council resolutions.
So we would expect that to be moved on in the coming days. I don't have an
exact day for you.
Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Cohen, along with Under Secretary Pickering,
has continued his travels. I believe he was in Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar
today; and my understanding is that they were all productive meetings and
that we continue to see -- both Gulf States and around the world - strong
support for our determined opposition to Saddam Hussein's actions.
QUESTION: If there is a new resolution, would the United States want to
see a new authorization for the use of force?
MR. RUBIN: It's just not an issue for us. We think that there is a basis
for the use of force in previous resolutions, and we would be happy to see
a strong message sent to Saddam Hussein, an unambiguous message sent. But
it's just not an issue for us on the authorization question.
QUESTION: Wouldn't a new authorization of the use of military force be a
very strong message?
MR. RUBIN: No, not necessarily; it depends on what the results of all
that discussion would be. What's useful would be a very clear message of
opposition by a unanimous group in the Council.
When you get into sometimes these technical legal issues, you get the
message muddied. In our view, a clear basis exists for action. We see no
reason, therefore, to seek further authorization.
QUESTION: Have the Gulf States given you authorization to use their bases
if it becomes necessary or are the assets you have floating around near
enough that you don't need to use them?
MR. RUBIN: With respect to that issue, I think it's quite clear to us
from Secretary Cohen's trip and from the discussions Secretary Albright has
had, we are confident we will have the support we need to take appropriate
action to support the United Nations. That is based on the discussions
Secretary Albright and Secretary Cohen have had with the Saudi leadership.
I think with respect to the Saudi meetings specifically, it's my understanding
that Secretary Cohen had a warm and productive meeting with King Fayd and
Crown Prince Abdullah in Riyadh yesterday. The King pledged that the
kingdom will continue to support US efforts to preserve regional security
and stability; and the Crown Prince praised American leadership in helping
the United Nations to contain Iraq. Based on these meetings and her
discussions, we are confident that the United States will have the
support we need to take appropriate actions to support the United
With respect to the other three states, I don't want to add anything beyond
what I just said -- which was that they were productive meetings, and we
are sensing strong support from them for taking a united stand against
QUESTION: But Jamie, that answer doesn't really go to the nub of the
question - and that is, if military action is necessary, can US forces use
bases in Saudi Arabia?
MR. RUBIN: I think it will come as no surprise to you, as a veteran of
many of these trips, that those are questions that we just don't answer in
What we can say is that based on our discussions, we believe we will have
the support we need to take appropriate action in support of the United
Nations in this case. And with respect to specifics, it shouldn't be news
to you or a surprise to you that we don't get more specific than that.
QUESTION: Well, in the Gulf War, I mean, it was very specific that Saudi
Arabia was on the US side and allowed the use of its territory.
MR. RUBIN: I'm sure that 50 years ago other things were true. We're
talking about this decade.
QUESTION: That was this decade.
MR. RUBIN: Just barely.
QUESTION: I know this doesn't really fall to you - it falls to the
Pentagon - but it relates to the Administration's reticence to talk about
its consultations with the Saudis. Would that have been the reason that the
Secretary of Defense did not take any media along with him -- because he
just didn't want to have them around to have to -- the Administration just
didn't want to have them around to have to deal with that question or
trample over the Saudi toes?
MR. RUBIN: Well, I certainly love having you around, and I know Secretary
Albright loves having you around; so I will just defer to the Pentagon to
explain their press arrangements. But I think regardless of whether people
were on the plane, these are places where journalists are. Secretary Cohen
wasn't going to places journalists don't have access to -- Saudi Arabia,
Qatar and other Gulf countries; there are plenty of journalists there.
So I don't think one should over-interpret the reasons for that.
QUESTION: Well, the Saudis are well-known for their feisty press corps
and their free access to their officials.
MR. RUBIN: Are there other questions?
QUESTION: Do you have anything to say about Deputy Secretary -
MR. RUBIN: Same subject -- over there, the man in the trench coat.
QUESTION: Is unanimity in the Security Council important enough that the
United States would be willing to soften the wording of any pending
resolution, particularly as it might relate to possible use of force?
MR. RUBIN: I think in response to Jim's question I made very clear that
we are not seeking a resolution that addresses directly the use of force
question. So what we're seeking is a clear message of opposition to Saddam
We think that Security Council authorization for the use of force already
exists, and we see no need to have that reiterated or go through the
exercise of trying to get it reiterated. So with respect to the resolution,
my understanding is it's not being approached in a particularly controversial
way by anybody, and that it's designed to be a very strong reiteration of
the Council's opposition to Saddam's action and to its making clear that
it's a flagrant and serious violation of Security Council resolutions
to stop cooperating with UNSCOM.
That's what the resolution is about, and I just would urge you not to over-
examine a particular word here or there; because we're not approaching it
from that perspective.
QUESTION: Jamie, where does the appointment of Mr. Holbrooke as
Ambassador to the UN rest?
MR. RUBIN: As I understand it, Secretary Albright has made very clear the
strong support she has for his skill as a diplomat, a negotiator and a
supporter of an activist and an effective American foreign policy.
With respect to his nomination procedure, as you know, that is something
that is handled by the White House. We want to see a prompt resolution of
the inquiry, and that is our view.
QUESTION: In other words, do you feel the lack of his being there at the
UN at this crucial time?
MR. RUBIN: I wouldn't want to say anything - first of all, I think what I
was trying to say in response to Mark's question was that we don't regard
the resolution as crucial; that it's an attempt to reiterate a message to
With regard to Ambassador Holbrooke's presence or absence, any answer I
give will either offend Ambassador Holbrooke or Ambassador Burley, who's
there now. So let me just punt.
QUESTION: Is the paperwork over or finished on the Holbrooke --
MR. RUBIN: I couldn't get into more detail than to say that we'd like the
inquiry be resolved as quickly as possible.
QUESTION: You couldn't say if the investigation is ongoing or finished?
MR. RUBIN: I would have to check what my ability to talk about a matter
such as that is.
QUESTION: Is it clear to you that Saddam Hussein is following through
with his threats to cut off all cooperation or is that a little - not quite
MR. RUBIN: Well, with respect to the cameras, which I think is the issue
that is implied by your question, let me say this - we simply don't think
allowing UNSCOM to service a couple of cameras is a substitute for the kind
of full access for the UN inspectors and the IAEA necessary to do their
jobs. On the contrary, allowing UNSCOM to service a few cameras is not a
reversal of Iraq's obstruction of UNSCOM activity. But there is some of
that that's going on.
As I understand it, the normal complement of roughly 120 inspectors is
there and there are no plans for them to withdraw at this time.
QUESTION: Is he doing something different than he was doing since August,
when he trimmed back his cooperation and nothing happened?
MR. RUBIN: Yes.
QUESTION: What is he --
MR. RUBIN: Well, if you go back to what - in order to do the proper job
of inspection and monitoring of Saddam's weapons of mass destruction -
forgive me for simplifying - but it's essentially dealing with declared
sites on the one hand and undeclared sites on the other.
Declared sites are those locations where UNSCOM is monitoring production of
say pesticides or motors that could be used for missiles or other
facilities -- and there are many dozens of those facilities - which Saddam
could make a decision to turn that production capability into production of
weapons of mass destruction.
So you want a monitoring system in place to go to those places, to check it,
to either use a combination of cameras or on-site inspections to be sure
that those facilities are not being used or not going to be used to break
out and produce, in military significant quantities, weapons of mass
Just allowing cameras to be serviced does not serve that goal. Inspectors
need to go to these places to get early warning signs if things are
changing. Cameras are part of the picture, but not the whole picture.
The second category are undeclared sites, and that's where you're trying to
uncover what Iraq refuses to disclose; which is what they produced, when
they produced it, how much they destroyed and what is left. That is done
through a series of challenge inspections from what might be routine
locations through to the most sensitive locations.
So in every way -- both undeclared sites and declared sites - UNSCOM is not
able to do its job, with the exception of allowing some of the cameras to
be serviced. So across the board in both the undeclared sites and the
declared sites, Saddam Hussein is refusing to cooperate with the UN and the
International Atomic Energy Agency.
QUESTION: Is there any evidence so far that Saddam is taking advantage of
this hiatus in inspections to begin, as you said, to the reconstitute the
capability to produce weapons of mass destruction? And is there any urgency
in that particular issue that he might be rushing to load --
MR. RUBIN: If we believed that they were reconstituting their weapons of
mass destruction, we would act. We have no evidence of that at this
QUESTION: I just wanted to ask, so you think that inspectors should have
the right to do challenge inspections and what.
MR. RUBIN: And undeclared facilities and challenge inspections and
monitoring at declared facilities.
QUESTION: That's the agreement he made with Kofi Annan.
MR. RUBIN: Correct.
QUESTION: Could you give us a sense of timing? A month ago you were using,
in the Kosovo context, words like "time is running out." I don't hear that
kind of language now.
MR. RUBIN: Well, I wouldn't read too much into that. I think Secretary
Albright made clear that we consider the situation grave. The message that
she is delivering and Secretary Cohen is delivering is that we are dealing
with a grave situation here, and the gravity of this situation needs to be
understood by all concerned.
QUESTION: Can you say anything about Secretary Talbott's meetings with
MR. RUBIN: Yes, I've read some interesting accounts of that. Let me
simply say that the Pakistani Foreign Secretary is scheduled to meet with
Deputy Secretary of State Talbott and Assistant Secretary Inderfurth today
This will be the sixth in a continuing series of high-level negotiations on
non-proliferation and security issues that the Deputy Secretary is
conducting with Pakistan. In addition to the important non-proliferation
issues, discussions will take place on a full range of relevant matters,
including terrorism, narcotics, the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan's
strategy for addressing its economic difficulties, as well as the agenda
for Prime Minister Sharif's December 2 visit to Washington.
On the non-proliferation side, clearly we've made steady progress; but
there are important issues where we need to nail down commitments to deal
with important non-proliferation concerns and important issues that still
need to be resolved.
QUESTION: Do you want a read-out or a non-read-out vis-a-vis these
MR. RUBIN: My experience is these tend to be read out de minimus. But let
me see what I can get for you.
QUESTION: What is the US role in trying to mediate and arbitrate between
the Israelis and the Palestinians; and how would you characterize the
situation as it stands today? Is this a snag; is this a potential
MR. RUBIN: I think the word "crisis" would be an exaggeration. I'm not
saying you used that word, but if somebody were to use that word that would
be a stunning exaggeration.
We have a lot of experience dealing with the Palestinians and the Israelis
on the matters of utmost interest to them. We are working very closely with
both sides in recent days to try to move forward on implementation.
Secretary Albright spoke, I believe, again to Prime Minister Netanyahu
today. We believe the Palestinians have provided the necessary work plan in
accordance with the Wye Memorandum. Nevertheless, there are issues that
need to be clarified. We're working very hard to get those issues clarified
so that the process can move forward.
During the course of the Wye discussions, there were many clarifications
sought. Some of them have been provided, and some of you have read about
them on the Internet and in other places. So this is not a surprising issue
for us that clarifications and extrapolations of commitments are being
sought. We are working on those and trying to work our way through
There are some security issues where additional clarification is being
sought. We're discussing these issues with both sides. But I think the real
point is that this agreement is a good one for both sides. It offers them a
pathway to get the peace process back on track, to begin to deal with the
critical issues of permanent status. We need to take advantage of this new
beginning and get to work on the permanent status.
Time is not on our side, given the fact that May 4 still looms large. We
believe the leaders did make tough choices at Wye; that the deal that was
struck responds to the needs of both sides. We came away very impressed
with both leaders' ability to meet the needs of their country and the
Palestinian Authority and at the same time, find ways to meet the needs of
On the Israeli side, the Prime Minister's entire approach was grounded in
security. He made clear from the outset that there had to be tangible,
concrete steps taken to protect Israeli security interests. Peace with
security was, therefore, embedded in our approach. We believe the final
agreement does achieve that objective -- that it's good for Israel and good
for Israeli security. Systematic efforts will be made by the Palestinian
Authority to prevent terror and to attack the infrastructure that supports
terrorists. A detailed, systematic work plan, a formal structure of
bilateral and trilateral committees and a commitment to deal with the
problems of illegal weapons and incitement to violence are all embedded in
So it's our job to overcome these issues that need clarification; to get on
with what we think is an agreement that serves the interests of Israel and
the interests of the Palestinian Authority.
QUESTION: Are you at all alarmed or disturbed by the fact that this
agreement hasn't even been implemented and there are already problems in
trying to get to that stage in the last just ten days?
MR. RUBIN: Well, I certainly understand the question. I would simply say
that from our experience working with Israel and the Palestinians, that
this is not unexpected - that there are going to be difficulties to have to
be overcome, clarifications that are going to be sought, issues that are
going to be debated and worked on.
But at the same time, we believe the schedule is being met. The Palestinians
have taken the required steps prior to entry into force, in accordance with
the agreement; meetings of the various committees, some of which have begun
- including on the seaport. So things are happening, even while at the
highest political levels additional work needs to be done to clarify issues
of concern to the Israelis on security. That's what we're doing; that's
what we would have expected -- perhaps not with the same drama, but
it is not a surprise to us.
QUESTION: At the White House signing and subsequently, much was made of
the new atmosphere/environment that was created -- restoration to some
extent -- of the needed attitude of mutual confidence and trust. This
glitch, this non-crisis - whatever you're calling this delay --
MR. RUBIN: I like that -- non-crisis -- good.
QUESTION: Does this affect, do you think, that promising atmosphere of
MR. RUBIN: No. We said also at the White House -- and the Secretary said
at the briefing at the White House briefing room -- that the hard part has
now begun: implementation; and that the road ahead is going to be filled
with bumps. This is a bump in the road, and we intend to get through it
with our tires intact.
QUESTION: The Israelis apparently don't agree with what you are saying.
On the record, they are talking about the Wye Accord calling for the
Palestinians to produce a written timetable. For the arrests you are
referring to, I think, you are referring to that as an extrapolation of a
commitment. Is that a correct reading of what you said?
MR. RUBIN: Why don't you ask the other hard ones and get them all in
QUESTION: Concerning the extrapolation of commitments, I am interested if
you could expand on that a little bit.
MR. RUBIN: I have seen accounts suggesting that we are moving closer to
the Israeli position on this matter; and that is simply not correct. We are
sticking to what was agreed at Wye, what was understood at Wye, what we
expected to see clarified after Wye. Nothing has changed. We are trying to
overcome some problems that have cropped up, but none of that should be a
suggestion that we are leaning toward one side or the other on these
With respect to arrests and detentions, let me simply say the agreement
spells out a procedure for dealing with this. Among other forms of legal
assistance in criminal matters the requests for arrests and transfers,
suspects and defendants, pursuant to Article 27 of Annex 4 of the interim
agreement, will be submitted through the mechanism of the joint Israeli-
Palestinian legal committee and will be responded to in conformity with
Annex 4 of the interim agreement within the twelve week period. Requests
submitted after the eighth week will be responded to in conformity, et
cetera, et cetera, within four weeks of their submission. The US has
been requested by the sides to report on a regular basis on the steps
being taken to respond to the above requests.
There is a mechanism to deal with that issue. It is being dealt with, and
we do not believe that the Palestinians are failing to act in conformity
with the agreement. With respect to the arrests more specifically, let me
simply say that those who Israel believes have committed acts of violence
and terrorism against Israelis, we believe the Palestinians will act
against these people in a way that is consistent with the agreement and
that will meet the needs of the Prime Minister of Israel and the security
needs of Israel in general. That is what we believe will happen.
QUESTION: Okay, so, you are suggesting that the Israelis should submit
their list to this committee.
MR. RUBIN: I can't be more - I mean, I'm trying very hard. I know in the
region that there's a tendency to provide details on sensitive security
matters. We think that's a grave error. We think the more sensitive
security matters are discussed in public by either side, the less likely
the security of either the Israelis or the Palestinians will be served. We
think it's a mistake for people to put names out there, to publish
lists of things, to describe highly-sensitive security matters. Some
people choose to put it out there. I don't understand what they're thinking
when they do it.
We're not going to do that. We're going to describe the agreement, describe
our understanding and try to get the job done in private while not trying
to win points in public.
QUESTION: No, I understand that; sorry if you misunderstood. That wasn't
my question at all. I asked you about your comment about the extrapolation
of commitments are being sought. You responded that -- I believe you
responded by reading a passage in the agreement which talks about a
procedure for the Israelis to request arrests or investigations.
MR. RUBIN: That is the way I responded, yes.
QUESTION: So, if you could back, then to the --
MR. RUBIN: You want me to draw the connection.
QUESTION: Yes, would you do that?
MR. RUBIN: With respect to the connection that you quite understandably
are seeking me to draw, let me simply say that there are many levels under
which security cooperation occurs. There are committees set up in the Wye
Agreement. There are certain things we are prepared to say publicly with
respect, for example, to the security work plan being provided in
accordance with the agreement by the Palestinians -- and we believe that
has been done -- and there are certain things that need to be done
We are seeking and working on clarifications so that concerns that may
exist on either side can be resolved. I can't be more specific than that
without putting in jeopardy what we're trying to achieve.
QUESTION: Are the Palestinians expected to submit anything else at this
MR. RUBIN: In general, we believe the Palestinians have provided the
necessary work plan pursuant to the agreement. Clarifications can be sought
and may or not be achieved; and that doesn't change the fact that, in
general, they have met the requirements of the agreement.
QUESTION: Where does that stand with the permanent status talks that were
supposed to begin immediately?
MR. RUBIN: We do understand that they will begin in the very near future.
I'm not sure the level they will occur. I mean, I think in the beginning
they will tend to be at a lower level and there will be preliminary
discussions. We've heard nothing to suggest that they won't occur very
QUESTION: And Dennis Ross?
MR. RUBIN: I believe he still intends to go the region. I did see him
here in the building this morning, so I can't tell you that he's left yet.
But my understanding is that he is expected to go. As soon as I have time
of departure for Ambassador Ross, I will try to get it to you all.
QUESTION: This week?
MR. RUBIN: Yes..
QUESTION: In the region they're saying he is expected there tomorrow.
MR. RUBIN: Well, he'd have to leave pretty soon to get there tomorrow
because it's already tonight there.
QUESTION: You just said that we do not believe the Palestinians are
failing to act in accordance with the agreement. By delaying the Israeli
Cabinet vote, Israel's saying that it wants the timetable for the arrest of
the 30 fugitives. Do you believe that Israel is failing to act in
accordance with the agreement?
MR. RUBIN: No, we recognize -- although from our standpoint we agree the
agreement went into force, pursuant to its terms, on Monday. We recognize
that Israel has a political and legal process, including a Cabinet decision,
including Knesset decision; and we still see no reason, if things move
quickly, why that needs to hold up in any way the implementation of this
agreement -- at most by a day or two, but not in any significant way.
QUESTION: If the agreement went into force on Monday, should Arafat be
able to fly back from Spain into the Gaza airport? I mean, is it open for
business or will it be open?
MR. RUBIN: I'll have to check where the airport stands.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) by agreement?
MR. RUBIN: I'll have to check where the facts are.
QUESTION: The Israelis say that if the agreement does not contain the
necessary approvals that the airport can't open.
MR. RUBIN: My understanding is that the approvals relate to other parts
of the agreement. But I'll have to check with our lawyers about that.
QUESTION: Why was it important for the United States to give assurance
letters to the Israelis over and above the Wye Memorandum?
MR. RUBIN: It's a very normal procedure. As the honest broker, sometimes
the way to break through a problem is to have the United States give
certain clarifications to one side in lieu of having to try to negotiate
those words with both sides. That's a pretty standard negotiating
Similarly, we have assurances with the Palestinian side. So it's nothing
new. I think if you look at what was published from those assurances, you
will see that the words are based on things that I said here from the
podium last week. So I don't think one should exaggerate the newness of
We've made clear - whether it's on the Palestinian National Council,
whether it's on the third redeployment, whether it's on reciprocity,
whether it's on unilateral acts - certain statements from the podium which
represent the official position of the United States. To the extent that
parties sought those words to be clarified in minor ways, if that will help
them get to yes, then we're happy to do that.
QUESTION: Did the United States also provide letters of assurance to the
MR. RUBIN: I think I just said that.
QUESTION: The annexes to the Wye Memorandum - are those just the
assurances, are they not the assurances?
MR. RUBIN: It is normal practice - we try to put into the memorandum an
extraordinary amount of detail. For those of you who have found your way
clear to read each sentence carefully, you can see how detailed it is. That
doesn't mean that it isn't appropriate for us to have discussions about
issues related to the agreement and have issues laid out in private.
You've seen some of those; there may be other ones of those - none of which
are inconsistent with the terms of the memorandum. But I'm not in a
position to detail each and every one of those assurances.
QUESTION: That's what the 200-some pages of annexes are - just the
MR. RUBIN: I'm not aware of anything in that realm.
QUESTION: Well, at one point during one of your famous conference calls
at Wye, you or another US official, perhaps, talked about --
MR. RUBIN: Uh-oh.
QUESTION: -- what the agreement looked like. You said it was 11 or 12
pages with about a 200-page annex.
MR. RUBIN: If I or any US official said a 200-page annex to you, it must
have been because I or that official hadn't slept well the night before,
because I've never heard of such a thing.
QUESTION: But there is an annex to the agreement that is something --
MR. RUBIN: No, there isn't an annex, okay? It is normal for some
communications to occur privately between the United States and parties to
an agreement - especially when we're playing such a critical brokering
role. But there isn't a formal annex to the agreement.
QUESTION: These letters.
MR. RUBIN: There may be private assurances, but there isn't a formal
annex to my knowledge - unless somebody hasn't told me, and I think I would
QUESTION: There is an impression that the US does not provide enough
support to the efforts by Deputy Secretary Hercus in the Cyprus process.
What is the US approach to these efforts by Deputy Secretary Hercus?
MR. RUBIN: The US strongly supports the efforts of the UN Secretary
General's Deputy Special Representative for Cyprus, and we have worked very
closely with her and will continue to do so.
She is conducting an important series of discussions with the two sides on
Cyprus on behalf of the Secretary General. Both sides stand to benefit from
this process, and we have strongly encouraged both sides to work cooperatively
with her to make progress.
QUESTION: Today in Kigali, Susan Rice met with some of the Tutsi leaders
who are active in Congo. Can you talk about what the message might have
MR. RUBIN: Well, I think in general Susan is now on her way to Uganda.
She has been trying to see what we can do to try to end the conflict in the
Congo, based on our principles of preserving the sovereignty and territorial
integrity of the Congo; the need for an immediate cease-fire; the need to
recognize the legitimate security concerns of countries bordering the
Congo; and the need for a broad-based inclusive political process to ensure
legitimate transition to democracy in the Congo.
In Rwanda, specifically, she expressed the deep concern of the United
States about the current crisis in the Congo and our belief that it is
essential that a peaceful solution be found. Such a solution, again, would
have to be based on the principles that I described, in addition to the
importance of providing safeguards against further ethnic violence and
genocide and ensure the participation of all Congolese in the political
process. She made clear, and we believe, that it is necessary to prevent
further escalation of the violence there.
With respect to the rebels, Assistant Secretary Rice met with representatives
of the rebels in Kigali, and the delegation did this with the knowledge of
leaders in the region. We have repeatedly stated, and she made clear to
them, that we support a comprehensive settlement that will lead to a
withdrawal of foreign forces and secure borders in the region.
But more specifically I can't be, in the absence of an actual full report
from the delegation.
QUESTION: Can you report any progress? I mean, she's almost ended her
MR. RUBIN: She wasn't bringing a peace plan; she was seeking consultations.
Those consultations have been useful.
With respect to where it's going to leave us, we just don't know at this
QUESTION: Was it Congolese rebels that she met with in Rwanda?
MR. RUBIN: Yes.
QUESTION: You said that would be unlikely last week when that subject was
raised. But we won't make a big deal out of it.
MR. RUBIN: I appreciate that.
QUESTION: Now, I read that - I believe it was --
MR. RUBIN: Good thing I didn't rule it out.
QUESTION: I think I read somewhere that President Mugabe of Zimbabwe left
the US delegation cooling their heals for several hours. Is that correct,
and do you have anything to say about it?
MR. RUBIN: I will have to check on that; I don't know.
QUESTION: Also on Africa, apparently the United States has renewed
sanctions on Sudan - this apparently happened the other day. And I was
wondering what the reasoning was for that and how that plays into reports
that the Sudanese have made some overtures recently to the United States to
try to --
MR. RUBIN: Well, our sanctions are based on actions not overtures. The
position of Sudan with respect to terrorism and its support for terrorism
MR. RUBIN: I will check on what specific action was taken; but that is
our view on Sudan - that nothing has changed.
QUESTION: If it's so, could you issue a piece of paper or something?
MR. RUBIN: Yes, we can provide a piece of paper on that.
QUESTION: Could you talk a little bit more about the extent to which - or
what you think about the overtures that Sudan trying to --
MR. RUBIN: Well, it's not new for Sudan to make overtures to the United
States in which they explain how they are not a country that supports
terrorism, and in which we explain back that they are. That happens a
The question is, will they take actions - not overtures - to deal with the
problems; and so far they have not.
QUESTION: On this report, several times you emphasized the US is against
terrorism. Under this perspective, do you have any message to countries
which give sanctuary to terrorist organizations and their leaders?
MR. RUBIN: Our message to those who give sanctuary to terrorist
organizations and their leaders is to stop doing so; that the terrorist
threat is real to all countries in the world, and that the only way
terrorists can sustain themselves is with the support or acquiescence of
others. If they were completely isolated and denied funds and denied
support, denied access by everyone in the world, they'd be much less
effective and the rest of the world and the United States would be much
QUESTION: Jamie, do you have any information on a car that exploded
outside of the Kremlin earlier today?
MR. RUBIN: No, I didn't get anything on that. I'll check for you,
QUESTION: Will the State Department and I guess the Administration
generally approve and pursue the Theater Missile Defense study for Taiwan,
as was mandated in the congressional funding most recently? And will this
be under the TRA - the Taiwan Relations Act? That's my first question.
MR. RUBIN: Well, let me get you some information about that. We'll
certainly follow the law. Next question.
QUESTION: Well, the next question is that the Chinese are kicking up
quite a fuss about this - the PRC has - saying, we hope the US Government
will explicitly oppose the legislation and feign from transferring Theater
Missile Defense Systems and related technologies. That was from last week
from the Chinese spokesman of the Foreign Ministry, according to Reuters.
MR. RUBIN: I understand from my able deputy that you and he have
discussed this issue last week. So why don't we finish that discussion
after the briefing, and I think all your questions can be answered at that
QUESTION: Okay, no, I don't think we discussed this particular matter of
a comment by the PRC. Thank you.
QUESTION: Does the Administration have a position whether the Vatican
should be involved in the final status talks on Jerusalem?
MR. RUBIN: I'd have to check.
QUESTION: That's the right answer.
QUESTION: Thank you.
(The briefing concluded at 1:20 P.M.)