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U.S. Department of State Daily Press Briefing #123, 98-11-09

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

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


U.S. Department of State
Daily Press Briefing


Monday, November 9, 1998

Briefer: James P. Rubin

1,17-18		Briefing on Upcoming Talks with DPRK on Suspect Underground

BOSNIA 1-2 Contact Group Meeting Scheduled for Tomorrow 2 Peace Implementation Council Meeting in December

IRAQ 2-3,4,5-6 Prospects for the Use of Force in Iraq 3,4,5,6 Contacts With and Cooperation of European and Gulf State Allies 4-5 Prospects for Unilateral Action Against Iraq 6-7 US Policy Goals Toward Iraq 7-9 Status of UNSCOM Inspections

MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS 9,10-11 Status of Israeli Cabinet Consideration of Wye Agreement 9-10 Actions by the Palestinian Central Committee and Executive Committee 11 Travel Plans of Ambassador Ross to Region

INDIA/PAKISTAN 11-13 Status and Extent of Sanctions

RUSSIA 13-14 US Policy Toward Russia

ISRAEL 14-15 Detention of Arab Americans/Consular Access

TRADE 15-16 European Union and WTO Ruling re Banana Imports

CHILE 16-17 General Pinochet Extradition Case

AFGHANISTAN 18 Taliban Deadline for Evidence Against Bin Laden

JAPAN/SOUTH KOREA 18-19 Travel by Secretary of Defense Cohen


DPB #123

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 9, 1998, 12:50 P.M.


MR. RUBIN: We have a sleeper in the corner there; can we wake him up? Welcome to the State Department briefing. This is Monday, and it's good to be here in the lion's den.

QUESTION: If you lie about that, you'll lie about anything.

MR. RUBIN: We have a briefing this afternoon on the upcoming talks with the DPRK on the suspect underground construction talks scheduled for November 16 through 18, Tuesday at 3:00 p.m.; which would be tomorrow, considering that today is Monday.

QUESTION: Your special press officer is on that subject - a fellow assigned only to DPRK talks?

MR. RUBIN: I don't know, but I'll check on that. I have no other announcements, and I'd be happy to take your questions.

QUESTION: Well, speaking of things coming up, you have what a meeting tomorrow - Washington is the site tomorrow of a Bosnia Contact Group. Could you explain a little bit?

MR. RUBIN: Yes. Ambassador Gelbard has been in the region, and he's going to be talking more about that. He was in a position to assist in the formulation of a governmental structure there in the aftermath of the elections. He and some of his colleagues are going to be talking about that and, obviously, the future of the many-faceted elements of our Bosnia policy which has proved so far to have achieved many of its objectives. That is the subject of the meeting.

These happen from time to time, where people review the progress and try to coordinate their activities so that divisions of labor are created and the right people are in the right place doing the right thing.

QUESTION: Is there any big decision looming?

MR. RUBIN: I don't see it.


MR. RUBIN: That's not my understanding. There is a December meeting of the Peace Implementation Council in Madrid, and this Contact Group meeting is designed to lay the groundwork for that meeting.

QUESTION: Where is the Contact Group meeting?

MR. RUBIN: I believe it's here.

QUESTION: In the building you mean?

MR. RUBIN: I'll have to get the location; presumably it would be in the building, yes.

QUESTION: On Iraq, there's been a number of stories over the weekend suggesting that the United States is on the verge of military action or maybe not. I was just wondering if you could give some guidance as to current policy toward Saddam Hussein.

MR. RUBIN: Well, I've seen a lot of different stories going in a lot of different directions, and that sometimes happens.

But with respect to one of the elements of one of those stories - that is, that somehow we've given up on UNSCOM - I think that is not our view. Over almost eight years, the Security Council has clearly and repeatedly set out Iraq's obligations through a series of UN Security Council resolutions. Iraq must comply with these resolutions. The most recent resolution, 1205, passed last week and it determined that Iraq is in flagrant violation of its commitments to the world. Kofi Annan, on his trip, has also made clear that he regards Iraq as being in flagrant violation.

What has happened in recent weeks is we've seen the coalescing and the clarity of the entire world that Iraq is in non-compliance, that this current problem is Iraq's fault. The blame of the whole world is resting clearly and squarely on the doorstep of Iraq and the shoulders of Saddam Hussein.

Clearly, for eight out of the last 12 months, UNSCOM has been unable to do its work effectively for a variety of reasons due to Iraq's continued lack of cooperation. But as I said, it is clear to everyone concerned, that Iraq is responsible for this lack of cooperation and the reason why UNSCOM has been unable to do its work.

The whole world has now called on Iraq to begin cooperation, to go back into compliance, and, in fact, compliance is the only avenue for Iraq as we move ahead. We also need to be sure that if cooperation is resumed, that UNSCOM will be able to do its work effectively and without interference or interruption.

With respect to the question of military force, I have no new words to offer you. I think everyone has been quite clear that there is a decision- making process going on and pending the outcome of that process, I have no new words to offer you.

QUESTION: If UNSCOM is not dead, why are the inspectors being withdrawn?

MR. RUBIN: Well, we've had opportunities in the past where UNSCOM inspectors were withdrawn because of lack of Iraqi cooperation, and then Iraq has capitulated on its stated position and UNSCOM has gone back in to complete its work. They haven't been able to complete their work because Iraq hasn't let them do so. So it's not a simple matter that because UNSCOM is leaving that all the work is over.

QUESTION: Jamie, can you tell us, is there a difference between the state of cooperation of our allies, European allies in the Gulf , at this particular moment ,and the state of cooperation that existed in January- February of this year? And, secondly, can you tell us about what happened at Camp David -- specifically on the subject of Iraq -- this weekend?

MR. RUBIN: With regard to the second, that's easy. That was a meeting the President held and it's up to the President and his people to talk about such a meeting; other than for me to tell you that Secretary Albright was there, that she regards this as a very grave matter and requiring the utmost seriousness of discussion and planning. That is the basis on which she was there.

With respect to your first question, I do think there's a difference. Under Secretary Pickering and Secretary Albright together have been in touch with a very large number of allies and friends around the world. To a country, they are placing the responsibility for this crisis on Iraq's doorstep and squarely on Saddam Hussein's shoulders.

In the past, there have been times when some countries have either made excuses or at least repeated Iraq's arguments, and we are seeing little if any of that this time around. So in that sense, I think Saddam has served to unite the world against his policies and practices.

QUESTION: In your consultations, have you found the world also in favor of your option of bombing Iraq?

MR. RUBIN: I have no comment on the use of force.

QUESTION: I'm sorry, Jamie, if I could just follow up. You say they all are on board for condemning Saddam Hussein for not obeying UN resolutions. Are they all also on board for a military option?

MR. RUBIN: I have no words to add on that subject.

QUESTION: Are you discussing any new diplomatic overture, or would you think that would be appropriate at this time? Like the Secretary General of the UN or --

MR. RUBIN: I haven't heard much discussion of that. Obviously, we're talking to our friends in the region. We are not hearing much about that. It's a pretty clear situation. Either Iraq is going to rescind its decision and come back into compliance or it's not.

QUESTION: Well, how long is --

MR. RUBIN: We're not having a communication problem here; we're having a policy problem , on his part.

QUESTION: Could you narrow this down at all? I mean, how long can you sort of remain in these - how long do you think you can remain in this pattern. The President and the Secretary of State are both going off to Asia shortly. So presumably, you wouldn't take any action while they're gone.

MR. RUBIN: I wouldn't want to speculate on what decisions would be made with respect to travel. All I can tell you is that the Secretary is scheduled to leave on Thursday.

With respect to time, we have made very clear that Iraq must come into compliance immediately. That's what the President said after the Security Council made that very clear in its resolution. Beyond that, I don't have much to add.

QUESTION: Jamie, I'm probably as guilty as anybody - there have been news accounts that have said that only Britain stands solidly with the United States on acting alone or the two of them acting if it comes to that. Is that giving short shrift to some other NATO allies - Turkey and others - who have habitually stood with the United States?

MR. RUBIN: It's a very effective way to get at Sid's question.

QUESTION: No, it isn't. Sid, I thought, had a legitimate question.

MR. RUBIN: Right, and I just can't answer it. I'm not going to repeat what other countries' positions are on a question like the use of force.

With respect - let me try --

QUESTION: Is it as lonely as that might seem out there - that if it comes to unilateral action, only the British will have the whatever it is - the courage or the steadfastness - to side with the United States?

MR. RUBIN: It's a very legitimate question. Let me do the best I can in saying as follows. Given the blatancy of Saddam Hussein's action and given the wholesale non-cooperation that he has put forward and given our consultations with other countries in Europe and around the world, we don't feel lonely.

QUESTION: But - and I keep saying unilateral - doesn't necessarily mean just one nation. But if it's a narrow action just involving the US and one or two or three other countries, does that make it more difficult to act against Saddam? Does that muffle the message if he perceives that it hasn't gotten wholesale support? Can you play one guy against the other?

MR. RUBIN: We have said that all options are on the table, that includes a unilateral option, a semi-lateral option. So it's not a question of that the way you put it. We're going to decide what we think is best to advance the national security interests of the United States. When that decision is made, we'll be in better position to talk about it.

QUESTION: Do you have the capacity to conduct a unilateral action at this point?

MR. RUBIN: Changes we have made to our forces in the region over the last several months ensure that an adequate level of forces exists in the Gulf, should their use be necessary.

QUESTION: Do you ask from Turkey any use of Incirlik Air Force Base, any permission? The Secretary Cohen was there over the weekend. And also, are you satisfied that the Turkish Government supports this subject?

MR. RUBIN: We believe that the whole world is making clear that it's on our side and on the world's side against Saddam Hussein's failure to cooperate.

With respect to any specific military cooperation issue, I have no comment.

QUESTION: But Jamie, you look at the file and the Saudi Foreign Minister, your great friend in the Persian Gulf - the US protects Saudi oil fields; Americans have died to protect Saudi Arabia. There he is visiting your other great friend of the Middle East, Hosni Mubarak, and he's announcing that really what you need is a lot more diplomacy. Is there some dearth of diplomacy to turn Saddam Hussein around, or have you been diplomatic enough?

MR. RUBIN: We're not discouraged.

QUESTION: You're not discouraged. What do you think his message is?

MR. RUBIN: By what we're hearing from around the world. What we're hearing from around the world is a clear and ringing call on Saddam Hussein to reverse course - from every quarter, from every country. That is making it very clear that it's Saddam Hussein against the world. That is what we're hearing from around the world.

Beyond saying that, I have very little to offer you.

QUESTION: Are all options still open, including the option of military force?


QUESTION: What would be the goal of using military force?

MR. RUBIN: At this point, I do not want to begin down the road of discussing the various pros and cons of using military force. And once you begin to describe its objective, you find yourself quite naturally down that road. I'm not in a position to be on that road.

QUESTION: Put it a different way, then, Jamie. You're engaged in a process now with some idea of where you want to end up. Can you describe to us where you want to end up - whether by force, by diplomacy or some other means.

MR. RUBIN: We have made very clear that until Iraq complies with the requirements of the Security Council, it cannot get out from under the sanctions regime and cannot regain its status in the world.

If Iraq does not cooperate with UNSCOM, sanctions will remain on indefinitely. Clearly, UNSCOM has been unable to do its job for many months and for eight of the last 12 months. That is a major concern; it's a grave matter. We are considering our options on how to proceed.

Beyond saying that, I don't know how to answer your question.

QUESTION: Has the Secretary made any phone calls today or in the last, say, 24 hours?


QUESTION: Is it fair to say your objective is to have UNSCOM back up and running?

MR. RUBIN: Can we agree that this is a spare briefing?

QUESTION: On this subject.

QUESTION: Would it be fair to say that the US objective is to have UNSCOM back up and running at full in Iraq, regardless of --

MR. RUBIN: That has been our objective for a long time; it's the whole world's objective. There's nothing new about that.

QUESTION: And if UNSCOM is kicked out of Iraq then, obviously, that won't happen.

MR. RUBIN: Obviously.

QUESTION: What would you do to --

MR. RUBIN: Are you trying to lead me down a certain path?

QUESTION: I'm trying to pull teeth here.

MR. RUBIN: Or put words in my mouth. You know how we love that.

QUESTION: And then if that happens, how do you maintain the checks on his weapons?

MR. RUBIN: Well, I've answered that question last week; I'm happy to repeat it again today. If we have evidence that Saddam Hussein is reconstituting his weapons of mass destruction, we will act. We have no such evidence at this time.

QUESTION: Can we have a check on updating on any activity in the inspection area - cameras. I know you consider it inadequate, but is there anything that --

MR. RUBIN: My understanding is that UNSCOM, due to the fact that they have been unable to do their job, has decided to reassign some of its inspectors. UNSCOM has stated that five more inspectors left Monday, with another ten scheduled to depart Wednesday. We also understand that over 100 inspectors will still be in Iraq after Wednesday.

QUESTION: How many?

MR. RUBIN: One hundred after Wednesday. Thus, UNSCOM remains fully prepared to resume inspections if allowed by Iraq. UNSCOM decides which inspectors to reassign based on the lack of activity. It is a fluid situation, and we obviously think it's up to UNSCOM to report this.

The reassignment of inspectors reflects the situation in Iraq. There are no UNSCOM inspections proceeding at this time.

QUESTION: Are the people being withdrawn being withdrawn without respect to their nationality?

MR. RUBIN: UNSCOM decides which inspectors to reassign. We don't make those decisions for them, and it reflects their expertise and professionalism not, as far as I know, their nationality.

QUESTION: Is there unimpeded overflight access to Iraq to discern what Iraq is doing with its weapons of mass destruction, if anything? And has there been any challenge to U-2 flights?

MR. RUBIN: I understand that U-2 flights have flown previously. I don't know when the next one is scheduled; I'll have to check that for you. Obviously, we have our own ways of seeing what's going on there.

QUESTION: Satellite as well, I take it.

MR. RUBIN: We have our own national technical means.

QUESTION: To what extent does UNSCOM now have to change its method of operation, to the extent you can talk about this from the podium? The Scott Ritter case has been widely reported now and his methods of operation.

MR. RUBIN: I was wondering - we had 25 questions without that; but go ahead.

QUESTION: The lengthy and exhaustive disclosures of how he operated would suggest that that kind of operation is now finished. I mean, can UNSCOM continue operating without using the kinds of methods that he was using? Doesn't it have to reconfigure itself completely and --

MR. RUBIN: UNSCOM has always been much larger than any one inspector or any one method of operation. UNSCOM is a very complex operation that has many parts to it. Each of the parts may have their own views how important a part they are to the operation. But Ambassador Butler and Ambassador Ekeus before them have made clear that UNSCOM has been doing its job, even when sometimes there is frustration at the lower levels on particular issues.

Let's remember that the best way forUNSCOM to get its job done is for Saddam Hussein to disclose the weaponry that has not been disclosed before. No matter how wily or sophisticated or thoughtful an inspector is, we do not believe that it's necessarily true that those inspectors are going to miraculously happen upon all of the treasure trove of Iraqi documents and materials. This is a systemic process that has to work with a myriad of activities and not one single activity.

There's been a focus on one single activity, I think much to the detriment of the enormous work and hard work and serious work done by hundreds of other people who have been maligned by suggestion that their work was irrelevant. Their work isn't irrelevant. Their work is extremely important. The whole world thinks their work is extremely important, and that's why the whole world is demanding that Iraq cooperate.

QUESTION: Didn't Ritter's disclosures, in his various interviews, in any way affect UNSCOM's ability to carry on its inspections? Did they in any way affect US policy?

MR. RUBIN: Well, they haven't affected our policy. It's certainly given some talking points to some of the anti-UNSCOMers in the world. He certainly played into the hands of those who would have believed that this was somehow a spy operation, when in fact it was something mandated by the international community through the Security Council where information was specifically sought from countries around the world pursuant to a Security Council Resolution and that information was supposed to be provided.

There was a call in the original resolutions for all countries of the world to provide information to UNSCOM so that they could do their job. The fact that this is exaggerated and put in mysterious terms has tended to give arguments to people that are the very arguments that Saddam Hussein has been pursuing for some time. But it's more about arguments than it is about substance.

QUESTION: So in some sense Saddam Hussein, if you have read the extensive pieces that were even published on him, you would have reason to think that there was a spy operation whether a rogue spy operation or a spy operation going on. I mean, I don't know whether he uses this as an excuse, but could he draw that conclusion?

MR. RUBIN: Now you want me to speak for Saddam Hussein? That's a job I definitely don't want.

QUESTION: Jamie, back to the Middle East; last week the Secretary expressed that the Israeli Cabinet would begin prompt consideration of the Wye agreement right after the Sabbath. Obviously that hasn't happened. Has she been in touch with the Israelis? Is Ambassador Ross going back?

MR. RUBIN: I think you've misunderstood what the Secretary said. She didn't ask for it to happen -- today is Monday, the Sabbath ended on Saturday; that's two days. She didn't specify that it should begin today.

QUESTION: No, I didn't say two days.

MR. RUBIN: You said obviously that what she asked for hasn't happened; and so presumably you must have thought she asked for it to have happened by today. All I'm saying is that's not what her view was; and if it wasn't communicated well by me, I apologize for that.

In the wake of last week's bombing it is understandable that there would be a short pause. We do believe that it is important that the Israeli Government resume the political legal process soon and carry out its responsibilities under the terms of the Wye Memorandum. By next week, it is possible for both sides to carry out all the steps that were envisioned in the first part of the Wye Memorandum timeline.

In this regard, let me say the Palestinians have begun to meet their commitments. They have resumed full security cooperation and begun other security steps. The PLO Executive Committee has affirmed Chairman Arafat's letter to President Clinton, and they have designated representatives to all the committees including the anti-incitement committee. Other steps need to follow, but they have taken and begun meeting their commitments in the way I just specified.

Prime Minister Netanyahu has said that he has committed to advancing the agreement, and we expect that the Israeli Government will move ahead expeditiously.

QUESTION: The PLO action in this Executive Committee -- is that, from the US Government point of view, satisfactory? Does that fulfill the letter and spirit of the Wye Agreement?

MR. RUBIN: Yes, because if you look at the agreement -- which I now keep by my bedside every night so that I know it as well as possible -- by week two the Executive Committee and the Palestinian Central Council were supposed to reaffirm the January 1998 letter. This is week one, by the technical schedule of last Monday, and so this is one step in the process.

There's another step in the process which is the action of the Palestinian Central Committee and then, ultimately, on week six, the meeting of the invited members of the PNC and other organizations to reaffirm the annulled clauses once and for all from Chairman Arafat's letter.

QUESTION: The other day, the PLO representative in Washington said that there would be no vote in appeal in the PNC because it is not feasible to reconstitute a legislative body which hasn't met for years. Would your understanding of the Wye agreement make it clear that there has to be a vote?

MR. RUBIN: I do understand the Wye agreement, having it by my bedside every night; and what the Wye agreement makes clear is that the process leads to the reaffirmation of Chairman Arafat's letter. It specifies that members of the PNC, the Palestinian Council and the heads of Arafat's ministries will be invited to a meeting which President Clinton will attend.

The purpose of this meeting is to reaffirm Chairman Arafat's January 22 letter to President Clinton, nullifying each of the Charter's provisions that are inconsistent with the PLO's commitments to renounce terror and to recognize and live in peace with Israel. This process of reaffirmation, which will include relevant procedures, will make clear once and for all that the provisions of the PLO charter that call for the destruction of Israel are null and void. We believe it will do so in a way that satisfies the needs of the Israelis.

QUESTION: Relevant procedures in the agreement or is that your --

MR. RUBIN: That word is not in the agreement - "relevant procedures." That is our understanding it will be relevant procedures to reaffirm.

QUESTION: So the US is getting closer to saying that they have to take some action; the can't just say uh-huh. That sounds like a legal - now, I agree that the agreement is vague on the point. It sounds like Israel gave a little ground on that. But they were asking for nullifying the provision or nullifying the Charter. What the agreement calls for is reaffirmation. Now, you're talking about relevant procedures. Is a vote one of your relevant procedures?

MR. RUBIN: I'm not going to start parsing what relevant procedures are five weeks ahead of the meeting.

QUESTION: Nice of you to throw it in, though. Can I ask you - no, because that elaborates on it - can I ask you a more direct and immediate question?

MR. RUBIN: But apparently it wasn't enough, however nice it was for me to throw it in.

QUESTION: Your long statement before Jim got into questions causes a direct question here. Is it the State Department's position, contrary to virtually all press reports from the region which began almost before Netanyahu got home, that Israel is not at this point delaying implementation? The fact that they didn't take it up at the Cabinet meeting Friday or take it up Sunday - are they still in compliance? In other words, is it not until next week that the clock actually ticks as to on-the-ground actions Israel is supposed to take? I know you want them to act - you keep saying that - and you give the Palestinians good grades for what they've done so far. But is Israel so far delaying implementation or not?

MR. RUBIN: I'm having a tough day keeping my smiles in.

QUESTION: No, that's a very straightforward question. They're accused regularly of delaying implementation. And I think you're saying, we'd like them to act quickly but they haven't done anything wrong yet.

MR. RUBIN: We believe that if they act soon, they will be able to act in time to implement on schedule the timeline of the Wye Memorandum.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: You didn't answer the question of whether Ambassador Ross is on his way back.

MR. RUBIN: No, he's not on his way back to the region .

QUESTION: (Inaudible) - request for a little precision. In the first of your series of answers, you said --

MR. RUBIN: I think I've been really precise today. I'm very careful to be precise.

QUESTION: You said by next week. Does that mean by the beginning of the week, by the end of the week? Can you --

MR. RUBIN: I'll have to check the schedule, but we do believe that if they act soon they'll be able to be acting in conformity with the timeline, which you can see for yourself, on all the relevant provisions.

QUESTION: Can you talk a little bit more about how the decision was made to waive the sanctions on India and Pakistan, given the comments that Deputy Secretary Talbott made in his speech on Thursday, I guess it was, when he said specifically that he wasn't sure that you could be successful in actually turning this whole thing around, and the fact that, clearly, they haven't gone as far as you'd like them to go?

MR. RUBIN: Let me first say that I agree with Deputy Secretary Talbott that it is not clear that we are going to be able to get all the way there. The logic, however, is that we wanted to respond positively to positive actions on their part.

In two of the four categories - that is, India and Pakistan declaring a moratorium on further testing and publicly committing to move towards adherence to the CTBT by September 1999 - both have agreed also to expand controls on sensitive materials and technology and strengthen their export control regimes. Those are two of the relevant categories. In addition, they will participate in fissile material cut-off negotiations, and finally, the discussion of Kashmir in the Indo-Pakistani dialogue. Those were several things that we had specified.

There are other things that we've specified where they still fall significantly short of our objectives, including restraints on further development and deployment of nuclear missile systems. That's an example of where we still have a lot of work to do.

But because the areas where I defined progress constitute, in our view, real and substantive progress, and because we want to create the maximum climate possible to create progress in the remaining areas, we decided to limit the extent of the coverage of the sanctions. So there are still sanctions in place - significant sanctions that are in place; but some have been suspended or waived or adjusted. That is, in our view, a very flexible and carefully-crafted approach that's designed to induce and promote additional progress on these extremely important issues on deployment on missiles and nuclear weapons - rather, restraints on the deployment of those weapons.

So the logic here is you want to respond positively to their positive actions, but not clear the slate because there are still significant gaps and significant problems that we want to overcome.

QUESTION: But substantively, there doesn't seem to have been much new since the UN speeches. I mean, the new things, the new factors that I'm aware of are an election here and the impending visit of the Pakistani Prime Minister. So I'm just sort of puzzled as to why you didn't make a decision --

MR. RUBIN: I understand your question; I just wouldn't see the timing the way you do. Government doesn't work as quickly sometimes as you all work and other experts outside can just write their opinion on a piece of paper and then it's done. In their view, it should just happen the next morning. Government, on the other hand, has to weigh all the relevant factors. People sit down and discuss it so we think through all the consequences. In recent weeks, they've been doing that; and the conclusion was that with respect to OPIC and TDA and Ex-Im - that is, the economic relationships - and with respect to the IMET program, the military relationships, that we were better off responding positively and promoting better responses in the future.

But I wouldn't see it as linked to an event in the last two weeks, but rather the logical conclusion. If you recall when this first happened and there were first signals that we were going to get authority from Congress to do such a thing -- that was many, many months ago -- I said from the podium on behalf of the government, that we would respond positively to positive actions on their part.

This action we've now taken is the implementation of that policy formulation from many, many months ago.

QUESTION: You also said that Pakistan had to have an appropriate stabilization agreement with the IMF for the United States to go forward; and that hasn't yet come to closure.

MR. RUBIN: Well, I don't think we've decided anything other than if such an agreement can be agreed on, that we would be supportive of multilateral development banks assisting in that. So we haven't made a judgment on behalf of the IMF.

QUESTION: Deputy Secretary Talbott also gave a speech on Friday concerning Russia.

MR. RUBIN: There have been a lot of speeches on Russia - Larry Summers today, Secretary Albright a couple weeks before that. Do you want me to repeat the elements of these speeches?


MR. RUBIN: I hope not, because I don't have them all in front of me.

QUESTION: No, just the broad policy. It appears that there's a new policy now towards Russia. If so, could you state that policy?

MR. RUBIN: I'm always told that we never have new policies.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

MR. RUBIN: There has never been a change and nothing moves that quickly. Having stated that --

QUESTION: How do you feel about the czar?


MR. RUBIN: Having stated that, I think we've made clear that in the case of Russia, that we are concerned about some of the indicators that we're seeing in the economic area. We are concerned that the kind of plans being formulated are ones that focus too much on having a large state role in economic decision-making and that provide for large budget deficits. We think this is unlikely to create a favorable condition for growth and investment, and we think the plans that we've seen tend too much on trying to spend one's way out of very real structural problems.

We would prefer to see focus on restraining the budget deficit, stabilizing the exchange rate, fighting inflation, restructuring the banking sector, restarting the payment system and finding cooperative ways to address obligations to private creditors.

So I think beginning with Secretary Albright's speech in Chicago, where she identified very clearly our views on Russia and its evolution, we've stated in a very hard-nosed way what we think is necessary in order for us to be supportive. That is not new, but it is certainly in the context of different decision-making in Russia. Remember, what's changed here is the decision-making in Russia and which directions they're signaling, not so much the American goals.

QUESTION: Just a follow-up - Talbott's speech went well beyond the economic relationship. He talked about chaos in the Soviet Union and a reassessment of the United States' strategic position towards Russia - diplomatic, strategic and military position towards Russia. It was really quite an alarming speech if you read it closely. I mean, is that taking it - -

MR. RUBIN: I am a strong advocate of close reading of Deputy Secretary Talbott's speeches.

QUESTION: But he's only the Deputy Secretary; he's not the President, he's not the Secretary of State. I mean, is that --

MR. RUBIN: And I have no reason at this time to quibble with any of the words that he's chosen to describe the situation. Sometimes I think you all may confuse characterizations of the future and possible futures with changes in policy. We have always known that there are possible futures in Russia that are quite alarming. That is simple analysis and careful analysis, and they undergird what it is that we're doing.

So I wouldn't over-interpret the fact that Deputy Secretary Talbott laid out difficulties Russia could face and problems that Russian actions could cause themselves and others. That's been part and parcel of our policy from the beginning. I don't see anything new about that.

QUESTION: Can you just give us a little guidance on how far you would interpret this comment by Talbott; and that is that "the US-backed financial help from the IMF must wait until the Russian Government shows itself willing and able to make the difficult structural adjustments necessary for recovery and growth." Are you saying that you are going to actually vote against IMF actions on behalf of Russia? Are you counseling the IMF to hold off on any further tranches of the current commitment? Are you saying you're not going to vote for loans in the future? Where exactly are you coming down on that?

MR. RUBIN: I'll have to get you - talk to Deputy Secretary Talbott and see how he would like me to characterize that sentence. But there's nothing new about that; that's what I just said to you from here, it's what Secretary Albright said in Chicago, it's what Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, Larry Summers, said today. That has been part and parcel of what we've been doing all along, which is only as the IMF is able to come up with a credible plan has our support been forthcoming. That strikes me as very little different than anything we've said before.

QUESTION: Jamie, this morning a group of Arab-American and human rights groups had a press conference to talk about the case of an 18-year-old American-born American citizen of Palestinian ancestry who was arrested several months ago in Israel and subjected to what the Israelis call moderate physical pressure. The US was denied consular access. The question, I guess, is have you had problems with the Israelis in getting consular access to American citizens who have Arab-sounding names?

MR. RUBIN: Let me try to check with our Consular Affairs Bureau and get you a considered answer on the patterns in this area.

QUESTION: And if I could ask a follow-up on that, this same group called for a travel advisory to tell Americans with Arab or Islamic-sounding names that they could not be protected by the American Embassy in Israel. Is there any plan to do that?

MR. RUBIN: We'll add that to the question.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: I have a question - many times the Secretary expresses her big interest in religious freedom issues. I'm wondering if the State Department has a reaction on the events surrounding the theological school in -- (inaudible) - Istanbul.

MR. RUBIN: I did see some material on that; that is still being worked on. Let me try to get you something after the briefing.

QUESTION: The Europeans are very exercised about possible sanctions against - under Super 301 statutes because of the continuing dispute over banana imports.

MR. RUBIN: Miscellaneous four, bananas.

QUESTION: Right. Maybe it wasn't a deadline, but the due date for making the decision, I think, was yesterday. Has there been a US decision on Super 301 sanctions against the Europeans?

MR. RUBIN: We have begun the process for developing the list for possible retaliation against the European Union if it does not comply with the WTO ruling. We would have preferred to have a negotiated consistent with the WTO solution to this problem, and remain willing to sit down with the EU to do this.

I can't speculate how or when we might retaliate against the European Union earlier. We would have preferred a negotiated settlement, and we've begun the process of developing a list for possible retaliation. I will check and see whether that has advanced along.

QUESTION: Is there any goal for when this list would be complete?

MR. RUBIN: Let me check on that for you.

QUESTION: Does retaliation seem inevitable now; is that what you're saying?

MR. RUBIN: We would still prefer a negotiated WTO-consistent solution to this problem.

QUESTION: But it doesn't look like it.

MR. RUBIN: So far.

QUESTION: A question on Pinochet - the lords are considering the case right now. There are a lot more extradition requests that have come in to the British Government. But so far as I know, none has come from the United States. There has been some discussion, apparently, in the Justice Department on whether to request his extradition. Can you give your view on this?

MR. RUBIN: My understanding is that the spokesman for the Justice Department made very clear that that was being done at lower levels.

With respect to our view, we are very understanding of the emotions and concerns that a case like this has generated. Certainly, in different parts of the world, human rights abuses like the ones we have condemned that occurred during Chile's awful period have been resolved in different ways in different parts of the world -- whether it be by a truth commission in El Salvador, by the recent steps that have been taken in South Africa. There are many different ways in which different parts of the world resolve these problems. We have certainly been at the forefront of those who have talked about and made clear the extent to which abuses occurred in Chile.

But it remains our position that the United States will not state publicly how a legal question between Spain and the UK and Chile should be resolved.

QUESTION: The American case itself, which is certainly the Letelier events alone would justify it, it would seem, some kind of extradition request?

MR. RUBIN: There has been no policy decision by senior US officials to request Pinochet's extradition from the UK. It remains our position that the Spanish extradition request for Pinochet is one between the UK, Spain and Chile.

QUESTION: Is the United States considering requesting his extradition? If you've made no decision, is it under consideration?

MR. RUBIN: All I can tell you about this is there were some reports on Friday that the Justice Department had opened an investigation of Pinochet. And I believe their spokesman clarified on Friday that this was something being done at lower levels. I certainly know that in this building there has been discussion of this issue. It's a natural State Department issue of how we should respond to the Spanish public extradition request. What I can tell you is that we have not made a decision to request Pinochet's extradition from UK. When I say that we have been discussing it, I don't mean to say that we were discussing seeking his extradition. That would be something the Justice Department would have to do; and their spokesman has indicated that this is being done at the lower levels.

I'm merely stating the obvious -- that given the well-known aspects of this case and the very strong feelings people have about human rights and the very strong steps that we have taken to condemn them where we see them -- that we are aware of the issue and have talked about it, but have concluded that it is not for us to publicly say how such an extradition request should be handled by other courts.

QUESTION: What is your understanding of what lower levels means in this?

MR. RUBIN: I will have to check. Call him up - Burt is a hell of a guy; I'm sure he'll tell you.

QUESTION: This might be on your agenda for tomorrow, but the fact that the North Korean Foreign Ministry spokesman came out and said we will not tolerate any types of inspections of the underground site, prior to the meeting tomorrow or the briefing tomorrow, do we feel competent that the US delegation will be able to inspect that underground facility? Do you have any comment on this subject?

MR. RUBIN: I have specifically steered you all away from the idea that this delegation is going to have a short stop in Pyongyang on the way to this underground facility. On the contrary, given our experience with North Korea, we do not expect them to instantly provide what we have said is required. That is, verbal assurances are not sufficient for us; we need on- site inspections. And in the absence of clarification on this issue, it is one that is important enough that it could call into question the viability of the agreed framework.

So our people are going to work very hard at trying to get access, and they are going to make clear that access is a necessity. But the idea that they are going to quickly achieve that from the North Koreans has not been something we have taken as a given.

QUESTION: So we have no expectations of seeing that site prior to leaving the visit?

MR. RUBIN: Not to my knowledge.

QUESTION: Is it your understanding that the North Koreans have asked for a cash payment in exchange for access?

MR. RUBIN: It isn't new for North Korea to put out rather dramatic positions like that, calling for compensation for providing information necessary to see the agreed framework lived up to. In previous discussions in New York leading up to this agreement to have this meeting, they did raise subjects like that; that's not new for us. Given that kind of posture, it's why we don't expect to see this resolved because we don't intend to pay money to see whether they are living up to their obligations under the agreed framework.

We have said that failure to live up to the agreed framework could have negative consequences; and by contrast, we've also said in the past that if on the missile issue and on this issue and several other issues there was progress, we could see an improvement in the relationship down the road. But the idea of a cash bribe like that is simply not on the table -- not on our side of the table.

QUESTION: A housekeeping question, Jamie, you said there's a briefing today -- where and when?

MR. RUBIN: It's tomorrow. I got my days wrong.

QUESTION: Apparently the Taliban has set a deadline of November 20 for the United States to prove that Bin Laden is a terrorist or else they are going to consider the case resolved or in his favor. What do you have to say about that?

MR. RUBIN: Well, I mean, it doesn't sound very serious to me. The federal district court handed down an indictment on this and other issues. These facts speak for themselves. The real issue is not as described by the Taliban; the real issue is why the Taliban continues to provide safe haven to Osama Bin Laden. We have made clear to the Taliban on several occasions that it must stop harboring well-known terrorists like Osama Bin Laden.

We believe that Osama Bin Laden should be brought to justice swiftly for his crimes, and any suggestion that one needs -- that this has expiration date, there is no expiration date on terrorist acts of this kind.

QUESTION: So are you planning any new consultations with the Taliban to try to, I don't know, give them a copy of the indictment or explain it to them or anything like that?

MR. RUBIN: We have been in touch with the Taliban from time to time, urging them to do the right thing here. They have not done so as yet. We will continue to talk to them, but I wouldn't be in a position to specify what exactly we would say in such a diplomatic channel.

QUESTION: Would it be inappropriate for a country where an extradition has been requested to ask for evidence supporting the extradition request?

MR. RUBIN: We don't recognize the Taliban as the leader of Afghanistan. So you can't start using state-based analogies with me.

QUESTION: Okay, well, then don't call them a country; call them the people that run the neighborhood. Would it still be inappropriate to give them -- I mean, they do have the ability to produce him. Would it be inappropriate to present them with evidence?

MR. RUBIN: We would make the decision as to what we would think would best serve our purposes; and I'm not prepared to speak about it publicly.

QUESTION: The diplomatic part of the mission of Bill Cohen, is --

MR. RUBIN: We're back on Iraq?

QUESTION: No, no, we're back on what he did before he had to fly back to the States. He has got a very serious negotiation in Japan and some in Korea as well. Do you know when or if he will be back to do that?

MR. RUBIN: I would recommend you speak to Secretary Cohen's people about that.

QUESTION: Thank you.

(The briefing concluded at 1:45 P.M.)

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