U.S. Department of State Daily Press Briefing #137, 98-12-14
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, December 14, 1998
Briefer: James B. Foley
1,10 Assistant Secretary Koh's Travel to Serbia-Montenegro
10 Ambassador Holbrooke's Travel to Belgrade Tomorrow
1 US Welcomes Estonian Parliament's Adoption of New
1-2 US Statement on Deaths of Writers in Iran
3 Conclusion of the US-DPRK Talks on Suspect Underground
4,8-9 Korean War POW Issue
4,12-13 Request for US Visa for Brazilian Congressman Fernando
4 Alleged US Eavesdropping on Conversations Between Princess
Diana and Wife of Brazilian Ambassador
4 Foreign Secretary Green's Visit to US/Meetings with US
5-6 Warden Message Released by US Embassies/Terrorist Threat
6-7 Ocalan Case/Reported Ocalan Statement Renouncing Armed
Conflict/Idea of International Conference Regarding
7 US View on Turkey's Interest in Puchasing Gas from Iran
8 Reported Threat by Osama Bin Laden Against US
9 Travel by Ambassadors Holbrooke and Miller
10-11,13 Status of UNSCOM Inspections/Chairman Butler's Report
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
OFF-CAMERA DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
MONDAY, DECEMBER 14, 1998, 1:20 P.M.
QUESTION: How about those Bills?
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. FOLEY: Well, since you raised the issue, for the State Department
transcribers and those of the Federal News Service, when I referred the
other day to my "Flutie Flakes," which I eat every day, it's spelled F-l-u-
t-i-e, not, I think, "fruity flakes" as they were -- (laughter) --
spelled in both those instances.
I have a few announcements today that I'm going to post: one on the travel
to Serbia-Montenegro by Harold Koh, our Assistant Secretary of State for
Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, who will be there between December 15-
19; also, a statement welcoming the Estonian Parliament's adoption on
December 8th of a new citizenship and naturalization law that fulfills the
last of the 30 Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
recommendations for harmonizing Estonia's laws with OSCE standards. So I'll
Finally, let me read a statement on the deaths of writers in Iran.
Three dissident writers in Iran have disappeared in the last month and
turned up dead. In addition, an opposition leader and his wife were stabbed
to death. Forces in Iran are clearly attempting to stifle free expression
and undermine the rule of law by way of brutal killings. The United States
strongly condemns these killings. We urge the Iranian leadership to protect
the lives of all Iranian citizens, including writers and other voices
of dissent, and to preserve the rule of law.
We have welcomed steps by the government of Iran to ease restrictions on
freedom of expression, and have noted statements by President Khatemi and
others within his cabinet condemning these murders. However, the government
has a responsibility to protect those who peacefully express their views.
We urge the government to bring those responsible to justice and to uphold
the fundamental human right to freedom of conscience and belief.
As we have so often in the past, we call for the release of all those
serving sentences for the peaceful expression of their political or
religious beliefs in Iran. Secretary Albright has made it clear that the
issue of freedom of conscience and belief is a central component of our
human rights policy in Iran and, indeed, around the world.
QUESTION: You say it's clearly an attempt to stifle dissent. How do you
MR. FOLEY: Well, I think that if you tally up the incidents, you begin to
see a pattern. If you're talking about one murder or one disappearance in
isolation from everything else, perhaps, it's insufficient to draw larger
conclusions. I'm not here to draw fundamental conclusions, but what I am
here to say is that we do now see a pattern.
As you know, the United States does not have diplomatic representation in
Iran. So it's not easy for us to comment with specificity about events as
they happen on a real-time basis. But even with the limitations we have in
our ability to understand what's going on in Iran now, these incidents have
begun to add up and point to a pattern of violence and intimidation against
those who perhaps differ from the views of the authorities, or those who
merely express themselves - be they poets or intellectuals or political
figures. This trend certainly goes counter to the promise and the opening
that was evoked upon the election of President Khatemi.
QUESTION: Are you suggesting, then, that the perpetrators would seem to
be government people?
MR. FOLEY: We don't have information of that nature. It's just simply not
possible for us to verify who is responsible. What we are pointing out is
that President Khatemi has condemned the killings, which we think is a good
sign. But of course, it is the responsibility of any government to pursue
and ensure the rule of law. In addition to statements, it's necessary for
the authorities in Iran to pursue these crimes, to pursue the perpetrators
and to bring them to justice.
QUESTION: I believe it was Khamenei, but I'm not exactly sure - anyway,
one of their senior mullahs said today - I don't know if you saw it,
perhaps you did - that their investigation will reveal that the United
States is behind all the killings; that there's a connection to it --
MR. FOLEY: I've not seen the statement; but of course, it's patently
QUESTION: Jim, is there any evidence that the Iranian Government is
acting in an honest way to uncover the perpetrators of these murders? And
were these three journalists you're talking about - were they anti-
government, were they against the current regime, or do you know?
MR. FOLEY: I don't have that information. I understand they were - I
believe a poet was murdered recently, an opposition leader and his wife
were stabbed to death recently. I think that speaks for itself.
MR. FOLEY: Yes. In terms of what the government is doing or failing to do,
I can't comment; other than to underscore what I just said, which is that
it's obviously the responsibility of the government to pursue these cases
and bring those guilty to justice.
QUESTION: North Korea - can you tell us if the North Koreans, in the
talks that concluded at the end of last week, dropped their financial
demand in exchange for access to the underground site?
MR. FOLEY: I'm not going to be able to help you with that, you won't be
surprised. We never comment about the course of those negotiations.
As we announced on Friday, both sides recognize that some progress has been
made but that important gaps remain. We're going to meet again with the
DPRK side as soon as possible to try to close those gaps. So we have
certainly not given up on this effort at all, and we hope to build on what
progress has been achieved and eliminate the remaining gaps.
We're going to determine the date and venue for the next round of talks
through the New York channel, as I indicated on Friday. Your question, as I
indicated, deals with the actual content of the discussions; and I can't
comment on that content, in keeping with our practice of not giving out
details concerning ongoing talks - because these talks are not over.
Suffice it to say, however, that we have rejected the demand for compensation
and we will continue to do so. As for the position of the North Koreans,
I'd have to refer you to them.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) reporting by NPR that such has occurred as was
questioned, that the North Koreans dropped their demand for $300 million
and the US has offered some more aid, assistance for famine, et cetera --
MR. FOLEY: Well, on that I can answer, because our policy hasn't changed.
Our food aid to North Korea is determined on the basis of humanitarian
need; it's not linked to political issues. We've always made that clear
both publicly and privately.
In terms of the DPRK position, as I said, in response to Sharona's question,
you can ask them.
QUESTION: As far as the NPR report, you can't comment; is that correct?
MR. FOLEY: I've certainly said everything that I'm authorized to say,
however limited and unsatisfactory it might seem.
QUESTION: There's an NPR report that there were some positive developments
last week in the Korean talks, and you've said all you can; is that
MR. FOLEY: Yes.
QUESTION: Unrelated, but about Brazil - one is if you could please --
QUESTION: The Pentagon said this morning that there would be a joint
effort to look into the remains of prisoners of war - Americans missing
from the war. I was wondering if you've heard of that, and is there an
amount of money that is attached to that?
MR. FOLEY: I'm sorry, I haven't heard the report. But I imagine they're
putting out information; is that what you indicated?
QUESTION: (inaudible) money.
MR. FOLEY: I'll have to call Ken Bacon and see what they're saying.
QUESTION: May I continue now? I have two questions - one of you could
please update us on the situation of the member of the House of Representatives
in Brazil, Fernando Gabeira, who's been trying to enter the country on
official business for a while. Second, there is some indication --
MR. FOLEY: I'll have to get an answer for you. I know we have something
prepared. If I can get that, I will; if not, after the briefing, then.
QUESTION: Second question - there is some indication that conversations
between the US Government taped - eavesdropped on conversations between
Princess Diana and the wife of the Brazilian Ambassador, that's a
diplomatic issues also. So if you'd please comment on that also.
MR. FOLEY: I wouldn't say that's a diplomatic issue; that sounds like an
intelligence issue to me, and we can't comment on that.
QUESTION: Well, she is the wife of a diplomat, so that's --
MR. FOLEY: Can't comment.
QUESTION: For the bilateral meeting that starts tomorrow between the US
and Mexico, what are the main points in the agenda?
MR. FOLEY: Well, I can tell you about the meetings that are taking place,
certainly. Mexican Foreign Secretary Rosario Green is here this week to
attend the sixth plenary meeting of the US-Mexico High-Level Contact Group
on Drug Control on Tuesday and Wednesday. She co-chairs this group with
Mexican Attorney General, Jorge Madrazo and ONDCP Director, General
During the course of the meetings and events, Foreign Secretary Green will
meet with Director McCaffrey, Attorney General Reno and other senior US
officials from the State, Treasury and Defense Departments. She will also
meet with Secretary Albright and National Security Advisor Berger. I
understand she's also going to have a meeting with key members of Congress.
I can perhaps get the agenda for you later in the day or tomorrow, since
the meeting starts tomorrow.
QUESTION: On a new subject, what's the status of the embassies in the
MR. FOLEY: The following warden message was released over the weekend by
US embassies on the Arabian Peninsula. "The embassy has information
indicating a strong possibility that terrorist elements are planning an
attack against US targets in the Gulf, possibly in the next 30 days. All
American citizens should remain alert to any suspicious activity and take
precautionary steps to reduce the profile and vulnerability of any US
The embassy reminds Americans to maintain a high level of vigilance and to
take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness to lessen their
vulnerability. Americans should maintain a low profile, vary routes and
times for all required travel, and treat mail from unfamiliar sources with
I know that an issue of this sensitivity occasions interest on your part -
and certainly legitimate interest - but we're very limited in terms of
being able to comment in detail about something so sensitive involving
threats, possibly to American installations or American citizens. I can
tell you, though, that the warden message that we put out was based on
information that we deemed to be credible and serious. Again, I can't
characterize the information further or provide specific details.
QUESTION: You can't say if this is related to Osama bin Laden?
MR. FOLEY: I cannot.
QUESTION: Which embassies?
MR. FOLEY: Our seven embassies in the Gulf - Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Qatar,
United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
QUESTION: Will it alter the times of operation anywhere?
MR. FOLEY: I believe that each embassy or each charge has been asked to
exercise his or her responsibility to review the security posture of each
mission and determine what, if any, further steps are necessary to ensure
the security of the installations and of American citizens.
Certainly as part of our non-double standard policy, when we receive
information of a threat of this nature, we are obligated to inform American
citizens. That's why the embassies, through the warden network, has issued
the warning that I just read.
QUESTION: Jim, this warning is not just for official American facilities,
it also goes to private American companies and people in the region?
MR. FOLEY: Well, I can't be specific, except to quote what I just read
from the warden announcement, which indicates that the information we have
concerns the possibility that terrorist elements are planning an attack
against US targets. So it's not more specific than US targets; but it is
sufficiently serious for us to be obligated to inform American citizens,
resident or traveling through those countries, of information that's
come to our attention.
QUESTION: The military, as I understand it, has banned port calls in the
area, put in curfews and restrictions on gathering in public places. Are
the embassies doing anything similar? Are they removing non-essential
MR. FOLEY: I would certainly be aware if the embassies had been
authorized to change their staffing status. As you know, there are
different gradations of status that we can move to in the event that
security considerations and other considerations dictate such a change --
including authorized departure and, ultimately, order departure. We have
not, to my knowledge, moved to either of those modes in relation to the
embassies that I cited.
QUESTION: New subject -- US Ambassador to Italy, he gave an interview to
one of the Italian newspapers and said that the US Government is planning
to prepare an international conference on the Kurdish issue. Do you have
this kind of conference -- to prepare this kind of conference? If so, do
you plan to invite the PKK to this conference?
MR. FOLEY: Well, with all due respect, the Ambassador made no such
announcement. What I can tell you is that the United States has repeatedly
emphasized the need to bring Ocalan to justice in a manner consistent with
international standards for the terrorist crimes of which he is accused.
The idea of such a conference is not an American idea; it's not something
that we have endorsed. I believe the Ambassador was asked a question about
that, but he certainly made no such announcement.
What I can tell you is that we, the United States, would not like to see
anything, including the idea of an international conference, deflect
attention from the need to bring Ocalan to justice. That's our yardstick.
QUESTION: May I follow up, also -- and also the terrorist Ocalan, he said
that if the Clinton Administration invited him to the United States, he
will accept this invitation.
MR. FOLEY: I certainly haven't seen what he said. I'm not sure what the
relevance might be of such a comment. We believe he ought to be brought to
justice, and I'm not aware that there's a warrant outstanding for him here.
He ought to be brought to justice where a case can be pursued against
QUESTION: He made some statements this weekend, apparently distancing
himself from his troops, and I was wondering how you interpreted that?
MR. FOLEY: Well, we're very skeptical -- deeply skeptical, of Ocalan's
statement now that he is in custody and discussions are underway about
bringing him to justice. It seems to us this is a very convenient
conversion as it were. He has repudiated terrorism in the past; and each
time, the PKK has continued to engage in ruthless acts of terrorism. I
would note, I believe, that the Italian Foreign Minister also has found
such an 11th hour conversion unconvincing -- or at least not relevant to
the fact that Ocalan must answer for the crimes of which he is accused.
Whether or not his statement is sincere, it should not deflect attention
from the need to bring him to justice for the terrorist crimes of which he
is accused in a manner consistent with international standards. So we agree
with Foreign Minister Dini on that score. We're going to continue to work
with Italy, Turkey, and Germany to achieve that goal.
QUESTION: On a different subject, do you have any comment on Turkey's
intentions to take oil via the Iran pipeline?
MR. FOLEY: The United States and Turkey are committed to creating an East-
West transportation corridor, including a trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline from
Turkmenistan and a main export oil pipeline from Azerbaijan. Neither of
these pipelines would carry Iranian resources nor transit Iranian
During the October celebrations marking the 75th anniversary of the
founding of the Turkish Republic, President Demirel and Turkmen President
Niyazov signed a framework agreement to bring Turkmen natural gas to Turkey
via trans-Caspian route. The trans-Caspian route received further impetus
when, on November 17th, Enron presented on that day to the Turkmen
Government its TDA-funded feasibility study on a trans-Caspian pipeline to
deliver Turkmen gas to Turkey.
It is our understanding, in more specific response to your question, that
Turkey has made no decision to bring gas from or through Iran so long as
Turkey's requirements can be met from other sources, specifically from a
QUESTION: Reports to the contrary are wrong?
MR. FOLEY: I've stated to you what our current understanding is.
QUESTION: Have you gone back to the Turks in the last couple of days with
MR. FOLEY: In view of the press reports on the subject, I would be
surprised if, at some level, we haven't communicated with the Turks about
QUESTION: So you don't know?
MR. FOLEY: I can't confirm that for you, Carol.
QUESTION: Also on oil and Iran, Shell and a British energy company have
signed a deal with the national Iranian oil company to investigate
developing Caspian reserves. Do you have comment on that?
MR. FOLEY: I have not seen that report. Obviously, though, it's something
we keep a very close watch on, given the legislation that exists -- ILSA --
and we will continue to follow that law. But I have no comment on a report
I haven't seen.
QUESTION: On another topic, can you talk about the threat -- the alleged
threat -- by Osama Bin Laden against the United States in New York and
Washington -- in particular, whether the State Department is taking any
special security measures, or whether you can tell us anything further
about the nature of this threat?
MR. FOLEY: I'm not aware of the threat. We regard Bin Laden as a menace
internationally, and as the person responsible for the barbaric killings of
Americans and African in our Embassies in Dar-Es-Salaam and Nairobi. That
he would be capable or further threats and further action would only be in
character and in keeping with everything we know about him. We remain very
vigilant concerning the potential for further terrorist actions emanating
from him or anyone else for that matter. But we want to see him brought
to justice, and we continue to appeal -- let me use this opportunity -- to
appeal to the Taliban in Afghanistan, in keeping with their statements
condemning terrorism, their statements indicating that they would not allow
their country to be a springboard or a launching pad for terrorism, that
they ought to expel bin Laden and ensure that he's brought to justice for
QUESTION: Then the State Department has received nothing that would
constitute a threat from bin Laden?
MR. FOLEY: I certainly didn't say that. I have no information to offer
you on the subject. I'm not aware of it; I didn't say it's not true.
QUESTION: Have you heard the rumors, though, about bin Laden --
MR. FOLEY: I've hear rumors, but I think that the rumors have come from
journalists because you or someone else asked me that question last week. I
have no information on it.
QUESTION: Back to Korea --
MR. FOLEY: We don't wish him great health in the holiday spirit.
QUESTION: Back to North Korea for just a moment, I may have missed this
question, but were you asked yet about the two Americans that were
reportedly POWs in North Korea that have escaped to China? Has that been
brought up? I didn't hear.
QUESTION: Oh, they were South Koreans, they weren't Americans. Oh. Okay,
well I guess the question is --
MR. FOLEY: Thank you, you're deputized for the podium from now on.
QUESTION: The question then would be, do you believe --
MR. FOLEY: I'm sorry, Bill, I've not heard the reports.
QUESTION: Okay, it was a pretty recent report -- and I thought it was
Americans. But the question would be, does this country believe North Korea
is holding POWs that they agreed would be repatriated? Are they still
holding POWs from the Korean War?
MR. FOLEY: I'm not aware of that report, certainly, but the issue of POWs
or of remains of Americans who were killed during the war is one to which
we devote an active channel. I received a question earlier about this in
the briefing, and referred the question to the Pentagon for more information
QUESTION: Do you have anything on Tom Miller's trip to Cyprus?
MR. FOLEY: I don't have anything on his trip. Of course, he and
Ambassador Holbrooke were in Istanbul for meetings that were connected to
the Brussels Group, which, as you know, brings together business leaders
from the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities, as well as
businessmen from Greece and Turkey, to discuss how they can work together
to foster an environment that improves the lives of Greek Cypriots and
Turkish Cypriots. This meeting took place in Istanbul on December 12 and 13,
and was attended by both Ambassador Holbrooke and Ambassador Miller.
This was the third meeting of the group, and it was the largest meeting so
far -- the first in the region and the first whose agenda was shaped by the
prior work of the participants. I'd refer you to the statement issued by
the co-chairman of the group for details. But apparently among the
highlights were first, an agreement to address Cyprus' increasingly
critical water shortage in a non-political fashion with cooperation by both
sides; second, the establishment of several pilot projects in the areas of
culture, communications, trade and environmental management; and third, the
establishment of working groups to move projects forward between meetings.
The group agreed to hold another meeting in 1999, but the exact time
and location are to be determined.
I don't have read-out yet, though, of Ambassador Miller's meetings in
QUESTION: Is Holbrooke going to Belgrade --
MR. FOLEY: Yes, he is.
MR. FOLEY: Yes, that's right. I may have something for you on that.
Ambassador Holbrooke is taking advantage of his trip to the region, which I
was just describing to you - his trip as special presidential envoy on
Cyprus issues - to make a visit to Belgrade tomorrow to meet with FRY
President Milosevic. Ambassador Holbrooke will emphasize the need for full
compliance with the verification agreement and UN Security Council
Resolutions 1199 and 1203, and also emphasize the need to move ahead
expeditiously on an interim settlement plan for Kosovo.
QUESTION: Can you say anything about how this came up - whether Milosevic
asked to see Holbrooke after the United States has been becoming more
aggressive rhetorically toward him in recent days?
MR. FOLEY: If I'm wrong on this, I'll correct the record, Carol. My
understanding is that this came at US initiative, this meeting. The fact of
the matter is that Ambassador Holbrooke was in Europe, mostly on Cyprus
business. As I indicated, the Secretary decided that it was opportune to
take advantage of his presence in Europe to meet with President Milosevic
to drive home some home truths about the need for full and scrupulous
implementation of his commitments under UN Security Council resolutions and
having to do with both the security situation in Kosovo, the need
for Serb compliance, and with the need for progress on the negotiating
front. So his visit is intended to reinforce our ongoing efforts in that
QUESTION: Well, will it in any way try to reinforce the other message
that you've been sending lately; and that is encouraging democracy in
Serbia? I mean, will he meet with opposition politicians at all?
MR. FOLEY: I don't have his schedule before me. I know that Assistant
Secretary Koh, who's going to be in Serbia-Montenegro this week, as I
announced at the beginning of the briefing, will indeed be meeting with the
independent media, with a range of people across the political spectrum in
Serbia and Montenegro, to reinforce our message of support for greater
pluralism and democratization in Serbia.
I can't rule out that Ambassador Holbrooke will speak on the subject or
that, indeed, President Milosevic, who I think is aware of our strong views
- because they've been stated publicly, including from this podium - I
can't rule out that he won't bring up his feelings about what we've said.
Whether, however, he is someone who can be persuaded to democratize his
country and to reverse the kinds of repressive measures he's increasingly
engaged in, I can't tell you whether he's persuadable on that point.
But this position on the part of the United States is not new. It was
enshrined, as it were, at the time of the Dayton accords when the United
States made clear that we would not support a lifting of the outer wall of
sanctions unless democratization issues - among other issues - were
addressed by Milosevic.
QUESTION: On Iraq, how are things going with UNSCOM?
MR. FOLEY: Sorry to disappoint you; I have very little to offer you today
on Iraq. My information is that UNSCOM inspections continued over the
weekend. I believe a large inspection team completed its work and has
departed the country. Chairman Butler of UNSCOM will present his report on
inspections to the Security Council this week on whether Iraq has provided
UNSCOM the full and unconditional cooperation it pledged on November
The President and Secretary Albright have made clear that what we are
looking for is full cooperation, as provided for in Security Council
resolutions and under the February 23 Memorandum of Understanding.
QUESTION: On that point, do you agree with Kofi Annan that Mr. Butler
should be more diplomatic in his language regarding Iraq, less confrontational?
MR. FOLEY: I have not seen specifically what the Secretary General has
said on the subject. Chairman Butler is a very able head of UNSCOM. We have
the utmost respect for him, for his professionalism, for his judgment, for
his diplomacy; and equally, we have great respect for Secretary General
Annan. The two of them work together and work well together. But I wouldn't
want to comment on their relationship; that wouldn't be appropriate.
QUESTION: You find -- just leaving Kofi Annan out of it -- you find
nothing objectionable about the way Mr. Butler acts or things he says
publicly about Iraq?
MR. FOLEY: Well, he's someone who we've seen speak with circumspection
and discretion. After all, he, himself, was clearly not fully pleased with
statements by other UNSCOM -- or former UNSCOM officials -- who spoke
publicly about things he believed were better left to private discourse. So
I think he's earned the view that he's reasonably discreet and diplomatic
in his pronouncements. But I think, frankly, this is not a serious matter
for the United States to comment on.
What we're interested in is his work, and we're interested in the work of
his inspectors and their ability to do their job via full cooperation from
the Iraqi authorities. What we're most interested in is the report he's
going to give this week on the level of cooperation that Iraq has
QUESTION: You said you had a statement regarding my first question.
MR. FOLEY: I am trusting my deputy. I won't characterize him in any way,
but who -- (laughter) - no, I don't want to rule out the most full,
positive characterization. (Laughter.)
Lee, I'm behind you 1,000 percent.
The State Department received a diplomatic note, which contained a request
for a visa for Congressman Fernando Gabeira, to take part as an official
observer group to the 53rd UN General Assembly. In our reply, the State
Department noted that Congressman Gabeira has been designated as a member
of a parliamentary observer group to the 53rd UN General Assembly. It thus
appears that Congressman Gabeira's function would be to serve as an
observer, representing the Brazilian Congress, not as an official member of
the Brazilian delegation to the United Nations. Accordingly, the United
States is not obligated to permit his entry into the United States,
according to the UN Headquarters Agreement, Article IV, Section 11.
QUESTION: And will you allow me to follow up? It seems like this note
came out last week. And after that, the Brazilian Congress has contacted
the American Embassy in Brasilia and the Brazilian ambassador, Flecha De
Lima , also has come to the State Department, I believe last Friday; and
the request is still up. They're still asking for --
MR. FOLEY: Well, I'd be happy to check the status of any diplomatic
communication we've had with Brazilian authorities subsequent to the
exchange of these notes. If it is, indeed, possible for me to talk publicly
about it -- I don't want to make any promises I'd have to withdraw. I'm not
aware, though, that our position has changed on the matter, given the
underlying reasons for the decision.
QUESTION: What are the underlying reasons?
MR. FOLEY: We noted these in our diplomatic note to the Brazilians.
Congressman Gabeira held an ambassador of the United States hostage and has
stated that he would have killed the ambassador had the demands of the
kidnappers not been met. Congressman Gabeira's act of terrorism against an
internationally protected person violated one of the most fundamental
principles of diplomatic law.
The United States has long considered that admitting to its territory
persons who have directed such acts against its diplomats abroad is
inconsistent with the universal need to ensure the protection of diplomatic
persons, and may undermine respect for international law.
QUESTION: How long ago was that?
MR. FOLEY: I believe it was in the 1960s; I don't have a specific date.
We can get that for you afterwards.
QUESTION: Was he part of a group - some sort of --
MR. FOLEY: I believe he was part of a terrorist group that kidnapped and
threatened the US Ambassador to Brazil at the time.
QUESTION: Do you have the name of the group?
MR. FOLEY: I don't. I believe it was a Marxist group; I don't have the
name of it, though. We can get that for you after the briefing.
Any other questions?
QUESTION: Yes, back to Iraq. Has the United States ever taken a position
on whether a comprehensive review of sanctions is called for?
MR. FOLEY: Oh, I believe I only spoke to that about every day last week.
Forgive me; I don't mean to be sarcastic, I'm just making a silly joke
because I spoke ad nauseam, not entirely to everyone's satisfaction, last
week on the subject.
I believe that Security Council Resolution 1194 enshrines the position of
the international community, to include the United States, which is that
the Security Council would agree to conduct a comprehensive review if
UNSCOM and the IAEA are able to report full Iraqi cooperation with their
work and their inspections and their activities. That's why we await the
report of those two bodies.
In other words, it's conditional.
QUESTION: Okay, and are we safe in not expecting military action before
MR. FOLEY: Any question that has to do with the timing or the nature or
the very question of military action is not something that any spokesman
who cares about keeping his or her job would responsibly entertain.
(The briefing concluded at 1:50 P.M.)