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U.S. Department of State Daily Press Briefing #137, 98-12-14

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

From: The Department of State Foreign Affairs Network (DOSFAN) at <http://www.state.gov>


789

U.S. Department of State
Daily Press Briefing

I N D E X

Monday, December 14, 1998

Briefer: James B. Foley

SERBIA-MONTENEGRO
1,10		Assistant Secretary Koh's Travel to Serbia-Montenegro
10		Ambassador Holbrooke's Travel to Belgrade Tomorrow

ESTONIA 1 US Welcomes Estonian Parliament's Adoption of New Citizenship Law

IRAN 1-2 US Statement on Deaths of Writers in Iran

NORTH KOREA 3 Conclusion of the US-DPRK Talks on Suspect Underground Construction 4,8-9 Korean War POW Issue

BRAZIL 4,12-13 Request for US Visa for Brazilian Congressman Fernando Gabeira 4 Alleged US Eavesdropping on Conversations Between Princess Diana and Wife of Brazilian Ambassador

MEXICO 4 Foreign Secretary Green's Visit to US/Meetings with US Officials

PERSIAN GULF 5-6 Warden Message Released by US Embassies/Terrorist Threat

TURKEY/ITALY/GERMANY 6-7 Ocalan Case/Reported Ocalan Statement Renouncing Armed Conflict/Idea of International Conference Regarding Kurdish Issue

TURKEY/IRAN 7 US View on Turkey's Interest in Puchasing Gas from Iran

TERRORISM 8 Reported Threat by Osama Bin Laden Against US

GREECE/TURKEY/CYPRUS 9 Travel by Ambassadors Holbrooke and Miller

IRAQ 10-11,13 Status of UNSCOM Inspections/Chairman Butler's Report


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

DPB #137

MONDAY, DECEMBER 14, 1998, 1:20 P.M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)

QUESTION: How about those Bills?

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 post those.

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 know that?

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 absurd.

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.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

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 correct?

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 McCaffrey.

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 Gulf?

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 facilities.

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 suspicion."

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 personnel?

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 him.

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 territory.

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 trans-Caspian alternative.

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 this?

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 this.

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 his crimes.

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.

(Laughter.)

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: (Inaudible.)

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 on that.

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 Cyprus.

QUESTION: Is Holbrooke going to Belgrade --

MR. FOLEY: Yes, he is.

QUESTION: Tomorrow?

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 area.

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 14.

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 provided.

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 Butler's report?

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.

Thank you.

(The briefing concluded at 1:50 P.M.)


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