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U.S. Department of State Daily Press Briefing #48, 99-04-13

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>


501

U.S. Department of State

Daily Press Briefing

I N D E X

Tuesday, April 13, 1999

Briefer: JAMES B. FOLEY

SERBIA (Kosovo)
1	Secretary Albright's Travel to Brussels and Oslo/Meetings/Outcome
1-2	Legal Implications of Private American Citizens Participating in 
	Military Conflict
2-3	NATO Air Campaign / Milosevic's Position on Kosovo/ Diplomatic Movement
3	Clash Between KLA Forces and Serb Forces Last Week
3-4,6,7	Reports of Serb Forces Crossing Northern Albanian Border
4	Expected Arrival of Refugees at Guantanamo
4-5	Numbers of Internally Displaced People in Kosovo
5	Humanitarian Relief Efforts for Kosovars
5	Prospects for Air Drops of Humanitarian Aid
5-6	Prospects for Introduction of Ground Troops
7	Congressional Calls for Arming of KLA
7	UN Security Council and International Peacekeeping Force
8	Outflow of Refugees / Status of Borders

NORTH KOREA 1,11 Fifth Plenary of the Four-Party Talks in Geneva, April 24

COLOMBIA 8-9 Hijacking of Colombian Airline /Status of Passengers 9 Status of Democracy in Colombia 9-10 Assistant Secretary Koh's Visit to Colombia 9-10 Two Senior Colombian Generals Placed Under Investigation For Links with Paramilitary Groups

VENEZUELA 10 President Chavez's Call for State of Emergency

IRAQ 10 Pattern of Unrest in Southern Iraq

IRAN 10-11 Killing of General Sharazi/MEK Claims of Responsibility 11-12 MEK Designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization 12 Reports UK Planning Resumption of Diplomatic Relations with Iran

CHILE 12 US Position on Pinochet Case 12-13 Status of Release of Pinochet Documents

INDIA/PAKISTAN 13 India's Testing of Missile/ Pakistan's Reaction

TERRORISM 14 Case Against Usama Bin Laden


U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING

DPB #48

TUESDAY, APRIL 13, 1999 1:40 P.M.

(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)

MR. FOLEY: Good afternoon. Welcome to the State Department. I probably won't be able to answer all of your questions on Kosovo today, since Secretary Albright has obviously been in Europe for a couple of days and is only now returning from Oslo. Spokesman Rubin will be in a position to brief you fully about her travel to Europe, the meetings with the North Atlantic Council on Monday and with the Russian and Norwegian Foreign Ministers today in Oslo.

I have an announcement to make before taking your questions. As a result of Four-Party working group consultations begun in New York on April 5, the United States, China, the Republic of Korea and the DPRK have agreed to convene the fifth plenary of the Four-Party Talks in Geneva, beginning April 24. US Special Envoy for the Korean peace talks, Ambassador Charles Kartman, will lead the US delegation. The United States will chair the fifth plenary, per the agreed rotation.

The US goals in the Four Party Talks continue to be the reduction of tension on the Korean Peninsula and replacing the armistice by the achievement of a permanent peace agreement there. Two subcommittees respectively addressed these goals during the fourth plenary, and will continue to do their work at the fifth plenary. As in the past, the Swiss Government is providing facilitative assistance for the talks and we are grateful for its support.

QUESTION: Maybe there's one Kosovo-related question you can answer. These Albanian-Americans who are going off to the Balkans to fight - what is the legal implications of that, if there are any?

MR. FOLEY: Well, there are statutes on the books, and I'd have to refer you to the Department of Justice as to their relevance and applicability. Any time American citizens attempt, in their private capacities, to participate in a military conflict, a variety of US and foreign laws might be implicated. We're not in a position to comment on these laws or to speculate on whether particular proposed overseas activities would be prohibited by US law. The Department of Justice, as I said, would be responsible for the enforcement of any relevant criminal laws.

As a point of policy, though, what I can say is that we are not encouraging this kind of activity. I think certainly all of us sympathize with the feelings of the Kosovar Albanian community and the Albanian communities in the United States and their desire to be supportive of their fellow countrymen, who are undergoing such horrible suffering at the moment. But we would urge Kosovar Albanians -- and, indeed, all Americans -- to direct their efforts towards humanitarian relief. Many of the NGOs and humanitarian relief organizations are actively seeking contributions from Americans.

In terms of the plight of the Kosovars, NATO is working on that problem right now. We are very confident that NATO air power will succeed in rolling back the Serb military and security forces and permitting the refugees to go back in security. That's where we think all of our efforts need to be concentrated.

QUESTION: Can you comment on yesterday's Washington Post headline story? It says that Javier Solana said that -- this weekend, I presume - that their were signs that Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's position on Kosovo was beginning to move under the pressure of bombing, and that there was hope for positive diplomatic movement in the coming days. Can you comment in any way on that particular report?

MR. FOLEY: Well, we are going to see movement eventually because NATO fully intends to continue this operation until it's achieved success; until, as I said, Serb forces are withdrawn from Kosovo and the refugees are allowed to go back with international protection.

In terms of whether there's going to be any imminent diplomatic movement out of Belgrade, that's highly speculative. Certainly what we saw last week was a half-baked offer, a unilateral declaration of cease-fire on the part of the Serb authorities that nobody bought in the West. NATO has remained united behind the conditions that NATO has set for termination of the air campaign. Certainly, we anticipated that President Milosevic would try to freeze or lock in the gains he thinks he's achieved on the ground, but NATO is determined to end this not when Milosevic thinks he's achieved his ends, but when NATO has achieved its objectives.

QUESTION: So is the air campaign working toward that goal? Is there some movement to - is there any movement - excuse me - I'll go with the first question; I can't seem to get the second one out. Is there any movement in the direction - is the military campaign --

(Laughter.)

Is the military campaign working to move Slobodan, as Mr. Solana says, is what I'm asking.

MR. FOLEY: General Clark has said repeatedly, President Milosevic can end this at any point - he can end it tomorrow - if he accepts the conditions that NATO has laid out. In the absence of that, NATO is moving systematically to take away his capability to continue to repress the people of Kosovo and to continue to maintain his forces in the field.

Some of you may have seen General Clark's briefing in Brussels this morning, Washington time, in which he laid out how NATO is systematically and progressively going after two different sets of targets: one, so-called "strategic targets" throughout the FRY - targets which are related to Milosevic's ability to command and to supply forces in the field; targets, he noted, which are also connected to Milosevic's dictatorial rule at home. Things which he values highly are being degraded and destroyed.

The second set of targets has to do with the Serb forces on the ground, and I think we're going to see an increasing - as we've already begun to see since last week - targeting of those forces, degrading of them. They are being shorn of their fuel, of their ammunition, of their ability to communicate, of their ability to be reinforced. NATO is targeting bridges and roads and all kinds of communication links and transport links. We are confident that if we stay with this air campaign, as all NATO allies are firmly intending to do, we will break his grip on Kosovo. As General Clark said, those forces are vulnerable to destruction, and if we stay with this we will succeed.

As I said a minute ago, though, President Milosevic can end this at any time if he accepts the conditions of the international community.

QUESTION: Can we go back to a question that came back at the end of last week and which was never answered? The question of US policy towards KLA attacks from within Albanian territory. Have you formulated a policy on this? The question basically is, is this something you would discourage, or is it something you're willing to overlook, given the circumstances?

MR. FOLEY: Well, the question that arose on Friday, where you were pressing us for details we didn't have, had to do with a report of a KLA attack from Albanian territory into Serbia. We looked into that. By the end of the day, we were able to confirm that that's not what had happened; that there were KLA forces who attempted to enter into Kosovo and met with Serb FRY resistance and there was some sort of a clash there.

Today what I can tell you is we have reports this morning that you've seen on television, that Serb forces crossed the border from Kosovo into Northern Albania. Serb forces apparently crossed the border at Kimica around 1300 local time and burned several houses in one border village, returning to Kosovo about one hour later.

The US is extremely concerned by these actions by Serb forces, which constitute a violation of Albanian territorial integrity. Yesterday, NATO reaffirmed that it would be unacceptable if the FRY were to threaten the territorial integrity of neighboring states. Such actions will not be tolerated.

Your question is a hypothetical question. As I understand it, the KLA is not firing from one side of the border across into the other side of the border.

QUESTION: Can I follow up on that? You say such attacks will not be tolerated, but can you tell us what NATO plans to do if these things recur?

MR. FOLEY: No, I can't tell you that; that's an operational matter. But I can tell you that we take it very seriously. Secretary Albright, in Oslo today, said there would be serious consequences. NATO is in the process of attacking and degrading Serb forces in Kosovo, even as we speak. That effort will be accelerated in terms of the specific response. That's something that NATO military commanders will decide, and I can't get into that.

QUESTION: When you say reports, does that mean the US has confirmed that this has actually happened?

MR. FOLEY: We believe that the reports are true, yes.

QUESTION: Do you know when the first refugees are expected to arrive in Guantanamo, or come to Guantanamo?

MR. FOLEY: Well, I think, perhaps, the story has moved a little bit in relation to what's implied in your question. Certainly, the United States made a commitment that we would take up to 20,000 Kosovar Albanian refugees, and that was important in the crisis that we faced a week ago.

If I can put this in perspective, let me say that NATO has done a remarkable job, as well as has international relief organizations. All of you saw what a dire crisis we were facing in the region, in Albania and Macedonia in particular, a week and ten days ago. NATO mobilized itself and its resources on perhaps an unprecedented level to bring relief and to stabilize the situation involving the refugees. We understand now that all the refugees who are coming out have come out -- and they number many hundreds of thousands -- are now receiving medical attention, food, shelter and are being taken care of. I think it was a remarkable short-term, immediate response on the part of NATO military authorities, which, after all, were in the process of conducting military action.

At that time, though, when the crisis was at its peak, the United States felt it was important to demonstrate our willingness to participate in relieving the bottleneck that had occurred, especially in Macedonia and elsewhere. We, along with other nations, made significant pledges of a willingness to absorb refugees on a temporary basis. That pledge continues; the United States remains willing to take in Kosovar Albanian refugees. However, we understand that for the moment, this is not required.

I believe Madame Ogata has spoken to this; that she does not believe it's necessary to implement that commitment at this time. Certainly, all the anecdotal evidence we have from the refugees themselves, as well as from the relief organizations, from the UNHCR, point to the fact that the refugees, (a) are determined to go back home as soon as that's possible and (b), would like, in the meantime, to be as close to Kosovo as possible.

But the US remains committed to take in refugees if that proves necessary. We've not gone back in any way on that commitment.

QUESTION: Can I ask a follow-on to the refugees on the numbers? There appears to be a discrepancy between the US numbers on the internally displaced people in Kosovo. The US, I think, is saying 700,000 while NATO is saying 250,000. Do you have any kind of update on the number and explanation for what might be causing that discrepancy?

MR. FOLEY: No, I don't. I saw, as you did, General Clark in his briefing, and he promised to check with his people and come back in the NATO briefing tomorrow on that. Our information is that those numbers could be as high as 700,000. I think perhaps we're talking about different sets of internally displaced people.

We know that there is - and don't ask me the exact figure - a number for the exact - or the general number of Kosovar Albanians who remain in Kosovo. Presumably, vast numbers of them are subject, to one degree or another, of displacement or exposure. As to the exact numbers who are in dire circumstances, who are out in the hills or in forests without the prospect of humanitarian relief or food, I think that's probably where the number is difficult to pin down.

QUESTION: Would that number make a difference to US policy? I mean, if it's 250,000 or 70,000 is it --

MR. FOLEY: Well, our concern, of course, is for everybody who's in Kosovo. The whole purpose of our military action is to ensure that the Serb forces are beaten down and forced to withdraw. That's what we're focusing on.

Obviously, the plight of those Kosovars who remain within Kosovo is of deepest concern. Whatever the numbers are - and the numbers are important in terms of whether we are going to be able to do something in the near term about that - is important, obviously; to know where they are and to know the numbers. I'm not in a position to give you authoritative information about that.

General Clark spoke this morning about the inherent difficulties of providing relief to those poor people stuck in the combat zone while indeed combat is occurring. There would be significant dangers and risks to our pilots who might conduct air drop operations. There are questions about the practicability of that type of an option. But General Clark stated that his military planners are looking at all options. This was discussed by the foreign ministers at NATO in Brussels yesterday, and they indicated that they had asked the military authorities to look at options. That's what they're doing there, and I'm not in a position to report what might be done.

QUESTION: Jim, some people on the Hill have recommended to the US Administration that it consider more seriously the use of ground troops in a non-permissive or combat sort of situation. Could you just sort of update us on what the current thinking is about whether you all have intentions or plans to introduce ground troops? And I recognize that there has been a NATO meeting, but what's the Administration's point of view about that now?

MR. FOLEY: The Administration's view is the same as that of our NATO allies, which is that we have a lot of faith in the air campaign. Certainly, I think in the press there is an expectation that the air campaign would achieve its objectives in short order. That has never been our view. Indeed, we are prepared to continue the campaign as long as it takes in order to achieve our objectives. We're only into the third week of it. I think anybody who saw General Clark's briefing today will understand that Serb forces - be they controlling infrastructure in Serbia itself or the forces on the ground - are finding it more and more difficult to sustain themselves. And this campaign is only just begun.

We are confident that as we keep at this - attacking both strategic targets that, as I said, also support the pillars of Milosevic's rule in Belgrade and attack and make life a lot more uncomfortable for the Serb forces on the ground in Kosovo - that we are going to prevail. Either Milosevic will reverse course and accept the terms of the international community, or he will find his ability to maintain his grip on Kosovo weakened and eventually destroyed.

So we're going to pursue that. We have confidence in the air campaign. What we have made clear is that we don't have any intention now to introduce ground forces in a combat situation. Certainly, NATO has done and military authorities have conducted and political authorities have approved detailed planning to deploy ground forces to help implement a peace agreement, to help the refugees go back. That remains our ultimate goal.

In terms of ground force options in a non-permissive environment, last fall NATO completed an assessment of options to introduce ground forces in a non- permissive environment. These plans could be updated quickly if it were necessary to do so, but as you heard General Clark this morning say, he is not asking for that. He has confidence in the air campaign and believes that it will be successful. So that's not something that we intend to pursue.

QUESTION: When you compare with the latest events in the Albanian border cross and Macedonian events, which they took three US soldiers as prisoner, this is not the first time the Serbian forces passing through the nearby neighboring country's borders, right?

MR. FOLEY: Right.

QUESTION: What action are you planning to take, not militarily - politically?

MR. FOLEY: Well politically, we've conveyed some very strong messages to the neighboring states. The United States has, and NATO has. NATO has held 19-plus-one meetings with, I believe, both the Macedonians and the Albanians. Secretary General Solana has made clear that the security, the territorial inviolability of the neighboring states are of direct and material concern to the Alliance, and that the Alliance will react if there are attacks on those territories, particularly in conjunction with the presence of NATO forces on those territories.

So that's what we've done politically, is to affirm our solidarity with the neighboring states; to say that they will not suffer insecurity terms for what Milosevic is doing in Kosovo and for what NATO is doing to respond to what Milosevic is doing in Kosovo. In terms of the exact operational answer, as I indicated earlier, I'm not in a position to give that.

QUESTION: Today, Senator Mitch McConnell and some other senators came out of the White House saying that they believe some of this refugee crisis would have been avoided if we had armed the KLA, and they were calling for the United States to arm the KLA. I'm wondering if you think that's a violable policy; is it realistic at all?

MR. FOLEY: Well, if we had armed the KLA, we wouldn't have gotten a peace agreement in Paris. We pursued a diplomatic peace initiative designed to avoid the necessity to use force, to try to head off Milosevic's planned offensive. It was predicated on a political settlement in which the Kosovar Albanians would enjoy self-government, the ability to run their own affairs without hindrance or interference by repressive Serb forces, and in which the KLA would have been disarmed and become a political force inside of a self-governing Kosovo, which we still expect to happen.

Had we decided to arm the KLA prior to that, it would have completely undermined our political strategy, our diplomatic strategy, which itself was the necessary predicate to be in a position to use force, as NATO is doing, in the event that the Serbs refuse to sign the peace agreement.

QUESTION: Jim, do we know why the Serb forces decided to retreat from Albania so soon after moving in?

MR. FOLEY: Well, we don't have precise details about what happened. I think we'll know more as the day goes on or by tomorrow. It's in the nature of combat activities that one receives scattered, unconfirmed reports. We know that the incursion took place, but the exact details are impossible to verify. It's not the first time over the last months that there have been activities in, around or across the border coming from the Serbs. But we'll have to await the details.

In terms of the motivation, that's very speculative. But I think, clearly, Belgrade is fishing around trying to create diversions, trying to in some way knock the allies off their evident and united track to confront his aggression. None of these ploys have succeeded, thus far, and none are going to. I think the Alliance demonstrated yesterday its total unity and determination to continue this campaign through to success.

QUESTION: German Foreign Minister Fischer, speaking yesterday, said that an international peacekeeping force in Kosovo could be on the basis of Article 7 of the UN Charter. In other words, it would be done through the Security Council. Is this something the United States is warming to or would consider, or are you still --

MR. FOLEY: Well, our position hasn't changed. It was stated at the time of the diplomatic negotiations, around the time of Rambouillet, and in subsequent weeks. As far as the United States is concerned, we would welcome a Security Council resolution endorsing any political settlement which was reached, including deployment of an international military presence in Kosovo. Our position on that has not changed.

QUESTION: Jim, is it known if the Serb military has closed the border crossings, has contained and held captive the internally displaced and especially those who might be suffering intensely into death, starvation in the mountains?

MR. FOLEY: Well, I believe that certainly the outflow has dramatically been reduced and that the border has, in most instances, remained closed. There have been opening spigots in the last several days, where the Serbs have allowed relatively smaller numbers of refugees to pass through - in the 1,000 to 2,000 range. I think perhaps some of this, you know, we are releasing every day a humanitarian update, and perhaps some of that information is available. Let me check while I can.

UNHCR reports that 3,250 refugees entered Albania on April 12 at the Morini border crossing. The UNHCR in Skopje reports that 2,000 refugees entered Macedonia through Blace between April 11 and 12. It's been kind of on and off, so it's been difficult to say.

Your question, though, about the many hundreds of thousands - whatever the exact figure is - of internally displaced persons who are at risk in Kosovo is a matter of utmost concern to us. Let me repeat something that General Clark said this morning. This is, above all, the responsibility of President Milosevic. These are, as General Clark stated, his citizens. They are his fellow citizens. He claims sovereignty over this area and that these are his people. He has expelled and brutalized hundreds of thousands of them and he is subjecting those who remain to an unknown and perhaps unspeakable fate. He is responsible for their fate and welfare.

Prime Minister Blair said today that we will hold President Milosevic responsible for what we find when we go back into Kosovo, which we will do. He ought to pay attention to these warnings. We already have enough reports of atrocities, of war crimes, of rapes, of horrible things of this nature - destruction of property, of identification, wholesale war crimes - being committed, which is bad enough. We've put him on warning that he's responsible and that the War Crimes Tribunal will be looking into this and that we'll be providing evidence to the War Crimes Tribunal. That's enough. If he adds to that the potential wholesale loss of life involved with the refugees who remain in Kosovo, then he will certainly regret that; because he is responsible for those people.

QUESTION: Do you have any reaction to the plane who was hijacked in Colombia, and especially from those reports saying that one of the passengers who were kidnapped is an American citizen?

MR. FOLEY: At this time it's not clear who is responsible for the hijacking of the Colombian airliner. But no matter who was responsible, we certainly condemn this blatant act of terrorism and call for the immediate release of the passengers and the crew.

We understand that Avianca flight 9463 from - excuse my pronunciation - Bucaramanga to Bogota was hijacked by unidentified armed men on April 12. The flight had 41 passengers and five crew members aboard. Reports indicate the hijackers forced the aircraft to land at a clandestine air field in southern Bolivar province. The passengers reportedly were taken off the plane and put into boats by the hijackers.

Colombian authorities have mounted an extensive search operation and are investigating the hijacking. We don't have confirmed information on the nationalities of the passengers at this time.

QUESTION: One of the priorities of the United States Government this year is the democracy in Colombia.

MR. FOLEY: Yes.

QUESTION: Do you think with this act from the terrorists in Colombia, the democracy is at risk - the peace process?

MR. FOLEY: Well, we believe that democracy is strong in Colombia, and certainly with the election of President Pastrana, democracy has gotten a boost in Colombia. The President is endeavoring to deal with many challenges, including narco-trafficking, including guerrilla insurgencies and economic challenges as well. But we believe that he is conducting himself in an effective manner and that the Colombian Government is endeavoring to consolidate democracy in the face of these challenges.

Certainly, this hijacking is symptomatic of the larger terrorist insurgency challenge facing the government; but I wouldn't read into this one incident any conclusion that the government is not doing well and not continuing to wage its battle on behalf of democracy in Colombia.

QUESTION: The Colombian Government has rejected declarations being made Mr. Koh in Medien three or four days ago, saying that the American Government reacted with some kind of gladness to the decision of the Colombian Government to give military - how do you say? -- resigned two generals. What kind of reactions do we have here to this at this moment?

MR. FOLEY: Well, first of all, Assistant Secretary Koh's speech really reflected an honest and constructive dialogue among friends. As friends, we can speak to each other openly and honestly. In his meeting with Assistant Secretary Koh, President Pastrana strongly reaffirmed his administration's deep commitment to human rights and the peace process.

Yes, we were very pleased by the announcement on April 9 that the President ordered two senior Colombian generals placed under investigation for links with paramilitary groups to being removed from their posts. What Assistant Secretary Koh talked about were five key policy area concerns of the United States: the peace process; abuses by paramilitaries, which the media, obviously, is focused on; ending impunity; promoting the rule of law; and protecting human rights defenders.

But he had excellent meetings with President Pastrana, Vice President Bell and other key Colombian officials. He also traveled to Medellin to participate in a major conference on human rights that was cosponsored by the US Embassy, a local college and several Colombian media outlets.

We believe that the Pastrana Government is fully committed to addressing Colombia's human rights problems, and again, President Pastrana has taken a number of important steps - most notably this recent decision to place these two generals under investigation.

QUESTION: I have another one in Latin America. Do you have any reaction or comments to the decision of President Chavez of Venezuela to call for a state of emergency?

MR. FOLEY: Any question regarding correspondence to the OAS Secretary General should be addressed to the Secretary General. We don't have any information in regard to such a letter to him. We continue to expect, nevertheless, that President Chavez will govern in a manner consistent with Venezuela's constitution and its democratic traditions, as he has indicated in his visits here and meetings with US officials.

QUESTION: He's also using some of the military people to run the government. Do you have any -

MR. FOLEY: I wouldn't want to comment on internal matters, except that we believe it's important -- not only for Venezuela but for the hemisphere -- that President Chavez govern in a manner consistent with Venezuela's constitution and its democratic traditions.

QUESTION: How much credence are you giving, and do you have any corroboration of reports from the Iraqi opposition that tons of people have been executed in the southern city of Basra recently?

MR. FOLEY: Well, there have been reports that up to nine government officials have been killed in attacks against the Ba'ath party headquarters in southern Iraq. We don't have independent confirmation of them. But certainly, those reports are consistent with a pattern of unrest in southern Iraq. Since late last year, there has clearly been an increase in popular discontent and acts directed against the regime of Saddam Hussein. We're continuing to follow developments closely. I don't have information on that report.

QUESTION: So you're saying that Ba'ath party officials were killed in attacks on -

MR. FOLEY: We've seen that report; we can't independently confirm it.

QUESTION: It's a separate thing, right?

MR. FOLEY: Yes, it is. I don't have information on that particular report.

QUESTION: Next door in Iran, the assassination of the general.

MR. FOLEY: Yes, well, we've seen reports of the killing. We condemn what we consider to be an act of terrorism, and we hope that the perpetrators are brought to justice.

Let me say in this respect, I believe there was some claim in Iran that Western governments, including the US, provide a safe haven for the MEK, and we categorically reject that. We reject any suggestion that the US Government supports these terrorists. We consider them to be terrorists. The US does not provide any safe haven to any terrorist groups.

Secretary Albright designated the MEK a foreign terrorist organization in October of 1997. As a foreign terrorist organization, the MEK is subject to a number of sanctions, including the freezing of any assets in the US and visa ineligibility for representatives and knowing members of the group.

QUESTION: Will you be providing a briefing of some kind before the Four Party Talks take place?

MR. FOLEY: Well, what's today, April 13? We have about ten days or so. I wouldn't rule it out. We haven't discussed that internally, but I wouldn't rule it out.

QUESTION: Also on the Four Party Talks, do you just have the starting date -- April 24th?

MR. FOLEY: Yes.

QUESTION: You don't know how many days the talks?

MR. FOLEY: No, I don't have that information or if I do, I'm unable to find it. But they begin on the 24th. I would expect that -

QUESTION: They're in Geneva.

MR. FOLEY: They're in Geneva, yes. That's just the first day. I don't know - it will be more than one day, obviously. I don't know how long we expect them to last. I think, normally, it's difficult, if not impossible, to predict that.

QUESTION: Any chance the US has bilateral talks with North Korea before or after talks?

MR. FOLEY: I wouldn't want to rule that out either. I don't have that information before me today, though.

QUESTION: Jim, -- (inaudible). Do any of these measures apply to the National Resistance Council, which is essentially a front organization for the Mujahedin, which has an office not very far from here?

MR. FOLEY: Look, I'd love to try to answer the question; but without knowing the answer, that would be hazardous. I'll take the question.

Certainly, as we've indicated on earlier occasions, when the Secretary designates a group as a foreign terrorist organization it triggers a number of steps of legal prohibitions, and one of them includes fundraising in the United States. So that's a preliminary answer to your question, but the specific one I'll get for you after the briefing.

QUESTION: Tass reported today that Britain was going to resume diplomatic relations with Iran. I want to know - they were going to exchange ambassadors and that whole thing by this week, perhaps.

MR. FOLEY: I've not heard that.

QUESTION: Okay.

MR. FOLEY: A number of our European allies and friends do have diplomatic relations with Iran. We're not against that. We, in fact, have favored an official authoritative dialogue between ourselves and the government of Iran, which they have not accepted. But in the meantime, we are continuing to promote people-to-people exchanges as a way to build a foundation towards a better relationship in the future.

QUESTION: Jim, do you see the US doing that any time soon?

MR. FOLEY: Well, as I stated, first things first. We have proposed an official dialogue, an authoritative dialogue; the government of Iran has not chosen to accept that at this time. But both Iran and the United States have stated that we wish to begin to overcome the 20-year alienation and to begin to build towards a better relationship on the basis of developing people-to-people ties and exchanges.

QUESTION: Former President Bush and yesterday Senator Helms asked the government of England to release General Pinochet and let him go home. Do you share that point of view?

MR. FOLEY: Well, President Bush is an extraordinarily distinguished American citizen, but he is a private citizen. Therefore, I wouldn't want to comment on his statement. I can only repeat for you what the position of the United States is on the Pinochet case. It's not new; I can repeat it if you wish, which is that we're committed to the principles of accountability and justice and we strongly condemn the abuses of the Pinochet regime when it was in power. We respect the British judicial process, which is underway and continues. We also believe it's important, consistent with the principle of accountability, to support countries like Chile that, over a sustained period of time, have made significant efforts to strengthen democracy and promote reconciliation and the rule of law.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) -- any progress towards release of documents?

MR. FOLEY: I'd have to get you an answer on that. I know we're hard at work on it. It's an interagency process that's been under way for some time. But where we stand in terms of it's completion, I don't have the answer.

QUESTION: They will release it in May, right?

MR. FOLEY: I believe that was a target date, but I'd really have to check.

QUESTION: Pakistan's preparing for the missile testing in the coming days. Do you have any comment, statement?

MR. FOLEY: We are not certain what Pakistan's intentions are in this regard, but we certainly urge Pakistan to show restraint by not testing in response to the Indian test.

QUESTION: But what are the consequences if they test?

MR. FOLEY: Well, it's not helpful to our efforts to promote stability on the Subcontinent and our efforts to promote a non-proliferation agenda. But let me make clear that we regret the Indian decision to test an extended range version of its medium range Agni ballistic missile. Indian leaders have stated that India wants to avoid a nuclear missile race with its neighbors and to meet its security requirements at the lowest possible levels. We hope that India will provide tangible indications that it is prepared to practice restraint, consistent with its declared intentions.

Absent these indications, missile tests can only deepen concern about the direction of Indian security policy and could put at risk promising developments in India's relations with its neighbors.

QUESTION: Do you have diplomatic demarche on the part of the United States to persuade Pakistan not to follow suit on this?

MR. FOLEY: I'm certain that we've been in touch with the Pakistanis, as we have with the Indians on this subject.

QUESTION: Just through normal embassy channels?

MR. FOLEY: I assume through normal diplomatic channels.

QUESTION: Anything on the sanctions? The US has lifted -- (inaudible) -- sanctions in India and Pakistan since last summer, but these missile testings going to impact on --

MR. FOLEY: Well, the sanctions, of course, have to do with the nuclear explosions that took place. I'm not aware of any shift planned in that regard.

QUESTION: Do you have reaction to today's New York Times story about Usama bin Laden, that the United States doesn't have any real case against him?

MR. FOLEY: Well, the United States stands by the facts, as outlined in the multiple-count indictment against Usama bin Laden and his accomplices that was issued on November 4. It's a criminal investigation; I can't comment further. But certainly, we are confident that he was responsible. That's why we acted as we did in August. Furthermore, we have full confidence in the district attorney's case that he's put together in New York.

Thank you.

QUESTION: Thank you.

(The briefing concluded at 2:20 P.M.)


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