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U.S. Department of State Daily Press Briefing #55, 99-04-29

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>


801

U.S. Department of State

Daily Press Briefing

I N D E X

Thursday, April 29, 1999

Briefer: James P. Rubin

ANNOUNCEMENTS
1	Statement on Madagascar
1	Release of an additional volume of the Foreign Relations Series
1	Notice of the Press on the Council of the Americas Meeting on May 4
1	Notice on the Southeast European Transport Minister's Signed Agreement

SERBIA (KOSOVO) 1 Rape of refugee women / Remarks by Deputy Prime Minister 2,4 International Court of Justice 2,3 Justice Louise Arbour's Visit to Washington D.C. 2,3 Processing of information for the War Crimes Tribunal 4 D/S Talbott meetings / US position will not be changed 4 Diplomatic Front: DepSec Talbott's meetings; Secretary Albright in contact with Canadian and Greek Foreign Ministers 4-8 Russia's role in negotiating with Milosevic 5-10 Reports of mass executions of refugees 5 Milosevic's atrocities and war crimes 5-7 NATO campaign stronger and round-the-clock 6 Bulgarian Foreign Minister 6 Stray missile hits Sofia 6-7 House passed resolution to not support NATO air campaign

TURKEY 9 Election results

COLOMBIA 8 Paramilitary group leader Carlos Castano 8 FARC

PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY 8,9 Palestinian State

ISRAEL 9 Permanent status talks /Expansion of Settlement activity / Israeli elections

TAIWAN 10 Selling of early warning radar systems

IRAN/LIBYA 11 Iran-Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA) 11 Under Secretary Eizenstat 11 Helms-Burton

CHILE 12 Unauthorized visit of the Commander-in-Chief of the Chilean Armed Forces with Pinochet

ARMENIA/AZERBAIJAN 12 Secretary's meeting with leaders / Nagorno-Karabakh issue

JAPAN 12,13 Okinawa to host 2000 G-8 Summit / Okinawa / US military base


U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING

DPB #55

THURSDAY, APRIL 29, 1999, 12:40 P.M.

(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)

MR. RUBIN: Greetings. Welcome to the State Department briefing on this Thursday.

We will have a statement on Madagascar, on the release of an additional volume of the Foreign Relations series, and a notice to the press on the Council of the Americas meeting on May 4, and a notice on the Southeast European Transport Ministers' signing an agreement.

Before taking your questions, I feel compelled to make a brief remark about something that transpired today in Belgrade. As you know, we've been putting out a fair amount of information as we've been able to obtain it -- primarily from refugee accounts -- of different war crimes and crimes against humanity that have been committed, we believe, in Kosovo. We have a number of reports with respect to rape that include refugees reporting that at the Kosovo Polje train station there was a rape of five ethnic Albanian women on April 4; that after forcibly expelling all ethnic Albanians from several towns, Serbs reportedly separated several women from the group and raped them in late April; that in Pec, Serb forces have rounded up young Albanian women and taken them to a hotel where the roster of soldiers' names are created to allow the soldiers an evening of rape. We have several other reports; a number of them come from the KLA and a variety of sources.

Today, however, a very compelling report was played on television. The response by the Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia, I think, says volumes and speaks volumes about the true mask of this regime. Yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister Draskovic was fired, apparently because he spoke the truth to the Serb people about the lies coming out of Serb television, making clear that he understood that Serbia was isolated; that crimes were being committed in Kosovo and that NATO was getting stronger.

Today we have heard from Milosevic's now remaining Deputy Prime Minister, and after demanding a response to this rape report, this is what Milosevic's Prime Minister said. His view of the atrocities is as follows, as interpreted through an interpreter: "I hope that I am not now being accused of rape. Once you take a look at those who have left their shacks, you can see that only a blind person would rape a thing like that."

That kind of comment, I think, brings home to all of us the kind of regime that is perpetrating the war crimes and crimes against humanity against people in Kosovo. We now have a single voice speaking again for the regime, and it is a voice of evil, a voice of ethnic hatred, and a voice of contempt for people and humanity. Milosevic may have restored unity to his government, but listen to what that unity sounds like. I've seen a lot of comments in the last few days, but that strikes me as the Serb representatives sinking to a new low of contemptuous remark. With those opening remarks, let me turn to your questions.

QUESTION: The Yugoslavs have filed World Court cases against ten alliance members claiming their bombing campaign breaches international law. Do you have a comment?

MR. RUBIN: We do understand that the FRY - the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, has initiated a case at the International Court of Justice against the United States and certain of our NATO allies. We have not seen the papers that have been filed. We would, however, regard any such suit as an absurdity and an obvious effort to divert attention from the atrocities and other outrageous activities being perpetrated by the regime in Kosovo - a regime which has repeatedly rejected all efforts to resolve this crisis peacefully; a regime whose forces are conducting war crimes and crimes against humanity in Kosovo.

Once we have received these papers, we will of course defend ourselves vigorously against this frivolous and absurd court filing.

QUESTION: Louise Arbour, the chief prosecutor of the International War Crimes Tribunal, is here in this country. Can you tell me if she will meet with the Secretary and what the purpose of her trip is?

MR. RUBIN: Justice Arbour will be meeting with a number of officials here in Washington today and tomorrow. I understand she's meeting with Secretary Cohen briefly today. She is planning to meet with Secretary Albright tomorrow. We are trying to work out arrangements, pursuant to my use of whatever limited influence I have in this area, that would enable a joint Q & A tomorrow and today.

She's going to be meeting with Ambassador Scheffer, Ambassador Gelbard, Ambassador Dobbins. The issues are ones very similar to what I discussed yesterday, including how we can best support her investigations; how we can accelerate the delivery of information to The Hague to assist her in performing her important function; how we can assist the Tribunal in pursuing field investigations. Obviously, I understand, she will end up in New York in pursuit of financial support for the Tribunal. We will be discussing that as well.

So she will be meeting Secretary Albright tomorrow, and there will be, if things work out, an opportunity for all of you to talk to her and the Secretary.

QUESTION: I'm a little confused, there might be a disconnect. From the very start, the United States has been very sort of forthright about trying to gather information about war crimes and making information public and saying repeatedly, as you have, that you were moving this stuff along to The Hague as quickly as possible. Apparently, Justice Arbour is a little concerned that the response of the US and other allies hasn't been quick enough. Can you sort of shed any light on that?

MR. RUBIN: I think you'll hear different comments on different days. It is not an easy process to process highly classified intelligence information, to provide controls on that information and to make it available in usable form. It's not a process that is done by the snap of a finger. It is a process that requires an enormous amount of work and requires procedures and policies and practices that make it possible to happen.

When there is a surge of information, we try to surge our policies and practices and procedures to allow that information to move as quickly as possible. I think there's a natural desire to urge that to go even quicker by those who may not understand the difficulties in getting it in the first place. So there's a natural process of investigators always wanting more information, just the way journalists are always wanting more information. There's a limit, however, to the government's ability to provide it as quickly as the demand may want. So that's why we continually work on these procedures to try to improve them, get the information as close to real time as possible, and make sure it's in a form that's usable both for investigative purposes and for the purposes of being presented as evidence in trial.

This is a complicated effort. We have an office whose primary responsibility is just that - working with the rest of the US Government to obtain this information in a usable form as quickly as possible. My sense is right now, I think the Tribunal believes that we're doing that. But that doesn't mean that on any given day, that every investigator gets everything it wants as quickly as it wants; that's a natural demand function.

QUESTION: This is a very easy technical question, I think. Arbour's meetings today are only with Cohen and all those other meetings are going to be tomorrow at State?

MR. RUBIN: No, I think that she will probably meet with some of the - Ambassador Scheffer is going to be with her today, Ambassador Dobbins and Gelbard will probably meet with her today. Tomorrow she'll meet with the Secretary.

QUESTION: Does the Administration have any concerns about handing over classified information to the Tribunal - any concerns about its procedures for handling that information, storing that information, disseminating that information? Is that what's behind the delay?

MR. RUBIN: I've never heard that, except from your question. Obviously, the protection of information is part of the procedures. But as far as suggesting that there is a security problem, you're the first that I've ever heard suggest it.

QUESTION: Another technical question. If Milosevic were to be indicted, would that take him out of the negotiations? In other words, could you negotiate with an indicted war criminal?

MR. RUBIN: I don't want to go down that hypothetical road. I think, clearly, during the Dayton period there were discussions in Belgrade with Karadzic and Mladic that Ambassador Holbrooke's delegation conducted after they were indicted. So that is a precedent that exists. That doesn't mean it would be the precedent that would be followed, and I don't want to speculate on what would happen if President Milosevic were indicted.

QUESTION: Can I ask a question about the diplomatic track? I think Canadian Foreign Minister Axworthy is in Moscow today. The Greeks are also apparently involved on the sidelines. Is all of this being coordinated? At this point, as you put it yesterday, are you reading from the same sheet of music?

MR. RUBIN: I do think we are. I think the sheet of music was put together in very careful form during the summit last weekend. Secretary Albright has been on the phone with both Foreign Minister Axworthy and Foreign Minister Papandreou of Greece in discussing what transpired in Strobe Talbott's meetings. Deputy Secretary Talbott has had an opportunity to debrief German officials, as well as Kofi Annan and now Secretary General Solana today in Brussels. So everyone understands what the five requirements are. There is no deviating from those requirements. We haven't changed our position; we're not going to change our position. That is what's required to discontinue the air campaign. Everyone understands that.

Meanwhile, everyone wants to work closely with Russia. Russia has an important role to play here, and we believe it can play a constructive role. To the extent that Russia is moving closer and closer to the five points that we've put down, we believe it will increase the chances that Milosevic will see he has no choice but to accept them.

QUESTION: Are you of the view that the World Court has jurisdiction or lacks jurisdiction in this particular conflict?

MR. RUBIN: Without checking with the lawyers, I suspect that we will regard this particular suit as frivolous and absurd, but as far as the formal - when we became a party to the convention, apparently we made a reservation that should preclude such an action at the court against the US without its consent.

QUESTION: What does that mean? But I thought you said earlier that once you had seen it, the US would defend itself. That doesn't necessarily mean defend it in court?

MR. RUBIN: Well, you're asking me to go two steps down the road legally, which I'm not in a position to do. I was asked a broad question about jurisdiction. Sometimes there's a jurisdictional hearing about whether there should be jurisdiction. That would be an opportunity to defend oneself and make clear one regarded the claim as absurd. So it wouldn't necessarily imply defending oneself and accepting the jurisdiction.

So considering that neither you or I are lawyers in this case, I would prefer to get a formal legal opinion as to the extent to which we accept jurisdiction and the exact legal forum that we would make our defense of its absurdity.

QUESTION: Then is it fair to say that, at least on the face of it, the US doesn't take this particularly seriously?

MR. RUBIN: Well, I think we just called it absurd.

QUESTION: You're not taking it seriously.

MR. RUBIN: I won't quibble with that if you write it.

(Laughter.)

QUESTION: Okay.

QUESTION: A couple quick questions. What can you tell us about new reports of mass executions in Kosovo - refugees who are fleeing Kosovo saying that about 100 Albanian men were pulled to the side and executed?

MR. RUBIN: Yes, I've seen that report; we've seen a number of reports in that area. I don't have any independent confirmation of that. It's consistent with the pattern of Serb brutality and ethnic cleansing in Kosovo; it's consistent with the pattern of information that we've developed. But I don't have any independent confirmation of that specific event.

QUESTION: Isn't that the kind of thing you all are --

QUESTION: Well, I have a question if he's --

QUESTION: Isn't that the kind of thing you all are trying to stop in Kosovo? And if you could comment on the effectiveness of the campaign to stop it, given the new allegations.

MR. RUBIN: That seems like a question that I would have to get back to you in writing.

QUESTION: Why is that? Why would that require a written question?

MR. RUBIN: It's a polemical question.

QUESTION: Excuse me, it's not a polemical question, Jamie.

MR. RUBIN: So reformulate it in a non-polemical way and I'll be happy to try to formulate a non-polemical answer.

QUESTION: It's a pretty simple question. Isn't that the kind of thing the campaign is trying to stop in Kosovo?

MR. RUBIN: We believe that President Milosevic's atrocities and war crimes in Kosovo that we have been detailing that have occurred is the reason why NATO used force, because of the evil of this regime.

The fact that it's going on is the result of President Milosevic's forces' activities. He is responsible for those forces' activities, not the United States. The sooner that President Milosevic accepts the reality that NATO is getting stronger, that NATO's air campaign is going to be sustained, serious and around-the-clock, the sooner the Serb people will be in a position to have a positive future.

Clearly, these kinds of atrocities demonstrate the barbarity of this regime and have only served to intensify the world's determination to confront this regime with air strikes. That is my response to your question.

QUESTION: What does it say about the effectiveness of the air campaign?

MR. RUBIN: I think spokesmen from the Pentagon and the White House and various spokesmen, in the early days, gave responses to this question, and I'll pull those from the record and provide it to you.

QUESTION: Well, it's now several months - 34 days - later into the campaign. You're obviously doing a lot of damage throughout Serbia at strategic targets, but it doesn't appear that the bombing campaign has stopped the type of atrocities that you went to war for in the first place.

MR. RUBIN: That isn't the rationale for war. If you'd prefer to continue this polemic, I'd be happy to do so when the briefing is over. In the meantime the answer to your question is, I will provide you for the record the specific answer on the military capabilities to deal with atrocities on the ground.

QUESTION: Did the Secretary have a conversation today with the Bulgarian Foreign Minister about that stray missile that hit a house?

MR. RUBIN: I don't think so.

QUESTION: Does she plan to?

MR. RUBIN: I think that the NATO Secretary General spoke to the Bulgarian representative in Brussels.

QUESTION: One more question. As you know, the House passed a resolution last night which basically came out not in support of the air campaign. Question to you is, concern of the message that this will send to Milosevic?

MR. RUBIN: Well, I'm confident Milosevic will not take any message from the mixed message sent by the House. As far as I can tell, they chose not to put themselves in first gear, not to put themselves in second gear, nor would they agree in putting themselves in reverse. So they're idling in neutral with such a muddled message that I'm confident President Milosevic will not take any comfort from it.

QUESTION: Did you mention this earlier? Maybe I missed it - what are Talbott's plans?

MR. RUBIN: I believe he's stopping in London right now and on his way home, is my understanding, I believe.

QUESTION: Just London?

MR. RUBIN: Yes.

QUESTION: Jamie, a follow-up on the reaction to the House vote. Irrespective of what Milosevic might take from it, have you heard from any of your allies in terms of asking for explanations, or have you called any of them to offer your view of it?

MR. RUBIN: I'm sure that American diplomats have been in touch with our allies about this vote. The best answer I can offer to that is they probably expressed the same puzzlement that we all have as to what the House intended to do yesterday.

QUESTION: In the last 24 hours, have you gotten any more information to suggest that the Russians are moving any closer?

MR. RUBIN: Well, Secretary Albright spoke to Deputy Secretary Talbott. We've been in touch with Russian officials at a variety of levels in the last 48 hours. I'm not going to describe the Russian view for you; that is up to them to describe. We do believe we've been having serious discussions on the details of the five points that NATO is insisting upon, and that the Russians are understanding greater the rationale for those positions; in particular, why NATO must be at the core of an international security force. And that is, again, for practical reasons, since the objective is to get the Kosovar Albanians back. They will not come back in the face of a situation where the kind of force that they would trust and rely upon that included American participation wasn't there.

I think beyond saying that there's increasing understanding on the Russian part for that rationale - I didn't say they agreed with it yet - but understanding for the rationale, that's important. We have not fully agreed with Russia on the points necessary, nor does even agreement with Russia necessarily signal that Belgrade will agree. As far as we're concerned, we still don't have concrete indicators from Belgrade that they are prepared to do what the whole world is demanding they do, which is to stop the offensive; pull their troops out; allow the refugees back; and allow the necessary international security force to be deployed. If that Russian movement ends up signaling Serb movement, that will be a good thing. In the meantime, we think it's important to continue to work as constructively as possible with Russia.

QUESTION: Between the time the Secretary saw Ivanov in Oslo and now, I get the impression - and correct me if I'm wrong - that - are the Russians now actually engaged in discussing the details of an international force, whereas before they were not engaged in that kind of discussion?

MR. RUBIN: I think those discussions have intensified. They've occurred in Oslo and they have intensified.

QUESTION: But the actual specifics - the Russians are engaged -

MR. RUBIN: I didn't say we're pulling out op plans and all of that, but the idea of the composition of a force is now being discussed more intensively than it was before.

QUESTION: Is it your understanding the Russians have agreed in principle to participate in some kind of force?

MR. RUBIN: You'd have to ask the Russians.

QUESTION: On another subject, early this week, Turkey announced officially the election results. In some newspaper reports said that the US has some concerns on the subject of election results. Do you have any reaction or concern on this election and election results?

MR. RUBIN: Yes. On that issue, there was an answer to that that I saw. We have no such concerns. Turkey is a democracy and we look forward to working with whatever government is formed.

QUESTION: I have a question about Colombia. Carlos Castano, the leader of the paramilitary groups in Colombia, has said that he is willing to come to the United States to prove that he has no relationship whatsoever with drug trafficking activities. Do you have any remarks on that?

MR. RUBIN: I haven't seen that offer and we would have to vet it carefully with the figure and the credibility of his views and his past before I could answer that question.

QUESTION: Will the United States make any kind of contacts with these paramilitary groups as you made with the FARC in Costa Rica several months ago?

MR. RUBIN: I would have to check for the record the particular group that you're referring to and what our view of it is.

QUESTION: The reaction to the Palestinian decision not to -

MR. RUBIN: Well, in short, we welcome the decision. We've said that we think it's very important for neither the Palestinians nor the Israelis to pursue unilateral acts or declarations. We've been very clear on what we think is the correct course and a dangerous course. So the fact that the Palestinians have indicated that they do not intend at this time to declare a Palestinian state is something we welcome warmly.

QUESTION: Their decision, though, is only in the context of the final status negotiations. In other words, that's your primary concern - that it would preempt an issue that is to be negotiated in the permanent status talks? You have nothing against the hypothetical long-term possibility of a Palestinian state?

MR. RUBIN: I'm not advancing the public description of our position on a Palestinian state here, and any implication that you got from that that I was, was not intended. I'm merely saying what our long-standing position has been - that this is a sensitive issue that's the subject of negotiations. Because it's the subject of negotiations, we have taken the view that it would be inappropriate for us to state our views. The President has made clear that the only realistic way for the Palestinians to achieve their aspirations is through a negotiated outcome. It is only that outcome that can realistically achieve those aspirations.

The fact that they have said that for now they do not intend to make any such unilateral declaration is welcome, precisely because we believe that unilateral declarations or unilateral actions like we talked about yesterday are harmful to the peace process and, therefore, harmful to the interest of peace and the interests of the peoples of the region. That is why we welcome their decision to postpone any such possible declaration.

QUESTION: A number of Israeli officials have taken the Administration to task for your comments yesterday about their not upholding their obligations on settlements. Would you care to respond to --

MR. RUBIN: I can't respond to such a vague, generic question.

QUESTION: Back on the Palestinian decision, though, as I understand it they said the would reconsider it in June. Would the US have preferred to have --

MR. RUBIN: -- don't want the issue to be raised at all. We don't want a unilateral declaration at all because it's a unilateral act. So for now, we are welcoming their decision to postpone any such declaration.

We have set forth what we think the right course is - that following the Israeli elections, accelerated permanent status talks are developed, initiated. We are prepared to contribute and play our part in such an effort. We think that with goodwill, with a good environment, the right kind of environment, and with seriousness on both sides, that all of the issues in the permanent status talks, including the one you mentioned, can be resolved within a year.

QUESTION: Going back to the settlements issue, was the Secretary satisfied with Minister Aren's statements about the expansion of settlements as being not contiguous, or does she not buy that?

MR. RUBIN: She didn't buy that.

QUESTION: She didn't buy that?

MR. RUBIN: Yes.

QUESTION: On Kosovo, you said last week that up to 100,000 Albanian men were missing in Kosovo. Do you have any new information about their fates?

MR. RUBIN: Again, my understanding at that time and the reason I used that number - I try to be very careful when I use numbers of that magnitude - is that if one examines the number of women and children and elderly who arrived in Macedonia and Albania as a result of being expelled by the Serbs and one did a normal analysis of how many of them should have been men, that number is the number that we are "missing." I do not have information on the whereabouts of that 100,000 people.

Obviously, the more one hears chilling accounts of men being killed on the roads or killed in other ways as a result of mass atrocities, one worries about where all these 100,000 men are. One is deeply concerned about it. Like the other internally displaced persons, these are Milosevic's hostages in this terrible atrocity his forces are committing. But I don't have specific information on where they might be.

QUESTION: Jamie, we were told last week - I don't know whether it was by this building, it may have been by NATO - that they have pictures of all 43 mass grave sites. Are you aware of any effort to release any of these pictures?

MR. RUBIN: Well, we try to release pictures when we can, when we think it's appropriate, following consultation with the Tribunal, when we think it wouldn't interfere with their investigations. We've not been shy about trying to get information out. I don't know that there are pictures of all 43 - I don't know what that number refers to and which specific imagery or other information is tied to that 43, but I can try to check that for you.

QUESTION: New continent - actually, it's an island. There are reports out of Taiwan that the US agreed to sell Taiwan early warning radar systems. Are those correct?

MR. RUBIN: Yes, in accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act, the President and Congress determined which defense articles and services Taiwan needs in order to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability. In furtherance of this provision, periodic consultations take place that include Taiwan military representatives.

Both the Taiwanese and the United States authorities agree not to discuss the specific details of this process. We have had a frank and broad exchange of views on issues related to Taiwan self-defense needs, but both sides have agreed not to discuss the details of this process.

QUESTION: Well, it seems like one side has violated that.

MR. RUBIN: I don't know how official those reports are but I will check into that and see what we can provide you, depending on the authoritativeness of those reports and where we might come from, and see if we can provide you additional information.

QUESTION: Can you confirm there have been recent consultations with them?

MR. RUBIN: Yes, there have been. But as far as what the results of them were, I'm advised that our agreement between the two sides is to not discuss this publicly.

QUESTION: Right, and when you say recent, these reports from Taiwan say they were in the last day, two days.

MR. RUBIN: The Taiwan delegation is still in Washington, is my understanding, if that helps.

QUESTION: Different subject - yesterday at his briefing, Under Secretary Eizenstat said that the comprehensive sanctions reform legislation that you're seeking would not affect Helms-Burton or the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act. My understanding was that Libya was included in ILSA largely because of the Pan Am 103 instance. Now that that has been resolved, my question is, why wouldn't you be looking at this again? Is there any re-examination of the Libya policy?

MR. RUBIN: Right. What Under Secretary Eizenstat was pointing out to you is when you approach this problem comprehensively - in other words, to create a new regime of how we decide on imposing sanctions - the idea is to pass a bill that deals with from the time that bill is passed, or perhaps shortly before then, for all new sanctions regimes; that each of the old sanctions regimes has its own constituencies, it's own rationales and it would be very difficult to get agreement from Congress to approach sanctions anew if you were forced to resolve every past sanctions policy that has very strong constituencies.

With respect to ILSA and with respect with our policy towards Libya, ILSA contains within it its own means by which policies can change, depending on the changed behavior of Libya. As you know, we are going to be involved in a meeting with British officials and the Secretary General to discuss Libyan compliance with the remaining UN Security Council resolution requirements with respect to Kofi Annan's report on that subject. We've agreed that representatives of the government of Libya may also be present during this meeting. The exact date of this meeting has not yet been scheduled, nor have we determined who from our side will be there. Our goal in this meeting is to make sure that Libya complies with the remaining aspects of the UN Security Council resolutions that deal with terrorism and that deal with the other issues in the resolution.

So to answer your question as directly as I can, ILSA - the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act - has its own regime that can be adjusted depending on the adjustment of Iran and Libya. We obviously are very pleased that there's a step forward in Libya's actions. That's why we agreed to the suspension of the international multilateral sanctions on Libya. But we still have some of our own sanctions, and those are linked to further progress in Libya's behavior on various subjects that I could detail for you after the briefing.

QUESTION: Back on the atrocity war crime tack, another Khmer Rouge war criminal - or alleged war criminal - has been uncovered in the country. I'm wondering if you have anything to say about that. Is anything significantly different from what the US has said in the past regarding this?

MR. RUBIN: Are you trying to cut off a long recitation there?

QUESTION: Yes.

MR. RUBIN: Give you the lead - but then I don't get to recite and practice my diction. I don't think it's dramatically new, but perhaps we can go over that after the briefing.

QUESTION: I'll go after the briefing because it was -

MR. RUBIN: Pretty soon we won't have to have a briefing - we'll do it all after the briefing.

(Laughter.)

QUESTION: Do you have any further word on the unauthorized visit of the Commander-in-Chief of the Chilean armed forces with Pinochet?

MR. RUBIN: As a matter of fact, I do have some additional information on that question. The army chief's visit was undoubtedly intended to show solidarity with General Pinochet. But our understanding is that he consulted with Chile's civilian authorities before making the trip and took leave in order to avoid traveling in an official capacity.

QUESTION: During the NATO summit time, the Secretary met Armenian and Azerbaijan leaders. Did she find some solution or at least the hope for solving the Nagorno-Karabakh issue?

MR. RUBIN: I think one doesn't want to get one's expectations too high in this very difficult conflict. The Secretary was able to host a meeting where the two spent some time alone talking to each other, and brought the different leaders together at various times. We are continuing to work the problem, but I don't believe that a breakthrough of any kind was achieved.

QUESTION: Japan has decided that Nago City - Okinawa - will be the site of the year 2000 G-8 summit. Can I ask how you feel about this, especially in light of the base issue?

MR. RUBIN: The Japanese Prime Minister's office announced April 28 the selection of Nago in the prefecture of Okinawa to host the 2000 G-8 summit. We welcome the decision and have every confidence that Japan and Okinawa will host a very successful summit next year.

Okinawa will be an excellent setting for the official meetings and will also provide G-8 leaders the opportunities to enjoy Okinawan culture and hospitality. The President's visit next year will have a positive impact on relations with Okinawan people and illustrate the strength of the US-Japan alliance and also our deep interest in the culture and economy of Okinawa.

QUESTION: Do you think this will focus the issue of the relocation of the base or other military issues with regard to Okinawa into the summit?

MR. RUBIN: Well, I'm sure it will give a boost to the Okinawan economy.

(Laughter.)

(The briefing concluded at 1:25 P.M.)


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