U.S. Department of State Daily Press Briefing #71, 99-06-03
From: The Department of State Foreign Affairs Network (DOSFAN) at <http://www.state.gov>
U.S. Department of State
Daily Press Briefing
I N D E X
Thursday, June 3, 1999
Briefer: James P. Rubin
1,2,6,12 Secretary Albright's Diplomatic Activities/Calls/Contacts
with Foreign Ministers
12,20-21 Secretary Albright Will Not Travel to Mexico/Attorney
General Reno to Head Delegation
1,2,7,14-17 Reports that Milosevic Has Accepted Terms and Conditions
for Ending Conflict
1-3,5-7 US and NATO Looking for Implementation and Verification of
3,7,12 Prospects for UN Security Council Resolution of NATO's
Terms and Conditions
3-4 Prospects for a Bombing Pause
4,8-9,10-13 Timing for the Deployment of International Security
Force/Composition of Force
4-5,8,18 Future of Milosevic/Indicted War Criminals/War Crimes Tribunal
9,16 Prospects for Return of Refugees to Kosovo
9-10 Frontline States Concerns
9-10 Prospects for Reconstruction for Serbia
9,13 Discussion of Civil Implementation Package
8,16-17 KLA and Demilitarization
10-11,17 Russia's Role and Diplomatic Efforts
18-20 Secretary Albright's Calls to Pakistani Prime Minister and
Indian Foreign Minister
20-21 South African Elections
21-22 Accusations that US Interfered in Israeli Elections
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
THURSDAY, JUNE 3, 1999, 12:40 P.M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. RUBIN: Hello. Welcome to the State Department briefing on this
Thursday. It's obviously been a busy morning here at the Department.
Secretary Albright has had a number of calls this morning with Deputy
Secretary Talbott; with her military advisor, General Foglesong; with
Secretary General Solana; Foreign Minister Fischer; Foreign Minister Cook;
Foreign Minister Papandreou; and Foreign Minister Axworthy.
With respect to the question of the hour: What does the United States make
of the developments overnight in Belgrade? Let me say that the reports of
Serb acceptance of the terms and conditions laid down by Mr. Ahtisaari and
Mr. Chernomyrdin, which were contained therein all of the necessary terms
and conditions that NATO has spelled out and we had spelled out for you on
many occasions, if those reports prove accurate, that will be a major step
forward. But the question now is the details. Deputy Secretary Talbott
is right now meeting with Mr. Ahtisaari, who will be providing a full read-
out of the discussions that he had, and Mr. Chernomyrdin had, with the Serb
We've seen a lot of reports of what it is that the Serb Parliament
approved. Some of them vary in some important details, important words.
Those are the kinds of details that make all the difference. So our
watchwords of the day are caution, codification and implementation. Caution
about the extent to which this does constitute Serb acceptance of the terms
and conditions NATO requires. Codification meaning that additional
procedural steps need to be taken if, indeed, they've accepted them in
principle to ensure that all the necessary details have been accepted,
because in an issue as important as this, as profound as this, having such
impact on millions of people in the region, the millions of people in
Serbia who are obviously hopeful that President Milosevic has finally seen
the writing on the wall and that the tragedy he has brought on the
Serbian people will soon end are at stake, and obviously the million
and a half Kosovar Albanians who have been kicked out of their homes
by the Serb forces in this brutal act of ethnic cleansing want to go back
to their homes and can do so if, indeed, these reports prove accurate.
So what we're going to be doing in the coming days is confirming the
details of what precisely has been agreed to. We're going to be looking for
implementation, implementation and implementation; because it is only
implementation of NATO's conditions that will lead to a peaceful resolution
of this crisis.
What that means in practice, with respect to the air campaign, is the
beginning of a verifiable withdrawal of all military, paramilitary and
police forces from Kosovo, according to a rapid time table. That is what we
are going to be looking for. We have learned from long experience of
dealing with President Milosevic and Serb officials that verifiable deeds -
not seductive words - are the only currency that counts in this conflict.
They are the only things we can reliably act upon.
It would be cruel indeed if the aspirations of the Serb people for an end
to the bombing were to be dashed by any backsliding or intransigence or
refusal to accept the necessary details on the part of President Milosevic.
What is indisputable at this point is that the NATO allies remain united.
They've remained united for a very long time in pursuing a powerful and
relentless air campaign that will be the determining factor if, indeed,
President Milosevic has accepted and the Serbs have accepted what press
reports indicate they have.
QUESTION: Jamie, just a couple of secondary questions quickly, and then
maybe I can ask you a substantive question. The Secretary talked to Strobe
before he met with the Finnish President.
MR. RUBIN: Correct, since the meeting just started some 40 minutes
QUESTION: Are you able to tell us what, basically, she told her own
MR. RUBIN: Yes, Secretary Albright's position is to be extremely cautious,
to be extremely suspicious of the way in which the Serbs have conducted
negotiations in the past in Belgrade, and to be very, very cautious about
moving towards any acceptance by the West of what the Serbs have accepted
until we know that they have indeed accepted precisely what NATO's terms
and conditions have been.
That is what we're looking for. We're going to try to nail it down in its
detail and then nail it down in its implementation.
QUESTION: I hope I can ask this question in a way that's understandable.
This is a negotiation, presumably, looking for a settlement; and yet there
are things - particularly withdrawal - that the Serbs could do. So what I'm
trying to ask - and it's hard to put it - can this be an agreement that
works itself out on the ground without any particular formal - at least at
the outset - ceremony or signing or whatever? In other words, what
are you looking for first -- if there's a deal, or if he accepts the terms?
Am I correct that what you would see first is a verifiable withdrawal? Not
necessarily, I, Slobodan Milosevic, hereby promise - correct? Do you
understand what I'm trying to say?
MR. RUBIN: Yes. You are correct that we have no particular appetite for
any grand signing ceremony with President Milosevic. On the contrary, what
were looking for are pragmatic, concrete actions.
There may be codification of this arrangement if Milosevic has, indeed,
accepted our terms. It could come in the form of military-to-military
codification; it could come in the form of a Security Council resolution.
There are other ways one can conceive of it. But what needed to happen -
what the world has been waiting to see happen - is that President Milosevic
and the Serb authorities finally saw the writing on the wall that the air
campaign was intensifying, becoming more and more effective in preventing
Serb military actions on the ground and destroying Serb military capabilities.
Once that intention was developed, we believe there a number of ways
to skin this cat procedurally.
One, as I indicated, would be military-to-military discussions to formalize
the process of withdrawal of Serb forces; another could be a Security
Council resolution that embodies all of NATO's terms and conditions; or
there may be other steps that I don't want to rule out. What matters to us,
though - and the only thing that will yield a suspension in the air
campaign by NATO, from the United States' perspective - is that the Serb
forces have to begin their full withdrawal.
We believe we can verify, through a number of means, what's necessary to
show us that the beginning of a full withdrawal has occurred. Whether or
not that occurs after military-to-military talks, we believe that it can be
verified; that if the entire 40,000-plus Serb forces are going to withdraw
pursuant to this agreement as some reports indicate, that that is a
knowable proposition if that begins from verification. So the watchwords
are details, implementation and verification.
QUESTION: Very quickly, you brought up the UN, and the UN is indeed on
our mind. The original notion was that a resolution is down the road. It
just -- what would the word be - just verifies it, just authenticates what
already has been agreed to. Is that changing, the reference to UN auspices?
Is the UN role becoming more up-front, more advanced, more the instrument
of the agreement?
MR. RUBIN: It was always an option to create a resolution, to pass a
resolution that would be part of the diplomatic pressure that would lead to
actions, which is what we're looking for. As we've always said, we would
welcome a Security Council resolution endorsing the conditions set forth
both by NATO and the Group of Eight. We have been working to prepare the
elements of that resolution. Certainly, that would be one way to codify
this agreement if the reports are correct and President has, indeed,
accepted not just generalities, but the details; and that is what
we're going to be focused on.
QUESTION: Once the US or NATO has verified that a withdrawal has begun,
can we expect a pause in the bombing to begin within 24 hours, 48 hours,
MR. RUBIN: I wouldn't want to prejudge the interaction between the North
Atlantic Council decision-making and the Supreme Allied Commander's
actions. What I can say is that the United States - and we believe all NATO
allies -- would support a suspension. And again, the word "suspension" is
extremely important, because if the rest of the withdrawal didn't take
place, if the original actions weren't followed by subsequent actions -
and this is what we need to guard against, given the history of our
dealings with President Milosevic as recently as his repeated violations of
the October agreements - we would want to be able to resume the air
Now, exactly how much time it would take between the North Atlantic
Council's acceptance of the idea of a suspension, based on verifiable deeds
not words, I would think it would be quite quickly; but I wouldn't want to
QUESTION: Just quickly follow up. At the same time, how soon could we
expect the verification -- or the peacekeeping force, rather, to move in? I
would assume that it would have to take place fairly quickly.
MR. RUBIN: Yes, we believe there are now, I believe, over 20,000 troops
in Macedonia and Albania. The Macedonian Government just approved the
deployment of 30,000 troops in their meeting with Secretary Albright
yesterday. The subscription, so to speak, for that larger force, I believe,
have largely been filled out.
So certainly, we'd have a precursor, a leading edge force, that could move
very quickly upon actual acceptance of these terms and the beginning of
QUESTION: You mentioned there were some differences in wording or
different versions coming out of Belgrade, in terms of the acceptance, that
were critical. Can you tell us what parts they are?
MR. RUBIN: Well, I mean, if you were to pull up on your computer screen
the different wire services' reports, you would see some differences. One
of the key words is the word "all." That certainly has been part and parcel
of our view. That is what's required here. We're not going to allow the
Serbs to maintain large forces in Kosovo. We've said from the beginning
that because of the massive ethnic cleansing that has occurred by Serb
forces in Kosovo, all the forces need to leave. Then and only then
would we be prepared to see small, symbolic presences return. So that's
an example of a detail that's a lot more than a detail; it's critical.
QUESTION: A follow-up, though. Is there another detail, too? There have
been different adjectives attached to the NATO - whether it's an essential
NATO force, or fundamental. Is that another one you're worried about?
MR. RUBIN: That one I think is more subjective. The word "all" is pretty
quantitative and objective. So I think what matters to us and what we've
said very clearly is that there has to be a unified command and control;
there has to be a peacekeeping force with NATO at its core; and that that
NATO force has to deploy throughout Kosovo so as to make sure that any
implication that there could be different rules or rights or policies in
one part of Kosovo wouldn't be acceptable.
QUESTION: Jamie, there's one word that doesn't appear in there, and
that's "The Hague." Whatever this agreement is or is not, apparently it
leaves Milosevic in power and several of his colleagues who have also been
indicted. Could you comment on that, please?
MR. RUBIN: Yes, as you know from the many briefings we've had here in the
Department and from the many discussions we've had with all of you, we did
not set, as a condition of suspending the air campaign, the necessary
arrival of President Milosevic to face his indictment. So I'm sure it won't
be a surprise to any of you that in the agreement that is designed to
achieve a suspension of the air campaign and to see a deployment of a
peacekeeping force, that the word that you mentioned wouldn't be in
there. I don't think that should come as a surprise to anybody.
With respect to our policy on that, I think it's quite clear that President
Milosevic's reign has been a tragedy for the people of Serbia. We've seen
wars lost in Bosnia, wars lost in Croatia, Slovenia go independent. Now the
terrible tragedy visited upon the people of Kosovo by the Serb authorities
has lead to an intensive and quite effective -- and, unfortunately, quite
disastrous for the future of Serbia -- air campaign against Serbia. So I
think that the reign of President Milosevic has been marked by these
events. He has now been indicted as a war criminal, and it remains our view
that all countries, including Serbia, should submit indicted war criminals
to the jurisdiction of the court in The Hague.
QUESTION: What is it going to take for the US, NATO and the NATO allies
to declare victory here? Is it the beginning of the withdrawal of the Serb
troops; the entry of an international peacekeeping force; the return of all
the refugees; or the implementation of Kosovo as an autonomous region?
MR. RUBIN: Well, we believe that if, indeed, the Serbs accept NATO's
terms and conditions and if, indeed, the refugees return, and if, indeed,
the people of Kosovo have the self-government that we have sought for them
that they deserve and the rights that go with that, then the Serb policy of
ethnic cleansing, the Serb attacks on Kosovo that generated this military
conflict, the Serb ethnic cleansing campaign that began last year,
that intensified this year, will have been reversed and will have
been prevented for the future through the presence of this security
force. That will put the people of Kosovo in a much safer, more secure
position, and it will demonstrate that NATO as an institution and the
United States as the leader of NATO would not stand idly by and allow that
kind of ethnic cleansing to occur and succeeded in reversing it.
QUESTION: That's victory, then?
MR. RUBIN: I'm not going to get into a definition of that. I've told you
what our objectives are. I've just described to you what I think the
results would be if all of the refugees returned, if the Serb forces
withdrew, and if the ethnic cleansing was reversed, and that is our
objective. This is a very sober time; this is a very cautious time; this is
not a time for popping champagne corks. This is a time for getting the
refugees home and for getting the Serb forces out of Kosovo.
QUESTION: Maybe I can put it another way. What is it going to take for
Operation Allied Force to be dismantled completely? By that I mean when
this whole thing began, we were reminded again and again that the
Activation Order for air strikes had never been lifted; it had just been
suspended. So what's it going to take for this no longer to be an option
MR. RUBIN: Once the Serbs have indeed accepted NATO's conditions -- and
that is something we're waiting to see -- once we have verified the details
and then verified the fact that the Serb forces have begun their withdrawal,
once the Serb forces have completely withdrawn, once the entire NATO
peacekeeping force is deployed, then the air strikes that were generated
through an Activation Order and authority given to General Clark,
we'd no longer be necessary. That doesn't mean there wouldn't possibly
be other ways in which NATO would support its peacekeeping force. But as
far as the air campaign directed at the Serbian military machine --that has
succeeded in breaking that military machine so well over the recent months -
- would not need to occur. But I don't want to prejudge things that are
going to go on many, many days from now.
QUESTION: You've told us that Strobe is getting a briefing now. Did
Ahtisaari make any phone calls to either Deputy Secretary Talbott or
Secretary Albright from Belgrade by way of a heads-up or a short thing, or
is this the first direct communication?
MR. RUBIN: Well, I don't want to comment on every diplomatic communication.
We did receive some preliminary reports over the last several hours. But
given the inability to receive a full and frank briefing, we think the
definitive report will come in the form of the meeting with President
Ahtisaari, Deputy Secretary Talbott and others in Cologne right now.
QUESTION: What is Deputy Secretary Talbott's schedule after he gets a
briefing from Ahtisaari?
MR. RUBIN: I would think he would be calling Secretary Albright right
away after that briefing and others. The Secretary will be in a position to
brief the President, who I understand is expected to speak to the subject
in an hour and half or so.
QUESTION: There's a report that he may be going to Helsinki tomorrow.
MR. RUBIN: I don't know where - look, this is the beginning of the
process; this is not the end of the diplomatic process. This is the first
real sign that there is reported movement on the fundamental question. We
don't consider this the end of the process. Deputy Secretary Talbott has
done an extraordinary job at the direction of Secretary Albright, working
closely with Russia, working closely with the Finnish President, Mr.
Ahtisaari, keeping the allies consulted and briefed on every step of the
way. The result has been that Russia, the European Union, NATO, the
United States have all been on the same side in calling for President
Milosevic to see the writing on the wall and do what it takes to bring a
peaceful resolution. It's a step that we believe is necessary, and we're
certainly encouraged by the cooperation we've received from all the
diplomatic interlocutors in generating the necessary agreement to go to
But what results from this, what additional diplomatic steps are necessary -
whether to codify details or whether to have additional meetings, I'm not
prepared to specify at this time.
QUESTION: The text that we have here has all the hallmarks of being
written in advance of the visit to Belgrade. Do you have any reason to
believe that there have been any changes made in this text since the two
envoys arrived in Belgrade?
MR. RUBIN: We do not believe they were negotiating. This is not a
negotiation; it wasn't a negotiation. We believe it was an explanation and
an elaboration. The text that has been published in various news agencies
that reportedly was passed by the Serb Parliament greatly resembles the
agreement that we struck with Mr. Ahtisaari and Mr. Chernomyrdin, that we
think brought this process to this moment. But the devil is in the details,
and that's why we want to check the details, see what indeed the Serbs
have accepted and then, more importantly, see what indeed the Serbs
are going to do.
QUESTION: Have you had any contacts with the Chinese on what their
position might be on the Security Council Resolution now?
MR. RUBIN: I'm sure we have been in regular contact with China about the
Kosovo issue. It is our view that at the end of the day, if the rest of the
world supports a peaceful resolution of this conflict through having a
Security Council, among other mechanisms, that the Chinese would certainly
not want to stand in the way of peace. That obviously is their decision,
but that is our judgment.
QUESTION: I know you said the devil is in the details, but based on the
preliminary reports you received this morning, is it your understanding
that what Milosevic apparently agreed to is the same plan the parliament
MR. RUBIN: That's the kind of detail that we have to get from Mr.
Ahtisaari, who would have been in the position to describe his meetings.
What I can tell you is that the documents that have been printed in
Belgrade greatly resemble the necessary details. I think some of the words
may look very familiar to some of you because they've been, unfortunately,
coming out of my mouth over and over again here in the briefing room.
But what President Milosevic has accepted, what exactly the Serb Parliament
voted on, these are the kinds of details that we need to get a full
briefing before we're in a position to respond to.
QUESTION: To just follow up on that, I know this is a tough question to
answer, but what does the Administration think -- if, in fact, Milosevic
has finally agreed to what NATO's conditions are to end this, what does the
Administration believe led to this? Was it the intensified campaign; was it
the fact that Russians for the first time appeared to be on the other side
of the table, not with them?
MR. RUBIN: I think it is our strong view that whatever movement may or
may not have occurred by President Milosevic and the Serb authorities in
the last 24 hours is a direct result of the intensified air campaign that
has broken his military machine in Kosovo; that has involved over 30,000
strike and supporting sorties; that has involved the destruction of huge
portions of his military in Kosovo, infrastructure in Serbia, command
and control throughout Serbia, and you know all the details. It is
our strong view that we took this action not because we wanted to move to
force, but because after exhausting every diplomatic opportunity, every
diplomatic avenue we could, we realized that it was force and only force
that was going to be able to get President Milosevic to reverse course, and
that the diplomacy that has been going on has been in the service of force,
in the furtherance of force as a tool that, unfortunately, was necessary to
convince President Milosevic to reverse course. We do not believe -
have not made a judgment as to whether that has, indeed, happened,
that he has reversed course. We are awaiting the details to see whether
that has happened.
QUESTION: Once you get the details, will you make them public?
MR. RUBIN: Well, the Serb authorities have been doing a pretty good job
of that. I don't think there will be any secret about the details, once
we've nailed them down.
QUESTION: Could I follow up please? Is there anything that you're aware
of in this agreement that in any way would affect the obligation of member
states of the United Nations to pursue Milosevic as a war criminal and turn
him over to The Hague?
MR. RUBIN: That's impossible. The only thing that can change the
obligations of member states is another Security Council resolution. We
would not support any step by anybody to do that. Every state has an
obligation to abide by the Security Council resolution calling on member
states to act to bring to justice those indicted by the Tribunal.
QUESTION: Jamie, you said that KFOR could go in fairly quickly. You're
talking about fairly quickly after the suspension of the bombing, after the
completion of the withdrawal? That's one question. The next question is,
when they get there, what are they going to be doing? Are they going to be
trying to reestablish civil government fairly quickly, or are they just
going to be separating forces? And the third question is, at what point
do they start disarming the KLA?
MR. RUBIN: Good questions. First of all, the idea is that the force will
deploy as acceptance is confirmed and the beginning of the withdrawal is
verified. We envisage a very short time table for the full withdrawal. We
believe the force can deploy very quickly. I'm not going to give you a time
line for how many days after the beginning of the withdrawal, but certainly
I can tell you very quickly.
Secondly, I remember the third one so let me go to that first and we'll
come back to the second one. With respect to the KLA, I believe that
Secretary Albright is going to be in touch with several of the key Kosovar
Albanians in the coming days, and others have been discussing this issue
with them. We certainly want to see the essential elements of Rambouillet,
which envisaged the demilitarization of the KLA under a certain approach,
will be part and parcel of this package. We have high confidence that
at the end of the day, if indeed the Serbs withdraw their forces, if indeed
Milosevic reverses course and accepts all of NATO's terms and conditions
and all the Serb forces are withdrawn, NATO deploys, that we will receive
good cooperation from the Kosovo Liberation Army.
On the second point?
QUESTION: The second point is what is the KFOR going to be doing? Is it
going to be trying to reestablish civil government, is it just going to be
separating forces; what's its role?
MR. RUBIN: Well, I don't think separating forces would be an appropriate
task because there will be no Serb forces because they will withdraw. So
that is not the classic interpositional task of a peacekeeping force.
I think it will have a number of functions on the civil side, on the
engineering side, on the security side. I think, as a rule, military forces
tend to go in and establish security and then perform the associated tasks.
But until NATO has made a final decision in defining publicly the specific
military objectives, I think -- suffice it to say for now that they will be
providing a secure environment; they will be working on recreating
conditions for the refugees to come back; and they will be assisting in
the other international organizations that we've been working very
carefully to coordinate in the important civil implementation package.
QUESTION: What will AID be doing to help get these people home? Houses
have been destroyed, they have no shelter.
MR. RUBIN: Right. Certainly, all of our agencies have been preparing and
are ready and willing and able to act on return of refugees. There are an
enormous number of tasks that are required, given the approach of winter in
the Balkans. Even though summer has just arrived here, the people are very
cognizant of the fact that winter comes early in the Balkans, in this part
of the world. So there are a whole number of tasks related to winterization
and food and medicine and water supplies - engineering tasks -- that AID
has been planning for, that other agencies of the US Government have been
planning for. Beyond those broad points, I couldn't give you any more
QUESTION: Would KFOR be doing de-mining?
MR. RUBIN: I believe that de-mining is part of the objective. Exactly who
will be performing that function, to what extent it is contracted out and
all of that, I wouldn't be able to answer.
QUESTION: Jamie, some of the neighboring Balkan countries are expressing
fear that since the Western allies and NATO have propped up Kosovar
Albanians and somewhat supported the KLA, that once this conflict ends that
it will go towards the spread of a greater Albania. Could you comment on
that and maybe allay some of the fears of some of those countries?
MR. RUBIN: Yes. We have worked very, very closely with a number of the
countries in the region: Romania, Bulgaria, Albania, Macedonia -- the
Secretary just met with the Prime Minister of Macedonia yesterday - Croatia,
Bosnia; and we strongly believe that the future for this region lies in
greater integration, reconstruction and joining the institutions of Europe.
We are working very closely with our allies on a concrete plan, along the
lines of what was done for the countries of the East after the end of the
Cold War and what was done for the defeated countries after World War II,
to try to bring the southeastern part of Europe into the European
Obviously, that will be up to them; but we want to give them a major
helping hand in terms of finance, assistance and money. We are going to be
With respect to the political arrangements for the future, we have said
quite clearly that we don't support a greater Albania. We think that has
dangers. What we do support is greater integration between Albania,
Macedonia, Serbia -- when and if they pursue a democratic course. So we
want to see integration; we don't want to see further splitting apart.
QUESTION: Have you given much thought to the reconstruction of Serbia
itself once this process moves ahead? Serbia itself, or the FRY, is not a
member of the IMF or the World Bank, which will make it difficult in those
MR. RUBIN: Well, our view on that is that we have given thought to this.
We do want to see Serbia rejoin the Western community of nations. We want
to see a democratic Serbia join not only those institutions but other
institutions. But we find it hard to imagine that a Serbia headed with the
current regime that has pursued such profoundly undemocratic practices
could proceed in that direction. We have long said that our support for
Serbian and Yugoslavian integration into the institutions you mentioned
requires democratization; it requires cooperation with the War Crimes
Tribunal; it requires resolving successfully and peacefully the situation
in Kosovo; it requires working to ensure the freedoms of the people of
So there are a number of steps that we think need to be taken before we
could support the Serbian integration into the rest of Europe, including
reconstruction assistance that we would not be prepared to provide unless
and until they pursued a democratic course. Under the current regime, that
doesn't seem very likely at all.
QUESTION: By all accounts, there is this lingering dispute with Russia
over the status of any Russian troops that take part. Given the pace of
which things are moving, how urgent is it to resolve this, and what forum
do you propose to resolve it in?
MR. RUBIN: Yes, we've worked very closely with Russia. We think Russia
has played a major role in uniting with the international community and
moving forward on the peace process and trying to convince President
Milosevic to pursue a peaceful solution by accepting the demands of the
international community. We have had some very preliminary discussions with
Russia about the peacekeeping question and how it would relate.
Let me say that our view remains the same. Our view is that NATO's
peacekeeping force - this 50,000 strong force - is going to have a unified
command and that the other partners who came to the pledging conference -
the force generation conference - indicated they would be comfortable with
I would point out that President Ahtisaari of Finland has said that he
would not support Finnish participation in peacekeeping unless it was under
a NATO command; Finland not being a member of NATO. So what we are making
clear is that this force has to have a unified command, has to be deployed
throughout Kosovo to ensure no perceived or real possibility of partition.
With respect to Russian participation, that's an open question. We have
said we would welcome Russian participation provided, arrangements can be
made consistent with the principles I just laid down. Arrangements were
made in the case of Bosnia, where the Russian contingent reported to an
American, and not to a NATO commander. We think analogous command
arrangements can be made if the Russians so choose. But in our view, if
President Milosevic is going to accept these requirements and these terms
from the international community, if they're going to be verified and
then we are to suspend the air campaign and move to deployment, we're
going to have to move to deployment quickly. But it's an open question as
to whether mutually acceptable command arrangements can be found.
QUESTION: So you might go ahead without Russian participation if you
don't agree on a formula in time?
MR. RUBIN: Well, we need to get the force deployed if there is acceptance
by the Serbs of NATO's forces. It's an open question whether we can work
that out in time; it's just an open question.
QUESTION: How many meetings with the Russians --
MR. RUBIN: I think we've been in very close contact with the Russians; we
will continue to do so. I don't have a meeting schedule for you.
QUESTION: The resolution passed by the parliament calls for both an
international security presence under UN auspices, as well as - in another
point of the resolution - a security presence with a fundamental, or
essential NATO. Is that suitable? I mean, it seems to call for two separate
MR. RUBIN: We don't see it that way. We have always said we could
envisage a Security Council resolution authorizing member states to deploy,
and we've always said we could see the Security Council endorsing and
adopting the arrangements that were made by the G-8 and thus, by implication,
the NATO steps. So if the Security Council were to endorse and adopt those
steps and allowed countries or endorsed countries putting together a
peacekeeping force, that would be the auspices of the United Nations.
What we won't accept and we think would be a mistake, would be any control
by the UN Secretariat of the peacekeeping force that is deployed. This has
to be a NATO command and control, following NATO chain of command.
QUESTION: Jamie, following on that, does the Security Council have to
have taken its action before KFOR moves in, or can KFOR go in and then be
MR. RUBIN: Well, assuming everybody agrees and there's a desire to move
quickly, it strikes me that it won't be that hard to move in the Security
Council. But we've not said it's a necessary prerequisite for the force to
deploy. It would certainly be desirable to have a Security Council
endorsement and adopt a resolution encompassing NATO's planned peacekeeping
QUESTION: A quick question on that. At the G-7 political directors'
meeting this evening in Germany, do you expect them to take up the drafting
of the Security Council resolution?
MR. RUBIN: I don't think any decisions have been made as to what the next
procedural steps are going to be. I think the only thing I can tell you
about that is that I would expect, after Deputy Secretary Talbott's
meetings with Mr. Ahtisaari, we'll be meeting with other EU members in Bonn,
Deputy Secretary Talbott will call Secretary Albright. She will be in touch,
as I said, with a number of ministers, as she has been this morning,
throughout the day.
In that regard, let me say that Secretary Albright is going to not join the
rest of the US delegation and lead that delegation to Mexico. Due to the
high level of diplomatic activity regarding Kosovo, Secretary Albright has
had to withdraw from heading the US delegation to the Binational Commission
taking place in Mexico City on the 3rd and the 4th. She does so with regret
and disappointment because she was looking forward to discussing the many
issues of importance to our bilateral relations.
The US-Mexico relationship is fundamentally strong and based on mutual
interest and respect. It has been recently strengthened by tremendous
growth in trade relations and commercial interests since the signing of
NAFTA, and by the strong and special friendships of Presidents Clinton and
Zedillo, Secretary Albright and Secretary Green, and the US and Mexican
people. Secretary Albright has expressed her disappointment to Secretary
Green and is planning to find a way to go to Mexico at a later date.
I bring that up to simply say that all the next procedural steps are things
that the ministers are going to decide after they get a full briefing from
QUESTION: Another procedural step would be the possible military-to-
military talks you mentioned. How would you do that, and how soon would you
expect that to happen if that's --
MR. RUBIN: That's a possibility; I wouldn't go into that at this time.
It's just another option to pursue. It may happen, and if that happens,
we'll have more to say about it.
QUESTION: A follow-up to that, several of the drafts mention a military
technical agreement that would have be reached here. Would a senior US
military officer participate in those talks in Belgrade? And the second
question is, will Kosovo be divided up into sectors - American, British,
French and possibly a Russian sector?
MR. RUBIN: At this point, as I indicated in response to Jonathan's
question, we haven't done any planning with Russia about the command
arrangements that would be mutually acceptable to allow for Russian
deployment. So we've been operating as a NATO-unified command, with a NATO
deployment, with the welcome participation of partner countries. That
planning is going ahead. Obviously, the military has sectors in which it
But if Russia were to participate, we wouldn't envisage a situation where
there could be some separate Russian operation that created different terms
and different rules and different policies in that sector. That's why we're
insisting on a unified command structure and NATO deployments throughout
With respect to your first question, I just don't want to prejudge who will
go where and when. I'm just saying that military-to-military talks are a
possibility, as you can evidently tell from the document. So I think that's
a possibility; that's a way to codify the necessary steps.
QUESTION: Do you know if the OSCE verifiers who are under Ambassador
Walker, would they be involved in this in any way?
MR. RUBIN: My understand is that the civil implementation is still being
discussed. I think that, obviously, people who are expert in Kosovo will be
looked for by whatever international entity handles the international
provisional administration, and they may be recruited on their own basis.
But I don't think a decision has been made as to how precisely the
international provisional administration would be run and who would run it.
So I couldn't answer that directly.
QUESTION: So, (inaudible) they really have been disbanded?
MR. RUBIN: I can't answer the question as to what their next role would
QUESTION: I know you hate philosophy, but I shall ask a philosophical
MR. RUBIN: Thanks a lot.
QUESTION: Assuming this operation turns out to be a success, what kind of
MR. RUBIN: I don't mind the beginning of your question.
QUESTION: What kind of precedent does it set and what message does it
send to other governments which might try to oppress minorities anywhere
else in the world?
MR. RUBIN: Let me say that we believe this mission will be a success. We
believe and have said for some time that we have confidence in the air
campaign in breaking the military machine of President Milosevic. We have
pointed that out in the face of what I think would fairly be described as
some skepticism by others. We have been determined to pursue that air
campaign in furtherance of our objectives. Our objectives were not only to
secure the stability of this part of the world, which is important to
us for national interests reasons; but also because of the values
that we represent in not standing idly by and allowing a dictator to use
war crimes and crimes against humanity, for which he has now been indicted,
to kill and maim and rape and kick and expel a million and a half people
from their homes.
That is what happened in Kosovo; that was the rationale for our action
there. It had both a national interest component and a moral component -- a
moral imperative and a national interest imperative. That is what generated
our action in Kosovo. I wouldn't want to speculate on what we would or
wouldn't do anywhere else because every situation is different.
But certainly, I think, even now, the rest of the world knows that the NATO
alliance was prepared to take military action -- punitive, successful,
relentless military action against the Serb authorities for the reason that
they decided to conduct this ethnic cleansing campaign.
QUESTION: I know that it's difficult to ever predict why Milosevic would
do what he has done or how he would respond, but were people in this
building surprised if, in fact, he has accepted it? How does this peace
deal differ from the one that had been put forward during the Rambouillet
MR. RUBIN: Well, first of all, let me say that there's a lot of people in
this building. I'm sure that all of you can find someone who has every
opinion; because as we like to say, opinions are like noses, everybody has
But with respect to the Secretary of State, there were some very erroneous
reports on what her expectation was at the start of this operation. I think
it's fair to say that she doesn't make predictions like that. The goal is
to decide whether the use of force is justified, whether the use of force
is necessary. Then it is the job of the military to conduct that use of
force. Then it is the job of the Secretary of State to provide the
diplomacy backing that force up.
We have done that in the last several weeks, working with President
Ahtisaari and Mr. Chernomyrdin. What President Milosevic decides to do is
not knowable. It's not a knowable thing whether he will do X or whether he
will do Y or whether he will do Z. We have had confidence that the use of
air power was the correct decision, was the right decision. We've had
confidence that ultimately the air campaign would succeed in achieving its
objectives. But as far as predictions and surprises and expectations that
have been falsely presented about the Secretary's views in the past,
I'm just not going to say anything other than she knew the course
was right; that this was the right course; and that she has been relentless
in pursuing the unity of the Alliance in maintaining that course, and
relentless in pursuing diplomatic avenues that can achieve all of our
objectives and see Milosevic accept the terms that we have set forth.
QUESTION: The second part of the question? How does this deal --
MR. RUBIN: I'd forgotten that after my long soliloquy?
QUESTION: How does this deal differ from the one that Milosevic could
have had, back two months ago?
MR. RUBIN: Well I think it differs in substantial ways. First of all,
there are no political arrangements. The political arrangements are to
come. He had political arrangements that would have protected every right
of the Serbs through the constitution that we had established in Rambouillet.
He had a political arrangement that would have protected their legal rights,
their political rights through the constitution. He had the ability to have
several thousand Serb forces deployed in several parts of Kosovo.
And now that is not going to be permitted - only symbolic presences.
So after withstanding, suffering, unfortunately, many, many, many weeks of
sustained and powerful military campaign, the Serbs will have a worse
situation than they could have had by signing the Rambouillet agreements,
which were a good deal for the people of Serbia, kept Kosovo within
Yugoslavia and Serbia, and also provided for the rights of the Serbs that
are in Kosovo, a high degree of self-government for the people of Kosovo,
and a significant substantial troop deployment and police deployment, which
is now not going to be permitted.
QUESTION: But isn't Kosovo still a part of Serbia?
MR. RUBIN: Well, right now - right. I didn't say that every point - you
asked me a question of what was worse, and I detailed a number of things.
So I don't understand the question.
QUESTION: Well, you were saying that under Rambouillet, he would have had
MR. RUBIN: I was explaining why Rambouillet was a good deal for the Serbs
- that it kept Kosovo within Yugoslavia and Serbia; it allowed for
substantial deployment of Serb troops in Kosovo; it allowed for Serb rights
in a constitutional system. And all of those things are things that he
could have had without suffering the damage to the military machine and to
the future of the people of Serbia that have occurred in recent weeks.
So unfortunately he made a tragic error. He fundamentally miscalculated the
intent of the West to use air power. He fundamentally miscalculated the
unity of the West and NATO in pursuing that air campaign until he meets our
QUESTION: He will not have to accept, under the terms as we understand
them, as they've been reported, free and unimpeded access of NATO or
international peacekeeping forces throughout Yugoslavia, which was one of
the provisions of the Rambouillet accord. And I guess he will not also have
to accept a referendum of some kind, which was also part of the understanding.
MR. RUBIN: I think you misunderstood the Rambouillet accords. The
referendum was something that the Serbs agreed to. They agreed to a package
of a meeting, in which the various inputs would occur of that meeting,
including the will of the people of Kosovo. So that wasn't something that
was a problem for the Serb authorities in the negotiations in Rambouillet.
With respect to military access, again, I think it's a pretty easy balance
here, Michael. Several weeks of 30,000 strike sorties rained upon the
military machine of President Milosevic, setting back the country decades
in its economic capabilities; as against signing an agreement which kept
Kosovo within Serbia, allowed a substantial deployment of Serb police and
military in Kosovo, and allowed for the protection of all rights of Serbs
within Kosovo in a constitution; as against accepting of the withdrawal of
all Serb forces, only a symbolic presence and, of course, the NATO
forces will ensure the rights of all the people in Kosovo.
So that's a pretty easy ledger to suggest whether or not there would be
have prescribed rights about access to corridors for military operations in
Serbia. I hope you weren't even beginning to suggest that somehow
Rambouillet was worse for the Serbs than what happened here.
QUESTION: Can I just follow up on a slightly different question? Do you
have - is there a best case scenario planned for how quickly the Kosovar
refugees will be able to get back into Kosovo? In other words, rebuilding
villages -- I mean, even under a best case scenario - if Serb troops
withdraw in the next few days and KFOR is allowed to go in -- will there
have to be some refugees remaining in camps as winter comes?
MR. RUBIN: Well, I think it's impossible to answer that question right
now. It's June; you're talking about October. That's July, August,
September, October - that's four months from now. I don't know what's going
to happen in October.
What I know is that we are planning for success; that our military
authorities are working with civilian authorities in various organizations -
the UNHCR with AID, with NATO military authorities - to make sure that the
combined military-civilian implementation can go forward as quickly as
possible, as rapidly as possible, so as many refugees as possible can go
back as quickly as possible.
Whether will some will prefer to stay until they can see reconstruction in
their areas or until they can be confident that they will have the
necessary facilities to return, I think is an open question at this point.
But we're certainly planning for success.
QUESTION: Just so I understand, if Milosevic has accepted the conditions
MR. RUBIN: That's a big "if."
QUESTION: If he has, then, will the US press for a complete disarmament
of the KLA?
MR. RUBIN: The proper word here is "demilitarization." I'll get you a
copy of the Rambouillet accords, which describes demilitarization as
envisaged in those accords. That remains the principle under we're
operating. I think we believe at the end of the day, we will work
cooperatively - NATO with the Kosovar Liberation authorities - in ensuring
that the peacekeeping force deploys in the proper environment.
QUESTION: Jordan received an assistance package for helping --
MR. RUBIN: Jordan? Wow.
QUESTION: Well, I'm going there. Helping with the Middle East peace
process. Are the Russians going to receive something similar? Are they on
the receiving end of some type of a package for helping with the Kosovo
MR. RUBIN: We think Russia played a very important role in working
closely with Mr. Ahtisaari and Deputy Secretary Talbott in putting a great
effort behind this work here. We think that was extremely important. We
believe Russia did that for its own national interest, as we would expect
We provide substantial assistance to Russia in many forms, through the Nunn-
Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program, through a number of technical
assistance programs that will allow for the growth of democracy and human
rights and freedom of the press and other projects. We work closely with
the IMF and the World Bank in providing loans as appropriate, pursuant to
their conditions to the Russian authorities. That has been our policy
before the Kosovo crisis, and that will remain our policy. I wouldn't
expect any changes one way or the other. We do that because it's in
our national interest to provide that assistance through those modalities,
and that will continue regardless of the work that we've been doing with
Russia, which we certainly hope will turn out to be successful.
Okay, only Kosovo.
QUESTION: Jamie, do you know of any agreement or understanding with
Milosevic that falls outside of the terms that were agreed by the Serb
MR. RUBIN: No.
QUESTION: There are reports in India --
MR. RUBIN: More Kosovo?
QUESTION: When you're talking about the new democratic government in
Yugoslavia, has the United States really taken a look at who could be the
right person to lead the new government in Yugoslavia?
MR. RUBIN: That's not up to us to decide. What we can do is judge the
democratic policies and practices of the Serb authorities in Belgrade now.
We can hope for the opposition groups, working together, to bring to the
fore new leadership that would bring democratic practices and policies to
Serbia. But we're not in the selection process here.
QUESTION: And do you really believe that some day Milosevic is going to
be on trial for his --
MR. RUBIN: We believe that statute of limitations on war crimes does not
expire. We believe that all war criminals will eventually have their day in
QUESTION: You talk about the help of Russia; it's possible that China
will be needed to if this goes to the UN. Is it true that there are
consultations going on in Beijing over the Chinese Embassy bombing
MR. RUBIN: I don't believe that we have decided the who and the when for
the kind of discussion that we intend to have with the Chinese about the
tragic accident that occurred at their embassy.
QUESTION: Could you clear up something? Apparently there was a statement
by Ivanov out of Beijing, after his meetings with the Chinese, about
reiterating this point about a cessation of the bombing before an
agreement. Are you convinced that the Russians are on the same page on all
this, with Chernomyrdin agreeing to one thing?
MR. RUBIN: Well, what I can tell you is that the package presented to
Milosevic by Mr. Chernomyrdin and Mr. Ahtisaari was a unified package that
you have now seen much of, and that the positions contained therein were
the positions we have spelled out in the past. They include the fact that
the bombing will only be suspended when there is a verifiable beginning of
the withdrawal of Serb forces. That is our view, and we believe that
nothing contradictory to that was presented in Belgrade. But I don't
know which particular account you're commenting on, but we certainly
have worked very closely with Mr. Chernomyrdin.
QUESTION: Can you confirm reports in India that during the weekend, the
Secretary talked to the Prime Minister of Pakistan and asked him to
withdraw the Pakistani forces to other side of the line of control
(inaudible) Pakistani forces, but also the infiltrators who are sent on
this side of the line? In this connection, I might read to you one item,
which has been published in Calcutta, which says, "The Clinton Administration
has told Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in no uncertain terms to get
the infiltrators out of the Kargil and move quickly towards normalization
with India to save what remains of his country's international reputation."
What I'm asking is, can you confirm that the Secretary talked to the Prime
Minister of Pakistan and maybe India, I don't know? Also, what exactly was
the message; and whether the message to Pakistan is different from the
message to India?
MR. RUBIN: Yes, all good questions. Let me say that Secretary Albright -
I can confirm - did telephone Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and
India Foreign Minister Jaswan Singh on Saturday. The message was that we
wanted to share our views with them on the current situation; that we
wanted to express our concern about the developments and the potential for
them spinning out of control and urge restraint by both sides in preventing
them from getting out of control.
We remain in touch with the Indian and Pakistani Governments to express our
strong concern, to urge them to show restraint and prevent the fighting
from spreading and to urge both countries to work together to reduce
tensions. We call on both sides to exercise restraint and avoid spreading
the fighting beyond the Kargil area.
Beyond saying that, I think it would be preferable to leave our discussions
and comments that are made in private in private.
QUESTION: But could we go a little further on the US position, if you
don't want to get into the conversations? That's typical of a even-handed
statement more familiarly given for Middle East developments. Apart from
the conversations which, indeed, you say are private, what is the US
position? Is Pakistan - if you want to use the word aggressor - has
Pakistan provoked this latest conflict? What kind of people have they moved
in; have they moved in troops; have they moved in insurgents, troops
disguised as, I don't know, what, as freedom fighters or insurgents or
whatever? Could you get into a little bit of the situation because you
have two nuclear nations now, nose-to-nose - you don't need me to
obviously - I don't need to point out to you that this could be a very
difficult situation. What is the US handle on what's happened?
MR. RUBIN: I think I got all of that.
QUESTION: Restraint, restraint, restraint, of course. We all want
restraint. You wanted restraint from Yugoslavia, but it was pretty clear
who the bad guy was.
MR. RUBIN: I don't think we used the word restraint in the case of
Yugoslavia. Let me say that we obviously have our views as to what has
transpired and the reasons for what has transpired, and our views on who is
where; but we do not think it would be wise to engage in a public
discussion of that at this time. We have friendly relations with both India
and Pakistan, and we think the best course of action for our diplomacy and
for avoiding the chance of this spinning out of control is to leave our
views on subjects like this private -- make them strongly in private,
but in public, state our view that we would want both sides to urge
We think that's the responsible course in order to avoid the miscalculation
or inflammation of the situation that could lead to the points that you
made, which is why we are handling this so carefully.
QUESTION: How would restraint be manifested by one side or the other or
both? How would they show restraint? Would they pull back, or would they
put their guns down, or would they talk?
MR. RUBIN: We certainly would want them to talk to each other to work out
an arrangement to stand down from the current conflict. We certainly would
want them to not take steps to expand the conflict beyond the current
Kargil area. That is examples of restraint. Beyond that, I don't think it's
appropriate for me to say.
QUESTION: This is the flash-point from the Balkans to the valley of
Kashmir. My question is directed to this area that in Bangladesh, being one
of the countries in that region, are you aware of any move from the Indian
side that India is considering to have security pact with the friendly
neighbors of the region, let alone Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and Nepal? And
wouldn't that be of any impact to the United States, and will that bring
in further in the way of deterrence, or would it inflict into a more
conflicting atmosphere in that region if India makes an overture for
security pact with those friendly neighboring countries?
MR. RUBIN: I think I got all that, too. And is there more? I hope not.
Let me say that I would like to check on the details you discussed with
respect to relations between the various countries and steps they're taking
in uniform with each other or not, and give you a considered response to
that important question.
QUESTION: Different subject? Do you have anything on the election in
MR. RUBIN: I think we certainly welcome the development of a democratic
South Africa. And we certainly will have more to say - (laughter) - when I
find it. We understand that final results will not be available until later
today, or perhaps tomorrow. At this stage, it is clear that South Africa's
people voted in large numbers and that the polling has been peaceful and
orderly. All indications are that the elections will prove to be another
historic and successful step in the consolidation of South Africa's
democracy. With the election results not final, we would not want to
speculate on the outcome.
As for the selection of South Africa's next president, unlike the US system,
the president is not elected by a direct vote. We understand that South
Africa's newly-elected parliament will meet on June 14 to the elect the new
president. We expect that the US and South Africa, whatever the results of
the election, will continue to strengthen our already close bilateral
QUESTION: Is there any concern that the apparent overwhelming victory of
the ANC - I mean, is that viewed positively, or is that viewed as a
possible problem to a healthy, vibrant democracy?
MR. RUBIN: We believe that the proof of a healthy, vibrant democracy is
not only a first election -- a first free election -- but also a second
free election. We think that this second free election was a historic and
successful step in the consolidation of that democracy. We're not going to
comment on reported results until we've seen the final results. But
whatever happens, we believe we will continue to strengthen our close,
QUESTION: Who is going to head --
MR. RUBIN: Attorney General Reno.
QUESTION: On the Middle East -- Mr. Netanyahu's spokesman, David -
QUESTION: That was Mexico.
QUESTION: Mr. Netanyahu's spokesman David Bar Illan I believe was in the
latest election of The National Review, is accusing the Clinton Administration
MR. RUBIN: Is he still the spokesman there?
QUESTION: Well, let's just say David Bar Illan.
MR. RUBIN: Is he still employed? I just don't know whether I'm commenting
on the views of a private citizen or not.
QUESTION: Okay, let's just put it this way. David Bar Illan is accusing
the Clinton Administration of engineering the defeat of Netanyahu. He said
this was done by publicly criticizing Mr. Netanyahu and saying that he was
an obstruction to the peace process. But he goes on to say that Dennis Ross
privately was saying that Mr. Netanyahu was justified in demanding
Palestinian security cooperation before handing over more land. Is this
true? And did the US public position criticize Israel, while in private
support Mr. Netanyahu?
MR. RUBIN: Well, let me say this: I've had a lot of opportunity to work
with Mr. David Bar Illan over the last couple of years. We worked very
closely together at the Wye Plantation peace accords. We worked very
closely with Prime Minister Netanyahu's government at that event, and we
achieved what we believed was an historic breakthrough in continuing the
Oslo process. We continue to believe in the importance of that process.
There are some positions that the Netanyahu government took that we thought
were in furtherance of the peace process and some that we thought harmed
the peace process. We always said so before the election, during the
election and after the election. We didn't take different positions
because of the election, and we wish Mr. David Bar Illan well in his
QUESTION: Jamie, but by Israel insisting on security as a condition to
giving up land, was that a demand that furthered the peace process or was
it one of those positions that you all - your peace team thought maybe
didn't further the peace process?
MR. RUBIN: I think you know well, because most of my responses to this
and my views on this were expressed in response to your questions. We
believe that security was a sine quo non -- for the Palestinians
QUESTION: Well, because that --
MR. RUBIN: No, I believe the bulk of it was about us interfering with the
Israeli elections. So I thought that was most of what I needed to
QUESTION: Well, in fact I don't expect you to answer. But --
MR. RUBIN: Well, with respect to that point -
QUESTION: -- focus on security.
MR. RUBIN: Let me give you the answer. The answer today is the same as it
would have been during the election or before the election; and that is,
security is a sine quo non that the Palestinians shouldn't do it as a favor
to the Israelis. They should do it because it's good for the Palestinians
and it's good for the Israelis. That's something we believe in - 100
percent cooperation, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
QUESTION: Do you think that stories that appear in American newspapers,
like the one yesterday in The New York Times and The Washington Post, of
Mexican officials or Mexican power families affect the strong relationship
between Mexico and the United States?
MR. RUBIN: Well, we are a believer in a free press here. I'm sure that no
one in the Mexican leadership would want to be against a free press. We
believe in a free press; we work with the press; I'm here with the press.
That is the nature of democracy and the free press.
QUESTION: Thank you.
(The briefing concluded at 1:47 P.M.)