U.S. Department of State Daily Press Briefing #75, 99-06-11
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
Friday, June 11, 1999
Briefer: James B. Foley
2 Secretary Albright's Travel
1&5 Deputy Secretary Talbott's Return Trip to Moscow to Clarify
the Russian Position
1,2,6 Foreign Minister Ivanov Confirmed that Russian Troops Will
Not Move into Kosovo Until Their Role in KFOR is
Determined/Russian Troops Will Join NATO-Led
International Security Force if Arrangements are Made for
2 US Welcomes Russian Participation
3&6 Chinese to be Provided with Results of Detailed US
Investigation into Accidental Bombing
3&4 Update on Air and Ground Attacks in Kashmir/US Strongly
4 Naval Stand-Off/US in Close Consultation with South Korean
Allies/US Monitoring Situation/UN Command Has Invited
DPRK for General Officer's Talks
5 Dr. Perry's North Korean Policy Review
6 Lifting of UN Sanctions Against Libya/Pan Am 103
6&7 Draft Proposal by Sixteen German Corporations to Settle
Slave Labor Issue Leaked/Under Secretary Eizenstat
Facilitating Talks to Achieve Legal Closure in the US
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
OFF-CAMERA DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
FRIDAY, JUNE 11, 1999, 2:30 P.M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. FOLEY: Welcome back for this. Are you the dean emeritus or ad
interim? Because you're the one that promised a rapid briefing today.
Otherwise, I'm going to call on Nancy Beck for the first question.
QUESTION: Since Betsy's responsible for this, why doesn't she ask the
first question? She probably has a very penetrating question in mind.
MR. FOLEY: George, why don't you go first, then?
What is it, how do I feel today?
QUESTION: No, how does Strobe feel today? Can you give us information
about his return to Moscow, and how that's going and what's happening?
MR. FOLEY: Well, as you know, Secretary Albright is still on her trip;
the spokesman is still with her, and I'm not here to get into any kind of
detail on Kosovo until they return. That's our standard policy. What I can
confirm to you is that Deputy Secretary Talbott did return to Moscow today,
to clarify the Russian position. But as Secretary Albright herself has
stated publicly today, she spoke directly with Foreign Minister Ivanov
today, and he assured her that Russian troops will not move into Kosovo
until their role in KFOR is determined.
We take these assurances seriously, and our understanding is that the
Russian movement of troops or personnel represents a pre-positioning of
forces, so that Russian troops can join the NATO-led international security
force for Kosovo, if arrangements can be worked out for Russian participation.
That's what Deputy Secretary Talbott is currently working on in Moscow
QUESTION: And how are those talks going?
MR. FOLEY: I don't have a read-out of those talks. I think we'll have to
wait a little bit. As I said, Secretary Albright is now, I believe, en
route back to Washington, and we'll have a firmer idea of how her trip went,
and the results of Deputy Secretary Talbott's ongoing negotiations in
Moscow, perhaps, sometime tomorrow.
QUESTION: The fact that he made a u-turn certainly suggests that he was
caught by surprise by the arrival of Russian troops in Serbia. Is that the
MR. FOLEY: I wouldn't read too much into that. The fact is that we have
indicated, from the beginning, that we welcome Russian participation,
provided that appropriate arrangements can be worked out. The Russians have
indicated that they are seeking to pre-position forces, so that they're in
a position to deploy into Kosovo. That deployment will not occur until the
arrangements are worked out in terms of the Russian role within KFOR.
QUESTION: Well, the fact that he went back also indicates that the
agreement that he had when he left - I mean -- he didn't feel was
MR. FOLEY: Was not complete - not completed.
QUESTION: So he has gone back to complete it?
MR. FOLEY: Well, they're working on it. I can't predict to you when it
will be concluded. But inasmuch as we have assurances from the Russians
that they're not deploying these forces into KFOR - into Kosovo, excuse me -
now, in advance of the completion of arrangements, as I said I would not
read too much into the fact that they are seeking to pre-position forces,
so that they are, indeed, in a position to deploy, when those arrangements
have been completed.
QUESTION: Do you know if Talbott will return tomorrow?
MR. FOLEY: I'm not aware of his itinerary at this state. If I find out
more later, I'll let you know.
QUESTION: Was there any surprise or unhappiness about what the Russians
did in Kosovo?
MR. FOLEY: Well, I can't speak to the conversation that Secretary
Albright had with Foreign Minister Ivanov. As I stated at the beginning, I
don't normally discuss matters that the Secretary is treating when she's in
the region; and until she returns, I think it's inappropriate for me to go
into any more detail. But I thought I would answer those preliminary
QUESTION: She's airborne.
MR. FOLEY: She's en route.
QUESTION: When did Albright speak to Ivanov?
MR. FOLEY: I don't have the exact time. It would have been some time
early in the morning, our time here in Washington. Yes, today.
QUESTION: She was in the Balkans and he was -
MR. FOLEY: I assume in Moscow.
QUESTION: Do you know whether the delegation is going this weekend to
MR. FOLEY: No, I don't have information on that. The fact is that we're
still examining the issue of who, when and how we will provide a briefing
to China on our investigation of the accidental bombing in Belgrade. It's,
as I said, under active consideration, and being discussed with China
through diplomatic channels.
QUESTION: So it's possible someone will not go there?
MR. FOLEY: I'm sorry, what?
QUESTION: So it's possible someone will not travel to China, but it could
be done here?
MR. FOLEY: No. No, we have undertaken with the Chinese to send a
representative with a detailed report of our investigation into the
accidental bombing. We intend to follow through on that commitment. I
simply said that the issues of who, when and how are still under active
QUESTION: So it won't be this weekend?
MR. FOLEY: I have told you previously that I would not announce anything
in advance of such a visit. I don't want to be pinned down on dates when I
repeat the issue of who, when and how have not been decided.
QUESTION: The issue of "what" has been decided. I mean, what -
MR. FOLEY: Yes, the "what" was decided quite some time ago. We agreed to
provide the Chinese with the results of a detailed investigation, into the
tragic and accidental bombing. So the "what" was decided quite some time
QUESTION: OK, so that has been - exactly what is going to be said has
been worked out, then?
MR. FOLEY: I can't tell you whether the investigation itself is fully
complete or not.
QUESTION: Jim, on India and Pakistan, things look like they're getting
nastier. Are you trying to get them together?
MR. FOLEY: Well, let me first update you on the current situation. Indian
air and ground attacks continue in the Kargil area of Kashmir, against
infiltrators from Pakistan. India continues to report the capture of some
strongpoints. We are aware, as are you, of the press reports that indicate
Pakistan has turned over six mutilated bodies of Indian soldiers. We find
the reports disturbing and we are seeking more information. I would note
that Pakistan has denied these reports. We don't, for our part, have
independent information on the reports and, therefore, can offer no
The incident does underscore the urgency of the need for India and Pakistan
to speak directly with each other about the current hostilities in Kashmir.
As you know, Pakistan's Foreign Minister, Mr. Sartaj Aziz, will visit New
Delhi tomorrow for talks on the fighting.
The United States strongly supports talks between India and Pakistan to
resolve this latest dispute. We remain in contact with both the Indian and
Pakistani governments to express our strong concern, to urge them to show
restraint and to respect the line of control that they agreed to over 25
years ago. We also urge them to prevent the fighting from spreading beyond
the Kargil sector, and to work together to reduce tensions.
QUESTION: Anything more on tensions between North and South Korea?
MR. FOLEY: Well, you're aware of the fact that there had been an ongoing
incident or a naval stand-off. Our understanding is that ships from both
sides are still in that area. We are in close consultation with our South
Korean allies, and we are monitoring the situation carefully, and working
closely with the Republic of Korea, to ensure that the situation is
diffused and tensions are reduced.
Our forces remain in their normal state of readiness. What I can tell you
is that the UN command has reissued an invitation to the DPRK for general
officer's talks, to exchange information about the incidents as a tension
reduction mechanism, to prevent further military confrontations in this
area. The DPRK is currently considering this invitation, and we certainly
urge them to take advantage of the opportunity to engage in dialogue on
this important issue; because we think it's in everyone's interest to
reduce tension in regard to this incident.
QUESTION: Another subject: I've seen a report saying that you may have a
new boss after the Kosovo peace accord is in place. Reportedly, Mr. Talbott
is the candidate to be the --
MR. FOLEY: To be the spokesman of the State Department?
QUESTION: No, no, no; to replace Secretary Albright.
MR. FOLEY: When you ask anybody in the State Department about his or her
boss, you could be talking about many layers of bosses. The report is
QUESTION: So not true - no truth?
MR. FOLEY: No truth, "preposterous" is stronger than "no truth."
QUESTION: Is the deputy spokesman leaving?
MR. FOLEY: He has a tough job, but I wouldn't recommend the spokesman's
job to anybody.
QUESTION: I want to come back to a North Korean issue. Yesterday evening
Dr. Perry gave a speech in -- somewhere in Washington, D.C. He said he is
going to submit his final report later this year. Do you have any idea
(about how much) later this year, or what is the reason? Because he said in
Seoul after he went to Pyongyang that he is going to submit his report
soon; but compared with what he said in Seoul, what he said yesterday has
changed a little bit. Do you have any idea when Dr. Perry (will) submit
his final report?
MR. FOLEY: Well, the operative word remains "soon." I don't know what he
may -- or may not -- have said yesterday, but what I can tell you is that
he is in the final stages of his North Korea policy review, and he's
planning to report to the President soon. He'll report when his policy
review is complete, not before that; so I can't put a specific date on
Our North Korea policy of maintaining strong, deterrent alliances with our
friends in the region, while engaging the DPRK in serious dialogue to
reduce tensions and address our concerns, remains unchanged. Far from
delaying his report to the President, Dr. Perry is working expeditiously to
complete it. As you know, he led a delegation to hear for himself, first-
hand, the opinions and views of the DPRK. The trip to Pyongyang, he said,
was a valuable tool to assess DPRK positions.
It's both prudent and necessary, in our view, for him to take the time
necessary to complete the assessment of that trip -- also the time for
further consultations with Congress which, as you know, occurred on
Wednesday and on Thursday of this week -- because we believe that close
consultations with the Congress remain an essential element of his ongoing
review. Remember: He has factored into his review a wide range of expertise,
including from the Congress, including from within the government, in
the expert community and from our allies and friends in the region.
QUESTION: After he came back to Washington, DC, the United States, did he
- has he met the President Clinton or Secretary Albright?
MR. FOLEY: Well, I'd have to refer you to the White House for a
definitive word, but my understanding is: no. He will meet with the
President when he's completed his review, and he presents his recommendations
directly to the President.
QUESTION: I'd like to bring up the Moscow talks again. As I understand it,
Talbott has been speaking in Moscow to Russian Defense Ministry people; is
MR. FOLEY: Well, he has had an interagency delegation that's included US
military officers. I don't happen to know whether they've broken into sub-
groups or met in plenary form.
QUESTION: In any case, he hasn't been talking directly to Ivanov?
MR. FOLEY: I believe he has met with Foreign Minister Ivanov. I'd have to
check that for you afterwards. I think since you've raised it again -- and
I don't intend to get into the Kosovo issue until Secretary Albright's
return -- and I believe Mr. Bacon has been addressing the subject during an
ongoing briefing I'm sorry to have pulled you from, over at the Pentagon.
But I think the important point to stress is that, regardless of the events
of the day, or things of that nature, the fact of the matter is that
the agreement, which is enshrined in this UN Security Council resolution,
stipulates that the deployment will occur under a unified command. So that
is the principle that the Russians have accepted already, that the Security
Council has endorsed. We are reassured by the assurances of Foreign
Minister Ivanov that the Russians fully intend to work out the details of
their deployment within the KFOR context, preserving the unity of command,
before there's any further movement into Kosovo.
QUESTION: About the investigation into the bombing of the Chinese Embassy
in Yugoslavia -
MR. FOLEY: We just -
QUESTION: Yes, I know you addressed that question, but has it been
completed, or how soon will it be completed?
MR. FOLEY: Well, I was asked that question. I don't know whether it has
been finalized or not, and I'll have to look into that.
QUESTION: There's going to be a meeting - maybe it's already started - in
New York involving the United States, Libya, Britain and Kofi Annan. Do you
have anything on that?
MR. FOLEY: Right. That meeting is taking place today. As you know, UN
sanctions against Libya were suspended when the Pan Am 103 suspects were
transferred to Dutch custody for trial early last month. Under the UN
Security Council's resolutions, final lifting of sanctions can occur only
after Libya satisfies certain other requirements established by the
The Secretary General is to report to the Council on Libyan compliance in
early July. As we have told you previously, the United States and the
United Kingdom are consulting with Secretary General Annan on Libyan
compliance. That meeting is, I understand, taking place this afternoon, and
it had previously been agreed that a Libyan representative could be present
at that meeting with him on this subject.
QUESTION: Jim, on another subject. Yesterday, 16 German corporations
released a proposal to settle the slave labor issue. The release of this
has outraged some of the class action lawyers. Does the State Department,
specifically Undersecretary Eizenstat, take any position about whether this
was a proper thing to do to release this document -- this proposal?
MR. FOLEY: Well, the draft proposal constitutes, as I understand it, an
approach that was proposed by several German companies, and that it's not a
conclusive document. Unfortunately, it was given to the press -- and by use
of the word "unfortunate," I think you can understand that this is not
something that we think was a positive development. This is not, in our
view, the spirit in which we want to conduct our discussions.
But, as I said, this is not, as I understand it, a conclusive document.
It's simply one approach proposed by several German companies.
QUESTION: Does the release, whether it's fortunate or unfortunate, does
it set back the hopes to have an early settlement on this whole issue?
MR. FOLEY: I'm sorry, what is your question?
QUESTION: The release of this document, which you describe as "unfortunate,
" does this set back the schedule for closure?
MR. FOLEY: Well, certainly this was not an intentional effort to undercut
the process. This is a document that would have been presented at the June
17 slave enforced labor meeting. Once the document was leaked, the German
companies thought they had to clarify the proposal at their press
The German companies are prepared to engage in discussions concerning their
proposal. I don't know whether the meeting schedule has altered, and I can
look into that for you.
QUESTION: I'm told that the meeting scheduled for today, I think it was,
has been canceled; is that right?
MR. FOLEY: Well, there was a meeting yesterday at the State Department.
An informal group of attorneys discussed how to achieve legal closure in
the US. This discussion included the plaintiffs' attorneys and company
attorneys, as well as US legal experts. Undersecretary Eizenstat is acting
as a facilitator in these talks.
QUESTION: There was to have been a second meeting today, I'm told, and
that didn't take place.
MR. FOLEY: I'd have to look into that for you. That's about all the
information I have at my disposal now, but perhaps we'll have more
information for you on Monday.
I hope you have a good weekend.
QUESTION: Thank you.
(The briefing concluded at 2:50 P.M.)