U.S. Department of State Daily Press Briefing #80, 99-06-24
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 24, 1999
Briefer: James P. Rubin
1-4 War Criminals Rewards Program
1-4 War Criminals At-Large/Holbrooke's Comments/Possible Arrest of Karadzic
in Bosnia/Future Milosevic Policies
2&3 Amb. Scheffer/Karadzic
4&5 Pickering briefing of House Intelligence Committee/ Unfortunate
5&6 Indian Forces in Kargil Sector of Kashmir/General Zinni in Pakistan/G-8
Wants Removal of Forces/Prevention of Escalation/US Encourages
7&8 Sale of Bangladesh Gas to India
NORTH KOREA/SOUTH KOREA
8&9 Amb. Kartman/Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye Gwan Meeting in Beijing
About Trip to Kumchang-ni/Dr. Perry Review
9-11 British-Dutch Effort For Iraqi Cooperation/Monitoring Program
11 Monitoring Freedom of the Press
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
THURSDAY, JUNE 24, 1999, 12:50 P.M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. RUBIN: Good afternoon. Welcome to the State Department briefing --
not quite as prompt as yesterday. Let me start with the following
Under authority provided by the Congress, Secretary Albright is pleased to
announce today a war criminal rewards program for the former Yugoslavia.
The United States is offering a reward of up to $5 million for information
leading to the arrest or conviction in any country of persons indicted for
serious violations of international humanitarian law by the International
Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia or for information leading to their
transfer to or conviction by the Tribunal.
Any person providing such information may be eligible for a reward of up to
$5 million. Anyone who has information - particularly information on the
location of an indictee in any country - should contact the nearest US
Embassy immediately. They may also call 1-800-HEROES, one, or they may
contact the US Department of State website at www.heroes.net.
All information and leads provided to the US Government will be treated in
the strictest confidence. US and foreign government officials who, while in
performance of their duties, furnish relevant information would not be
eligible for an award. We are a leading promoter and proponent of justice
and the rule of law in the former Yugoslavia. This program is intended to
increase the prospects that indictees who are currently at large will be
transferred to the custody of the Tribunal for trial. This program
applies to persons indicted by the Tribunal or who may be indicted
in the future for war crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia.
We strongly encourage all indictees still at large to surrender themselves
voluntarily to competent local authorities or to the NATO-led stabilization
force in Bosnia. All indictees transferred to the custody of the Tribunal
will be treated with dignity and will receive fair and just treatment under
We discourage bounty hunters from taking any action to detain any indictee.
Anyone possessing information on the location of an indictee is strongly
encouraged to contact the Department of State immediately.
QUESTION: Jamie, how many at-large indictees are there; do you know?
MR. RUBIN: Well, there are a couple of dozen remaining from Bosnia. There
are obviously the five indictees, including President Milosevic, of Serbia
and Yugoslavia. This $5 million reward program will apply to information
leading to the transfer of Mr. Milosevic. But the new five are the five
indicted by Mrs. Arbour several weeks ago.
QUESTION: There are some indictees who, the fact that they've been
indicted has not been made public. Do you know if those are going to be
made public so that they have a chance -
MR. RUBIN: That would be up to the Tribunal.
QUESTION: With regards to Milosevic, what sort of information could you
get? It's not as if you don't know where he is.
MR. RUBIN: Well, again, the issue with respect to war criminals is not
just the issue of today or tomorrow. It is our view that, ultimately,
people indicted for war crimes in the former Yugoslavia will face justice
in The Hague. Their day will come; there is no statute of limitations.
So to answer your question directly, whether this may or may not apply
today to the whereabouts of Mr. Milosevic, who may not always stay in
Belgrade, who may go to other places - I don't know what his future travel
plans are - this will apply until such time as he is before The Hague and
QUESTION: But it seems to me if you say you're discouraging bounty
hunters - at least in his case, and perhaps in the case of Milutinovic,
that you actually are encouraging people to go out there and grab these
guys. The other, second part of that question is, what do you do with this
information once you get it; who do you give it to?
MR. RUBIN: We have used this program before in the case of the killings
outside the CIA office in Virginia, in the case of the bombings of the
World Trade Center. Information provided to law enforcement officials
through this program led to the arrest of people. In this case, I
specifically said we are not encouraging bounty hunters, and the money goes
to those who provide information that leads to the transfer of indicted war
With respect to the other part of your question, I've forgotten; try it
QUESTION: Now I've forgotten.
MR. RUBIN: Good.
QUESTION: Oh, wait, hold on, I have another on the same vein. Ambassador
Scheffer with the FBI experts in Djakovica, I guess this morning, made some
what might be referred to as gentle hints to the French that they should
arrest Karadzic. I'm wondering if the -
MR. RUBIN: The President of the United States -
QUESTION: Wait -
MR. RUBIN: Go ahead.
QUESTION: I'm just wondering if the US has made any official request to
the French authorities to do this.
MR. RUBIN: Right. Any contact like that would not be something I would
discuss in public. The President of the United States indicated in an
interview on television last week that we have taken steps to arrest
indicted war criminals in our sector, and we would welcome others doing so.
So there's nothing new about that.
QUESTION: On the same subject, this morning in his testimony before the
Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Mr. Holbrooke was talking about the
lessons learned from Bosnia and how they should be applied. He said - and
this is almost an exact quote - that NATO could have and should have
arrested Karadzic in Bosnia, but didn't. Are you aware that NATO troops
could have nabbed him and didn't?
MR. RUBIN: Well, I'd have to look at what he said before I made any
comment. But certainly, we want, within the scope of the operational
considerations of the commander, for indicted war criminals to be brought
to justice. So we would share Ambassador Holbrooke's view that the sooner
these people are brought to justice, the better. But obviously, neither
Ambassador Holbrooke nor I are in a position to second-guess the decisions
of the local commanders in these situations.
QUESTION: Well, was there a policy at that time not to rock the boat by
MR. RUBIN: If you're talking about the last Administration, I'll have to
check for you. If you're talking about this Administration, when I've been
here, there isn't a non-rock-the-boat policy, no. And I can't imagine any
Administration would be supportive of having its view be known as the not-
QUESTION: I remembered the question you don't want me to ask.
MR. RUBIN: If I didn't want you to ask it, I wouldn't have come back to
QUESTION: In the two - and actually, it's a little different. In the two
cases that you mentioned before - the embassy bombing and the CIA shootings
- both of those -
MR. RUBIN: Who gets the information.
QUESTION: Yes, yes, yes, exactly, but because both of these people were
wanted by US courts. In this case it's not, obviously; it's the International
War Crimes Tribunal. So -
MR. RUBIN: Just to go back and compare and join Jim's question and your
question, let us say, hypothetically, that someone has information about a
war criminal in the American sector in Bosnia and the information is
provided to the State Department through this program, we would pass that
information on to our military in our sector. That could prove useful in
their capture or a voluntary surrender. That would be an example.
QUESTION: Question about the amount, specifically. The $5 million is for
the catcher of these five individuals?
MR. RUBIN: No, it's up to $5 million for information. The Secretary will
use her discretion, depending on the information and the target and all
that, to decide what particular information yields what particular amount
QUESTION: Do you feel that after Kosovo, Milosevic could do something
nasty again in other places, like - (inaudible) -
MR. RUBIN: We're concerned about the policies of President Milosevic. We
have been concerned about those policies for some time. It is certainly
something that we will be watching very carefully, something we're
QUESTION: Can you confirm that an analyst raised a red flag about the -
MR. RUBIN: That was a - Kosovo?
QUESTION: Kosovo/China - about that the targeting may not have been right
when NATO inadvertently hit the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade?
MR. RUBIN: Let me say that Under Secretary Pickering briefed yesterday
members of the House Intelligence Committee on his trip to China last week
to convey to the Chinese Government the results of our investigation into
the accidental bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade. Administration
officials will continue consultations on the Hill on this matter, and will
make a determination about public release after these consultations.
These consultations are continuing. Clearly, a tragic and unfortunate
accident occurred. There's no doubt that serious mistakes were made. The
President has been briefed; the CIA is doing a further review of accountability.
But I wouldn't want to comment on specific elements of the report.
QUESTION: n his explanation to the Chinese, during Pickering's mission to
Beijing, did this account that several, I guess, senior intelligence
officials given to a number of newspapers - this account of a mid-level
analyst come up during the explanation to the Chinese?
MR. RUBIN: This is sort of let's try to get at it from another angle? I
am not in a position to confirm the details of this kind of intelligence
information at this time.
What I said in response to your colleague's question is that we provided a
briefing to the Chinese; we're providing a briefing to the Hill. At the
appropriate time, we'll be in a position to discuss these matters publicly,
and now is not yet the appropriate time.
QUESTION: Jamie, again on this, have there been any further discussions
since the Pickering trip, given the Chinese -
MR. RUBIN: With?
QUESTION: With the Chinese, given their - outright rejection wouldn't be
correct, of the report - but their skepticism about the report?
MR. RUBIN: I'm not aware that we've had continued consultations with the
Chinese on this report. Having delivered himself of the report and having
the interagency team deliver itself of its analysis of how this tragic
accident happened, I think we feel like we've given our explanation to the
Chinese. Obviously, there are issues of compensation for the families and
those injured - families of those killed and those injured - that we're
prepared to continue to discussing. There are issues related to the
American facilities in China, as well as the Chinese facility in Belgrade,
that we're continuing to discuss with them.
I don't know at what level these discussions have gone on, but I don't
think there has been a higher level attempt to explain in any greater
detail than what has already been explained in quite significant detail.
QUESTION: On that, how does the US get past this in terms of improving US-
Chinese relations if the Chinese continue to say that they're not satisfied
with the US and NATO explanation that was -
MR. RUBIN: Well, we've given them what we believe was a satisfactory
explanation. We've gone into great detail with it. We clearly want to move
forward; we believe that China has an interest in moving forward on a
number of subjects in the US-China relationship. With the passage of time,
we believe it will occur.
QUESTION: Can I ask you something on the Zinni mission to Pakistan? And
what is the immediate goal; was it to follow up on the G-8 statement? And
what happens if it fails?
MR. RUBIN: Indian forces continue efforts to retake positions in the
Kargil sector of Kashmir from forces that have infiltrated from the
Pakistani side of the line of control. The United States remains in close
contact with both governments. General Zinni, the commander in chief of the
US Central Command, is in Pakistan at the direction of the President for
talks with military and civilian officials. His trip is part of our
continuing close contacts with the Pakistani and Indian Governments. He is
pursuing our concerns about ending the fighting in the Kargil area of
He met today with the chief of the army staff, General Musharaf and other
military officials. My understanding is that he will meet with Prime
Minister Sharif tomorrow. General Zinni is not planning to go to India, but
a member of his team - our Deputy Assistant Secretary Lanpher -- will
travel to New Delhi as part of our efforts to keep both sides fully
informed. As you know, we, the United States, and the G-8 want to see
withdrawal of forces supported by Pakistan from the Indian side of the line
of control. Reestablishment of the line of control, an end to the fighting,
the exercise of restraint and recommencement of bilateral dialogue is part
of the Lahore process.
This was endorsed by the G-8 leaders, and we think that this is the path to
preventing the kind of escalation that we have been concerned about that we
think would be so damaging to the people of the region, as well as the
QUESTION: Is the fact that Zinni is not going to India an indication that
the US places most of the blame for this current problem on Pakistan?
MR. RUBIN: Well, I wouldn't put it that way. What I would say is that we
want to see the withdrawal of forces supported by Pakistan from the Indian
side of the line of control. So certainly that's something that we think
General Zinni can work on.
QUESTION: I'm from the Daily - (inaudible) - and with me today is the
chief editor of our newspaper, Mr. - (inaudible).
MR. RUBIN: We do allow editors in the briefing room.
QUESTION: We come far away.
MR. RUBIN: Yes.
QUESTION: The question is on Bangladesh and -
QUESTION: Can I follow up on the earlier question?
QUESTION: Go ahead.
MR. RUBIN: Yes.
QUESTION: What happens if the forces are not withdrawn? Will you leave
the sanctions or any other steps that the United States -
MR. RUBIN: Well, we're working this problem right now. We think we're
doing what we reasonably can do to try to encourage dialogue, encourage
restraint. That is the focus of our efforts right now, and I wouldn't want
to speculate about the future.
QUESTION: The question on Bangladesh. Does the United States support sale
of gas from Bangladesh to India? This has been a statement made a couple of
months back, Ambassador Holzman* in Daka*, which caused a lot of consternation
there. And my second question, as a follow-up to that, will the United
States support Bangladesh in the gas sector, which is our most lifeline of
Bangladesh? I need these questions to be answered by you.
MR. RUBIN: I see; as opposed to your other colleagues, who just throw
them out there, hoping they'll get an answer, you have a need.
The real issue is not exports, per se, but how Bangladesh can best use its
gas reserves to accelerate the country's economic growth and improve the
lives of its citizens. While these decisions must be made by Bangladeshis,
the United States and American companies active in the country's gas sector
are eager to provide assistance.
For example, a study currently -
QUESTION: Pretty good for off the top of your head.
MR. RUBIN: Currently underway and funded by the US Trade and Development
Agency is seeking to assess the relative advantages to Bangladesh of
potential downstream options for using the gas. Clearly, any consideration
of the future of the gas industry in Bangladesh should include the
possibility of exporting Bangladeshi gas to the huge market next door in
We see enormous potential for greater regional cooperation - I don't know
what happened to me this morning.
We see enormous potential for greater regional cooperation in South Asia in
the energy sector and a - (laughter) -
I want to take a break, but I guess I'm not allowed to do that. So -
QUESTION: (Inaudible) - carried live to -
MR. RUBIN: We see - all right, no laughing out there, so I don't see
anybody's laughing face - (laughter) --
We see enormous potential for greater regional cooperation in South Asia in
the energy sector, and applaud efforts by Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee
and Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed to strengthen bilateral
We note that Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee visited Bangladesh recently,
inaugurating a bus service between the two countries.
QUESTION: Thank you. At least it brought some happy smiles to everyone's
MR. RUBIN: Thank you.
QUESTION: North Korean talks - can you give us a read-out on the meeting
that took place yesterday, and tell us perhaps why you think that the
meeting didn't suffer the same fate as the North-South Korean talks?
MR. RUBIN: Our Ambassador Kartman met June 23 and 24 in Beijing with
North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye Gwan to apprise him of the
results of our trip to Kumchang-ni in May.
Ambassador Kartman's discussions also covered other issues related to the
implementation of the agreed framework and the upcoming Four Party Talks
plenary in Geneva in early August. We expect to issue, as I said yesterday,
a statement on our assessment of Kumchang-ni.
With respect to the discussions also focused on the subjects that may be
raised by the North Koreans. In keeping with our usual practice, I can't
provide you details on the context of the discussion.
As you know, with respect to the North-South vice ministerial talks, we
warmly welcomed the resumption of that dialogue. We strongly support
President Kim Dae-Jung's policy of engaging the North in direct dialogue.
As we have observed many times in the past, dialogue between North and
South Korea is key to achieving progress on the Korean Peninsula.
We understand that the South and North agreed to remain in contact about
the possibility of further meetings, but it would be up to the South to
provide an update. There were meetings on the 22nd in Panmunjom on the
question of the line of control. I don't have any speculation as to why one
set of meetings occurred and another did not.
QUESTION: On the same subject, I know this has come up repeatedly, can
you give us any indication when Dr. Perry's review might be ready?
MR. RUBIN: Well, as far as the timing for that is concerned, that is a
process that is ongoing. With respect to the comments of South Korean
President Kim about the substance of his review, let me say that concepts
such as eventual normalization of relations with the North are nothing new.
Indeed, the agreed framework between the US and North Korea encompasses a
comprehensive vision that provides for just such an eventuality as the
North Koreans address issues of concern to the United States. President
Kim's engagement policy contains a similar vision.
The US remains ready to take steps towards - and I'm quoting now from the
agreed framework - "normalization of political and economic relations"
provided that North Korea take steps to address our concerns about its
nuclear and missile programs. The agreed framework also addresses steps
that the US could take on sanctions easing such as, "reductions of barriers
to trade and investment, restrictions on telecommunications services
and financial transactions."
As Dr. Perry made clear, he was traveling to the North as an envoy, not a
negotiator. He explored the possibility of a major expansion in US-North
Korean relations as part of a process in which American and allied concerns
about missile and nuclear programs are addressed. This is a core element in
our North Korea policy.
So Dr. Perry is continuing in his work. I do not have a time frame yet to
provide you for the completion of his review.
QUESTION: Is he kind of fine-tuning his report as events unfold; is that
possibly what's holding it up?
MR. RUBIN: I'd really rather let him describe what he's doing, but I
don't have a date for his report.
QUESTION: Jamie, I just want to make sure of one thing. The Kumchang-ni
report is not out, right, yet, because there's a South Korean report saying
that it is out. I just want to make sure you haven't gone around -
MR. RUBIN: It would be our report, and we certainly wouldn't release it
in Seoul before we gave it to our demanding and hungry press corps here in
QUESTION: Right, good, just checking.
QUESTION: Do you have anything to say - there's a number of resolutions
in New York about inspection and monitoring of Iraq's weapons of mass
destruction programs. I don't know if the timing is off, but I wonder if
you have any --
MR. RUBIN: Well, we've been supportive of the British-Dutch effort to try
to obtain Iraqi cooperation with Security Council resolutions so that the
monitoring can resume of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program. We
think that is a good resolution that we're prepared to work from, and we
are consulting with other countries on the Council to try to work on a way
to ensure that Iraq does resume its monitoring programs and comply with the
Security Council resolutions on disarmament.
QUESTION: As far as you know, since Desert Fox, does the international
community or the US really have any idea as to what's going on?
MR. RUBIN: I didn't hear part of it.
QUESTION: Does the international community or the US, since Desert Fox,
which was in December -
MR. RUBIN: Desert Fox, right.
QUESTION: Does it have any idea sort of what the -
MR. RUBIN: Yes, we maintain a very vigilant program of monitoring of Iraq
both in conventional military terms and in terms of their unconventional
programs. I think we train significant assets to that effect.
We have said that we would be prepared to use military power again if Iraq
were to reconstitute its weapons of mass destruction. We think we will be
able to make that judgment based on our national technical means. Obviously,
we would want as much information and verification and inspections as
possible in order to learn as much as possible about such a dangerous thing
as a Saddam Hussein armed with chemical, biological or nuclear weapons.
QUESTION: What are the aspects of that Anglo-Dutch resolution, which you
would like to improve, as you say?
MR. RUBIN: We don't normally discuss those things in public.
QUESTION: Are you prepared to say what the monitoring of their weapons
programs has yielded?
MR. RUBIN: You mean what is our current judgment? I will have to see
whether there's something we can say about our conclusions in that
QUESTION: Before Desert Fox, you used to routinely say, we have no
evidence that they significantly advanced their weapons programs, even in
the absence of inspections. I notice you're not prepared to say that now,
but perhaps when you -
MR. RUBIN: Let me try to get some information in which we can provide as
best we can our current judgment of that.
QUESTION: The Kurdish delegation - are they finished their meeting in
MR. RUBIN: I don't believe so; I think they're ongoing.
MR. RUBIN: Talks often take longer than -
QUESTION: But this has been unusually long.
MR. RUBIN: Talks - I've been part of many talks that go unusually
QUESTION: Can you tell us what the aim of these talks is, at least?
MR. RUBIN: I think I did that yesterday; I don't have much to add on
QUESTION: Can I ask you about another trial in Turkey? I wonder if the
Administration is monitoring the trial of journalist Andrew Finkel (ph),
and if so, how that factors into human rights in the area.
MR. RUBIN: Well, let me say that we do not support any laws which
interfere with freedom of the press. We cannot and would not support any
laws which would have the effect of interfering with freedom of the
This is an ongoing case, and I'm not going to be able to make specific
comments at this time, but we will be monitoring.
QUESTION: Thank you.
MR. RUBIN: Thank you.
(The briefing concluded at 1:20 P.M.)