U.S. Department of State Daily Press Briefing #128, 99-10-08
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, October 8, 1999
Briefer: James P. Rubin
1 Release of Declassified Documents Relating to Events in Chile from
1968 to 1978
1 Assistant Secretary Koh will Brief the Press Regarding His Recent
Trip to Indonesia and East
1 Timor on Tuesday, October 12 at 1:30 p.m.
1 Statement on Global Population Reaches Six Billion
1 Statement on the USIA Waiver Review Branch Relocates to the Visa Office
1-2 Statement on the Apprehension of Khalfan Khamis Mohamed
2 Investment in US Security and Future / Congressional Cuts in the
President's Foreign Affairs Budget Risk Mortgaging US Future
Security for Short-term and Short-Sighted Savings / Congress cuts
the Administration's Request of $43 million by 36 Percent /
Current Foreign Affairs Bill Hampers New Programs to go after
Terrorist Fundraising and Counter Threatened Use of Chemical,
Biological and Radioactive Weapons
2-4,8-9 State Department Reaction to Extradition Hearing Outcome of
Pinochet Case/ Principles of Accountability and Justice, Release
of Documents on Human Rights Abuses / State Department View of CIA
4-6, 13-14 Ratification of the CTBT Treaty / Nonproliferation /
6-7 Return of Donated Helicopters
8 Escalating Violence / Effects on US-Russian Relations / UN
Humanitarian Assistance / Threatened Stability in Caucasus Region
/ Reports of NATO Intervention
10-12 North Caucuses Deployment Issue / CFE Treaty / Russian
Non-Compliance with CFE / SanctionsAgainst Russia / Links to Usama
Bin Laden and Dagestan and Chechnya
7-8 Resolution of the War / Cease-Fire Violations / US Support
12 Security in West Timor Camps / Humanitarian Access to Refugees /
Linkages to Militia and Armed Forces
13 Declassified Perry Report
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 8, 1999, 1:10 P.M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. RUBIN: Greetings. Welcome to the State Department briefing. Let me
tell you how we're going to proceed this afternoon. After a shortened
briefing by me, we're going to turn to a briefing by Ambassador Michael
Sheehan, the Secretary's Coordinator for Counter-Terrorism, so we'll try to
have a somewhat shortened briefing and then Ambassador Sheehan will be here
to brief you on the release of this report.
Before beginning, let me just let you know what we'll have in the form of
Today the Department of State, the Central Intelligence Agency, the
Department of Defense, the FBI and the National Archives are releasing
newly declassified documents related to events in Chile from 1968 to 1978.
The focus for this second release was on documents dated from '68 to '73. A
final release from '68 through the final years of Pinochet's rule will take
place early next year.
Today's release consists of over 1,100 documents, including 350 from the
Department of State, 160 from the CIA and 115 from the National Archive.
Some 500 or so documents from the Department of Defense and the FBI have
been withheld to protect the privacy of individuals, among other factors. A
complete set of the released documents is available for public review in
College Park and we can certainly assist you in efforts in that regard.
Secondly, Assistant Secretary Koh will be briefing next Tuesday here in the
Department after my briefing. He is now in Indonesia and has been in both
East Timor and West Timor and has had a number of meetings and has
discovered a number of troubling developments that he will be describing.
He probably will have a briefing in the field, but he will be available for
all of you on Tuesday.
Thirdly, on a lighter note, on October 12th, 1999, we will observe the fact
that, according to the UN projections, world population will have reached 6
billion. So on Tuesday, the 12th, we will be having a policy forum here in
the Department to discuss this development and its significance.
Fourthly, we have a statement on the USIA waiver review branch relocates
its office. Can you stop writing please?
And, finally, let me say that the Department of State is pleased to
announce the apprehension of Khalfan Khamis Mohamed in South Africa on
October the 5th. Mr. Mohamed was one of five individuals indicted last
December in the bombing of the US Embassy. This attack resulted in the
deaths of 11 innocent people and wounded more than 80 other civilians. This
apprehension was the result of a joint investigation by the Department's
Diplomatic Security Bureau, the FBI, and South African law enforcement
He arrived in New York yesterday, was formally charged in the District
Court this morning. Mr. Mohammed, as well as a number of others were
indicted in connection with the terrorist attack. A number of these other
individuals remain at large and we have offered a $5 million reward.
Let me say that that statement brings to light an issue that I'm going to
try to focus on a little bit in the coming months. Adequately funding
America's diplomacy is an investment in our security and future. It is the
preventive medicine that saves us from more costly and more dangerous
remedies. Congressional cuts in the President's foreign affairs budget risk
mortgaging our future security for short-term and short-sighted savings.
There are many examples of this that you may hear from me about in the days
to come. Today, I would like to give you one example. In the aftermath of
the August attacks, which killed over 250 Africans and 12 Americans, the US
Government expanded its anti-terrorism training program to include 12
additional nations in Africa and the Newly Independent States and to face
new threats such as weapons of mass destruction. These programs train
foreign officials to help protect airports and embassies, detect bombs,
rescue hostages, manage crises and deal with other law enforcement matters
connected to terrorism.
The current Foreign Affairs bill passed by Congress cuts the Administration's
request of $43 million by some 36 percent, which guts the funds needed to
go forward with these badly needed training programs. It hampers new
programs to go after terrorist fundraising and counter their threatened use
of chemical, biological and radioactive weapons. At a time of increased
terrorist threats, these cuts would undermine our efforts to protect
Americans traveling and working abroad, as well as our diplomatic and
military personnel. We believe that this is too high a price to pay.
Ambassador Sheehan may have some further comments on that after the
briefing. But let me say, in light of the fact that just today we have
apprehended a suspect in a terrorist bombing as a result of cooperation
with countries in Africa, it strikes us as particularly troubling that the
very program of cooperating with African countries in the fight against
terrorism is one of the programs being cut by Congress. But Ambassador
Sheehan may have more to say on that.
That is all I have in the nature of announcements. If you have any
questions on subjects that weren't covered upstairs, we can address those
and then move to Ambassador Sheehan.
QUESTION: It is also the anniversary of Don Larson's no-hitter, but why
extend the briefing?
Pinochet. We can't seem to - well, let me approach it this way. Your
reaction, the State Department's reaction all along has been kind of
generic. You know, generic statements, non-specific statements supporting
justice and accountability.
Does the US welcome what's happened now? Would you like to see Pinochet
brought to justice? When it's said that the US condemned what he was doing
at the time, I may have been off that week but I can't remember.
MR. RUBIN: Or getting bar mitzvahed.
QUESTION: Yeah. But put another way, do you think the US, previous
administrations, were public enough in criticizing, in condemning this
MR. RUBIN: On the last point, I have not made it a practice to use this
podium to comment on the positions of previous administrations. I don't
think that would be appropriate. This is the State Department podium. We
are one government and one continuous government.
QUESTION: But Eisenhower's support for the Test Ban Treaty has been cited
every day now. We do comment on stands taken by previous administrations.
MR. RUBIN: I'm sorry, Barry. We do not criticize the positions of
previous governments from the podium. We may explain or enlighten or seek
to elucidate particular points. We do cite precedents in the case of the
fact that in the Comprehensive Test Ban, this has been a goal of many
administrations. I think that is an historical point that is different than
using the State Department podium to criticize previous governments.
With respect to Chile's decision - I'm sorry, the British decision - yes,
we have explained our principles, the principle of accountability and
justice and also the principle of new democracies dealing with these
problems. This is an ongoing legal matter; this is not the end of the road.
There are additional appeals and additional steps that are going to take
place and we do not feel that it is appropriate to comment on every step in
the legal process that Pinochet is going through in the United Kingdom.
QUESTION: But if the step is to bring him closer to justice, isn't that
something you welcome?
MR. RUBIN: We have said - and I'll be happy to repeat for you - that
there are two principles that apply here. One principle is that we have
certainly led the world in the creation of tribunals in Rwanda and
Yugoslavia to bring to justice those responsible for war crimes and crimes
against humanity, so we are second to none in our effort as a nation to
bring to justice those responsible for crimes against humanity and war
There is another principle that we have repeated over and over again, and
that is the principle that Chile is a democracy, a young democracy that is
going through its own process, and I think as you have seen from recent
developments in Chile there have been effects from the legal situation in
the United Kingdom for Mr. Pinochet on what's going on inside Chile. And we
think both of those principles deserve great weight and we do not think
it's appropriate to comment on each development in the legal process
in the United Kingdom.
QUESTION: Would you compare this as a step forward to get justice to the
Chileans or Americans who died during the --
MR. RUBIN: Well, clearly, we have worked very hard on this subject. As I
indicated at the opening of the briefing, we are working very hard
throughout this government to try to declassify information about the human
rights abuses in Chile during the period I described.
Let me take this opportunity to say that any State Department official who
was criticizing the Central Intelligence Agency for not working hard enough
doesn't speak for the State Department. That's not our view. The CIA has an
enormous challenge in declassifying documents. We've been working very
closely with the CIA and it's easy enough to find some official to
criticize another agency in this town, but that person's views are not the
views of the State Department and I wish I knew who they were so I would
discourage them from making such views known in the future.
As far as your main question, it's the same question that your colleague
asked me; that is, we are not going to comment on every legal step in this
process. We have explained our principles that apply here. We do support
accountability and justice and we don't feel that every twist and turn in
the legal process requires our comment.
QUESTION: On question on the CTBT?
MR. RUBIN: Yes. A more pointed question or just general thoughts on
QUESTION: Clearly, it looks like a setback for the Administration that
you can't even have a debate at the moment and, on the other hand, I guess
you have a bigger risk of losing the fight on this one. How do you assess
MR. RUBIN: The way I assess it is it's how the development of the CTBT
won't be a setback for the Administration or the Congress if it goes down,
if it's not ratified; it would be a setback to the nation; it would be
setback to the cause of nonproliferation; it would be a setback to the
effort begun by President Eisenhower. And so it would be a setback to our
efforts to use our leverage, our prestige and our pressure around the world
to encourage other countries not to take the nuclear path, to not conduct
nuclear testing and to not pursue nuclear weapons programs.
If the Senate fails to ratify this treaty, the Secretary has made clear the
effects would be profoundly negative in Europe among our allies who count
on our leadership in nonproliferation, in Asia where we are seeking to
constrain or would like to constrain China's nuclear modernization program,
in North Korea where we're trying to prevent them from going down the
nuclear path and, obviously as the Secretary indicated this morning, in
India and Pakistan. So there would be profoundly negative consequences
around the world by a failure to ratify.
Having said that, we also believe that the treaty has not received the
adequate consideration, serious and careful debate it deserves. So we are
prepared to see a situation develop in which its formal vote and debate
would be postponed.
We want to see that happen because we think a few short days of debate in
the Senate is not enough time for the legitimate questions to be asked and
answered and for the senators involved to understand perhaps as fully as
they should the profoundly negative consequences of voting this treaty
We have heard there are a number of discussions going on on Capitol Hill
about the Senate schedule. We do not control the Senate schedule. The
Secretary certainly made clear the Administration's view that a postponement
would be in the national interest and we are awaiting the discussion of the
Senate leaders to continue.
Having said that as well, it's also correct that we do not want to see the
CTBT issue postponed for a very long time because to postpone it for too
long would be to abdicate our role as a leader in the fight against
nonproliferation. We don't want to go out of the nonproliferation business
for a number of years as a result of a postponement.
QUESTION: Weren't you surprised at the fact that people like Senator
Lugar and not to mention a whole slew of former Defense Secretaries and
National Security Advisers seemed to be publicly opposed to the treaty?
MR. RUBIN: I would prefer not to try to divine their logic. I don't agree
with their logic, the Administration doesn't agree with their logic. Their
arguments don't hold up to the very simple proposition. We don't need to
test. It has been established that we don't need to test, that with a
stockpile stewardship program we can maintain reliability and safety
So what this debate is about is whether other countries will test. We think
they have diminished the effect of non-ratification on the rest of the
world and exaggerated the dangers to our nuclear arsenal when our
Laboratory Directors in the Department of Energy does believe it will be
able to certify the reliability and safety of our deterrent.
What we find particularly troubling is the underlying assumption in some of
these critics' argument that somehow a future President wouldn't follow the
advice of the Pentagon and the Department of Energy and begin to test if
that was necessary. We think that if that advice was forthcoming, if the
reliability and the safety couldn't be certified, then the President would
be prepared to test and it would be irresponsible for any future President
not to do so. So we are particularly puzzled by this presumption of
irresponsibility that underlies a lot of the criticism.
QUESTION: What is not too long a period to delay the vote and is it now
policy here with the Clinton Administration not to have the treaty voted on
in the Senate this particular session? Is that --
MR. RUBIN: I think what I can say, as Secretary Albright implied earlier
today and yesterday, is that we think it is in the national interest to
postpone the vote. It's not up to us to determine the calendar of the
Senate. That is something that the leaders on both sides are now discussing.
But, again, as far as the outer limit is concerned, in general we would be
concerned about an indefinite delay that could mean years of us out of
the non-proliferation business.
QUESTION: How about a delay until after the election in the fall?
MR. RUBIN: I think I'm trying to give you the outer limits of our
position right now. We think it's appropriate for these matters to be
discussed by the senators. On the one hand, we think a postponement is in
the national interest; on the other hand, we don't want a situation where
we're out of the business for many, many years.
QUESTION: You're asking - you will be asking, if I hear you correctly,
Mr. Lott and the powers - the leadership of the Senate --
MR. RUBIN: And by the phrase of many, many years, I hope you are not
interpreting it as accepting the position of three or two or five.
QUESTION: Any (inaudible).
MR. RUBIN: If that was your interpretation of what I was saying, I would
like to strike the comment. For a long time would be our view, the view
that the Secretary made.
QUESTION: You would like Mr. Lott, then, to pull - to yank - this
MR. RUBIN: I think I've addressed that question.
QUESTION: Time Magazine is reporting that the Justice Department has
notified McDonnell-Douglas and a Chinese-owned aerospace company that they
face indictments for export violations unless a plea bargain is reached
later this month. I know that because this is a matter that has to do with
Justice you're not going to comment directly on that, but what do you think
that would do to US-Chinese relations?
MR. RUBIN: I will have to get a considered answer to that legitimate
question. That has not been provided to me, nor predicted.
QUESTION: Is there any information that the State Department has that
would lead it to believe that the export license should have been denied?
Are you able to comment on that?
MR. RUBIN: I would have to investigate what we would be prepared to say
in a public forum about a matter like that.
QUESTION: On Mexico, I'm wanting to know how the US Government have
received the return of the helicopters, 72 helicopters that were given to
Mexican Government three years ago. What do you have about possible
negotiations with the Mexican Government to refurbish 20 of them and return
them to Mexico?
And what do you think about the proposal of Mrs. Dole in regards with the
struggle against drugs? She says if she becomes President she will deny the
help, the assistance, for the drug efforts to Mexico and Colombia.
MR. RUBIN: On the general helicopter issue, the donated helicopters have
been returned to the United States. We are now working closely with our
Mexican counterparts to resolve the ultimate disposition of the helicopters.
It's really a Department of Defense issue to discuss it in more detail.
With respect to Mrs. Dole, let me take this opportunity to start a
formulation that I will use in the coming year, which is I don't think it
would be appropriate for me to engage in the domestic political process by
commenting on every proposal from candidates for the Presidency of the
United States. General views on general topics, particular criticisms
stated generally are subjects that obviously will come up. Sometimes you
will even anonymously be quoting critics from the Republican Party, I'm
sure, in your questions but I don't think it would be appropriate for me to
comment on Mrs. Dole specifically.
QUESTION: On the helicopters, can you confirm that there are negotiations
now with the Mexican Government to return maybe 20 of them?
MR. RUBIN: Well, I'd rather not get into the discussion of what specific
items are being discussed in the ultimate disposition. We are discussing
the disposition with them, though.
QUESTION: If (inaudible) able to find a viable resolution of the war in
the Democratic Republic of Congo are still going on and with respect to
joint military commission the (inaudible) set by the Lusaka Accord is due
to meet on its first session next Monday in Kampala. So I'm wondering if
you have anything to say on that subject.
MR. RUBIN: There have been reports of fighting in the Democratic Republic
of Congo, most notably last weekend's clash near Kabinda. We consider the
cease-fire still to be in effect despite some obvious violations.
Let me say that we condemn violations of the provisions of the Lusaka
Accords by any party. We are working through our embassies in the region
and calling on all sides to cease military operations and abide by the
terms of the Accords.
We are aware of reports that rebel groups supported by Rwandan forces have
attacked armed Hutu groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo. We are
following the situation closely and are strongly urging all sides to
observe the terms of the accord.
QUESTION: Can you comment on the kind of support the US Government is
willing to give to the mechanism meant to help bring peace to the
MR. RUBIN: Well, Secretary Albright has been involved from the beginning
in trying to encourage the various governments involved to take the right
decisions. She has asked Assistant Secretary Rice to be involved in that.
We certainly would look at some of the mechanisms being considered
carefully at the United Nations and elsewhere for what may be necessary to
deal with the terrible conflict.
I suspect that Secretary Albright may have more to say about that as she
travels around Africa, leaving next Sunday for her trip there and touching
on countries that are particularly concerned about that development.
QUESTION: Can you comment on the escalating violence in Chechnya and the
possible effects that could have on US-Russian relations?
MR. RUBIN: With respect to Chechnya, let me say Russian artillery and
aircraft continue to strike targets against Chechnya and we have seen
reports that there were small-scale clashes between ground troops. Reports
of people displaced vary widely. It looks like at least 111,000 have fled
the fighting. We understand an additional convoy of UN humanitarian
assistance arrived in Ingushetiya yesterday. This convoy brought foodstuffs.
We're contributing in a number of ways to the humanitarian situation.
We are deeply concerned about reports of civilian casualties due to
escalation of the conflict in Chechnya. We deeply regret the loss of life,
the innocent loss of life. We have also underscored the importance for all
concerned to act responsibly.
We have raised with Russian officials at all levels, including Secretary
Albright's level, our concerns about continued military escalation as well
as recent military actions. We continue to believe that any resumption of
general hostilities in Chechnya would further threaten stability in the
entire Caucasus region. We have urged a constructive dialogue involving all
legitimate leaders. We believe that only in this manner can Russia be
able to achieve long-lasting stability in the Caucasus.
QUESTION: There is a report that the Chechen president is asking NATO to
try to mediate a peace with Moscow. Do you think it's appropriate for NATO
to do that?
MR. RUBIN: NATO is not a mediating organization and I've even seen
reports suggesting that NATO should intervene in this conflict. No one in
NATO, to my knowledge, is even considering such an eventuality.
QUESTION: I think in some of these documents that you had mentioned that
have been declassified, one of them deals with a guy named Charles Horman,
who is a journalist in Chile who was killed in 1973. And, apparently, a
document that was authored by a State Department official says that US
intelligence was aware of Chile's - that Chile saw Horman in a serious
light and that US officials did nothing to discourage the logical outcome
of Chile's paranoia about him.
I was wondering if you were familiar with this particular subject?
MR. RUBIN: No, I think it would be - the documents were just released so
I would suspect that anyone who suspects they knows what were in the
documents would do well - I am talking about the person you are quoting
there - to actually read the document and then see whether we are in a
position to comment.
But, again, what we are trying to do here is to release as much information
as possible, to be as open as we can. We in the State Department have
worked very, very hard to get information out there and to declassify
documents. The documents speak for themselves and it is up to others to
draw conclusions and interpretations.
We have released the documents so that the public can view them, the public
can make its decisions about their significance and draw their own
conclusions, and we can't be in a position of thousands of documents to be
trying to be the ultimate arbiter of the meaning of those documents. They
speak for themselves. They are as declassified as possible and we would
prefer for others to draw their own conclusions based on reading them.
QUESTION: Can I just say something on the Pinochet case? You are saying
you are not commenting on any legal steps that he is taking in this case.
But Pinochet is - the approval of the extradition is a big, big step in the
- for the people who are trying to indict him for crimes of torture of
thousands of people. In other cases, like narco-traffickers or others, you
always say something. Why you are not trying to say at least this is a
big step in favor of justice for the Chilean people who lost families?
MR. RUBIN: In the case of narcotics traffickers, murders, terrorists who
conduct activities like that, there are not two principles that apply. I
have said there are two principles. The first principle is the principle of
accountability and justice, and the US Government strongly condemned the
abuses of the Pinochet regime when it was in power.
There is another principle and that is important, consistent with the
principle of accountability, to support countries like Chile that, over a
sustained period of time, have made significant efforts to strengthen
democracy and to promote reconciliation and the rule of law. Those are two
principles that apply that are relevant to this particular case. The
example you gave me that is from another type of case, those types of
principles wouldn't apply.
QUESTION: But it's the same like the United States is trying to wash
their hands on the case of Pinochet.
MR. RUBIN: You can choose to write - because you are a journalist and you
have the freedom to draw your own conclusions - what you think. But if you
wrote that, you would not be accurately reporting what I've said to
QUESTION: On Chechnya and Russia, do you have anything to say on the
report the Russians will not obey the CFE agreements in the North Caucasus
due to the situation in Chechnya?
MR. RUBIN: Yes, we are familiar with the North Caucasus deployment issue.
It is correct that the Russians have told us and other CFE treaty partners
that they seek to comply with the Conventional Forces In Europe treaty but
have exceeded limits in Russia for the North Caucasus region. The Russians
have promised to provide us additional information about their military
activities in Chechnya with regard to these treaty limitations.
The good news is that Russia has come forward and discussed this issue,
demonstrating its commitment to notify pursuant to the treaty. It also
demonstrates that the treaty is an important tool for constraining military
equipment levels and ensuring international scrutiny. The bad news is that
they have exceeded the limits.
Let me say in that regard that, overall, Russian compliance with the CFE
Treaty has been generally good. The question of the flank region has been a
long-standing one. Their levels have exceeded the flank limits for some
time. We take compliance very, very seriously. We're reviewing the details
of the information they've provided to us and we'll be taking this matter
up with them on a number of levels in the coming days.
QUESTION: How much have they exceeded the limits?
MR. RUBIN: Substantially. There are two limits. One limit is the existing
limit and the other limit is the larger limit that would come into play if
the treaty were adapted and approved this November. We're talking about
many, many hundreds of pieces of equipment over the limits in the armored
combat vehicle category.
QUESTION: Is there any way to bring them back to the limits?
MR. RUBIN: Well, they would have to bring themselves back to the
QUESTION: What about - what is the value of the treaty, then, other than
that they're now --
MR. RUBIN: Well, the treaty doesn't provide a military enforcement
mechanism to launch an invasion of Russia by which we could take the
Russian armored combat vehicles out of the Caucasus and return them to
Russia. That would be the standard that you're suggesting there.
What the treaty can do is to identify the problems. It can require that
Russia notify and it can help bring international pressure to bear on them
to comply. That's what arms control treaties can do. Those who create
artificial suggestions or straw men as to what a treaty can do, we can't
answer those criticisms. Some of that has come in the Comprehensive Test
Ban Treaty debate. People have sought a guarantee from us signing a treaty
that another country won't test. Treaties don't do that. Arms control
treaties don't do that. They don't have military enforcement measures
that the United States would use military force to guarantee such
What they can do is provide verification, provide international legitimacy
for certain rules and regulations that each country is committed to, and
that if they violate they are subject to international pressure and, in
certain cases, sanctions. So that's what can be done in the real world. In
I don't know whose world we can guarantee that an exceeded limit in a
country like Russia could be reversed through military force.
QUESTION: Is this an out-and-out violation or is there some clause in the
agreement which the Russians can cite; for example, emergency deployments
or national interests?
MR. RUBIN: Well, they have been exceeding the flank limit for a long time
so they clearly have been exceeding that limit for some time. This is not a
matter of a temporary deployment that gives them some provision under the
treaty. They have been exceeding it for a long time.
One of the ideas that we have been pursuing in the discussions to adapt the
treaty is to increase that limit, but what I can tell you is that even the
increased limit is below where they are now by a significant number of
armored vehicles. So what has to happen here is we have to be very candid
and honest and make clear that the Russians are exceeding the limit; at the
same time, not throw the baby out with the bath water, as some might
want us to do in the case of such a violation; point out that Russian
compliance with the treaty has been generally good, with some exceptions;
and now begin a discussion, a serious discussion at the appropriate levels,
to try to ensure that the Russians come back into compliance.
QUESTION: You say they have been exceeding it for a long time. Can you be
more precise on that? And why have they delayed so long in informing you
that they have exceeded it?
MR. RUBIN: Well, there are two issues. There is one issue is that they
have been above the limit for a long period of time, the lower limit. They
are now - we and they have been working on an adapted treaty to have a
higher limit that takes into account the fall of the Berlin Wall, the end
of the Soviet Union, and adjusts this treaty, adapts it, to the modern
situation. They have not been in excess of that adapted limit, which we
would have expected to go into force beginning this November, two
months from now, at the OSCE Summit.
The point I am trying to make now is that their current deployment is above
even the adapted treaties limit, and that's why it is such a matter of
concern to us and something we will take up with the Russians.
QUESTION: To East Timor, are you actively considering sanctions against
Russia for exceeding the limits substantially?
MR. RUBIN: Roy, you asked me a question about what we could do to ensure
that the Russians came back into compliance which led me to give you a
discussion of arms control treaties in general - what can be done and what
can't be done.
The mode that we would approach a violation in would be to discuss with the
Russians the reasons for exceeding of the limits, to get an explanation of
what their intentions are in the future, and to try to bring them back into
compliance. The question of sanctions is not a question I am prepared to
entertain at this time.
QUESTION: Have you received any new reports in regard with the involvement
of Usama Bin Ladin with the rebels --
MR. RUBIN: I have answered this question in the past. I would be happy to
repeat it for you. The best answer I can offer you is, we are familiar with
reports of links between Usama Bin Ladin and some of the rebels in Dagestan
and Chechnya but we've never confirmed the actual transfer of funds or the
presence of Usama Bin Ladin himself or his fighters in this conflict.
QUESTION: There is a wire report by Reuters out of Jakarta that reports
that many hundreds of East Timorese soldiers and police have resigned from
the Indonesian armed forces and have joined the militias and this is
especially affecting the security in West Timor around the camps where the
people are continuing to be terrorized by the militia.
Can you comment on this particular problem in West Timor camps?
MR. RUBIN: We are deeply concerned about what has been going on in West
Timor over recent weeks. It's why Secretary Albright raised this issue with
Foreign Minister Alatas in New York. It's why she designated Assistant
Secretary Koh to go to the camps in West Timor. It's why she designated
Julia Taft to go there as well.
As a result of our pressure on the Indonesian Government to take account of
this situation, we do think that the situation has improved and there is
greater humanitarian access to the refugees in West Timor who are seeking
to go home. Assistant Secretary Koh may have more to say from his firsthand
account on Tuesday, but we remain concerned about the situation in West
Timor and we, in particular, point out that some returns to East Timor
took place yesterday; that the Government of Indonesia appears to
be making attempts to respond to concerted international attention
focused on the issue.
But the key to a safe return program is to allow the UN and relief
organizations to have safe access to the camps, which they do not yet have,
and that is what we were pushing for.
QUESTION: Is there any verification of the report that the people in the
camps, some 200,000, are being held in those camps, forcibly detained and
not allowed to go back to East Timor?
MR. RUBIN: I don't want to make a general comment like that. We do have
concerns about what has been going on in West Timor in terms of linkages
between the militias and the armed forces and what's been going on in these
camps. It is a problem that has been there for some number of days now.
That is why Secretary Albright has been pushing for the Indonesians to
allow the international community access. It is why she sent Assistant
Secretaries Koh and Taft to the region and perhaps when you have your shot
at Assistant Secretary Koh, you can ask that question more directly.
QUESTION: Has the US heard any response from the North Koreans to Dr.
Perry's invitation to their vice foreign minister?
MR. RUBIN: We have not scheduled the high-level meeting at this
QUESTION: And do you know when we can get our hands on a declassified
MR. RUBIN: I have heard a little bit about that. I would expect very,
very shortly that that report will be available and, as soon as it is, I
will make sure that all of you get it on a timely basis.
Yes, last question so we can go to Ambassador Sheehan, if you don't
QUESTION: There is a very convincing argument in support of the Test Ban
treaty and if it's been raised and I've missed it, please let me know. But
regarding arms control treaties, in 1990 at the Disarmament First Committee
Conference at the UN, the First Deputy Foreign Minister of the Soviet Union
raised a very, very effective argument in favor of the treaty and he
said that until the Test Ban Treaty is adopted, the possibility exists
that new and inconceivably destructive weapons could be created that would
essentially render null and void the value of any previous arms control
MR. RUBIN: Who said this?
QUESTION: This was the First Deputy Foreign Minister of the Soviet Union.
I wonder whether anybody has raised that because it seemed like a very,
very convincing argument.
MR. RUBIN: Well, there are two reasons to promote the Comprehensive Test
Ban. One is to stop countries that don't have nuclear weapons or have not
tested them or have not perfected them from testing them and developing a
usable nuclear capability. That is something that we generally regard as
the term "nonproliferation," preventing the proliferation of nuclear
weapons to new nuclear states.
The second reason for pursuing the Comprehensive Test Ban is to prevent
other countries from modernizing their nuclear forces. It is one thing to
ensure the safety and reliability of nuclear forces. It is another to see
the whole - see a new generation of nuclear weapons develop. This is
particularly acute in the case of China.
Time and time again we have heard about the dangers of Chinese espionage
obtaining information that could help China develop new nuclear warheads,
particularly warheads that might enable them to have a multiple warhead
missile capability they now do not have. If this treaty is ratified, and if
the Chinese ratify it and live up to it, they will not be able to develop
with confidence a new generation of multiple warhead missiles. That's one
of the reasons why we think the treaty is so important.
(The briefing concluded at 1:50 P.M.)