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U.S. Department of State Daily Press Briefing #133, 99-10-21

U.S. State Department: Daily Press Briefings Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Department of State Foreign Affairs Network (DOSFAN) at <http://www.state.gov>


1050

U.S. Department of State

Daily Press Briefing

I N D E X

Thursday, October 21, 1999

Briefer: James B. Foley

DEPARTMENT
1-3	Commerce, Justice, State Appropriations/Funding for Peacekeeping/UN
	 Arrears 

ISRAEL 3-6,15 Proposed Switching of Assignments Between NEA Assistant Secretary Indyk and US Ambassador to Israel Walker

MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS 3-6 Possible Affect of Proposed Switching of Assignments on Peace Process Team 5 Foreign Operations Funding/Wye Implementation 5 Prospects for Travel to the Region by A/S Indyk and/or Dennis Ross 5,7 Ambassador Ross Travel for Dedication of Seeds of Peace Center in Jerusalem

IRAN 6-7 Assistant Secretary Indyk's Speech on Iran/Reaction from Iranian Government 7 Reported Sharing of Evidence with US on Espionage Case Against 13 Iranian Jews 7 Iranian Government Cooperation Regarding Khobar Bombing

GREECE 7 President Clinton's Visit to Greece/Secretary Albright's Travel Plans

GREECE/TURKEY/CYPRUS 8 Visit of Special Presidential Emissary Moses & Special Coordinator Weston

TURKEY 8-9 US View on Admission of Turkey to the European Union 9 Prominent Turkish Professor and Journalist Killed

RUSSIA 9-10 Update on the Situation in Chechnya

ARMS CONTROL 10-11 US-Russia Discussions on National Missile Defense and ABM Treaty

10Actions by Russia and China At UN Regarding the ABM Treaty

GERMANY 11-13 US Participation in EXPO 2000

INDIA/PAKISTAN 13-15 Status of Sanctions on India and Pakistan/Prospects for Waiver of Sanctions

EUROPEAN UNION 15 Javier Solana's New Position with European Union

PAKISTAN 15-16 Update on Situation in Pakistan/Whereabout of Nawaz Sharif

NORTH KOREA 16 Possibility of High-Level North Korean Official Visiting US

CHINA 16 Legal Advisor's Meeting in Beijing Regarding Embassy Bombing Compensation 16-17 Reports of Further Arrests of Falun Gong Sect Members

INDONESIA 17 Election of President Wahid and Vice President Megawati


U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING

DPB #133

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 21, 1999, 1:10 P.M.

(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)

MR. FOLEY: Good afternoon. Welcome to the State Department.

International peacekeeping efforts in the most troubled regions of the globe serve to separate adversaries, maintain cease-fires, safeguard the delivery of humanitarian relief, enable refugees to return home, demobilize combatants and create conditions under which political reconciliation may occur and democratic elections can be held. The support of the United States for peacekeeping around the world helps prevent massive humanitarian crises that would be much more costly in terms of lives and resources.

Since the mid-1990s, the United States has helped put in place a new approach to UN peacekeeping, that involves much closer scrutiny of proposals for new missions, and much better management of the ones that go forward. The House-Senate Conference on Commerce, Justice, State Appropriations calls for an almost 60-percent reduction in the Administration's request to meet anticipated requirements over the next 12 months -- excluding Kosovo.

Such drastic underfunding for UN peacekeeping would undermine peace efforts in places like East Timor and Sierra Leone - and I would point out we expect the Security Council to vote tomorrow on the UN phase three peacekeeping operation in Timor, following the vote of the Indonesian parliament.

It would also add the current Commerce, Justice, State Appropriation draft to the arrears that we already owe to the UN, increasing the odds of the US losing its vote in the UN General Assembly, and hurting our effort to promote UN reform and, of course, undermining US leadership. Funds to support peacekeeping efforts by regional organizations would also be drastically underfunded. These regional initiatives can often represent the most timely and cost-effective option for responding to conflict. For example, the efforts of the Nigerian-led ECOMOG in Sierra Leone and the anticipated OAU role in the Ethiopia-Eritrea border war would be hurt. This shortfall would prevent us from funding OSCE operations in Kosovo, Bosnia and elsewhere.

I think it's clear that, in facing many of the crises that so characterize the world today, that the United States basically would face two choices if we're not able to fund international peacekeeping: One would be to wait until these crises worsen and spread, spread instability and turn into outright war in some cases; or, to stand back and do nothing, or, as I indicated, to intervene at a later stage at much greater cost.

And so we often face an expectation on the part of the American people, who see crises developing around the world, that the United States "do something" about it. And our funding of UN peacekeeping operations means that we pay 25 percent, and that the other members of the United Nations pay 75 percent for peacekeeping operations that, in the long term, lower dramatically the cost of dealing with some of these situations down the road.

With that statement, I'd be glad to go to your questions.

QUESTION: What happened to the attempt to reduce the US share, which is one-quarter of the world share, of peacekeeping operations? Is it still a live possibility for the UN?

MR. FOLEY: Well, as you probably know, we are currently assessed at the rate of 30 percent by the United Nations for peacekeeping operations. For several years, however, the United States has determined to pay only 25 percent of the cost of peacekeeping. That is what we pay, in full agreement with the Congress.

The other issue, though, involves our assessment for the general UN budget, which is currently at 25 percent, and is based on the relative size of the US economy and the world economy. We believe, very strongly, that that assessment ought to be adjusted, that given the growth of other economies around the world, that others can pick up some of the share that we've been paying that we think is too high. We would like to see that assessment dropped to 22 percent.

And Congress agrees with us about this goal. However, the failure of Congress to pay our arrears to the United Nations has cut the legs out of from our ability to persuade our friends and partners in the United Nations to agree to lowering our assessment. So that's where we stand. That's one of the reasons - not the only reason, certainly. We think, on the merits alone, that we ought to be paying our arrears, and paying what we've said we would pay as our fair share of the United Nations.

But in terms of our ability, also, to be heard on issues involving the reform of the United Nations: On issues including reduction of our assessment, we believe that paying the arrears is critical to achieving those goals that we share with members of Congress.

QUESTION: Well, when you tell them that, what do they tell you? I mean, do they question the peacekeeping operations per se? Do they feel they're run inefficiently? Or is it what the President calls new isolationism, just a general dislike for foreign programs? What is at the heart of this thing?

MR. FOLEY: You know, I think most public opinion polls show that the United Nations itself is fairly popular with a broad section of American opinion. I think most Americans recognize that the UN does essential work and that, in fact, the existence of the UN relieves the United States of national and unilateral burdens, because of the fact that our contributions are leveraged - much wider contributions by the international community - to deal with crises and problems that we would otherwise have to deal with at greater cost ourselves.

And so, yes, there is, if you will, anti-UN sentiment in the Congress that's not necessarily backed up in the body politic. However, the fact of the matter is that, when it comes to paying our arrears and what we owe, there has been widespread support in the Congress. Senator Helms and Senator Biden have worked closely with Secretary Albright in the last two years to craft congressional action to repay our arrears. The really tragic circumstance is that a very few members of the House of Representatives have banded together to attach a non-germane, unrelated issue to the payment of the arrears and, therefore, have stymied our ability to meet our international obligations.

QUESTION: On another subject, is Secretary Indyk switching jobs with Ambassador Walker?

MR. FOLEY: Secretary Albright has recommended to the President, and it's his intention to ask Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Martin Indyk to return to Israel as the United States Ambassador to Israel. Assistant Secretary Indyk had served, as you know, as Ambassador to Israel previously, from 1995 to 1997.

It is also President Clinton's intention to nominate the current US Ambassador to Israel, Ambassador Edward Walker, as Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs. Ambassadors Indyk and Walker are two of America's finest diplomats. Their skills and dedication have been instrumental in our efforts to move the peace process forward, and to advance broader American interests in the region.

We believe that these appointments will allow us to continue to pursue these goals, obviously. Ambassador Indyk has a wealth of experience with peace process issues, and long-standing ties with key Israeli and Arab officials; whereas, Ambassador Walker, as you know, is a career diplomat, a Foreign Service Officer with 30 years of experience throughout the Near East and in Washington. He served as Ambassador to Egypt and he has spent, I think, the bulk of his career working on Middle Eastern issues, and the Secretary and President feel he's ideally suited to be running our regional Middle Eastern affairs here in the State Department.

QUESTION: How does Ambassador Indyk's - or to-be -- Ambassador-to-be Indyk's activist role in the negotiations square with what National Security Advisor Berger said yesterday, which is that recent events show that things work best when the two parties deal with each other and the United States plays an off-stage role, as it were?

MR. FOLEY: I would beg to differ with your analysis of Mr. Berger's speech on that score. Certainly, Mr. Berger drew a distinction between the kind of role that America was forced to play during the period leading up to Wye, when the parties were not dealing directly or adequately directly with each other. We played a role that we would have preferred not to have to play, and that we hope not to have to return to and don't intend to return to.

At the same time, Mr. Berger made clear though that it is nothing new - it goes back to the late 1940s - that the US Administration believes that peace in the Middle East is a vital national US interest, and that the United States will play an active role in supporting the parties - not replacing the parties, but in supporting the parties - in trying to reach agreement. And as we've been saying, we think we have - and Mr. Berger underlined the potentially fleeting nature of this opportunity to close the circle of peace in the Middle East.

And this switching of assignments, if you will, should be seen in that context as reflecting the consciousness on the part of the President and Secretary Albright that, indeed, this is a window that will not be open forever, and that the parties in the region have indicated their eagerness to seize the opportunity that exists over the next 12 months or so, to really try to reach final agreements and close the circle of peace. And so this rotation is designed to put us in a maximum position to do all that we can to advance the peace process.

QUESTION: Do you have any assurance that there won't be some obstructionist efforts in the Foreign Relations Committee, as some of your recent nominees have run into?

MR. FOLEY: Well, I think that the Congress, and certainly the members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, are themselves committed to the US national goal of achieving comprehensive Middle East peace settlement and, therefore, I am not aware of any reason to be concerned that there would be opposition to these nominations.

At the same time, this is simply an announcement at this stage. We have to go through the formalities, both with the Israeli Government and in terms of the White House sending up the nomination for consideration. The Senate - you're absolutely right - will have to take these nominations up and will have to decide. We certainly hope not only that they will be confirmed in these new posts, but that that can be done expeditiously given the rapid timetable that all the parties in the Middle East have in mind, in terms of achieving a peace agreement.

QUESTION: Of course the Senate could use the nominations as an opportunity to evaluate US policy in the Middle East, but if that happens I'm sure you'll have answers for them. I was wondering - we've become familiar with sort of a Janus peace team. Because of Mr. Indyk's experience, and because of his being Assistant Secretary of State, you sort of have a Ross-Indyk dual-leadership role - one day one seemed to be the lead man; the other day the other.

Do you suppose that Ambassador Walker would be given roughly the same assignment? Will you be expecting him to be making these trips as Indyk has, or will you go back to the old system, where Dennis Ross is clearly the senior man, and you have a lot of subsidiary helpers around?

MR. FOLEY: I think it's possible to hold two propositions at the same time. Number one, this has been a team - a very collegial team. And ultimately, of course, the policy on the peace process is decided by President Clinton and Secretary Albright. But below them, though, we've had a team that's worked remarkably well together. But within that team, clearly Ambassador Ross is the special Middle East Coordinator. That's his job; whereas, the Assistant Secretary obviously has a role to play - an important role to play - in the peace process issues, as Ambassador Indyk has done so, as you point out.

But the Assistant Secretary has a wider role, obviously dealing with the range of our bilateral relations throughout the Middle East, and the range of issues that we face - not only political - in our bilateral relationships in the Middle East. And so Ambassador Walker will play that wider role, but he will also be a member of the Middle East peace team here in the Department, and in the government.

Do we have more on this subject? I suspect we do.

QUESTION: In the latest manifestation of a foreign operations act to go to the White House, is the Wye River money in there now?

MR. FOLEY: I'm not sure; I'd have to check that for you. In any case, our view is that what has been agreed in conferences is more than $2 billion short of what the Administration has requested to fund our foreign operations - woefully short. And whether there are monies that now are going to be forthcoming for Wye or not, that would be a step in the right direction, but that would be a step that still falls far short of our global foreign operations needs. But I'm not aware of whether that has been revised.

QUESTION: Are there plans for Indyk and/or Ross to travel to the region soon?

MR. FOLEY: Ambassador Ross - and I may have something from the other day - will be going - and I'll get that for you - to attend the inauguration of a Seeds of Peace, I think, office, I believe, in Jerusalem. And I'll get you the date in a second, because I have that - thank you. The Associated Press thinks it's October 27, and I'll confirm that for you in a minute.

QUESTION: On the same topic --

MR. FOLEY: I'll confirm that for you in a minute. In terms of Ambassador Indyk, I'm not aware of travel plans at the moment.

QUESTION: On the same subject?

MR. FOLEY: Thank you. I could sit down and you could take the questions - the journalists. That would be an interesting opportunity -- for me in any event.

QUESTION: You're using the expression "maximum position" for the United States to play its part out of this switching of assignments.

MR. FOLEY: Not only out of the switching; we're making maximum efforts across the board. But this is certainly an element.

QUESTION: At least you are explaining to us why the switching of assignments. It gives the impression that this switching of assignments has something to do with the United States' role - its nature maybe; its scope, maybe - I don't know.

MR. FOLEY: I think Mr. Berger defined well how we conceive our role, which is both an activist and a supportive role. We don't intend to interpose ourselves in the process, to substitute our efforts for those of the parties. As Mr. Berger said yesterday, we believe that the only really meaningful agreements - the ones that will actually be implemented and observed - are the ones that the parties themselves have arrived at through their own efforts.

We conceive our role to be a supportive one, and an activist one. And Ambassador Indyk can obviously bring a wealth of experience to the table in Israel, not only because of his former capacity as ambassador there, and the relationships that he developed across the spectrum of politics and society in Israel - and that is the job of an ambassador, after all - but because of the role he's played here over the last several years. He goes to Israel as someone who's been a central member of the peace process team, someone who has advised the President, and advised the Secretary of State, and worked with Dennis Ross on the peace process. That will enable him to play a very positive role in Israel.

But I just don't accept the sort of thought or premise behind your question, that this portends a qualitatively different American role in the Middle East. Mr. Berger set out what that role is yesterday.

QUESTION: While we're talking about Indyk, and while Secretary Cohen is in the Gulf - well actually he's in Egypt today - but Indyk made a policy speech on Iran -- I guess last week - once again with a notion that there's a new stream of moderation on Iran, once again offering Iran a dialogue without preconditions. And I wondered if you had any sort of a substantive response from Iran - necessarily through other channels - if Iran has been heard from in some form or another in response to that offer?

MR. FOLEY: I don't have anything to say about private diplomatic communications that may or may not have occurred.

QUESTION: Well, he made a public offer. It wasn't private. He made a public declaration that the US wants to talk to Iran.

MR. FOLEY: I can only point you to the fact that Iranian officials themselves have not reacted positively to the speech. I think one official noted the fact that in our designation of terrorist organizations, that involving the name - I don't remember the name, but the sort of sister organization to the MEK here - was designated as a terrorist organization, and that was noted positively by an official in Iran.

But the other commentary that I saw about the speech was not welcoming. It sort of - those statements trotted out old Iranian positions: that the United States needs to take concrete steps in Iran's direction, needs to make amends and things of that nature - comments that don't really bespeak a willingness to engage in the official dialogue that we've offered. We have not conceived of the dialogue as a dialogue in which the concerns we have about Iranian policies, and the concerns they have about our positions are absent.

QUESTION: Oh, no, his speech made that clear.

MR. FOLEY: On the contrary, we think Iran is a very important country and we have some very serious concern about a number of Iranian policies. We think it's not normal that we don't have a dialogue, and we don't have some kind of a relationship where there is none today. And we think that there is, as Secretary Albright indicated, a pathway towards a better relationship, and that dialogue - official dialogue - is the only avenue that's going to produce that.

But it takes two to have a dialogue, and they have been unwilling to undertake such a dialogue to the present time while, nevertheless, welcoming - and we have welcomed too - the prospect of people-to-people exchanges, in an effort to create a better environment for an eventual dialogue and improvement in relations.

QUESTION: Iranian officials said that Iran had shared some of the - I think it said some of the evidence that it has, allegedly, on these 13 Jewish Iranians who are standing trial for espionage, that some of that evidence was shared with the US after the US criticized this trial.

MR. FOLEY: I am unaware of any such development. It has been our oft stated view that there is nothing to those charges, and that they ought to be dropped, and that has not changed.

Going back to the Seeds of Peace, I can confirm what two different rival press organizations have indicated, that - friendly rivals - that the Seeds of Peace will formally dedicate and open its new international center in Jerusalem on October the 27th.

QUESTION: Did you ever get any cooperation with the Iranians on the President's offer in helping tracking down the people who bombed the Khobar Towers? There was a message that was sent last month and --

MR. FOLEY: Well, I think what we said at the time - this hasn't changed - is that the Iranians have indicated, publicly, that their position is that they had nothing to do with the Khobar bombing, and that they're not - I think they've indicated publicly they're not willing to cooperate on that. We don't have information to the contrary in terms of their cooperation.

QUESTION: Do you know if Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will accompany President Clinton on his trip to Greece on November 13th as it was reported in Athens?

MR. FOLEY: Well, as you know, Secretary Albright is currently in Africa, and I'm not in a position to announce her schedule. She will be accompanying the President on that trip, and will be -- I'm almost certain -- will be with him in Greece. But it's possible that while accompanying the President to Europe and to the OSCE summit, of course, in Turkey, that she may do a few things separately from the President's itinerary But she will be essentially accompanying him throughout, and I'll be in a position to talk more about that when the party returns from Africa.

QUESTION: Anything on Coordinators Tom Weston and Al Moses' trip to Cyprus yesterday?

MR. FOLEY: On whose trip to Cyprus?

QUESTION: Moses and Weston.

MR. FOLEY: Well, what I can tell you is that Presidential Emissary Moses and Special Coordinator Weston have had productive meetings in Ankara, Athens and Nicosia, between the 14th of October and yesterday. Moses and Weston met with President Demirel, Prime Minister Ecevit and Foreign Minister Cem in Ankara. They discussed Cyprus with Foreign Minister Papandreou in Athens, and on Cyprus they met separately with President Clerides and Turkish Cypriot leader Denktash.

Our goal remains to get the two sides into negotiations without preconditions under UN auspices, as called for by the G-8, and UN Security Council Resolutions 1250 and 1251. In that respect, we believe that these meetings were helpful. At the same time, clearly, Mr. Weston and Mr. Moses have a lot of work ahead of them. They are going to be returning to Washington to report to the President and Secretary Albright, with a view to moving toward comprehensive negotiations. So we're going to evaluate next steps on preparing the way for successful Cyprus talks, when we've had a chance to meet with them here in Washington.

Certainly, our commitment to a Cyprus solution, based on a bi-zonal, bi- communal federation remains very firm.

QUESTION: Since you said productive talks in Athens, Ankara and Nicosia, would you be more specific?

MR. FOLEY: I think I said helpful. I think they were helpful.

QUESTION: One more question?

MR. FOLEY: I am not going to be able to be more specific.

QUESTION: According to a series of reports, Greece and the Republic of Cyprus do not object any more (to) the admission of Turkey into the European Union, and the Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit now is saying that his country first must become a full EU member, and then she will proceed to a dialogue for a solution to the Greek-Turkish differences over the Aegean and Cyprus.

Any comment?

MR. FOLEY: Well, we have not wished to try to involve ourselves in what are EU deliberations and decisions. We recognize that this is a matter for the EU itself to decide, and the United States does not have a vote in that regard. We have long believed that Cyprus has - excuse me, that Turkey has a European vocation, and we welcomed the recent step by the EU, I believe, inviting Turkey to draw closer to the EU in the membership process, and we welcome that.

QUESTION: I don't suppose there is a separate schedule or --

MR. FOLEY: I don't have anything on the --

QUESTION: I mean, isn't it opportune for her to go to Cyprus?

MR. FOLEY: I don't have anything for you on her itinerary.

QUESTION: This morning the terrorists killed one of the prominent Turkish writer and the scientist. Do you have any comment on that?

MR. FOLEY: Yes, I do. The person who was killed is Ahmet Taner Kislali, who, as you say, I think is a prominent Turkish professor and journalist. He was killed when what appeared to be a bomb exploded as he was entering his car this morning. A Turkish television station reported that a radical Islamic group, called the Greater Eastern Islamic Raiders' Front, had claimed responsibility. This group has been responsible for other terrorist incidents in the past. Turkish authorities are investigating, but have thus far refused to comment.

The United States has no independent information on the incident, but we do strongly condemn such acts of terror, and we extend our sympathy and condolences to Mr. Kislali's family for their tragic loss.

QUESTION: Do you have any further word on the report of a rocket attack on a central market in Groznyy today and, if I can secondly ask you, have we had any word from the Russians on the clarifications the US was asking for from them, as regards their actions in Chechnya?

MR. FOLEY: I would have to refer you to the White House for any details that they're in a position to talk about. But as you know, President Yeltsin wrote to President Clinton earlier this week. We welcomed his explanations in the letter, as to Russia's view of the ongoing situation in Chechnya. I don't have those details, and you'd have to ask the White House for them.

I just heard that report, that you mentioned, before coming in. I don't have information. I certainly don't have confirmation that it happened. Our understanding is that Russian ground forces continue to advance into Chechnya south of the Terek River, and now control more than one-third of Chechnya. Russian aircraft and artillery continue to strike targets in various parts of Chechnya.

We have no reliable information on the scale of casualties, but as we've said earlier this week, more than 150,000 people have fled the fighting in Chechnya to neighboring Ingushetiya. The United States supports UNHCR and International Committee of the Red Cross efforts to respond to humanitarian needs. I'd refer you to the points that Deputy Secretary Talbott made in testimony before Congress earlier this week -- on Tuesday. He made it clear that, in the view of the United States, the spread of the violence in the region will be contrary to everyone's interests, except those who rely on violence as a means to their political ends, including separatism.

We recall the last war in Chechnya which, in our view, demonstrated that a purely military solution to the problem there is not possible, and that there must be a vigorous and conscientious effort to engage regional leaders in a political dialogue. And we continue to underscore that all the parties should avoid indiscriminate or disproportionate use of force that would harm innocent civilians.

QUESTION: Did you see or did you notice the move at the United Nations by Russia and China to preserve - to totally preserve - not to revise, trim, redefine, abort or any of the other maneuvers that are being considered - the ABM Treaty? And I wondered whether that isn't really the answer, too, that John Holum is getting in Moscow?

MR. FOLEY: First of all, there have been a number of reports, in the last few days, concerning some of the ideas that the United States has offered for discussion with Russia, relating to our cooperation on the issue of missile defense and the ABM Treaty. And some of those reports are overblown, in the sense that they assume that there have been formal offers that have been formally rejected, when, in fact, we're at the very early stages of our discussions with the Russians on this matter.

You're correct to point out that there's a senior US team, led by Under Secretary Holum, in Moscow today for follow-up discussions on the ABM, National Missile Defense and other arms control issues. But as I said, this is an early stage of the process. The discussions with Ambassador Holum are underway, still, in Moscow. We have offered some ideas for discussion, but there's been no proposals, of a formal nature, that have been placed on the table.

I note your point about what's happened at the Security Council in New York. Our view is that the ABM Treaty remains a cornerstone of strategic stability. We are committed to work with Russia to negotiate changes to the ABM Treaty required for possible deployment of a National Missile Defense, and to make progress on further strategic arms reductions.

QUESTION: It's a cornerstone but you want to chip away at the cornerstone.

MR. FOLEY: We believe --

QUESTION: Doesn't it weaken the structure --

MR. FOLEY: We are committed --

QUESTION: -- to fiddle with the cornerstone?

MR. FOLEY: We are committed to the development of a limited National Missile Defense. We believe that the world has changed a great deal since the signing of the ABM Treaty, and that we are facing a new set of threats. And these are threats that are faced not only by the United States, but by Russia and other nations around the world: as technology spreads; as rogue regimes are acquiring missile capabilities and therefore the capability eventually to threaten US soil, Russian soil, and threaten friends and allies around the world.

The President has not taken a decision on whether to proceed with deployment. That's going to occur in the year 2000, on whether to deploy a limited National Missile Defense, but we are committed to developing a national missile defense. It is our view that it is possible to negotiate changes to the ABM Treaty that would permit, under the treaty, deployment of a limited National Missile Defense, and that's what we're working on with the Russians. Again, this is in the early stages. I'm certainly aware of the comments that have been made publicly in Moscow, but this is an effort that we're committed to.

QUESTION: New subject - what is the US position on the Expo 2000 in Hanover? Will they participate?

MR. FOLEY: I'm sorry - could you repeat the question?

QUESTION: Is the US position for the US in the Expo 2000 in Hanover --

MR. FOLEY: In Hanover, right.

QUESTION: Yes, Hanover.

MR. FOLEY: We are re-evaluating our participation in Expo 2000. The fact of the matter is that efforts to raise the funding for an American pavilion have not been successful. From the beginning, any American pavilion was to be organized, funded, and operated entirely by the private sector. The use of federal funds was never envisioned; there's been no change in that respect.

We regard the exposition in Hanover as important - as important to Germany, as important to the United States - and we would like to see the United States represented there. We understand that efforts in fact do continue for American businesses to be represented at the fair. A US private presence is under discussion with Expo organizers, and with the German Government.

We are very much disappointed that private funding could not be arranged, but we continue to hope that American culture and industry will be widely visible at Hanover, and that those efforts, as I indicated, are continuing. We're going to be working with the Expo authorities to highlight American accomplishments within the spirit of the Expo.

QUESTION: Which companies, if there are any, do you know of that will participate?

MR. FOLEY: I don't have information on the specific companies that are involved in discussions about ensuring an American representation. My understanding is simply that there are such efforts and that they are continuing.

You may or may not be aware, but under Section 230 of Public Law 103-236 of April 30 of 1994, we are prohibited from obligating or expending any funds for a US Government pavilion or other major exhibits, unless the funds are expressly authorized or appropriated by Congress.

QUESTION: Is the US making the case to the German Government, or making arrangements with the German Government on behalf of these American companies, or are they spending their own money to try to get to the fair?

MR. FOLEY: We can't spend --

QUESTION: That's what I'm asking - but customarily embassies --

MR. FOLEY: Appropriated money --

QUESTION: -- use appropriated - to use American funds or taxpayer funds to --

MR. FOLEY: To represent businesses at a pavilion.

QUESTION: All right.

MR. FOLEY: One of the main jobs of our embassy is to represent the interests of American businesses.

QUESTION: Right.

MR. FOLEY: We are in touch with American businesses who may be interested in securing an American representation. We're not paying for their activities, however.

QUESTION: No, no, I understand that. But you're playing the middle-man role, aren't you?

MR. FOLEY: I think you call it a diplomatic role.

QUESTION: A diplomatic role.

MR. FOLEY: I think that's our job.

QUESTION: I mean, this is America's business. I know that. Can I ask you about - quickly - developments in --

QUESTION: One more on Expo?

MR. FOLEY: Yes.

QUESTION: You say federal law prohibits spending US Government funds unless authorized. By whom?

MR. FOLEY: By Congress.

QUESTION: And has the Administration gone to Congress and asked for that authorization?

MR. FOLEY: No. As I said, such governmental funding was not envisaged, and there's no change in that regard. The law is what the law says.

QUESTION: Well then what are you reviewing, exactly?

QUESTION: (Inaudible) people in Pakistan?

QUESTION: Hold on. What are you reviewing?

MR. FOLEY: We had been involved in attempting to raise money from the private sector, and those efforts have been unsuccessful, sadly. And so the question is whether those efforts will have to be closed down, since they've not been successful.

QUESTION: On Pakistan?

MR. FOLEY: Yes.

QUESTION: The business - I don't know how far into this you're prepared to go, but the notion of lifting any sanctions against India, keeping those on Pakistan - what I'm most interested in - but others have shown interest in other parts of this - is evidently this will block food aid to Pakistan.

MR. FOLEY: What are you referring to, in particular?

QUESTION: The waiver - the sanctions that are being waived now with India, but being kept on Pakistan. Maybe the White House is the place to do this - it's a presidential action.

MR. FOLEY: The waiver --

QUESTION: -- but the fallout is a humanitarian fallout.

MR. FOLEY: The waiver issued by the President on sanctions against India and Pakistan under the Glenn Amendment and related laws expires today. That's the problem. Provision to grant the President permanent comprehensive authority to waive sanctions under these provisions is contained in the pending Defense Department appropriations bill. We are working with Congress to see if there is a feasible way to address this issue, pending enactment of the new waiver authority.

QUESTION: But I thought sanctions that are being maintained on Pakistan - the intention is to ease or to remove those on India, and keep them on Pakistan. And one result --

MR. FOLEY: Well --

QUESTION: Some food experts said it'll deny $53 million worth of wheat going to India.

MR. FOLEY: The sanctions --

QUESTION: To Pakistan.

MR. FOLEY: The sanctions that were waived included EX-IM funding, OPIC, TDA -- trade development -- IMET, and those are the ones that are affected. Of course, because of the military takeover in Pakistan, though, we had to apply Section 508 of the Foreign Assistance Act, which denies - prohibits -- a broad range of assistance. And so things like what had been recently waived - OPIC, TDA, IMET - are now no longer possible with Pakistan.

QUESTION: Does the food thing --

MR. FOLEY: I'd have to --

QUESTION: Because you --

MR. FOLEY: You talking about humanitarian food donations?

QUESTION: Yes. Because the Administration's rationale - you're feeding North Korea. Your rationale has been that sanctions are designed to punish a government, not to punish people. And that indeed when it comes to North Korea the food assistance is separate from your other traffic with North Korea.

MR. FOLEY: Right. Well, what I can tell you --

QUESTION: But Pakistan - it looks like the Pakistani people are going to be hurt and I wondered how that's justified?

MR. FOLEY: You're raising something I haven't heard previously.

QUESTION: All right.

MR. FOLEY: I've not been made aware that there has been an issue of starvation or of humanitarian need in Pakistan.

QUESTION: It's food assistance.

MR. FOLEY: It's foreign food donations. I can look into that, but I've not heard that that's been --

QUESTION: I'm sorry - I didn't mean to blindside you but someone is raising - (inaudible) -- .

QUESTION: Let's talk of the switching of assignments. I wonder if you can tell us how long it was in process - this decision of switching?

MR. FOLEY: I don't have the answer for how many days it's been prepared.

QUESTION: Weeks?

MR. FOLEY: I couldn't say.

QUESTION: Mr. Javier Solana, on October 16, became the head of the EU agency in charge for defense matters on the European continent. Do you have any comment, since the United States and NATO also responsible for the security of Europe?

MR. FOLEY: Yes. I worked for Secretary General Solana.

QUESTION: Yes, once upon a time.

MR. FOLEY: (inaudible) similar questions involving other former bosses of mine. I have immense respect for him. He's going to be a very dynamic leader in his new capacity, and we look forward, very much, to working with him in his new capacity in the European Union. We think that, indeed, it's necessary that our approaches to assuring our common interests, and in the defense area, remain compatible. And we're very confident that with him in place, that we have an interlocutor who understands the need for Europe and the United States in NATO to continue to work very closely together on defense issues.

QUESTION: On Pakistan still - there are various publications that are saying that the General- (whose name I won't try and pronounce - who's now in charge in Pakistan, is going to announce a cabinet within three or four days. Have you all been told this? And do you have any sort of state of events?

MR. FOLEY: Well, General Musharaff announced that he was going to name a national security council: I believe a six-member national security council. To my knowledge that has not happened yet. I believe he was also going to be nominating the officials who would be running all the government ministries. I don't know if they'll continue to call it the cabinet or not, because the National Security Council appears projected to be the executive decision-making body. But I'm not aware that we have been informed, to this point, about who the nominees are going to be. I understand those nominations are going to be forthcoming, though.

QUESTION: Do you know the whereabouts of Mr. Nawaz Sharif? Where is he and --

MR. FOLEY: Well, when Ambassador Milam met with General Musharaff last Friday, I believe he was given assurances as to his well-being. I can't comment on his exact whereabouts, but we certainly hope that he is safe and secure. We understand that there is an accountability process that's underway, and we understand that there are preliminary investigations of Prime Minister Sharif underway, in connection with efforts to restore accountability in Pakistan.

We urge strongly that the rights of Mr. Sharif, and others who may be under investigation, are respected and that they receive fair and impartial treatment, in accordance with international standards.

QUESTION: A question on North Korea: There are some reports that a senior official may be visiting the United States at some point in the near future. Do you have anything on that?

MR. FOLEY: Well, I have nothing to announce, and I don't have any information in that regard. On the other hand, when it happens it won't be news. It has been envisaged that there will be a high-level North Korean coming to visit the United States, following the publication of former Secretary Perry's report, following our last meetings with the North Koreans in Berlin. That is expected. I don't have any information or announcement to make in that regard.

QUESTION: In my understanding, the State Department Legal Advisor David Andrew, in Beijing has -

MR. FOLEY: Could you repeat the question, please?

QUESTION: The State Department legal advisor --

MR. FOLEY: Oh, legal advisor. Yes, yes.

QUESTION: He is in Beijing today.

MR. FOLEY: That's right.

QUESTION: Do you have any point on the resumption -- (inaudible)?

MR. FOLEY: Just briefly. Our legal advisor, State Department Legal Advisor David Andrews, has just concluded his talks with Chinese counterparts in Beijing, over the issue of property damages resulting from the mistaken bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, and damages to US facilities in China. These talks were held in a constructive atmosphere, and they will continue.

QUESTION: Still on China, do you have any information related to or regarding the recent arrest of nine members of the Falun Gong sect in China?

MR. FOLEY: I've not seen that report. We have been expressing concern ever since the crackdown began in China against the Falun Gong, against people who we believe who were peacefully exercising rights to religious expression and assembly. So we have been very concerned and troubled by the crackdown on these people, ever since it began.

QUESTION: Any political developments in Indonesia?

MR. FOLEY: Sure.

QUESTION: Selection making number two to help new man number one, vice?

MR. FOLEY: Right. Well, as you know, yesterday the President issued a statement congratulating President Wahid and the people of Indonesia on the occasion of his election. Today the United States congratulates Indonesia on its election of Mrs. Megawati Sukarnoputri as the Vice President of the Republic of Indonesia, along with President Wahid. She and the people of Indonesia deserve enormous credit for the democratic process that led to the this constitutional change of government, which has resulted in Indonesia's first democratically elected leadership in 40 years.

Indonesia certainly will face many challenges, including national reconciliation, improved human rights, much-needed reform of key political and economic institutions, and economic recovery. But we believe that the election of Mrs. Megawati, whose party won the most votes in the June elections, will result in a government that is well placed to deal with these issues. In other words, there will be a democratic and legitimate foundation in Indonesia for dealing with the issues that are crucial to Indonesia's future stability.

The United States looks forward to working closely with the new government, as it moves to accomplish these important tasks. We call on all Indonesians to exercise restraint and to reject violence. We expect that the people of Indonesia will, in fact, embrace the results of a selection process, as a reflection of the popular will for reform and for change. We hope that the process of forming a new government confirms this understanding and promotes greater stability in Indonesia. And, again, we look forward, very much, to working with the new government as it tackles the many challenges ahead.

Thank you.

(The briefing concluded at 1:55 P.M.)


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