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U.S. Department of State Daily Press Briefing #61, 00-06-19

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>


930

U.S. Department of State Daily Press Briefing

I N D E X

Monday, June 19, 2000

Briefer: Richard Boucher, Spokesman_

ANNOUNCEMENTS
1	Hamouda Children Reunited With Mother
1	Easing Sanctions on North Korea
1	Community of Democracies Briefing with Assistant Secretary of State
	 Harold Koh 
KOREA
1-6,8,9	Easing Sanctions on North Korea
2-4	Restrictions on Trade and Missile Testing
3-4	Reducing Tension on the Peninsula
DEPARTMENT
5-10	"States of Concern" versus "Rogue States"
SERBIA
10-11	Milosevic Exit Strategy
SECURITY
12	Senate FRC Hearings, Carpenter, Grossman Testimony
RUSSIA
12-13	ABM Treaty/Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott Meeting with
	 Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mamedov/Secretary Cohen's Meeting
	 with Russian Defense Minister Sergeyev and President Putin 
LEBANON
13-14	UN Withdrawal, the Security Council Resolution 425; Secretary
	 Albright Talk with President Lahud 
DEPARTMENT
13,20	Secretary of State Albright and Dennis Ross' Travel to the Middle
	 East; No Meeting with Iran President 
CHILE
14-15	Death of US Citizens
14	The Chilean National Truth and Reconciliation Commission
15-16	Investigation of Human Rights Abuses
14-15	Death of Horman, Teruggi, Weisfeiler
15	Murder of Fernando Letelier and his American Assistant, Ronni
	 Moffitt 
15-16	Postponement of Migration Talks, Preoccupation with Elian Gonzalez
HAITI
16-17	President of the Provisional Electoral Council flees to the US
ETHIOPIA/ERITREA
17-18	Agreement Signed by the Foreign Ministers on cessation of
	 hostilities 
17	Status of UN Peacekeeping Mission
ZIMBABWE
19-20	Elections/International Observers from the National Democratic
	 Institute, the International Republican Institute, and Embassy
	 Officials, Accreditation 
19	Cuban Doctors

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING

DPB # 61

_MONDAY, JUNE 19 2000 12:15 P.M. (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)_

MR. BOUCHER: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. We'll be putting out a couple statements today. The first one deals with the reuniting of three daughters with their mother on June 18<SUP>th</SUP> at Dulles Airport. The girls of the Hamouda family were returned after the intervention of the State Department's Office of Children's Issues, the US Embassies in Beirut, Riyadh and Bern, and law enforcement authorities, who helped locate them in Lebanon. The children had been abducted by their father almost two months ago from their home in Rockville, Maryland, so that's a good news story that we'll be putting out a statement for you on after the briefing.

Second of all, we'll be giving you a fact sheet on the easing of sanctions on North Korea that we've talked about before. The <I>Federal Register</I> notice is out today with a full and complete description. We'll give you a fact sheet as well. And we are going forward with implementation of these steps that were announced in September of last year, and you'll remember the context was the improvement in relations, the missile talks that we had had, and the continuation of the missile moratorium. All those things continue and remain important to us.

I remind you of the briefing by Assistant Secretary of State Harold Koh this afternoon at 2:30 on the Community of Democracies, and just mention that we're trying to put together a briefing on at least the early portions of the trip that we're about to embark upon tomorrow night. And we'll get more information to you on that. I'm not clear whether we're going to do it today or tomorrow, but we're working on doing something on that so stay tuned.

All right, with those mentions, I'd like to take your questions right now. Mr. Gedda.

QUESTION: Are you able to elaborate at all on the prospective impact of the easing of sanctions against North Korea?

MR. BOUCHER: Let me talk a little bit about what it is, give you a clearer picture on that. And then we'll have to see on the prospective impact, I think is probably the best answer; that this is a part of a process, as you know, that was designed by Secretary Perry, former Secretary Perry. The idea was that we would address issues of concern and that we would continue to work in a process.

In September 1999, the President announced his decision to ease some of the sanctions under his authority. The sanctions that we're easing will allow most imports and exports of non-sensitive consumer goods. Also permitted in the easing are direct financial transfers from one person to another, such as from a family in the United States to family members in North Korea, or for legitimate commercial purposes.

The decision also allows for relaxation of most restrictions on investment and on transportation rules to permit US commercial vessels and aircraft carrying approved goods to call at North Korean ports, subject to existing regulations.

The step does not unblock frozen assets or address claim settlements issues, nor does it affect our counter-terrorism or nonproliferation controls on North Korea which prohibit exports of military or dual-use items and most types of US assistance. Restrictions currently in place due to US missile sanctions and multilateral arrangements will also remain in place.

It is our understanding and expectation that North Korea will continue to refrain from testing any long-range missiles for the duration of our negotiations that are aimed at improving our relations. Of course, we will judge North Korea as we always have, based on its adherence to its commitments, and the US decision to ease a limited number of sanctions is not just based on North Korean promises alone.

At the same time, further steps to improve our relations will look obviously at other North Korean actions in other priority areas that are of concern to us as well. As far as the commercial implications, there are members of the US Chamber of Commerce in Korea that are looking at traveling up there to see what the opportunities are.

I think we have to be realistic and understand that the actual opportunities for trade may be limited by the state of North Korea's economy, but the fact here is that the United States is making it possible to engage in consumer transactions, normal transactions while not changing our regulations on terrorism, nonproliferation concerns, missiles, and military use goods.

QUESTION: Building on that last point, I mean what theoretically -- possibly, what do you expect that the United States might import from a country that's leading imports seem to be kind of misery and starving refugees across the border into China? Is there any goods that North Korea now produces that might be exportable to the United States?

MR. BOUCHER: I think, Matt, the key issue in this easing of sanctions by the US Government is precisely to say that's no longer a US Government decision; that's a commercial decision the commercial people can make on a commercial basis. Trade both ways, so that will be up for entrepreneurs and traders to figure out if there is.

QUESTION: You actually don't know of any product --

MR. BOUCHER: I'm not forecasting some explosion in trade, or some particular product that would be traded. The point is that we're allowing most of these decisions in all areas that are not sensitive, that don't involve sensitive goods either way, imports or exports from the United States, we're allowing those decisions to be made by commercial people on a commercial basis.

QUESTION: Can I just ask -- you said that relaxation of rules for investors. Does that mean that people will no longer need a license to do business there?

MR. BOUCHER: I think licenses will still be required, but people will have to get them. That is something -- I'm trying to see if I have the exact language, or if that's just something I happen to know. All right, we'll have to get you the precise language on what licenses are required.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) -- Treasury, Commerce?

MR. BOUCHER: I think it's Treasury that handles these things.

QUESTION: You said that in terms of other further steps that might be taken in terms of North Korea beyond the easing of sanctions, you'll have to continue to look at North Korea in action in other areas. What might those other further steps include, and what action in other areas will you be looking at?

MR. BOUCHER: I think it's probably speculative at this point on what the exact next steps will be. We will continue our discussions with North Korea on the Agreed Framework, on the missile issues, basically dealing with the nuclear questions, the missile questions, and the whole process of improving a relationship in the future. That process can involve a whole series of steps, as forecast in the Perry Report.

QUESTION: Senator Helms said Sunday that if this is a genuine reconciliation between North and South Korea, the United States should look at pulling out the 37,000 troops it has there. What's your response to that?

MR. BOUCHER: The question of US troops in Korea is really a question solely to be addressed by the United States and South Korea, the Republic of Korea. We will do that. I think that's quite clear. We very much welcome the change in atmosphere and the prospect for a reduction of tensions on the Peninsula, but our troops are there as long as we and the South Koreans think they're necessary for defense, and that situation hasn't really changed at this stage.

QUESTION: There was an old-style attack on the United States in the North Korean media over the weekend. How much weight do you attach to that? Do you dismiss it as just a sort of reflex of the old style, or --

MR. BOUCHER: Well, I would say it's outdated rhetoric. It's a bit puzzling why it appeared in publication at this point but, to make absolutely clear, the report is incorrect; we are not increasing tensions or escalating the risk of war on the Peninsula.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) -- just the North Koreans who are doing that, right?

MR. BOUCHER: Matt, I don't want to counter charges with counter-charges. Let's just say the report -- any implication that we're somehow increasing tensions is just plain wrong. We welcome the inter-Korean summit. We hope that the progress it has started will lead to reduced tensions on the Korean Peninsula and, for that matter, we'd look forward to a reduction in this kind of outdated rhetoric as well.

QUESTION: You say it's your expectation that the North Koreans will continue to refrain from missile testing. Is that based on a statement or assurances from them?

MR. BOUCHER: Well, they've had a missile moratorium in place. We made quite clear when we announced the easing of sanctions in September of last year that it was done in the context of our talks on missiles and of their moratorium on missiles. That remained very important to us then, and it remains very important to us now. I think I have to stop at that.

QUESTION: Have you heard during the summit, were there any further assurances given about missile testing?

MR. BOUCHER: That's a question you'll have to ask the South Koreans.

QUESTION: Why did you wait from September until now to ease the sanctions?

MR. BOUCHER: It just takes a long time. These are very complicated regulations that have been built up over 50 years. It involves a lot of people in the bureaucracy, a lot of lawyers. And I think when we announced in September, we said it would take many months, and we've said something like six months, and the answer is: Everything always takes longer then you planned.

QUESTION: You probably answered this before, but does the United States believe that North Korea is still able to develop its missile program without carrying out these very obvious tests?

MR. BOUCHER: Sorry?

QUESTION: Does the United States believe that North Korea is still able to develop its missile program without carrying out tests? And there was a follow-on to that.

MR. BOUCHER: You mean, can you develop a missile without testing it? I don't know, that's kind of a factual matter. We do know that they have a fairly advanced program. Let's put it that way.

QUESTION: So you would still see them -- that this continuing moratorium doesn't make any difference to the equation in terms of NMD?

MR. BOUCHER: Yeah, I wouldn't be forecasting any change on missile defense. I don't think -- well, let's put it this way, I don't think anything has changed on missile defense at this point, and the evaluation of the threat will have to take into account the capabilities that they have developed over time.

QUESTION: Is the Trading With the Enemy Act sanctions, is that's what's been lifted?

MR. BOUCHER: Bingo. Ease substantially sanctions in categories that fall under the Trading With the Enemy Act, the export administration regulations, and the Defense Production Act.

QUESTION: Can you tell us what remains -- I mean, for example, if we get a visa to North Korea, does that mean that private people can spend as much as they want, that you don't need to have the -- I mean, a license or permission? I mean, when you talked about licenses, we'd like to know a little more about that.

MR. BOUCHER: Direct personal and commercial financial transactions will be allowed between US and North Korean persons. Again, I have to get the exact language for you on licenses, just to make sure that we know which pieces are subject to license and which aren't. I don't want to wing that one.

QUESTION: On a related matter, the Secretary said today, this morning, that the United States has abandoned the expression "rogue states" in favor of "states of concern." I wondered if you could sort of give us an idea of the ideological shift that's involved in this change in terminology.

MR. BOUCHER: The vast ideological shift? First, I want credit for having admitted that we changed something.

(Laughter.)

All right. The phrase "states of concern" is a more general phrase. I think that the issue was whether you have one policy that tries to fit all, and when all these states are opposed to the peace process and opposed to the international situation and opposed to any form of liberalization and democracy, it's easy to describe in one basket.

What we see now is a certain evolution, different ways in different places. Some places that were described that way have embarked upon more democratic internal life; others have been willing to address some of the issues that are of primary concern to the United States; others have addressed partially issues like terrorism but not completed what the UN, in the example of Libya, has asked them to do in terms of cooperation with the trial.

So the point, I think, is just a recognition that we have seen some evolution in different ways in different places, and that we will deal appropriately with each one based on the kind of evolution we're seeing and what we think is possible in terms of getting them to live more harmoniously with the international environment and, in particular, to address the concerns that the United States has.

QUESTION: Does abandoning the "rogue state" tag mean that you're more open to engage with such countries if you see the opportunity to encourage them to change?

MR. BOUCHER: Well, I think if you look at what we've been doing, where we have an opportunity to address our concerns, we have tried to address those concerns. This is more a change in our description of things rather than a change in what we've been doing, because we have been, for example, in the case of North Korea finding ways to address our serious concerns about nuclear weapons, about missiles, about the overall relationship, including things such as terrorism.

With Libya, we continue to stress the importance of Libya meeting the UN requirements on cooperation with the trial, even as we've noted in our terrorism report that they've taken a certain numbers of steps -- and I grant not complete ones yet -- on distancing themselves from certain terrorist groups.

So I think it's just a recognition that what we were doing was, in fact, addressing the issues where there had been decisions to make a change, where there had been decisions to change the internal workings, like more democracy in Iran or where there have been decisions on their parts to address some of the issues that we were concerned about.

QUESTION: Can you explain to us why no one was told that she was going to make the -- do this interview this morning? And it seems to be that only a few people who heard about it from friends or whoever, who happen to listen regularly to the Diane Rehm Show, were the only ones that were aware of it? I mean, there's a schedule out that says no public appointments on it. This is obviously a public appointment. She did announce -- apparently announced this change in policy, and yet very few people in this room who cover this building -- who would be interested in this -- knew about it.

MR. BOUCHER: Well, I'm sorry it wasn't on the public schedule. I do believe it was advertised by the radio station, so it wasn't a secret. It should have been on the public schedule, and I'm looking into finding out why it wasn't.

QUESTION: Not being a regular listener of that station -- I mean, is that how we're going to -- is this --

MR. BOUCHER: No, we're going to try to get you the information in the future because it should have been there. Okay?

QUESTION: So now that you have countries that, I guess, are in between, does that mean that there are going to be some countries that you wouldn't go all the way to consider them "rogue states;" that you might have a new category delineation like on the terrorism list, countries that aren't state-sponsored terrorists but are not officially cooperating in terms of doing enough?

MR. BOUCHER: I think the point is we're not trying to create new categories; we're trying to deal with each situation in US interests. And if we see a development that we think is in US interests, we will respond. If we see "states of concern" that continue to be of concern because they're not willing to deal with some of the issues we're concerned about -- phew. If we see countries that are not willing to deal with the issues that are most important to us, we're not going to have much of a response or reaction.

QUESTION: Is "rogue state" then out of the lexicon as of today?

MR. BOUCHER: I haven't used it for a while.

QUESTION: Is it possible that some states will still be referred to as "rogue states" if they --

MR. BOUCHER: If they want to be rogues, they can be rogues, but generally we have not been using the term for a while, I think.

QUESTION: So it's not a matter of some countries continue to be "rogue states" and others have progressed to "states of concern;" all of them henceforth are "states of concern"?

MR. BOUCHER: Yes.

QUESTION: But does this lower the bar for what a "state of concern" is, now that there's no "rogue state"?

MR. BOUCHER: Does this lower the bar? No, because, as I said, it's more a description than a change in policy, because the issue is: Are various countries whose activities around the world have been troubling to us, are they actually dealing with the issues that we have been concerned about? And if we are able to encourage them or pressure them or otherwise produce changes in their behavior, and therefore a change in our relationship, we're willing to do that. If they're not, then we're going to keep our sanctions on and we're going to keep our restrictions on and we're not going to change our policies.

QUESTION: PR-wise, does that make it easier for the Administration if you ease sanctions on a "state of concern" than if you ease sanctions on a "rogue state"? So isn't this just as much for you as it is them?

MR. BOUCHER: No, I think the determination will be state by state, where if we do something with an individual country that people think is unmerited, I think we'll hear about it.

QUESTION: Can you tell us how many there are?

MR. BOUCHER: No.

QUESTION: Has anybody actually done a rough list?

MR. BOUCHER: We have found the opportunity to express our concerns about different states at different times in different ways. We try to deal with each one on its behavior, on its actions, on its merits.

QUESTION: So there would be many, in fact, because you have often expressed concern about various aspects of countries?

QUESTION: Is Pakistan a "state of concern"?

MR. BOUCHER: I'm not trying to create new categories. The essence of this is not trying to categorize people. The essence of this is trying to describe our relationships with individual nations in terms of the issues that are most important to the United States and our ability to make progress on those issues.

QUESTION: So just coming out and saying that we're concerned about an event in a country, wherever country, does not necessarily mean that it's a "state of concern"?

MR. BOUCHER: I'm not trying to categorize or re-categorize anybody. I'm trying to say that we're going to deal with each country based on the situation and the merits.

QUESTION: So are the same seven countries -- or however many countries it was that were considered "rogue states" before -- are they all now considered "states of concern"?

MR. BOUCHER: Yes, they would be. But I have to say the point is not to categorize them; the point is to deal with each country on the basis of what we can accomplish in terms of what we care about.

QUESTION: But when you change the category, that is necessarily a categorization.

MR. BOUCHER: We'll discuss that over lunch sometime. I think that's too philosophical for me to deal with from the podium.

QUESTION: Well, I just want to know -- I mean, I think it's a valid question. I mean, are there any more countries that are "states of concern" than there were previously described as "rogue states"?

MR. BOUCHER: No, because we're not adding a large new category. We're trying to say that we deal -- we changed the description, okay? Let's not make this an enormous policy step. Our policies towards each of these countries is very well known, and we've been quite clear over time -- we're talking about North Korea today, talking about countries in our terrorism report, talking about developments in Iran in the Secretary's speeches. We've been quite clear about each of these countries where we saw good things happening, where we wished to progress, where we thought we could progress.

But we've been quite clear that we have different policies towards different places because the key issue here is not to categorize or write a book; the key issue is to get developments and progress on issues the United States cares about because we have our interests in these places in the world.

QUESTION: Can we change topics and go to the Balkans?

QUESTION: I just want to ask a question on the former rogue state of North Korea. (Laughter).

MR. BOUCHER: The state previously known as rogue; is that it? (Laughter.)

QUESTION: Are they still going to be denied -- is the United States still required to vote against World Bank and IMF loans to that country?

MR. BOUCHER: I think that's a consequence of their being on the terrorism list, and therefore it would continue to be.

QUESTION: One more question on that. Wouldn't it be more accurate for you to think of not "states of concern" but "issues of concern" to the United States? And would you -- you started to give a list and you didn't get very far with the list. Is there such a list?

MR. BOUCHER: This is descriptive. There are some countries with which we have a lot of concerns. These correspond to the countries that we have previously called "rogue states." The description of "states of concern" is as good as any. I'm sure there's a thousand other that wordsmiths could dream up. The point of this whole thing is to say that we will deal with each of these countries based on the kind of relationship that we think we can have, based on the kind of progress that we can have, that we can actually see, on the issues that are most important to us.

QUESTION: Is it merely coincidental that this comes up on the same day as we ease sanctions on North Korea, or was this something that was prompted longer in the works, but prompted today by a redefinition of the North Korean relationship?

MR. BOUCHER: I think it was prompted by questions, actually. As I said, I think if you look back to my briefings, and Jamie's briefings, and the Secretary's statements, that we actually haven't used the word "rogue" for quite a while.

QUESTION: When was the definitive shift?

MR. BOUCHER: Over the past few months we've changed the terminology, I think.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) -- reason you've done this is because you think there's a better chance of engaging with a country if you stop calling it a rogue?

MR. BOUCHER: No, I think it would be fair to say that we think the category has outlived its usefulness.

QUESTION: This is more than just semantics, partly because this Administration, in justifying publicly the need for a national missile defense, was that it would guard against "rogue states," not against the former Soviet Union, for example. Now, since it was the category, and it was the justification for a national missile defense, does the term of reference for national missile defense change at all?

MR. BOUCHER: No, absolutely not. The threat that the President -- one of the four criteria the President's going to have to deal with is not based on what term we're using for places, it's based on the fact that there are nations out there who are developing missile capabilities who do not appear to be bound by the traditional strategic stability that exists, for example, between the United States and Russia, because of the network of treaties that are involved.

Therefore, we need to look at other ways of dealing with that new threat that's emerging, and the President will look at the threat and the cost and the feasibility and the nature of the international arms control regime, as we've said, in making that determination. This is not a cookie-cutter approach; it's an attempt to say that we have to deal with each situation as it comes.

QUESTION: You guys have just walked into a huge mine field, maybe a rhetorical mine field, but I mean there are tons of countries out there, and even some that are not official -- Afghanistan and Somalia, for example, that are "states of concern" to the United States, that are not "states of concern."

MR. BOUCHER: I guess what I would say, Matt, is we don't sit around here with a basket marked "states of concern" and try to throw countries into it every day. We actually grab situations, and try to work on them, and improve the interests of the United States with regard to that situation. If you look at what we've been doing, we have been dealing with these issues, with these countries, with these developments overseas, in ways that we thought were most advantageous to the United States.

It's not really a change in behavior or policy or what we're doing as much as it is finding a better description, or a better description because a single description, one size fits all, doesn't really fit any more.

QUESTION: Can we get a transcript of the Diane Rehm Show, though?

MR. BOUCHER: I'm sure it's probably available very soon.

QUESTION: Can you confirm or deny that any kinds of talks are taking place, either formal or informal, as regards an exit strategy for Milosevic, as reported by the <I>Times</I>, and anything else you want to say about that article today?

MR. BOUCHER: There's no truth to the allegations that we're exploring or seeking some kind of deal by which Milosevic would be allowed to leave office with guarantees. The only place Milosevic should even consider traveling to is The Hague. There's been no change in US policy that Milosevic must go to The Hague to stand trial for war crimes. The policy is fairly simple. It's: He should be out of power, out of the country, and in The Hague.

QUESTION: I have a couple of questions on that. One is that there is some admission from various Administration officials that, while no such plan currently exists, that there have been informal talks, and that the US, if such a plan existed, would have to consider it, and might even be willing to accept it. Do you accept all of those premises?

MR. BOUCHER: No. We haven't seen any proposals along those lines, nor would we be interested. Our policy remains very simple: Out of power, out of the country and in The Hague. That's where we think he ought to go.

QUESTION: Okay, well, following up on that. You also distribute those wanted posters for Milosevic with his face on it and everything, and I think you got a letter from Senator Helms a couple months ago saying, I know where he is, he's in Belgrade, and you can go get him any time you want him. There's a lot of members of Congress who are saying if you wanted to prosecute Milosevic as a war criminal you could do so, and the Administration hasn't been very serious about pursuing that. Your response to those criticisms?

MR. BOUCHER: We don't really accept them. Certainly he is an indicted war criminal and needs to be brought to justice, but the actual mechanism of doing that I think I have to leave to the side for the moment.

QUESTION: Can you asses the state of the opposition, I mean as long as we're on the subject today, because the opposition is also mentioned in the article as being very fragile and weak? Is that the US assessment of where it stands?

MR. BOUCHER: Without making any particular predictions, I think it's clear that the opposition is growing, is widening, is quite clear that the people of Serbia don't feel like they've had a choice, and it's quite clear also that Milosevic is lashing out at independent voices, be they in the media or the opposition or elsewhere. As we said the other day, that the regime has created a climate of lawlessness that really harms all the Serbian people. Our goal is to see that they can enjoy the same choice, the same democracy that other people are being able to enjoy more and more in the region.

QUESTION: Can you say whether this topic of trying to get rid of Milosevic somehow has come up in talks in NATO or in other capitals? Are our European allies becoming antsy enough about this that somebody is looking for a way to get him out of there?

MR. BOUCHER: We have not seen any proposals along these lines, nor are we interested in seeing any.

QUESTION: Have there been any informal discussions along these lines?

MR. BOUCHER: Again, we haven't seen any proposals like this. We're not interested in the subject. We have a very clear policy: He's an indicted war criminal, and he belongs in The Hague.

QUESTION: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee recently, just within the past hour, faxed over a notice that there will be hearings, or it would have hearings, on the subject of State Department security and that Mr. Carpenter and his boss, whose name escapes me at the moment, would be testifying.

QUESTION: His boss is the Secretary.

QUESTION: Well, there was somebody else.

QUESTION: Grossman and Carpenter.

MR. BOUCHER: Oh, Grossman. The two of them. Okay.

QUESTION: Okay. Anyway, has there been any new development that has precipitated this hearing and, if not, how would you characterize it?

MR. BOUCHER: I don't know of any particularly new development. We have been obviously consulting very closely with Congress. Our Director General Marc Grossman, Assistant Secretary for Security David Carpenter, have been up on the Hill several times recently to discuss things with various people in the Congress that are concerned about security here, as we are. We have been quite clear on our determination to make a change in the security situation, so I think they've just decided it was the moment to talk about this in hearings.

But, no, I'm not aware of any new developments that would precipitate a hearing. I think this is an ongoing subject of concern to us and to the Congress, and an ongoing subject of discussion between us and the Congress.

QUESTION: Interfax is reporting that the US and the Russians are holding arms talks somewhere in Norway. Do you have anything on that?

MR. BOUCHER: Yes. I could stop there. The presidents agreed in Moscow, as you'll remember, in the signed Statement of Principles that the US and Russia will commit to intensified discussion on the ABM Treaty and further reductions in strategic forces within a START III framework. Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott is meeting with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mamedov today in Norway to continue the dialogue.

Secretary Cohen, as you'll remember, also met with Russian Defense Minister Sergeyev and with President Putin in Moscow last week on arms control, as well as on other issues. So this is part of the continuing discussions that we've had with the Russians since the summit when the President and President Putin determined that we should continue our discussions.

QUESTION: Lebanon. Everybody except the Lebanese Government seems to think that the Israelis have, in fact, pulled out of South Lebanon. Do you have any message to -- I mean, would you like to tell the Lebanese Government anything in public about this? I mean, do you think that they're deliberately obstructing the deployment of UN force? What do you think about this?

MR. BOUCHER: Well, I don't think I need to particularly send them a message in public. The Secretary has been talking to President Lahud over the weekend for several hours in various conversations, so they're quite aware of our views and the United Nations views. I think in general I would say that Israel has withdrawn from Lebanon. The UN Secretary General has confirmed the withdrawal in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 425. On Sunday, the Security Council endorsed Secretary General Annan's report confirming the withdrawal and they issued a President's Statement from the Council.

Secretary General Annan is now in the region. He has made clear to all parties that the identification of the withdrawal line was the sole responsibility of the United Nations pursuant to the Security Council Resolution 425 and that both sides should respect the line as identified. The Secretary General has also made clear that any claims of violations of the UN line should be reported to the United Nations and that UN forces will have the responsibility for investigating those claims.

QUESTION: Staying on the region, has anything been firmed up on the Secretary's trip there next week? Do we have a date when Dennis is going this week? And, actually, if we could begin on the Secretary if we have anything more firm on the first part of her trip as well, to Asia and Europe?

MR. BOUCHER: Okay, let's stay in the region first, then. The only word I can add to what you've just said is "middle." Dennis Ross will be traveling to the region in the middle of this week. The Secretary will travel to the Middle East next week.

As far as the Secretary's itinerary, we can give you the dates for China and Korea. I don't think I can give you much beyond that.

QUESTION: The <I>Jerusalem Post</I> is reporting that the Israeli Government is considering and very well might turn over Abu Dis and another Jerusalem suburb on Friday to the Palestinian Authority. Do you think that this would be a positive step toward the resolution of the Jerusalem issue?

MR. BOUCHER: I'm not sure I would characterize it that way. I think certainly these villages are an important issue and that we would welcome anything that Israel could do to improve the atmosphere and the environment for talks.

QUESTION: Can you tell us a little bit more? There were reports over the weekend that she made phone calls regarding the Security Council resolution and was able to help move it along on Sunday. Can you tell us who she called and what was the nature of the calls?

MR. BOUCHER: She talked to President Lahud for several hours, including conversations with United Nations officials who had been involved in order to ascertain exactly where the differences were. I'll have to check on other phone calls besides that.

QUESTION: A couple hours is a very long time for the Secretary of State to talk to the Lebanese president.

MR. BOUCHER: She devoted a lot of time and energy to this issue, and it looks like it's working out.

QUESTION: What was the outcome of this telephone call? They disagreed in the end?

MR. BOUCHER: Well, the outcome is, I think, a clear understanding that it's up to the United Nations to confirm the withdrawal, and parties who think they see violations of the line need to report them to the United Nations and have the United Nations deal with them. The outcome is that the United Nations Security Council has, in fact, supported the Secretary General in his determination.

QUESTION: Can I ask a follow-up? Did she discuss at all the participation of the partly US-trained Lebanese army in covering the border --

MR. BOUCHER: I'm sure the issue of Lebanon exerting its government authority in the south was discussed, but whether -- how specific she got on that, I don't know.

QUESTION: Chile. Last week I asked you if the United States was thinking to change the way it was dealing with the investigation and the disappearance of Americans in that country. There is an article in <I>The Washington Post</I> saying that the State Department requested more information of the fate of three Americans in Chile.

Can you give us more details on that?

MR. BOUCHER: Yeah. We asked the Government of Chile in late March to undertake renewed efforts to provide as full an accounting as possible in the deaths of Charles Horman and Frank Teruggi in 1973 and the disappearance and presumed death of Boris Weisfeiler in 1985.

Much has been done in recent years to shed light on these and other crimes. The Chilean Government has itself done much to come to terms with the legacy of human rights abuses left by the Pinochet era in a manner which fosters accountability and national reconciliation. The work of the Chilean National Truth and Reconciliation Commission, also known as the Rettig Commission, has received international recognition.

The Commission's final report in February of 1991 expressed the conviction that Horman and Teruggi were victims of extrajudicial execution by agents of the state, in violation of their human rights. The Commission did not have sufficient information to reach a conclusion regarding Mr. Weisfeiler.

Our present request builds on the work of the Commission and the considerable information we ourselves have made public on these cases under the aegis of the NSC-directed Chile Declassification Project. We have received a response from the Government of Chile. It highlighted the investigations currently underway in Chile on the disappearance of Mr. Weisfeiler. It also noted that no investigation of the Horman and Teruggi murders can take place outside the framework of the Chilean judiciary.

At present we're studying the Chilean Government's response to our request so I can't really give you any next steps. But I would note that additional documents on the three cases will be made available as part of the third and final tranche of documents, this to be released as part of the Chile Declassification Project.

QUESTION: Do you believe the socialist persons in Chile, a country like the United States who are investigating cases of citizens who have been killed, you will be able to get more details about the human rights violations committed in Chile during the Pinochet regime?

MR. BOUCHER: I don't think I could speculate one way or the other. I think these cases remain important to us and important to our families, so we would welcome any kind of cooperation that we could get in providing additional information for the families.

QUESTION: If the United States finds any implication of Pinochet himself or involvement in the assassination of Fernando Letelier and taking into effect that he doesn't have any more senatorial immunity, you will be able to have a legal action against him?

MR. BOUCHER: There is an investigation that the United States is conducting regarding human rights abuses, including the murder of Fernando Letelier and his American assistant, Ronni Moffitt. I think it would be speculative to say how that might change, depending on things, but I do think the investigation continues.

QUESTION: I understand the migration talks scheduled for next week have been postponed. Do you have that?

MR. BOUCHER: Late last week the Cuban Interest Section here informed us that they were postponing the migration talks that they had agreed to participate in that were scheduled for June 27. They cited their preoccupation with the return of Elian Gonzalez as the reason for the cancellation.

QUESTION: They cited the preoccupation; is that a quote?

MR. BOUCHER: That's not in quotes, but I think it's a fairly accurate paraphrase of what they told us.

QUESTION: You mean that they are incapable of dealing with anything else on the foreign policy spectrum?

MR. BOUCHER: You'll have to ask them.

QUESTION: Is that taken -- (inaudible) -- that they are impatient and they want Elian released before they engage in any other dialogue with the United States?

MR. BOUCHER: You'll have to ask them. We told them that we strenuously objected to the last-minute postponement, that we were fully prepared on our part to proceed with these semi-annual talks as scheduled. We continue to press the Government of Cuba to provide us with another date for these talks to be held.

QUESTION: There is no date -- (inaudible) --?

MR. BOUCHER: Not at this point.

QUESTION: Can we stay in the hemisphere?

QUESTION: I would like to stay on the Cuban Interest Section for a moment. Has the Metropolitan Police Department ever finished its investigation of the incident outside the Cuban Interest Section some months ago now?

MR. BOUCHER: I'd have to check for our side. You might also check with them.

QUESTION: If they had, would you know about it?

MR. BOUCHER: I assume we would know about it. We've been cooperating and working with them on this matter.

Another Cuba question.

QUESTION: Do you have any reaction about the proposal to create the new bi-national -- bi-partisan commission to review the US policy toward Cuba?

MR. BOUCHER: No, I don't have anything on that. I'm not sure the Administration's taken a position at this point.

QUESTION: Haiti. Over the weekend, the head of the electoral commission fled the country, fearing for his life, and is now someplace in the States, and this morning the election council, what's left of it I guess, has postponed the second round of elections that were scheduled for this week. As I recall, you said that the first round, or that the US believed that the first round -- you were waiting for the OAS report, but you were pleased with the high turnout. I'm wondering what these latest developments do to your analysis of the situation?

MR. BOUCHER: Well, we did say that we were pleased that the first round was peaceful and that there was a high turnout. But, remember, we also want the Government of Haiti and the country's electoral authorities to complete the vote count in accordance with the precepts of the Haitian constitution, and the electoral law. The United States and the Organization of American States are indeed following the post-electoral situation in Haiti very closely.

I would point out that Mr. Leon Manus, the President of the Haitian Provisional Electoral Council, is in the United States. He and his wife entered on valid US visas that they already had in their possession. Our understanding is it was entirely their decision to depart Haiti.

QUESTION: Of course it was, because the guy was scared to death. So what about the postponement?

MR. BOUCHER: I hadn't heard about the postponement. I'll have to get something separate for you on that.

QUESTION: Okay, does the entry of Mr. -- I don't remember his name -- he and his wife fearing for their lives say anything to you about what's going on down there?

MR. BOUCHER: It says a lot about the difficult situation in Haiti. I think the important thing is we try to get the vote count to be conducted in accordance with the constitution and the precepts that are down there, and their electoral law. That remains the task that we want to see completed.

QUESTION: Does the absence of this man make you at all more concerned about whenever they hold this runoff that it's going to be okay, or is this just can things go on okay?

MR. BOUCHER: We'll have to see. I don't know.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) -- a negative comment about President Aristide and his supporters throughout this process. Do you have anything to say about that?

MR. BOUCHER: No, I don't. I do think that it's important for everyone in Haiti, and we've said this before, to allow the conduct of these elections in an atmosphere that's free and fair, in accordance with the precepts that are laid out in Haitian constitution and law. Therefore, we think it's incumbent upon all the parties to cooperate with that process.

QUESTION: Do you have any reaction to the signature yesterday in Algiers of the cease-fire agreement between Ethiopia and Eritrea?

MR. BOUCHER: The Foreign Ministers of Ethiopia and Eritrea signed the agreement on cessation of hostilities on Sunday in Algiers, as you point out. The cessation agreement includes an end to hostilities, provisions for Ethiopian withdrawal, and the creation of a peacekeeping mission.

The initial stage of the next stage of negotiations, which have already begun under OAU auspices in Algiers, will build on these areas of agreement that have been reached over the past two years, including Eritrea's acceptance of the OAU's technical arrangements last July, and the understanding reached with the Ethiopians in March. Differences remain, however, and will have to be negotiated during the next round.

QUESTION: There is some report that Ethiopia has begun withdrawing its troops from military out. Can you confirm that? Some other reports saying that it's just a tactical move.

MR. BOUCHER: I don't have anything up to date on the situation on the ground. They're supposed to submit redeployment plans for troops that are -- from positions taken after February 6, 1999, which were not under their administration before May 6, 1998. Redeployment is to be completed within two weeks after the deployment of the UN -- of the peacekeeping mission, and the verification by it, by the peacekeeping mission.

QUESTION: Before they're deployed -- the Security Council still hasn't yet approved of a peacekeeping mission, correct?

MR. BOUCHER: That's right. That will have to be looked at.

QUESTION: Does the US support a peacekeeping mission, and what sizes do they envision?

MR. BOUCHER: I think all that is being worked out, but certainly the UN is going to be asked to deploy a peacekeeping mission under the auspices of the OAU. It will terminate when the process of delimitation and demarcation of the border is completed. Size and composition have not yet been determined. There are discussions ongoing between the OAU and the United Nations on that point.

QUESTION: But on the composition, if it's OAU, does that mean it will be an entirely African peacekeeping force? Would the US consider sending any US soldiers to participate in such a force?

MR. BOUCHER: Again, the size and the composition of the thing have not been worked out yet. I wouldn't prejudge it one way or the other at this point.

QUESTION: Can I move to another election, Zimbabwe? The government has refused to accredit the EU, or a team of EU observers. I'm just wondering if you are aware of any problems that the US-sponsored observers there might be having, if they're having any at all?

MR. BOUCHER: We remain very concerned about the freedom and the fairness of the elections. We --

QUESTION: But this is about "state of concern"? You had to expect that.

MR. BOUCHER: I will disregard certain comments here. We are funding certain international observers from the National Democratic Institute and the International Republican Institute. Embassy officials will also be observing the June 24-25 parliamentary elections. Neither the National Democratic Institute nor the International Republican Institute have yet received their accreditation, despite multiple requests to the Government of Zimbabwe, and we urge that they be accredited quickly.

QUESTION: There has been no explanation for why they haven't gotten accredited?

MR. BOUCHER: Not that I have at this stage.

QUESTION: The Cuban doctors.

MR. BOUCHER: Let me try to remember where we are on that. I don't think I have anything new to report. Our focus is still on the release of the Cubans to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. We are continuing to call on the Government of Zimbabwe to live up to its international obligations, and we also think that the ongoing detention of individuals who are lawfully present in Zimbabwe without adequate justification or due process of law appears to violate certain fundamental international human rights standards.

QUESTION: Can I just go back to the observers for a second? Which ones have not -- have the embassy people gotten accredited, or is it --

MR. BOUCHER: The National Democratic Institute and the International Republican Institute have not yet received their accreditation.

QUESTION: But the embassy observers have?

MR. BOUCHER: I'll have to check and see if the embassy requires it. Obviously they're present in country, and will be able to watch what's going on. Whether they need special accreditation to go to polling places --

QUESTION: Do you know when they applied or how long they've been waiting?

MR. BOUCHER: I think we've had repeated, multiple requests to the Government of Zimbabwe, so this goes back over a period of time.

QUESTION: Do you know how many people that is?

MR. BOUCHER: We were prepared to fund over 10,000 domestic and African observers, in addition to these.

QUESTION: How many people are we talking about who haven't gotten --

MR. BOUCHER: Who have not gotten -- who will be on these particular teams? I'll have to check for you on that. I don't know.

QUESTION: There was a BBC report last night that the Secretary will be meeting with the Iranian President during her long trip. Is there anything to that report?

MR. BOUCHER: No.

QUESTION: No refueling stop in Tehran?

QUESTION: Well, he is supposed to be in Beijing around the same time, correct? You are aware of that, right? I mean, I know that they were in the same building in Syria for the funeral and they didn't meet there, but are you aware that Khatami is going to be in Beijing when she is?

MR. BOUCHER: I wasn't particularly aware that he was going to be in Beijing.

QUESTION: So they might yet bump into each other?

MR. BOUCHER: As our colleague has helpfully pointed out, they've been in the same building in places before and have not bumped into each other, so I wouldn't have any higher expectation this time. Thank you.

(The briefing was concluded at 1:15 P.M.)


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