U.S. Department of State Daily Press Briefing #91, 00-09-21
From: The Department of State Foreign Affairs Network (DOSFAN) at <http://www.state.gov>
U.S. Department of State
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 2000
Briefer: RICHARD BOUCHER, SPOKESMAN
1 Dedication of Harry S Truman Building, Friday, September 22 /
Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright to Travel to Iceland and
France from September 30 to October 2 on U.S.-European Relations /
Statement on the Secretary's New Science and Technology Adviser
Norman P. Neureiter / Statement on Iranian Appeals Court Decision
on the Trial of Iranian Jews
1-4 Iranian Appeals Court Decision On Trial of Iranian Jews
4 Arrest of U.S. Citizen Edmond Pope
4-7 Migration Talks Between the United States and Cuba Taking Place in
New York City / Downed Cuban Plane
MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS
7-8 U.S. Efforts to Advance Peace Process
VISA WAIVER PROGRAM
8 Pending Legislation in the Senate to Make the Visa Waiver Program
8-9 American Hostage / U.S. Policy that Ransoms Should Not be Paid and
9-10 Aung San Suu Kyi Attempt to Board Train for Mandalay /
U.S. Deplores Attempts by Burmese Government to Restrict Aung San
Suu Kyi's Freedom of Movement
10 Indian Announcement to Withdraw Troops from UN Peacekeeping Mission
10-11 U.S. Pursues Current Cases of Child Abduction Cases / U.S.-German
Working Group Reviewing Issues of Child Abduction Cases
11 Upcoming Elections
11-13 Russia and French Humanitarian Flights / Expansion of Oil
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 2000, 1:15 P.M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. BOUCHER: Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. Let me start off the
last briefing in a building that has no name. Tomorrow we will no longer be
named this. I don't know what that does to all your anonymous sources,
whether they will all be Harry S Truman, or what, but we will have a name
tomorrow for our building.
Let me start with a couple brief announcements. First, we will be putting
up a notice about the Secretary's travel to Iceland and France from
September 30th to October 2nd. So we encourage people to look at that and
to come with us for some important developments and important work on US-
The second thing I wanted to mention is we put out a statement yesterday
about the Secretary's new Science Advisor. Norman P. Neureiter, is the
Science and Technology Advisor to the Secretary of State. He is going to
work with Senior Department officials here to ensure that science,
technology and health issues are properly integrated into our foreign
policy, and he will work closely with the science and technology communities
in both public and private sectors to get advice and to strengthen our
cooperation with them.
As you know, the integration of science and many of these issues into our
foreign policy has been a key issue for the Secretary. This is something
she has wanted, and now she has a Science Advisor here, as well as the work
she has done over the years strengthening our capabilities in this area.
This adds further to them.
And third of all, I would like to make a statement about the Iranian
Appeals Court decision on the trial of the Jews. The United States is
disappointed that today's Appeals Court decision in Iran does not overturn
all of the convictions that were imposed on the 10 Iranian Jews on July
1st. We are also disappointed that the Iranian Government has not released
any of the 10 defendants from prison.
The United States has previously condemned and continues to condemn the
process by which 13 members of the Iranian-Jewish community were tried and
10 sentenced without benefit of internationally recognized due process. The
decision of the appeals court today reinforces our longstanding concerns
about the manner in which the Iranian courts conducted this case, and we,
like the rest of the international community, continue to be concerned by
Iran's judicial practices in this and in other cases.
And with that statement, I would be glad to take your questions.
QUESTION: Are you concerned in a larger sense about the plight of Jews
and other minorities in Iran? Or are you concerned with mostly all the
procedure in this particular case?
MR. BOUCHER: I think I would have to leave you with the recently released
report on religious freedom for an appraisal of the general situation of
Jews and other religious minorities in Iran. Certainly, the issues in this
particular case relating to due process and the lack of due process for
these people are very important to us as well.
QUESTION: Is there any linkage between - or is there still a linkage
between lifting more sanctions against Iran and the status of these
MR. BOUCHER: We have, I think, made clear in terms of policy that we have
followed a consistent policy announced by the Secretary in March. We have
offered an unconditional dialogue with Iran to address the issues that are
of concern to us, and our policy in that regard remains unchanged. We
continue to have grave concerns about their support for terrorism, their
support for weapons of mass destruction, position on the Middle East peace
process, and Iran's poor human rights record, of which this is part.
We think maintaining pressure in this regard on reform is an important part
of our activity. We have offered the dialogue, but we don't see the offer
of dialogue as negating the need to make clear what our views are on things
- developments like this.
The March initiative that we had was only really limited, and specifically
targeted measures designed to reach out to the Iranian people and
demonstrate our goodwill towards them. So that remains in place as well.
But the limited efforts to reach out don't negate the need for dialogue,
and don't negate the need to speak out when we have subjects of concern
like this trial.
QUESTION: Richard, have you, in effect, protested through the - is it the
Swiss Embassy that takes care of our relations at this point on the ground?
Has any protest been made, and have you sought the release of these 13 - or
is it down to 10 now?
MR. BOUCHER: I think it is down to 10 now. The appeal yesterday
apparently, I guess, reduced some of the charges, but they are all still
charged with something and subject to jail sentences. We have made very
clear all along what our views are. The news broke this morning. I don't
know if we have passed a message or done anything today through channels,
but we are making quite clear what our views are here in terms of our views
of the situation. I'm sure the Iranians will notice.
QUESTION: But have you sought the release of these men and their
departure from Iran?
MR. BOUCHER: We have said all along in very strong terms that what was
needed was a fair, judicial process - an open and fair judicial process and
open and fair trial - and we have condemned the way this due process was
conducted. That has been our view.
QUESTION: What if the charges in the first instance are totally false?
You figure a fair trial would reveal that?
MR. BOUCHER: Would reveal that, and they would be acquitted. Yes. That's
why the fundamental issue is due process. If there is due process, then
justice will be served.
QUESTION: Well, one other question then with regard to Americans around
the world - American prisoners. There are two classes: criminals, druggies -
- that sort of thing -- and security or political prisoners. Can you give
me a list, country by country, or take the question of the number of
American prisoners being held as criminals and being held as security, or
"political" prisoners, who may not all have been given due process either?
Could you do a little research for me on --
MR. BOUCHER: I think it is impossible to do what you're saying, frankly,
from the information. I will check and see if we have any handy-dandy list.
But, as you know, around the world, Americans have been convicted at
various times of various offenses. It is not always possible to differentiate
what is a criminal offense and what may be put in jail for political
reasons on criminal charges. I think to try to make that kind of list
country by country, around the world, prisoner by prisoner, is not
something that is possible to do.
QUESTION: If you can't do that, can you give me a list for Israel and
MR. BOUCHER: Once again, you are asking us to make a differentiation that
I am not sure we can make. I will see if we have lists, any statistics on
US prisoners in those areas.
QUESTION: The various statistics, not the names.
QUESTION: One person, Mr. Pope, and the Russians seem to be positioning
themselves to go ahead - go ahead. Yes.
QUESTION: Can I just get this straight? Your objection to this is purely
on the procedure, or do you take a position on either their innocence or
guilt? And, secondly, do you take issue with the Iranian laws which prevent
Iranian Jews from passing information to Israelis?
MR. BOUCHER: The concern that we have consistently expressed is the total
lack of due process, the lack of transparency, the way in which these
trials have been conducted. We felt that that was a violation of the rights
of these people, and we have certainly condemned that, and felt that they
deserved an open and fair trial. And that remains our view.
How that would play out in the judicial process is something that one can't
say exactly, because they haven't been afforded that opportunity. So
certainly we have been quite clear in saying these people deserve -- if
they are going to be charged with anything, they certainly deserve an open
and fair trial.
QUESTION: So to get on to the next question, this does differ from the
case of Mr. Pope, where you are, in effect, saying he is innocent? Is that
MR. BOUCHER: In the case of Mr. Pope, we have seen no evidence to
indicate that he has violated any Russian laws. We have been in touch with
him and have been able to talk to him. We have had at least some access and
some information on this. I think the fact that this trial was held in such
a closed manner, there is so little information, it is hard for anyone to
make any judgment on this.
QUESTION: Do you think that there will be any conditions under which
there would be a fair trial for these folks in Iran? I mean, could you
envision anything that would resemble a fair trial? Do you have criteria
for what that would look like?
MR. BOUCHER: Again, that there is a judicial system there that we assume
could conduct a fair trial if they wanted to. But this was done completely
without due process, completely without any openness, and completely
without any sort of international standards. So we are very concerned about
the judicial practices in these cases in Iran about this and other cases as
QUESTION: Could you address the Pope situation today, please?
MR. BOUCHER: I'm not sure there is any news on the Pope situation.
MR. BOUCHER: The latest we had was that September 19th the court denied
the appeal for him to be released on medical grounds. I think we talked
about that yesterday.
QUESTION: All right, well, if you don't have that, how about the Cuban -
we'll take one of this and one of that -
MR. BOUCHER: I've noticed.
QUESTION: This probably will astonish you, but there is nothing that you
said in New York on the Cuban-US talks so New York is called and said,
hopefully, I'm sure the State Department would be happy to provide some
information. I think they are wrong, but I'm going to ask you anyhow.
MR. BOUCHER: I'm not sure I have much to add to what they haven't said
QUESTION: Why don't you take back some of what they haven't said?
MR. BOUCHER: Okay. The migration talks between the United States and Cuba
are taking place today in New York City. They have been held, as you know,
intermittently since 1980, and they have been roughly every six months
since our 1994 Migration Accord. You will remember the Secretary's
statement about a month ago now on the need for the Cuban Government to
facilitate family reunification; said that it was important to us that we
commence these talks, which should have taken place in June. And so now
they are finally doing that.
We will discuss in those talks a wide range of subjects concerning the
agreement to provide a safe and orderly method for Cubans to immigrate to
the United States. We will raise a number of our concerns, including
impediments the Cuban Government has created to emigration of its citizens,
and including the problems that we noted in our August 28th diplomatic note
to the Cuban Government.
QUESTION: Can you say specifically whether they have begun? You said they
are meeting today, but can you say whether they actually sat down together
in New York?
QUESTION: Did they shake hands?
MR. BOUCHER: Can we say, yes, did they - I usually rely on the press to
tell me that people have actually walked into rooms and shaken hands. I
don't have remote control TV cameras on my folks. But, yes, they have.
QUESTION: They have?
MR. BOUCHER: Yes, they have met. They have started to meet.
QUESTION: Good. Can you tell us whether - it may be a little premature,
but did the plane incident and the fact that you've taken these people in,
have you seen any repercussions from that on the course of the talks?
MR. BOUCHER: It's way premature to start drawing conclusions like that. I
mean, first of all, the plane that went down was not a subject of
discussion for these talks. It's not something we were going to raise. We
saw no reason for it to be discussed up there.
The Coast Guard, as you know, with the question of the airplane, has
decided that after they assessed the medical condition of the survivors,
that these people should receive medical attention at a hospital. They told
us of their decision. It's a basically humanitarian decision that they make
in cases of medical necessity. So these people have been taken to a
hospital, and they can explain to you further anything that happens next.
But it's not something on our agenda with the Cubans in the talks. I don't
know what's on their mind, but it's not on our agenda.
QUESTION: Well, the escape route, going across the waters, is an ordeal.
Isn't it logical that anybody who would try to get in this way could
instantly to be judged to have a medical problem and would have the ticket
to the US? No?
MR. BOUCHER: Barry, the --
QUESTION: I mean, in a practical sense, if you try to take to the seas to
get away from Cuba, I think you're not going to have a good time and, in
fact, you might not do too well physically and emotionally. So you become
something who ought to be medivaced, no?
MR. BOUCHER: Barry, it's certainly --
QUESTION: That's the word "emigrate," isn't it, in effect?
MR. BOUCHER: My turn.
QUESTION: Sorry. Go ahead.
MR. BOUCHER: It's certainly a perilous way to leave, and that's why we
have had these immigration agreements. We have tried to facilitate and make
work the family reunification practices, especially that go under the
orderly and safe patterns of migration that we have tried to set up through
these talks. And that is why it was of great concern to the Secretary the
Cubans weren't holding these talks and they weren't allowing the family
reunifications to take place. So, number one, yes, it is dangerous to leave
Cuba by sea in boats or however, in airplanes, and we want this to happen,
people to able to migrate in a safe and orderly fashion. That is why we
insist on these talks. That's why we have these talks.
As far as the actual circumstances of any individual who leaves on a boat
or a raft or an airplane, the Coast Guard decides based on the actual
conditions. There is no ipso facto, if you're in a boat on the sea, you're
suffering and therefore deserve to come to the States. When they pick
people up - people get picked up, they look at them. They interview many of
them on the high seas to determine if they have a need to come to the
States under asylum procedures, but basically this is handled by the Coast
Guard based on the individual situation.
QUESTION: Do you happen to know if anybody made a determination whether
the plane was hijacked or stolen, because there is a legal distinction
there that could be significant?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't have information on that at this point. I think
Justice Department will have to determine that.
QUESTION: On Azerbaijan's upcoming elections again --
QUESTION: Can we stay on Cuba? Can you tell us who the delegation leaders
are? Is it Mr. Alarcon on the Cuban side? And who is the leader on the US
MR. BOUCHER: I should know that, but I don't. Let me double-check.
Brownfield on our side. Bill Brownfield, our Deputy Assistant Secretary.
Mr. Alarcon on the Cuban side.
QUESTION: Will the Cubans that were brought in to Key West be given
MR. BOUCHER: That is a question that will be determined by the Immigration
Service in the Justice Department under the law. And now that they're in
the States, they'll handle it.
QUESTION: One other question. If they were brought to Key West for
medical attention and seven of them were released hours after they arrived
to the hospital, how severe were their medical needs?
MR. BOUCHER: Again, that is something the Coast Guard and the hospital
can answer for you. I'm not a doctor, and I don't look like one.
QUESTION: Was that the only reason that they were brought to US soil, for
MR. BOUCHER: This is a humanitarian determination. It's a decision the
Coast Guard made. The informed us of it. They felt these people needed to
be seen by doctors. They needed to have medical attention. They make these
calls in different cases when they pick people up on the high seas. It's a
fairly standardized procedure for them to determine. They did it. They
brought then in to Key West, Florida, to have a look at them. And so
they're getting the medical attention the Coast Guard thought they needed.
That's as much as we know.
QUESTION: Have the Cubans made an official request to return these
MR. BOUCHER: I haven't heard of anything. I'd have to check.
QUESTION: The central election commission made a decision this week in
Azerbaijan to bar main political parties from - two main political parties,
Musavat and Democratic Party, from participation in the elections. Do you
have any comment on that issue?
MR. BOUCHER: That's something I'll have to get something for you later
on. I'll look into it and get you something.
QUESTION: Richard, there are rumors in Israel that the United States has
a new Jerusalem bridging proposal. In spite of the historic precedent, I
would like to ask you if this is true.
MR. BOUCHER: The historic precedent is we don't comment one way or the
other if we do or we don't, which I appreciate your awareness of that. I
think the only thing we can say at this point is in general terms; that we
are in close and regular contact with the parties. The Secretary has stayed
closely involved in our efforts to advance Middle East peace. As you know,
she had a number of meetings in New York with Israelis, Palestinians,
interested Arab leaders and others. She has had conversations in the last
few days with the Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami. We continue to
work on the process. Ambassador Ross and his team continue to be in touch
with people. We're working with both sides to facilitate their efforts to
achieve a peace agreement, and we remain prepared to do what we can to get
That's about as much as I can say at this point. We don't get into
specifics of what we're doing. No travel announcements, no bridging
proposals to announce or anything like that.
QUESTION: And now to something entirely different. The visa waiver
program, a program which is, I believe, instituted in 29 countries around
the world which allows people to come here without first obtaining a visa.
It is in danger of not being passed in this Congress. What effect would
that have on this building?
MR. BOUCHER: The enactment of the visa waiver program - this is one of
our highest priorities, a very high legislative priority for the Department
of State. We are pleased that the House of Representatives passed the
waiver program in its version of the bill in April, and we hope that the
Senate will act similarly before the end of the session.
This program has been very important to us. It's been invaluable in
promoting US travel and tourism, enhancing relations with participating
countries, and allowing the Department of State to spend its scare
resources more seriously and in a more targeted fashion so that we can put
the resources into places where we do have problems with immigration or
trafficking or drugs or other things.
The Immigration and Naturalization Service statistics reflect that 55
percent of all business and pleasure travelers to the United States -
that's some 17 million people per year - enter the country under the visa
waiver program. According to the most recent travel industry data, foreign
visitors in the US generated $95.6 billion in direct expenditures last
year. That sustains more than 1.1 million jobs for working Americans,
indirectly supports a lot more.
And so, 55 percent of those people who come and spend the $95.6 billion
come under this program. So it is very important for us to keep up. It
would have serious repercussions for our relationships, serious repercussions
for the ability of the State Department to do business with its limited
resources, and serious repercussions, we think, for the United States in
terms of travel and tourism as well. And so we want to see this enacted,
and we will continue to work with the Congress to see the program
QUESTION: How long do you have to get this through, though? I mean, they
are leaving, aren't they, tonight?
MR. BOUCHER: That is a question of congressional scheduling as well. So
we will just have to see what happens. I think they are looking to go out
soon, so we would hope that the Senate would enact this legislation
QUESTION: Do you have any update on the American hostage in the
Philippines? Apparently, he has contacted a radio station and it is not
clear whether what he has said was made under duress. What is your
interpretation of that?
MR. BOUCHER: We can't verify at this point that the voice on the tape is
actually Mr. Schilling's. We certainly regard all statements made by
hostages while they are in captivity to have been made under duress.
QUESTION: And on the larger question, do you have anything to say about
this ransom that the Libyans paid? I mean, these hostage-takers are now
multi-millionaires because of Libya.
MR. BOUCHER: I don't have a specific confirmation of an individual
transaction, but I think we have made quite clear our view that ransom
should not be paid, and that it is counter-productive to pay ransom. In
fact, when the Secretary met with the Philippine Foreign Minister last week
and in his discussions with others when we met with the Asians last week,
this issue was discussed. And several people observed that the ransom money
was just going to fuel other kidnappings and other - and to buy guns. And
that is a concern that we have had and that others have shared as
QUESTION: On a different topic, do you have any information on the Iraqis
who crossed the Mexican border in an apparent attempt to seek asylum?
MR. BOUCHER: No, I don't.
QUESTION: And would it be unusual for a group of, they say, approximately
45 Iraqis, including families, that large a number, including 19 children,
is that unusual for them to -
MR. BOUCHER: Again, I don't know. I think the Border Patrol and the
Immigration Service have to figure that out. Certainly, it was notable
enough to get into a lot of press reports, but it is not something that we
handle down there.
QUESTION: What do you have to say about Aung San Suu Kyi's latest attempt
to assert her right to freedom of movement by taking the train to
MR. BOUCHER: First of all, we think she does have a right to freedom of
movement, and our understanding is that she has gone to the Rangoon train
station attempting to board a train for Mandalay. The Burmese security
forces have prevented her from boarding, and they also have barred foreign
diplomats and international media from entering the train station.
We deplore the repeated and heavy-handed attempts by the Burmese Government
to restrict Aung San Suu Kyi's freedom of movement. As we have said many
times before, freedom of movement is a basic human right recognized in
numerous international conventions and instruments. We urge the Burmese
authorities to uphold their obligations on these covenants and instruments
and to stop this violation of her human rights. Furthermore, we have always
said they should engage in a dialogue with the democratically-elected
QUESTION: Are you disappointed that other countries in the region aren't
speaking out on her behalf?
MR. BOUCHER: I think there have been quite a few countries who have
spoken out. I haven't done a count of which are in the region and which
aren't. Certainly the subject of Aung San Suu Kyi and the way she was being
treated, the denial of her rights again, was something that was discussed
with many people in the region during the Secretary's meetings in New York,
and we found a considerable amount of concern and sympathy about the
QUESTION: What does the Administration make out of the latest peacekeeping
operations, given the fact that India is withdrawing all its troops out of
MR. BOUCHER: The United Nations, I guess, has - or I guess India
announced yesterday that it does plan to phase its withdrawal from the UN
peacekeeping mission in Sierra Leone to allow the UN time to identify
replacement troops. This UN announcement reflects an Indian decision
already known to us, to the United Nations, and the United States. We have
been discussing this with them over the past few days, at least, or the
past week or so.
The UN is already approaching other potential troop contributors, and we
are working hard with the United Nations troop contributors, and the
Security Council, to ensure that the UN mission in Sierra Leone has the
assets it needs to fulfill its job.
As you know, the mandate was renewed yesterday in the United Nations to go
until December 31st. Troop strength at this point remains the same, and we
will continue to work with the United Nations and other governments to make
sure that the UN force in Sierra Leone has the troops it needs to fulfill
its mandate and carry out its job.
QUESTION: There was an article in the Post today about the German - I
believe he is a Deputy Justice official who is here on the question of
child abduction cases. And the article indicates that there are steps which
the German Government is willing to take to deal with future child
abduction cases, but they don't seem that willing to address current cases.
Are you all pleased or satisfied with what they are willing to do at this
MR. BOUCHER: First of all, we do address current cases repeatedly at
various levels with other governments. Some of the current cases that we
are aware of have been raised as high as the President and the Secretary
during their trips there. So we do continue to pursue current cases, even
as we work on solving some of the problems in a more fundamental manner,
problems with the implementation of the Hague Convention.
There is US-German working group that has been reviewing this issue that
has met twice in the last three months. This was the working group that was
set up after the Secretary raised the specific cases and the general
problem with Foreign Minister Fischer, and the President raised it with
Chancellor Schroeder during their June visit to Berlin.
The Assistant Secretary of Consular Affairs Mary Ryan and other officials
have traveled to Berlin in late June. German officials came here in late
July. Next week, a group of US officials will again be traveling to Berlin
for further conversations. These discussions are very important to us as we
work together with Germany to improve the overall operation of the Hague
Convention on child abduction, and we will continue to pursue that
QUESTION: So are you satisfied so far with what the Germans are offering
to do in these cases, or do you want more?
MR. BOUCHER: We think more progress needs to be made, and we hope the
upcoming talks can continue to move this forward.
QUESTION: Is there anything you can say on the record about General Guei
and the Ivory Coast? Have you said something in public on this before?
MR. BOUCHER: Sure.
QUESTION: You have, or not?
MR. BOUCHER: Yes, we have.
QUESTION: You have? Have you updated it since --
MR. BOUCHER: Do you want to update it? I guess - let me go back and say
what this is. We have said something about General Guei; we have said
before that we don't think it is appropriate for him to run in the
election. I'm not aware that we have actually said something about the
shootings the other day, so let me. I guess there is not a whole lot we
have to say, but there is an investigation under way, and we refer you to
the Ivorean Government on that as regard to shootings around his residence.
But on his candidacy, we have said before we regret that he has taken a
step to be a candidate. We think he should have refrained from that. We
believe the electoral process in general should be inclusive, but the
fairness and legitimacy of a process is compromised by a decision of
General Guei, who came to power in a military coups to try to run as a
candidate even while he is overseeing the elections.
QUESTION: I have a question on Iraq. Do you feel that the French
humanitarian flight to Iraq today, and last week the Russian flight, is a
challenge to the sanctions regime in place?
MR. BOUCHER: The Russian flight was approved by the Sanctions Committee.
We do feel that all flights need to be looked at by the Sanctions Committee,
need to be approved. We are not opposed to humanitarian flights when they
are appropriate and necessary. The Russian flight, we were told, was
carrying some $260,000 worth of medicine.
I'm not sure if the French flight was notified to the Sanctions Committee.
The Secretary, when she discussed it with Foreign Minister Vedrine last
week, made clear that we felt that it should be notified, and I frankly
just don't know whether it has or not.
QUESTION: Do you feel at all duped by the Russians? That plane contained,
I think, 10 oil officials from Russia, apparently unbeknownst to you and
the Sanctions Committee?
MR. BOUCHER: I think they had notified the Sanctions Committee that there
were going to be administrative officials on board, and I think they said
one gas - or one gas industry executive on board. At the same time, this
was supposed to be a humanitarian flight. There is a process by which
flights are inspected on arrival and on departure, and those inspection
reports are reported to the UN Sanctions Committee. So we will look to that
to see exactly what the situation was with regard to this flight and
whether the flight conformed to the notice that they had given to the
QUESTION: On that point, does your interpretation of the Security Council
resolution mean that the Sanctions Committee can veto the personnel who fly
on flights to Iraq - assuming that the cargo is legitimate.
MR. BOUCHER: I'm not exactly sure how to assert that. I would say that we
are informed. The Sanctions Committee has to be informed by the country
flying the flight of what they are flying and who is on board, and one
would want to see a report afterwards that said that the configuration of
the flight actually conformed to what they had notified us of.
QUESTION: Including the personnel?
MR. BOUCHER: As much of a description as was provided in the beginning,
one would like to see that that was carried out in the end. So we will look
at that when it comes. If there are contradictions, we will figure out how,
and what is the appropriate way to raise those.
QUESTION: I think it would be hard to argue on the basis of the
resolutions that there are any restrictions on the personnel who have can
fly on any flight.
MR. BOUCHER: I'm not arguing that. I'm just arguing that if they inform
the Sanctions Committee of something, what they actually do should be in
conformity with what they told the Sanctions Committee they were going to
QUESTION: Iraq has opened two new small refineries in the context of the
President's program to try and get more oil flowing into the world. Does
the United States support an expansion of oil in - both in terms of
refineries and in terms of exports?
MR. BOUCHER: We haven't been pushing oil from Iraq into the world market.
We don't, frankly, see that that has a significant effect on prices or the
availability of oil. Iraq has been, this year, pumping about as much oil as
they can. Certainly they have been pumping more than they did before the
war, before 1989.
So I'm not aware of this particular refinery issue, but I wouldn't link
that with any - we're not trying to use Iraq one way or the other. What we
are trying to do is to make sure that money is available for the Oil-for-
Food program. And given the fact that Iraq is now allowed to pump as much
as they can, there is plenty of money available in the Oil-for-Food program,
and that money is available to take care of the Iraqi people if Saddam
Hussein allows it to.
QUESTION: But a subset of that is that there is four times as much oil
coming out of Iraq as OPEC has increased in the past year in terms of
production. Obviously, the Iraqi oil exports are very key to the price of
oil. It will probably go up another five or ten dollars if the Iraqi oil
wasn't there. Are you encouraging or discouraging further acquisition of
oil technology by Iraq?
MR. BOUCHER: Let's go back to one of the assumptions in your question. I
think yesterday we dealt with the issue of what if the Iraqis decided to
stop pumping, and I think we think their surge capacity and reserve
capacity to take steps to compensate for that should they try to do
But on the issue of encouraging or discouraging the export of equipment,
certainly the dual-use equipment that is looked at by the Sanctions
Committee has to be looked at carefully because there is no inspection
regime in Iraq to determine that the equipment that is dual-use is not
being put to military purposes. That said, we have taken a lot of steps
this year to expedite the review, and to make sure that when things can be
approved, they do get approved. And we have actually been able to speed up
and work with others to make sure that dual-use equipment, including that
which is necessary for the oil industry, is sent as necessary.
QUESTION: Have you discussed using that surplus capacity in talks with
Saudi Arabia, specifically in the meeting with the Crown Prince last
MR. BOUCHER: I'm not sure if Iraqi cutoffs and surge capacity were
discussed in that particular meeting. Certainly in the President's meetings
with the Saudis and the Secretary's meetings with the Crown Prince and
others, when she met with them the subject of oil does come up, the general
situation with the oil prices. And obviously Secretary Richardson has also
been in touch with his counterpart. So the whole issue of oil prices, the
market, and the need for additional supply has been discussed with them and
continues to be discussed with the Saudis and others.
QUESTION: Thank you.
MR. BOUCHER: Thank you.
(The briefing was concluded at 1:52 P.M.)