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U.S. Department of State Daily Press Briefing, 01-11-14

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>


DAILY PRESS BRIEFING

Richard Boucher, Spokesman

Washington, DC

November 14, 2001

INDEX:

ANNOUNCEMENT

1 Briefing on US Aid to Afghanistan

AFGHANISTAN

1-7 Support for a Broad-Based Government/Ambassador Dobbin’s Travel to

Region/Humanitarian Aid

5 Update on Detained Aid Workers

6-7 International Support for Stability

7-8 US Diplomatic Presence in Afghanistan

12 Videotape by Usama bin Laden

PAKISTAN

5 Discussions re: Border Issues

IRAN

5 Participation in Six Plus Two Meeting/President Khatami Remarks at UN GeneralAssembly

WAR ON TERRORISM

8 Efforts to Freeze Assets

12-13 India and Pakistan Support for a Coalition

ISRAEL/PALESTINIANS

8-10 US Efforts for Middle East Peace

DEPARTMENT

9-10,13-14Upcoming Foreign Policy Speech

11 Temporary Visa Measures

12 Use of Military Trials

MEXICO

11 Human Rights

SUDAN

13 Senator Danworth Travel

ANTHRAX

13 Update on Mailing Facilities


TRANSCRIPT_:

12:55 P.M. EST

MR. BOUCHER: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. It's a pleasure to be here. At the top, I just wanted to mention to you again -- I think we put out a statement -- that we'll have a briefing in this room at 2:00 p.m. this afternoon on the humanitarian situation in Afghanistan.

As you all know, the withdrawal of Taliban forces offers us a major humanitarian opportunity to get food in to the needy people of Afghanistan before the winter snows close down some of the transport routes. The World Food Program has been doing a lot to get more and more food in, and we'll be briefing on our support and efforts for them and other agencies in a briefing here at 2:00 p.m. by Bear Bryant, who is the person at the Agency for International Development.

QUESTION: Bear -- did you say Bear Bryant?

MR. BOUCHER: Bear McConnell. I'm sorry. Yes, I had a former Alabama -- it was going to be more interesting than you thought. Bear McConnell. Gee, sorry. Bear McConnell. What is his exact title? See, there he is. He's the guy in charge. He really knows this stuff and he'll be down here.

Okay? So, noting that event, I think that's it. I'll be glad to take any questions.

QUESTION: The Northern Alliance seems to be settling in to Kabul and taking over ministries, and I wonder if that generates any concern here.

MR. BOUCHER: I think there is an awful lot of work underway right now. Many of you may know we are in New York right now. The Security Council is considering a resolution that would support political dialogue, the establishment of a broad-based government, a UN role in that process, as well as provision of humanitarian aid and reconstruction. And, in fact, we, the UN and others, are actively working on all those things.

The United Nations expects Ambassador Vendrell to be in Kabul by Friday, so he will be able to keep working with the Afghan parties who are there. Mr. Brahimi is actively working to convene a meeting of the Afghan parties very soon and has told that to the Security Council. We and others are all supporting him in that effort, especially the 6+2 countries that met on Monday with the Secretary in New York, where they all agreed on the need to work speedily to try to help the Afghan parties agree on future political arrangements.

Our Ambassador Dobbins has been in Rome meeting with the King and the people that are working with him in Rome there. He stopped in Turkey and now he has arrived in Islamabad, where he will work with the Pakistani Government and the various Afghan leaders who are in Pakistan.

We have made clear in our discussions with the Northern Alliance the importance of respect for human rights and for discipline by their troops, and I would say for the moment the initial signs are good. They are keeping most of their forces out of the city, and reports from the city of Kabul indicate life is returning to normal. Commerce is open, businesses are open, people are out on the streets in a way that they have not been able to do for several years, in fact.

There are also a lot of reports that the Taliban are now losing control or that their control of the southern part of the country is breaking down and that other Pashtun leaders are emerging in the southern areas as well. So there are a number of Afghan leaders that have important roles in this process, and our intention is to work with all of them as we and the United Nations and others try to help them put together political arrangements in the future.

Let me say a couple other things. We are working with other governments as well to convene a meeting of experts to plan for the reconstruction of Afghanistan, and I may have more for you on that later in the week.

The military campaign obviously continues to try to destroy, or to achieve the destruction of, al-Qaida and the Taliban forces that support them, and we will persist in this effort. As the President has reminded us, that is our goal.

Taliban withdrawal from the north and from Kabul offers a major humanitarian opportunity; that is, to get food into the neediest populations before the snows close in. We have barges now moving from Uzbekistan. At least one barge moved today from Uzbekistan, and deliveries are going to expand over roads and bridges just as soon as the security situation permits. So a lot going on in those areas.

QUESTION: And there is talk about a meeting either in the United Arab Emirates or in Geneva. Can you tell us which venue the United States would favor and who you would send to a meeting like that?

MR. BOUCHER: Well, I think it's a little premature, that the meeting would be called by Mr. Brahimi with the Afghan parties, and there are discussions of various venues and timing, and he will have to work that out with some of the Afghan parties. And who exactly would go would probably depend somewhat on when and where, but I'm sure we would have experts there. Ambassador Dobbins, as you know, is out in the field already, working with Afghan parties, so he could end up attending the meeting as well.

QUESTION: Do you know what his schedule is in terms of how long he is going to be in Pakistan, if he is just going to stay in Islamabad, or if he is going to go --

MR. BOUCHER: I don't have a precise schedule for him at this point, and I think the tendency on Ambassador Dobbins, we will put information on where he is after he gets there, rather than before he goes there. But I don't really have that information right now.

QUESTION: Can I ask one more thing? I'm a little surprised you didn't -- you don't want to -- today, two years ago, something quite significant happened in the Afghan -- with relation to what is going on today at the UN. This is the two-year anniversary of the sanctions being imposed for their refusal to turn over bin Laden. I'm wondering if you have anything to say about that.

MR. BOUCHER: I don't have any particular commemoration of the sanctions. I think that --

QUESTION: No, not commemoration. Perhaps something like, well, it took two years, sanctions didn't work, it's taken the military to --

MR. BOUCHER: That would be cute, but I don't really have anything particular to say on this occasion. I appreciate the opportunity, though.

QUESTION: You said that Dobbins has arrived in Islamabad. Does that mean that he -- has he begun any meetings yet today?

MR. BOUCHER: I think he has just arrived. And it would be about 10:00 p.m. down there, so I'm not sure he has had any meetings yet.

QUESTION: Can you talk a little bit about his mission and the Pashtun factor? It looks like he is going to be dealing with those in the south, since the north is being dealt with by the United Nations. Can you tell us a little bit about how important it is? What do you --

MR. BOUCHER: I don't think I would precisely divide up roles that way. He stopped in Rome already, had meetings with the King. As you know, the Northern Alliance and the King have -- the former King -- have agreed on a broad-based government, agreed that they will support that effort. So part of the discussions in Rome have to do with how do you get the broad-based effort, how do you get all the various Afghan parties together. And as you point out, one way of touching base with everybody is to talk to those people in Rome.

Now, he will be out in Pakistan, and there are also significant Afghan tribal leaders, particularly southern leaders, Pashtuns, who are in Pakistan, or go in and out of Pakistan to Afghanistan. And that will, I am sure, depend on how the situation evolves.

So I think the point is that we all want to encourage all the Afghan factions, all the Afghan leaders -- whether they're Northern Alliance people, whether they're tribal people, whether they're Pashtun leaders inside Afghanistan or Pashtun leaders outside Afghanistan -- to move quickly towards the establishment of broad-based political arrangements for the future of Afghanistan.

And that has been the thrust of our efforts in these meetings with various parties, and that too is the thrust of the United Nations effort, and that is the thrust of the Security Council resolution that is being discussed right now.

QUESTION: Can I follow up on that? Do you have any guarantees from President Rabani that he is prepared to participate in the process, because many people say he has been the obstacle in getting the Northern Alliance and the King to --

MR. BOUCHER: I am not able to characterize views of particular leaders or factions at this point. I am not in a position to do that.

QUESTION: President Rabani has announced plans to go to Kabul. Can you give us a reaction to that, and also to his reported statement that the exiled King would be welcome back in Afghanistan but only as a private citizen?

MR. BOUCHER: No, I don't have any reaction to those statements or that travel. I think, once again, with relation to him or Mr. Rabani or any others, it is very important to us that all the Afghan leaders work together to form a broad-based political arrangement that can give Afghanistan peace, that can give the Afghan people stability, and that can form a government that can live in harmony with its neighbors.

And we and other neighbors, other interested governments and the neighbors, I think all agreed to make that point in the various diplomatic discussions we've been having. And that is the thrust of our efforts right now with Ambassador Dobbins. That's the thrust of the United Nations efforts right now. And we'll talk to all these people, to all these leaders about that, and keep pressing that point.

QUESTION: It's slightly related but slightly off, so if anybody has any more Afghan --

QUESTION: Will Dobbin be meeting with Mr. Karzai? And also, you said he's going to Islamabad. There are Afghan factions throughout Pakistan. Will he be going to Quetta or --

MR. BOUCHER: I was just asked that question five minutes ago and said I really wasn't in a position to answer it at this point. Five minutes later, I'm not in a position to answer it again.

QUESTION: Sorry. In Pakistan, has this Administration been talking with Pakistan about what kind of preparations or security arrangements should be made to catch Usama bin Laden if he were to cross the border into Pakistan?

MR. BOUCHER: I think we have been keeping in touch with the Pakistani Government on every possibility, every aspect of the situation. And I think, as you know, we have talked before about working with the Pakistani Government to make sure the border was controlled and secure. That has been an effort we've had underway for some weeks, but I don't want to speculate on who might be moving where right now.

QUESTION: Well, speaking of who might be moving where, the detainees -- do you have an update on all the reports?

MR. BOUCHER: We have seen all these reports that they may somehow be freed and on their way back to Kabul. We would certainly hope they are true, but at this point we do not have confirmation, nor do we have any direct word from the Taliban about where they might be and whether they are on their way. So, at this point, we hope it's true but we don't know for sure.

QUESTION: It's related but it regards Iran. Do we have anything to say about their participation in the 6+2, the way in which they have been working the Afghan issue with us? And as a result of the contacts with Kharazi and the statements that Khatami made over the weekend at the UN, what are we thinking about Iran today?

MR. BOUCHER: Let me try to put it this way, that certainly we noted the remarks by President Khatami at the UN General Assembly. We welcome those remarks. He referred to these attacks on September 11th as the most brutal and appalling crimes committed against American civilians, and we have expressed appreciation for those remarks.

The Secretary also noted in the 6+2 meeting that the Iranian Foreign Minister immediately expressed sympathy with the additional loss the United States suffered in the air crash on Monday, even though at that point we didn't know whether it was a crash or a terrorist act. And the Secretary actually thanked him for those warm words.

So we appreciate the expressions, we appreciate some of the offers that they have made in terms of offering search and rescue for any possible downing of US forces in their areas.

But you have to have to remember, at the same time, we have had limited contact with the Iranians through multilateral channels. We discussed Afghanistan with them, and obviously they are a key player in the Afghan situation, both on the humanitarian side as well as in other aspects. But there are a lot of other issues in the relationship or potential relationship between the United States and Iran, and our policy on those issues has not changed and we haven't really had a chance to start discussing those.

QUESTION: What is your response to this broad-based government to have any religious factions in it -- not necessarily Taliban?

MR. BOUCHER: I don't know. I don't think I have a complete list of who is going to be in it. We do think it needs to include all the various parties in Afghanistan, but I know many of those are tribal-based, some of those are politically based. I don't know if any of those are religious parties.

QUESTION: Can I ask about the international force? Just, do you -- is there anyone who is automatically excluded from participation in the international force, whatever form it takes, from going in?

And if not, can you say who -- what countries, particularly the Muslim ones? I see that, I guess, Indonesia has just said that it might be willing to do it. But other than Indonesia and Turkey, are there other Muslim -- who do you have right now who is in the category of willing?

MR. BOUCHER: Well, people who are excluded from the coalition of the willing are anybody who is not particularly willing.

QUESTION: So Iraq?

MR. BOUCHER: Yeah. Well, I mean, do you mean is there somebody who is willing who we would not want to go there?

QUESTION: I guess the question is what is Iran said it was willing to send troops?

MR. BOUCHER: Well, we haven't exactly made up such a list. I suppose one could speculate on it. But more important than that, we are looking at the various options for assisting with security, or see what might need to be done in Kabul and in other areas.

As I said, the initial signs of what the Northern Alliance has done in terms of keeping their troops out and having life return back to normal, the initial signs for the moment -- you can see how tentative this is -- but the initial signs for the moment are fairly good about returning stability and not having any problems there.

So we will keep that situation under close view. We will keep in touch with the Northern Alliance on that. In addition, we are examining other options, including this idea of a coalition of the willing. And I think I have to let countries speak out for themselves on who might be willing to participate in such a thing. But I think we know of various governments, Muslim and non-Muslim governments, who might be willing to contribute to such a force, to contribute to such an effort, were that to be decided.

QUESTION: Do you have a ballpark figure of how many?

MR. BOUCHER: No, I don't. Not at this point.

QUESTION: But what about --

MR. BOUCHER: We're examining options, as they say.

QUESTION: I mean, are there certain countries you don't want to participate?

MR. BOUCHER: He just asked me that.

QUESTION: I know, but --

MR. BOUCHER: I said, no, I don't have a list of people who don't want.

QUESTION: Your comments just now about the initial -- obviously it's very early. But basically, I mean, I think you can boil down what you said to things aren't as bad as we might have feared that they would be if the Northern Alliance did not -- if they entered the city or if they took over the city. Is it less urgent now than --

MR. BOUCHER: I meant -- no, I think there is still a strong desire on all parts to make sure the situation stabilizes, that life returns to normal on a more stable basis, and that people feel a sense of security there. And clearly, as Taliban control breaks apart in other parts of the country, that these issues arise again and again.

So we are looking at all the various options for whether some outside assistance is needed to help stabilize the security situation in these places where the Taliban has pulled out of.

QUESTION: Well, that's "whether." So there's now a possibility that you may not need outside forces?

MR. BOUCHER: I don't think it's decided one way or the other. Clearly, it depends on the situation, on who is there to establish local administrative control and things like that. It might vary from place to place, frankly.

QUESTION: Is it also too early to be thinking about sending a team in to assess the damage at the US Embassy?

MR. BOUCHER: We are considering various options for looking at Kabul. We haven't decided on any of those either at this point.

QUESTION: My recollection is that there has been no American presence there since '79. Is that right?

MR. BOUCHER: I would have to go back. There has been -- I think we have had foreign nationals at our Embassy there. We have had the Embassy maintained, but I'll have to double-check on Americans.

QUESTION: But you had diplomats go in from Islamabad?

MR. BOUCHER: Yes, we did.

QUESTION: But not permanent --

QUESTION: No, they went to Kabul.

QUESTION: There were people in Kabul after --

MR. BOUCHER: Our Consul General went in when the detainees were first detained, I believe. Remember? But in terms of a permanent presence in Kabul, I'll have to check on how long it has been.

QUESTION: New topic?

QUESTION: No, wait. I've got one more that's slightly related. It's very specific. You may not have anything on it.

The orders to freeze and close bank accounts and close down the financial freighting operations had a particular -- I mean, I'm sure it's had a bad effect in many places, but in Somalia it has actually been pretty bad, where the biggest bank in the country, which mainly serves as a remittance bank for Americans to send money back to their impoverished relatives there, has been shut down and they are complaining.

Are you guys considering any kind of relief?

MR. BOUCHER: We are not considering changing the orders and the directions of what we are doing. We did, I think, go somewhat out of our way and tried to help Treasury get in contact with various media outlets to get the message to Somalis who might want to make remittances -- without feeding the Taliban and the al-Qaida organization -- that in fact there are other ways to remit money to the folks back home in Somalia. And so we have tried to -- I think Treasury has tried to make some of that information available to the affected communities.

QUESTION: So it's a Treasury question, then?

MR. BOUCHER: Yes, I don't think we have that information ourselves. I'll check and see if we can just get it from them, how to get money home.

QUESTION: Is General Zinni or Assistant Secretary Burns planning to go to the Middle East (inaudible) the conflict (inaudible)?

MR. BOUCHER: As I think we have mentioned before that General Zinni is an unpaid part-time consultant to the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs in the State Department. Whether he would travel or our Assistant Secretary for the Near East would travel will depend on -- will be decided according to whether there is something useful they can do, just like the Secretary said before about his travel.

So, at this point, there is no particular specifics to talk about, but we will just have to see if the moment is right for them -- for one or the other or all of them, or however -- for somebody to go out there. I'm sure we will have somebody out there.

QUESTION: So was The Washington Post wrong today?

MR. BOUCHER: I didn't quite say that. I didn't say they were right, either. We will have to see how things play out. I certainly don't think, since you ask about the article -- first of all, on the Secretary's speech next Monday, I think we have told you all it is going to be a serious foreign policy address. It is one of his major opportunities this fall to deliver such an address, and he is going to use it.

Every serious foreign policy address, like the President's on Saturday, has to have -- obviously he is going to discuss the Middle East, because that is a very important aspect of our foreign policy. But how much Middle East will be in the speech, I can't tell you at this point, until I actually see the speech. So whether it's partially, predominantly, or somewhat about the Middle East, I can't tell you at this point.

QUESTION: Would it be fair to say, though, that the Administration intends to use the Secretary Powell's speech to give a concrete vision of how it sees its role in the Middle East in the future?

MR. BOUCHER: No.

QUESTION: Would it be wrong to say that?

MR. BOUCHER: Don't know. Basically, I think the President laid out a vision in the Middle East last Saturday. I am sure the Secretary, in whatever speech he decides to give on Monday, will talk about the Middle East. But I'm not going to preview this as a predominantly Middle East show until we actually know whether or not it will be that.

And so that's where we are as of this moment, so perhaps I would say that The Washington Post story this morning may or may not turn out to be right. We will just have to see.

QUESTION: That seems to indicate that the speech hasn't been written yet. Has it?

MR. BOUCHER: No, I didn't say that.

QUESTION: You just haven't seen it? You didn't say that, either.

MR. BOUCHER: Yes, I had said that.

QUESTION: It is a serious address, right?

MR. BOUCHER: Absolutely.

QUESTION: It's not loaded with wisecracks.

MR. BOUCHER: The Secretary -- I mean, you know, sometimes he makes remarks to audiences, and sometimes he has sat down and given a sort of slightly more formal explanation of what we were doing. And the intention in Louisville -- his intention -- is to give a serious foreign policy speech.

QUESTION: Could you say why Louisville was chosen as the venue?

MR. BOUCHER: He was invited a long time ago by Senator Mitch McConnell, and they agreed to go down. I think you may have known we had various speeches planned in September and October, where he was going to make various speeches about aspects of our foreign policy. Many of these things were canceled. We had tried to set up an Africa speech, we had tried to set up an Asia speech, we had something worked out with the Asia Society for UN week in New York.

So there were a variety of things being planned, and obviously September 11th changed a lot of plans. So I think this is a remaining -- an opportunity for him to really stand up and talk about our foreign policy in a serious way, and he is going to do that on next Monday.

QUESTION: Still on the Middle East. King Abdallah has been talking about a plan agreed by various countries, including the United States, for the Arab world to guarantee Israel's security in return for the creation of a Palestinian State, and Jordan would play a leading role in negotiating something or in the creation of some kind of deal like that.

Can you comment on that?

MR. BOUCHER: No, I can't. I hadn't seen those reports. I'm not aware of anything like that.

QUESTION: You're not aware of the United States having taken part in this agreement for such a plan?

MR. BOUCHER: At this point, I don't know of anything like that. I will leave it there for the moment.

QUESTION: New subject? On Mexico --

QUESTION: Can I just follow up on the Middle East, please?

MR. BOUCHER: Middle East.

QUESTION: The special type measures are in place for Arabs and Muslims who are applying for visas to enter the United States. Don't you think this contradicts the public democracy campaign are you pursuing at the moment?

MR. BOUCHER: We discussed this last week, and I would say very clearly that we do need to take additional security measures in order to make sure that people who enter the United States are the people we want to enter the United States.

We have instituted a certain number of temporary measures so that we can get our databases together and make sure our security checks are good ones. But this will be temporary. We will have to delay a few, some applicants, for some period of time, for probably several months; and then, at that point, we should have our databases together and be able to go back to normal processing and welcome people into the United States, knowing that we have done the appropriate security checks.

QUESTION: How did two weeks become several months?

MR. BOUCHER: I said several months last week on how long the measures would be in place.

QUESTION: On Mexico, last week President Fox announced the diversion* of two farmers who were in prison for two years. And the decision was made a week after the assassination, days after the assassination, of one of more advocates in defense of human rights. Have you seen any new change in the Mexican Government toward defense of human rights during the Fox Administration?

MR. BOUCHER: Let me check and see if we have anything particular to say about that, those events. I'm not sure it's the moment to give a broader appraisal. We always do that in our Human Rights Reports, and I am sure we will be doing that in the Human Rights Report that come out early next year. But let me see if I have comments on the particular event that you are referring to.

QUESTION: The decision by President Bush that approves secret military trials for foreign suspects -- don't you think that will give legitimacy to this policy in certain countries in the future and will not give the US the ability to be against it, or something like that?

MR. BOUCHER: No. I think you inserted the word "secret." I think if you look at all the information the White House has made available, that the use of military courts in this matter is, first of all, consistent with humanitarian law. The roles would be very similar to other international tribunals that exist and make trials -- have trials -- all the time. It is consistent with some precedent in international law as well. So there is nothing inconsistent with the idea that these can be fair trials, as well as military trials.

QUESTION: Well, haven't you been pressing for some years for the Government of Peru to release Lori Berenson, who was tried in a military trial for precisely the same charges that this court could possibly be set up for?

MR. BOUCHER: No.

QUESTION: You haven't?

MR. BOUCHER: No.

QUESTION: We have been pressing the Government of Peru to look carefully at the situation of Ms. Berenson. We are concerned about her welfare. We have been concerned about the trials, but that has more to do with the nature -- as much to do with the nature of the trials themselves as to just our basic concern. I'd say our basic concern is about her welfare.

QUESTION: Can I ask one more that is related to the war on terrorism? And that is, I'm presuming that you guys have the same kind of semi-input into the latest British Government release that you did the first time, and that, if you did, what do you make of this previously unreleased bin Laden comments where he calls himself a terrorist?

MR. BOUCHER: I frankly didn't have a chance to check as extensively as I did last time as to what input we had into this particular document. We are certainly aware that the British Government was preparing it. And, like them, we have heard about this videotape that is circulating overseas in which bin Laden, I think, admits responsibility for September 11th, or at least for similar acts.

It is consistent with what we know about him, about his behavior. It is consistent with what we know of the purposes of the al-Qaida organization, and certainly adds to the growing body of conviction and evidence, if there should be any further doubts, that al-Qaida was responsible for the acts of September 11th.

QUESTION: With the recent military push into Afghanistan -- and the coalition have been both in India and Pakistan -- is it any closer because they are in this coalition to settling the Kashmir problem? And also, is there any chance that both countries will work internally within Afghanistan after the military aspect is over?

MR. BOUCHER: I'm not sure I could draw those conclusions at this point. I would say that both countries are interested in doing what they can. They each have important contributions to make. We have had very good discussions with the Indian Government, and they have frankly, over time, a lot of history of helping out in Afghanistan with economic development, things like that. Pakistan obviously has a very important role as a neighbor, too.

So it's basically a situation where we are looking for everybody to make an appropriate contribution, which may be different from place to place. How that affects their relationship I think remains to be seen, and I wouldn't speculate at this point.

QUESTION: Could you say what Senator Danforth is doing in the Sudan?

MR. BOUCHER: Well, I kind of lost track of the time -- let me get something for you. As you know, his trip to Africa, including Sudan, is directed at the peace process, at seeing what we can do to help get these efforts moving and help out with peace efforts in Sudan, as well as deal with many of the other problems that we have there. But I'll see if I can get you something more. I really hadn't -- I lost track of the dates and didn't realize he was there today.

QUESTION: Two questions about anthrax and the State Department. Has the Sterling, Virginia facility had inspection -- has the cleanup started inside the plant, and have you started opening the mail, or examining the mail that was frozen or sequestered in the last three weeks?

MR. BOUCHER: I don't think we have quite done that yet. We are working very carefully with the FBI, with the CDC, with the Postal Service, who benefit from experience in Capitol Hill and elsewhere. They are going to help us set up the screening procedures for all our Department mail. We have first to define a mail flow model for the facility, which I think basically means understanding very clearly how things go through the system so that we can figure out where the most likely spots are for letters that might have gone through that sorter to be.

QUESTION: Do you mean physically? I mean, how the mail travels through the --

MR. BOUCHER: Yes, and then we will determine with them how best to check the mail that is located in Sterling.

QUESTION: What are the practical methods the United States foreign policy will take in order to fulfill the President Bush's last speech in the United Nations saying we are in favor of two states, Palestine and Israel? But they are more practical than usual.

MR. BOUCHER: I would say that we have, first of all, worked very actively in that direction, and we will continue to do that. We work with European governments. Yesterday we made an announcement with the Russians. We have made announcements with the Europeans as well to coordinate our diplomacy.

And it is all directed, at this point, at implementation of the Mitchell Committee recommendations. That's the practical steps to reduce the violence, to ease the restrictions, and to get back to a path of negotiations. And that's the way that we think it needs to be done, that's where our work with the parties is concentrated, and frankly that's where the international effort is concentrated.

So some of these questions we were discussing before about who might go out when, all that I think is dependent -- not dependent -- all that is maybe a little lesser than the overall thrust of our effort from the Secretary, from our envoys in the region, from the statements that we make, the people we work with, to get going on this process of reducing the violence, implementing the Tenet and Mitchell recommendations, and getting back to a path of negotiations. And negotiations are what can produce the kinds of vision that the President talked about on Saturday.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR. BOUCHER: I guess we have one more.

QUESTION: When the news came on, the Israeli press said that Israel will join the coalition by sending troops to Afghanistan and et cetera. Is that - - you can confirm that?

MR. BOUCHER: I haven't seen anything like that. I don't know of anything like that.

(The briefing was concluded at 1:30 p.m. EST.)[End]

Released on November 14, 2001 ---- This site is managed by the Bureau of Public Affairs, U.S.

Department of State. External links to other Internet sites should not be

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