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U.S. Department of State

Great Seal Department Spokesman James P. Rubin
Excerpts from Daily Press Briefing: Readout on August 1997 Four-Party Talks re. Korean Peninsula
Washington, DC, August 8, 1997
U.S. Department of State

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MR. RUBIN: ... They produced agreement on most of the items we were seeking. There's a date for a plenary meeting six weeks after the agreement on the details at the prep meeting, which will occur in September. The venue will be Geneva. We're grateful to the Swiss Government for the support they offer. We agreed on delegations being represented by senior officials under the direction of ministers, foreign ministers; and so those ministers will participate when they deem it appropriate. We agreed that the U.S. would chair the first meeting, and that the chairmanship would then rotate by random drawing to the other three and that would be the pattern. They also agreed on the languages.
So the people who follow this issue tell me that they consider that substantial agreement. Now, there was not agreement on the agenda, and there was a significant difference over whether the agenda should be general or whether the agenda should be specific. Rather than get bogged down on that subject, I think there was a feeling that if people went back to capitals and talked about that a little more, that one might have an opportunity to make some progress in September when we resume.
In our view, the difference is an important one, because we do not want the negotiations to be bogged down with issues that are non-starters, like U.S. withdrawal of troops from the Korean Peninsula or a U.S.-DPRK separate agreement. At that point, I understand, the negotiators stuck with their posture that might be referred to a former First Lady - they just said no over and over again. So it was deemed necessary to take a break - made a lot of progress - and come back at it in September. ...
QUESTION: Thank you. Yes, sir. You say we have a plenary meeting in Geneva planned. Now, this is not the opening of four-party talks in Geneva; is that correct?
MR. RUBIN: Let me explain it for you.
QUESTION: Yes, go ahead.
MR. RUBIN: There will be another meeting in September. It's a preparatory meeting.
QUESTION: Yes.
MR. RUBIN: The decision is, once you've completed all the preparatory meetings, six weeks later you'll meet in Geneva for your first meeting of the four-party talks at a plenary session and then break down as appropriate. ...
Link to complete August 8, 1997 briefing.
[end of document]

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