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U.S. Department of State

Great Seal Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
Press Conference
Luxembourg City, Luxembourg, May 28, 1998
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State

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SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Good evening. Before giving you an overview of what we discussed and accomplished today, I want to make a brief statement about today's nuclear test in Pakistan.

As President Clinton said this morning in Washington, the United States deplores Pakistan's decision to test. Although Pakistan did not start this round of the arms race, its decision to join it is a serious error. We urge India and Pakistan to restore their standing in the world by renouncing further tests, signing CTBT and NPT, and taking immediate steps to reduce tension.

President Clinton has informed Pakistan's leaders that the United States now has no choice but to impose sanctions against their country. We urge our allies and friends to take strong action as well. We simply must ensure that these actions carry a price; we must defend the global non-proliferation regime; we must keep faith with those nations that could develop nuclear weapons, but which have chosen courageously not to do.

I am deeply gratified by Secretary-General Solana's strong statement this afternoon condemning the tests, as well as the statement just issued by the NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council. This is a good sign that our alliance and its partners understand that we have a broader interest and responsibility in opposing the global threat posed by proliferation.

One of my goals at the NAC today was to focus discussion about the purpose and direction of our alliance as we approach the 50th anniversary summit next April in Washington.

NATO's fundamental mission will always remain collective defense against aggression. At the same time, I stressed today that we have always had the option to use NATO's strength beyond its borders to protect our security interest. If joint military action is ever needed to protect vital alliance interests, NATO should be our institution of choice.

We hope that at the Washington summit, our leaders can agree on a political declaration and a strategic concept that reflect this rationale. Certainly, the strategic concept should address the need for NATO to deal more profoundly with proliferation.

An important part of NATO's new mission is cooperation with Russia, with Ukraine, and with Europe's other new democracies. Foreign Minister Primakov and I just had an excellent meeting, as well as a session of the Permanent Joint Council that reaffirmed the fundamentals of the Founding Act and as well as NATO's determination to work with Russia to address common threats.

Of course, it is not enough to get NATO's roster and rationale right; NATO's resolve to act must also be clear.

That is what NATO has been doing in Bosnia. We renewed that commitment today by approving the operational plan for NATO's Follow-On Force in that country. And I am very pleased that today SFOR troops have picked up another indicted war criminal.

The deteriorating situation in Kosovo is also a threat and NATO has a role to play in addressing it.

The beginning of talks between President Milosevic and Doctor Rugova is a small step forward, but we have no illusions that it represents a solution to the crisis in Kosovo. Dialogue must first lead to a change in the situation on the ground.

We suspended implementation of a certain Contact Group sanctions based on Belgrade's step on dialogue. I pointed out to my colleagues today that these measures can quickly be reinstated if the dialogue brings no results and violence continues.

In the meantime, we must act to shore up Kosovo's periphery.

Let me be very clear that NATO has made no decision today to station troops in Albania or the FYROM or anywhere else.

We have agreed to begin contingency planning for possible preventive deployments to those countries, and to study how NATO could support the OSCE monioring mission now deployed along Albania's border with the FRY. We have also decided to expand Partnership for Peace activities in both Albania and the FYROM.

The point is to clarify our options so that our leaders can make decisions. If and when it becomes necessary to act, NATO will be ready.

Thank you very much. And I now will be very happy to answer your questions.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, your administration exerted great efforts to try to disuade Pakistan from trying out nuclear tests and yet they went ahead and did it. Why were you unsuccessful in your efforts and do you think you should have offered them greater incentives to refrain?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well let me just say that the United States made very clear to Pakistan the benefits to our relationship if it decided to forego testing. Clearly the Pakistani decision was the result of overwhelming domestic pressure and of regional dynamics at play. I feel very comfortable with everything that the United States tried to do and but at a certain stage I do think that what happened was that as I said overwhelming domestic pressure and the regional dynamics took over.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, did you try to urge some of the Allies, your counterparts among the Allies, to go ahead with the United States in imposing sanctions on both India and Pakistan, and were you gratified or disappointed by their response? And the second question is now that these tests by both countries have gone ahead, the question arises what can you do to persuade them to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, and in that light is it conceivable that an incentive might be to share technology with simulation of nuclear tests?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: First of all let me say that we actually have had I think several hours of terrific meetings today, first in the NATO setting and the NATO PJC setting. And in both of those it was very evident that the issue of Pakistan's testing and even before we heard about the Pakistan testing, India's testing was a subject very much on the mind of all the people sitting around the table. I have to say that in some ways it made very clear a statement that I made last December at the NATO meeting in which I pointed out that the issue of proliferation and weapons of mass destruction was going to be one of the major issues that the Alliance would have to deal with; I'm sorry that it came forward so quickly as a real issue. But what happens is very clear, that this was very much on the minds of everybody there and the rapidity with which this statement was issued, I think, shows very much the unity and dedication of the various members of the Council of NATO, plus Russia to make a statement on this.

We were not specifically talking about sanctions today. I think that we were dealing with the issue of trying to deplore and all the various pieces of language that we used about what India and Pakistan had done and urged that fact that they try to figure out ways to retrain. I think that what we are going to try to do further, as the President said, is to get both of the countries to renounce further tests, to sign the CTBT and to take decisive steps to reduce tensions in South Asia and reverse the dangerous arms race. And we will also be looking at other steps, both unilaterally and multilaterally, to try to get there to be some new level of stability within South Asia, but I'm not going to go into further detail on that.

QUESTION: Madame Albright you know that Milosevic has accepted the negotiation, but at the same time he sends troops and each day people are killed, Albanians that are kidnapped. Doctor Rugova is in Washington. What do you think, because there is an urgency, for example to stop his military actions, because the Albanians have shown their willingness for dialogue.

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: I would like to answer in French but I'm not sure I have the vocabulary. I will speak in English.

Let me say that there are a number of issues on Kosovo. First, I think, we have made very clear in the discussions between Milosevic and Rugova, and I said this to my colleagues, that it really is an important first step, and that they have to begin to talk about substance rather than just process, and that we have suspended implementation of sanctions based on Belgrad's positive steps on dialogue, but that these measures could be reversed since they were only suspended.

Second, Doctor Rugova is going to be in Washington, I will meet with him on Saturday. The President is going to see him in the course of his visit there. And we want to show support for his approach to trying to deal with this very serious issue. As far as Kosovo specifically was concerned today, the NATO Ministers agreed to take a series of steps in the near term designed to shore up stability of the states on the periphery of the FRY. And I think that these, I think will have -- we hope will also have an influence in terms of trying to warn about escalation of violence. There will be a ship visit to Albania in July, there is a decision to conduct early PFP exercises with Albania, decision to upgrade a planned exercise in the FYROM, and announcement of an enhance set of PFP activities with both FYROM and Albania. In addition NATO is considering other measures designed to contribute to the stability of the neighbors, including a study of possible preventative deployments in FYROM and Albania, as well as a study of possible NATO support to the OSCE monitoring mission in Albania.

We are very concerned about escalation of violence, we will continue to warn about it, and as I just outlined, there are a series of steps that have been put into place to assure that we do not find ourselves in the same position as we did in the early 90s when violence erupted in Bosnia.

QUESTION: Madame Secretary, are you disappointed with the steps that you have outlined as far as being not much to influence Mr. Milosevic to change policy at all is it?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: No, actually I think that the steps are very important, and the message out of this meeting were basically ones where there was great unity in terms of our dealing with the Kosovo issue, and a sense that the people, all the colleagues around the table, felt that we had to be firm in these preliminary steps that were took and then support for studying some of these further measures. So, I, in fact, have felt very much that first the Contact Group, and now NATO and the PJC has really recognize the danger of Kosovo itself, and the danger of its spilling over. As I said early on Milosevic, there was a suspension of these economic sanctions, they can be reversed, we are waiting to see. There have been two sets of talks. I have stated that its interesting, I stated in my intervention that this was a good first small step.

A number of my colleagues in fact said that it was actually a pretty good, larger step and congratulated the United States for the role that we played in bringing the two together, but obviously it is the beginning of a process.

QUESTION: Did you discuss with Mr. Primakov a process of NATO enlargement, and controversial question of Baltic States particularly?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: We generally spoke about the fact that NATO enlargement had taken place. He heard discussions about the fact that there was an open door policy. But he and I did not specifically, in our bilateral. discuss it this time.

QUESTION: I think you mentioned this morning your statement just for the Allies for imposing a price on nuclear test in India. What do you mean with a joint action impose a price on this kind of behavior?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: The price we have, I think, as you know the United States, has sanctions that are basically in something called the Glenn Amendment which is unprecedented legislation where there are many steps taken that are very comprehensive and very broad in effect. I would just like to note, for instance, the kinds of things that it might effect -- as Pakistan is heavily dependent on the IMF, the World Bank, and the ADB. So the Glenn Amendment effects that.

The Glenn Amendment would also effect United States Government credit, credit guarantees, and financial assistance, that is EXEM, OPIC and TDA, and commercial financing. So these are just illustrative of the kinds of price that is paid. I am speaking for the United States, we have this legislation. We believe that Pakistan, both India and Pakistan knew that this legislation was in place. And as the President said, speaking primarily about Pakistan today, as that they missed a historic opportunity here, and have now found themselves in the jaws of this very tough sanctions regime. I think also that whatever actions others will take and as I understand it, different countries are taking different steps in terms of reacting to this. I don't have a complete list of where Japan, Australia, various countries are in reacting to these tests in different ways. There is a price in that regard, but I would also say that the kind of discussion that we had today and the statement that was issued is a very significant signal to those two countries that they have lost face as far as the international community is concerned, and that if they thought that they would increase the respect that the international community had for them because they had nuclear weapons, they have sadly missed the boat. In fact, the people of those two countries will find sadly that those two countries are much less respected as a result of this than had they refrained from testing.

QUESTION: Don't you think that very weak position of Russia concerning use of sanctions against India and Pakistan make bad or negative influence of for Pakistan and for India, and to consolidate into international community to use the sanctions. Have you appreciated the position of Russia in this case?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, we obviously would like to have more countries join us in sanctions. Russia is not alone in not joining us in that way, but I would prefer to put it more positively which is that Russia was very much a part today of the discussion that we had; Russia was also part of the G 8 statement that made clear the condemnation of India; and, they also were a part of the PJC statement today. So they are along with the other members of those two groups very much on board in terms of making clear their displeasure of what these two countries have done in testing, but as I have said, they are not alone among our friends not to impose sanctions. We would like to have more countries join us and we will make that point, but we have very strict laws on this subject, and we will carry out our laws.

QUESTION: Arab TV News. I would like to ask you a question about the Middle East peace process. Your diplomacy in the area was criticized by Mr. Gringrich. Do you think Madame, do you believe, still believe that you can convince Mr. Netanyahu? And about the nuclear issue, in the area Israel, don't you find that Israel is also has to join the international community for the non-proliferation issue?

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: On the first part of your question, I think that I believe very much in a bipartisan foreign policy. It is what I have talked about since, well first when I was Ambassador to the U.N. and since I have been Secretary of State. I have grown up under the tradition where you do not criticize your government when you are traveling abroad, and as we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of this great organization, it grew up in, under that rubric where we really had a bipartisan foreign policy, and I would hope very much that we could have one because it is very important for U.S. national interest.

We will continue work on the peace process, and on this aspect of it, this particular phase, as long as we think that there is something useful coming out of it. But as I have said, we cannot go on in this particular way interminably, that we are going to have to make some decisions about how, whether we have come to some kind of a logical end of this aspect of the process. But of course, we will never give up on it because I think that we all care deeply about having peace in the Middle East. Thank you.

QUESTION: Mrs. Albright, I would like to ask -- I mean NATO failed to draw a clear line in Bosnia and found itself drawn into a civil war. Now sending a ship to Albania and putting preventative forces are good gestures, but they are not enough with a man like Milosevic. Does NATO and does the United States intend to draw a clear line to set a threshold of violence, and make that clear whether in private or public to Mr. Milosevic in order not to be drawn by events so that you lead events in Kosovo? Thank you.

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: I think that what we have been doing here in our discussions is making very clear the fact that violence is unacceptable, ethnic cleansing is unacceptable, and have in fact asked the Military Committee to begin to look at different scenarios and ways that the problem might be addressed. As I said, there have been no specific decisions but we have laid the basis by asking the Military Committee to look at various potential scenarios in order to be able to answer that question. But what I have found again that I was very gratified from these meetings is that there is a determination not to let the violence in Kosovo grow to dimensions that are unacceptable and that might in fact spill over into the region and also undermine in some way the very important and, I think, well carried out mission of SFOR in Bosnia, and all the progress that this Alliance as well as other who have helped it, the progress that they have been able to bring to Bosnia.

We got an excellent report about how things are progressing there and while obviously there is still a great deal to be done there is progress in Bosnia and everybody was quite determined that whatever happened in Kosovo should not in any way undermine that process.

Thank You.

[End of Document]

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