|1||Secretary Albright to Address Joint Session of American Business Conference and the Institute for International Economics in Washington, D.C., Thursday, September 18|
|1||Deputy Secretary Talbott Address to the World Affairs Council of Northern California|
|5-6||Secretary Albright's Attendance at UN General Assembly in New York/Schedule|
|1-4||Readout on the US-DPRK Bilateral Meeting|
|4||UN Helicopter Crash|
|6-7||OSCE Ruling on SDS Slate in Pale/Ambassador Frowick's Decision|
|8||Status of Compliance with Transmitter Agreement|
|1,5||Senate Votes to Strip Retroactivity From Pending Extradition Bill|
|MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS|
|8-10||US Reaction to Settlers Moving into Ras Al-Amoud Housing Project in East Jerusalem|
|14||Israeli and Palestinian Delegations Meeting Next Week in Washington|
|10||Secretary Albright's Meetings in Damascus/Discussion of Terrorism Issue|
|11-12||Travel to Libya by US Congressman Hilliard|
|12||Iranian President's Call for a Postponement of Doha Summit|
|13||Assessment of Tom Miller's Trip|
|14||U.S. Position on Representation of Cambodia at the United Nations|
MR. RUBIN: I see we have at least one member of the trip team that is here. Looks like that's about it. No, we have two.
We have a couple of statements to issue - one on the Colombian senate vote on the extradition bill, and on Secretary Talbott's activities.
Let me start by telling you that tomorrow morning, Secretary Albright will deliver a major speech on the economic dimension of American foreign policy. She will talk about the importance of restoring traditional trade authority fast track to the President this Fall. This will be the Secretary's fullest statement, since she took office, on her vision of how our international economic and foreign policy interests converge in the post-Cold War world.
She will emphasize the importance of American leadership in sustaining the global movement towards open markets and expanded trade, and she will underscore, once again, her determination to use aggressively the State Department in pursuing and assisting American business.
The centerpiece of the Secretary's speech will be the foreign policy case for fast track. She has made the case before, but tomorrow she will do it more extensively. She will make clear that our economic leadership is not only important in its own right, but it's indispensable to our global leadership and our influence around the world.
We will have some arrangements for that worked out for you for tomorrow.
Let's go right to questions. George.
QUESTION: Could you tell us what you can about the bilateral with the North Koreans yesterday?
MR. RUBIN: We regarded the talks as useful and constructive. They were conducted in a business-like atmosphere. The entire range of bilateral issues were discussed. We informed the North Koreans of a technical step we intend to take in the near future to conduct a survey of the number and the size of outstanding financial claims by US citizens against the DPRK.
This survey would be the initial step necessary to eventually resolve the issue of remaining frozen North Korean assets in the US. It would allow American claimants to register their claims against the DPRK. It would not be sufficient in itself to unfreeze DPRK assets. An unfreezing of those assets would be an independent decision as part of the step-by-step process we are hoping to achieve in normalizing to some extent the economic and political relations with the United States.
QUESTION: How much money is involved; do you know?
MR. RUBIN: I can't give you a numerical figure on that, but there's obviously a significant amount of assets that have been frozen in the past.
We also, during yesterday's meeting, discussed the food shortage in North Korea. We proposed to send a team of experts to North Korea to assess food needs at the end of the harvest and to work to further strengthen monitoring of food aid. This would be the first team of this nature sent by the United States Government. The North Koreans welcomed this proposal, and agreed to continue to discuss a concrete date for this mission.
QUESTION: What about the defector?
MR. RUBIN: I'm not aware that came up in any significant way. I mean, as we have stated earlier, we regard the defector issue as not linked to the four-party peace process or to other issues. As I understand it, they did raise it, but I doubt it got into much detail.
QUESTION: -- offset American claims against North Korea with the assets that are now frozen in the United States; is that your intention?
MR. RUBIN: Well, what this is is a survey. It's designed to try to determine who has what claims. That's a first step if you're ever going to get to a point where you then unfreeze things and figure out how you're going to match unfrozen funds with any other claims. But first you need to figure out exactly who thinks they're owed what, and that's all this is at this point.
QUESTION: There's been no decision about --
MR. FOLEY: Correct.
QUESTION: We'll just absorb some of that money without -
MR. RUBIN: No decision on what would result from this, other than that it's a first step to eventually resolving it and that it's designed to determine the number and the size of claims. But there's been no decision to unfreeze them.
Any more on North Korea?
QUESTION: What is the status of the various talks with the North Koreans?
MR. RUBIN: Well, we did discuss with them the possibility of resuming the missile talks. We proposed new dates for resumption of the talks in October, and urged the North Koreans to accept those dates, and they said they would get back to us.
As far as the four-party talks are concerned, what is our latest date on that? Thursday.
QUESTION: There will be talks on Thursday?
MR. RUBIN: Yes.
QUESTION: People who feel that they have claims, legitimate claims against the frozen assets, should they contact Treasury, or should they come to the State Department?
MR. RUBIN: I think that once this team gets down to business, they will have some announcement as to how to go about making those claims, and we will pass them on.
More on Korea?
QUESTION: Do you know how long these assets have been frozen? Are we talking about since 1945 or what?
MR. RUBIN: I think it's been part of it since the Trading With The Enemy Act, so it's been a long time. I don't have the exact date. I suspect there are different phases in which assets were frozen, but we can get you more details on that.
Any more on North Korea?
QUESTION: Just one more. Jamie, the issues that hung up the last four-party talks, that of US withdrawal from Korea, was that discussed yesterday? Was there any --
MR. RUBIN: This meeting, as I understand it, was a bilateral meeting discussing bilateral issues like this claims issue, like the question of food, whether we could have missile talks resumed, not the specifics of the four-party process.
QUESTION: Jamie, a new subject.
MR. RUBIN: More on Korea?
QUESTION: Yes, one more question. Was the chance of a consulate discussed? Was that issue moved forward at all?
MR. RUBIN: I don't have anything for you on that; I can try to check.
QUESTION: I want to ask you about the helicopter that went down in Bosnia, what little - if you have anything that you could, you know, sort of add to the five Americans that were reportedly on board and their capacity?
MR. RUBIN: Well, obviously, this is a very sad day. A UN helicopter has crashed. I think it points up the dangers that all the diplomats and other relief workers and refugee workers and others face in Bosnia.
We have no reason to believe that the crash was anything other than an accident. There were a significant number of fatalities, and there were Americans on board the helicopter. Beyond that, we are not in a position to confirm who was injured and who survived and who died. But we do know there were a significant number of fatalities.
QUESTION: And I understand that they were traveling on a mission to Brcko. Can you tell us about what the mission was going to be?
MR. RUBIN: Well, I think the UN will probably put out some information on that. I don't have any further details.
QUESTION: What were the capacities of the Americans who were on board?
MR. RUBIN: Well, again, because of the nature of this situation and to the extent there are fatalities, we try to talk to the families first.
QUESTION: Were they of the Office of the High Representative or the military? Or do you know what --
MR. RUBIN: Again, to the extent I start identifying who they worked for and the families have to deal with the fact that they know who worked for what, we tend to create further pain than is necessary. So for now, I've been asked to simply say what I just said. To the extent that we have had notifications, maybe we can provide some additional information this afternoon.
MR. RUBIN: Colombia, yes.
QUESTION: Jamie, are you --
MR. RUBIN: That was the crash, and we'll go back to Bosnia. Yes.
QUESTION: The Colombian senate denied the retroactivity on the extraditions yesterday. Which one is the impact on this issue between the two governments?
MR. RUBIN: Well, we are troubled -- we are extremely troubled - and stunned, frankly, by this vote which stripped the retroactivity from pending extradition legislation. What that means is that a lot of people who were responsible for the drug trade or who could have been extradited for past activities are now going to be prevented from being extradited. So this is a stunning development, from our perspective. We're dismayed and troubled by it.
We reiterate our view that Colombia pass the strongest possible extradition bill, which this is clearly not. We hope that the government will work with the lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, to reinstate retroactivity. I will have a statement that I'll put out on that subject.
QUESTION: How can this new issue affect the relationship of the US and Colombia that they were actually improving in the last several months?
MR. RUBIN: Well, let's wait and see how it ends up. I mean, for now, we are hoping that the lower house will take another look at this.
I mean, clearly what you're doing here is you're letting some of the worst criminals off scot-free. That's not acceptable from our standpoint. That's why we're troubled and dismayed by it.
QUESTION: Can I ask another question? Do you think the Colombian Government is paying back to the drug cartels just because they didn't decide not to put the retroactivity?
MR. RUBIN: Again, what we'd like to do is - having now made very clear, I think, in very clear terms what we think of the law as it's currently structured - we are hoping that the lower house will take a look at this and pass a serious extradition bill.
QUESTION: A different subject?
MR. RUBIN: Yes.
QUESTION: World leaders are coming at the UN, including the prime minister of India. Indian prime minister and Pakistani prime minister, they are expecting to meet, and also President Clinton to meet with the Indian prime minister. Does Secretary of State have any plan of meeting either of the leaders in New York?
MR. RUBIN: The Secretary will be leaving for New York on Sunday. She will be spending two weeks in New York at the General Assembly. She will be meeting an entire array of leaders from around the world.
The specific schedule I'm not in a position to make public at this time. But as soon as we have further information on the dates and times of her meetings, we'll be happy to give them to you.
QUESTION: Mr. Frowick has come under criticism in Sarajevo for supposedly tampering with the integrity of the election process in allowing the results from Pale to be honored, despite a decision by a judge to basically, I guess, throw out the results. Does the US Government support Mr. Frowick in his decision?
MR. RUBIN: Yes, we do. I think the situation is a little bit more complex than people have understood. The bottom line here is that had one thrown out all those on that ballot, you would have disenfranchised the voters. The time to exclude certain parties from the election would have been many days and weeks ago, not after all the people voted.
So it was our view - and we strongly support the decision in this regard - that to disenfranchise the voters after they voted would have been a mistake. If it were determined that Karadzic's role in the SDS party was still so strong that action was needed, the proper time to have disqualified the party would have been prior to the election, when the voters would still have had a chance to cast their vote for a different party.
As far as some of the reporting that suggests that the Norwegian judge was so upset by this that he intended to resign, he has spoken to us in the last day or so and said he understood and accepted the decision of the OSCE, the decision of Ambassador Frowick, and did intend to stay on. So I hope that clarifies a little bit some of the reporting on that subject.
QUESTION: Well, that still leaves the question of the influence of Karadzic, which is clearly also a source of concern to Frowick. Do you have any comment on that?
MR. RUBIN: Well, again, there have been many times in recent weeks and months when we've seen the ugly head of Mr. Karadzic reared in Bosnia; and when it rears its ugly head, we try to stop it. We have made clear that he has made a deal. He has promised to stay out of politics, to stay out of the public eye, and hopefully someday go to The Hague. So we do not believe that the action with regard to the SDS in Pale should have been taken after the vote. We'll obviously take a good, hard look at it in the context of any new set of elections. If it is determined that he is back in the game and that there therefore needs to be some disqualification of the SDS, we would want to see that disqualification occur prior to the voting and not after the voting.
QUESTION: Jamie, you say the US Government supports Frowick in your decision.
MR. RUBIN: Correct.
QUESTION: Did the US Government, in advance of the decision, advise him to do that?
MR. RUBIN: It's my understanding that Ambassador Frowick was in regular and constant contact with Ambassador Gelbard during this process. Ambassador Gelbard himself felt strongly that if people were already to have voted, it would have been antidemocratic to then pull their ballots.
QUESTION: So, in other words, Gelbard did advise him to do what he did?
MR. RUBIN: Well, again, I don't know who advised what to do what, but clearly both Ambassador Gelbard and Ambassador Frowick believed that it would have been wrong to disenfranchise those voters.
QUESTION: Did the threat of possible retaliation against Americans in Bosnia play any role in Ambassador Frowick's decision?
MR. RUBIN: I gather that is something that has been said in the field, and I can't speak for him. What I can speak for is the US Government's position. I spoke directly to Ambassador Gelbard about this several times today in the course of other discussions, and he made clear that the rationale, from our perspective, was not to disenfranchise the voters.
I think if you look at what's been going on in Bosnia, you will see a willingness to accept risks on the part of diplomats and monitors and a lot of the people working there, the risks, as pointed up by simple things that are tragic, like accidents. So, from our perspective, the rationale was to ensure that these voters weren't disenfranchised.
If Ambassador Frowick had additional reasons, you'll have to ask him, but those were our reasons.
QUESTION: What about the integrity of the process? You know, you have a review panel there which makes a decision based on its own gathering of the facts and its serious judgment, and then it's just overturned by Frowick for whatever reason.
MR. RUBIN: I believe it's called a subcommittee, and it's usually - things are called subcommittees for a reason, because they have to report to higher committees.
QUESTION: I'd like to switch to the issue of the transmitters. We've been following this for the last couple of days, and I'm just curious if there is an assessment as to whether the recent agreement by Mr. Krajisnik to comply, if you have an assessment of whether he's been in compliance and --
MR. RUBIN: So far, so good. It's our understanding that, following the letter and following the High Representative's statement that he intended to inform SFOR the moment that that agreement was violated, and the decision of SFOR to take action upon any determination that there was a violation, those very clear statements appear to have made a difference. As of now, they appear to be abiding by the agreement that was made.
QUESTION: Jamie, since the Secretary's return, has she spoken to any of the leaders in the Middle East, specifically about the settlement controversy going on in East Jerusalem?
MR. RUBIN: I can't get specific with you on the calls that she made. I can tell you that the United States has been in contact with the Israeli government with regard to the Ras Al-Amoud housing project. The move of settlers into this project is not helpful. This action represents a lightening rod for increased tensions, which the Secretary very much hopes we can remove. We are pleased that Prime Minister Netanyahu has expressed a similar position. It's just this kind of an action which undermines an action the confidence so necessary to getting the peace process back on track.
We're not going to micro-manage exactly how this should be fixed, except to say that when she talked about a crisis of confidence in the Middle East - a phrase I'm sure you heard a few times, Charlie - that it wasn't about what was legal or what was not legal. It was about what undermined confidence and undermined trust and what could or could not help create a climate for peace.
This kind of action is not wise. If one cares about the peace process, one doesn't want to see these kind of actions taken.
We have made our views on this subject very clear to the Israeli Government. They know those views. If I'm in a position to report on any specific contacts later, we'll do that.
QUESTION: Jamie, you said that, obviously, this action is not wise. But in your - and I know you can't elaborate on the conversations the Secretary may or may not have had with the Prime Minister - but is it in your opinion that it might be wise for the Prime Minister to try to take action to move the settlers out of the region? Would that be productive to getting things --
MR. RUBIN: Let me repeat myself a little bit, and hopefully answer your question. Number one, we are pleased that the government of Prime Minister Netanyahu seems to understand the risks associated with this kind of project, and they oppose this kind of project.
Number two, we don't think this is a question of law. Number three, we think that it's not up to us to micro-manage how Prime Minister Netanyahu implements his views about the wisdom or lack of wisdom of this project. So that's really up to the Israeli Government.
Obviously, we hope that a way is found to diffuse this situation, because it come become a lightening rod for increased tensions, which is precisely what we have tried to tamp down in the recent trip.
QUESTION: Since you said this isn't a matter of law, is there some way you're considering to limit the activities of those such as Dr. Moskowitz, who seems to be single-handedly attempting to influence the demographics of Jerusalem, as well as the peace process?
I understand he might be a contributor to the Democratic Party, as well.
MR. RUBIN: Who?
QUESTION: Dr. Moskowitz.
MR. RUBIN: I can assure you the fact that he is or isn't a contributor makes no difference whatsoever in our foreign policy.
As far as your question is concerned, we obviously don't like to see anybody interfering with, or promoting activities that could increase tensions. Whether or not we're in a position to act, I doubt, but I'll ask. But I think this is really a question for the Israeli Government, and I doubt very much that we would be in a position to do anything. Remember, this is about property rights, people purchasing property and then trying to build on that property, dealing with local governments, dealing with national governments. It's really an Israeli internal matter; that's precisely why I said we weren't in a position to micro-manage it.
Any more on the Middle East? Yes.
QUESTION: Has the State Department spoken to Dr. Moskowitz about his activities?
MR. RUBIN: Again, I know that it seems like we can talk to whoever we want to about subjects like this. I think the man's views are pretty well-known. I think the issue is about his ability to operate within the Israeli legal system with regard to the purchase and use of land. It's not obvious to me that anything we could say or do would have any impact whatsoever.
QUESTION: Well, has the Secretary considered maybe writing Dr. Moskowitz a letter and setting out her views so that he's --
MR. RUBIN: I can certainly Dr. Moskowitz, through you, that we consider this kind of action a lightening rod for an increase in tensions. Those who support these actions, promote these actions, or otherwise are involved in these actions are harming the peace process; therefore harming the state of Israel. That's our view - we regard them as counterproductive.
Any more on the Middle East?
QUESTION: Jamie, don't you think that's the exact goal -- is to harm the peace process --
MR. RUBIN: You know, you may be able to be a mind reader; I'm not.
Yes. Any more on the Middle East?
MR. RUBIN: Yes.
QUESTION: When you visited Damascus, did the Secretary bring the terrorism issue against other Syrian officials?
MR. RUBIN: The Secretary, in her meetings in Damascus, raised very clearly and forthrightly our concerns about terrorism. As you know, Syria is on our terrorist list, and the reasons for that were fully explained to the Syrian Government. I can't report any progress in that area, other than to assure you that they have no doubt about our view on the matter.
QUESTION: Did she specifically emphasize on the PKK and the Turkish --
MR. RUBIN: Again, when it comes to a subject like terrorism, one has to be careful what one says and doesn't say. But across the board, I don't think they have any doubt as to our concerns about terrorism.
QUESTION: Sort of.
MR. RUBIN: Libya.
QUESTION: Anything on the trip by Congressman Hilliard to Libya?
MR. RUBIN: At the end of August, Congressman Hilliard's office informed us that he visited Libya. He was not acting on our behalf. His office contacted us prior to his trip to inquire about US restrictions on travel to Libya, but never mentioned that he would be going there. His staff next called from Tunisia and mentioned that a trip to Libya was a possibility.
We advised his staff that the use of a US passport for travel to Libya without prior validation from the State Department was illegal and that such a visit would be contrary to US policy. We did not hear from his office again until he returned to Washington and informed us that he had gone to Libya.
Let me add that the United States is committed to enforcing sanctions against Libya for its responsibility in the bombings of Pan Am 103 and UTA 72. The Libyan regime of Colonel Muammar Qadhafi continues to defy the will of the international community. We are seeking, as you know, through sanctions in the United Nations, to put pressure on the Libyans.
As far as who he met with, what he did, we're not in a position to answer those questions, other than to say that he did not inform us about the purpose of his visit or with whom he met.
QUESTION: Do you have any idea, Jamie, if he used his own passport to get into Libya?
MR. RUBIN: If we knew the answer to that, there would be certain consequences that followed from that. To the extent that your question is leading to a law enforcement question, I would ask you to contact the Justice Department.
QUESTION: Well, I asked the Justice Department to look into this.
MR. RUBIN: I think the Justice Department is aware of this case.
QUESTION: Jamie, on that same issue --
MR. RUBIN: Yes.
QUESTION: Is it also correct, technically, legally correct, that if he did not use his own passport, he would not be in violation of any US law?
MR. RUBIN: Let me state -- violation, technically or not -- we think that it's not a good thing to be giving any sustenance to an international terrorist state. So we have advised, very strongly, that people don't go there and they don't give any support to, or even implicit support - I'm not assuming that this support was by design - but implicit support for a country that is under international sanction. As far as your technical question, I think we'd better take that and get the words just right, so that I don't go beyond my legal, technical capabilities, especially the week after a long trip.
QUESTION: Jamie, can you pinpoint the exact weekend that he was in Libya?
MR. RUBIN: You know, I remember when this happened. It was at the end of August. That's the most detail I have.
Any more on this? No. New subject.
QUESTION: Middle East.
MR. RUBIN: The Middle East. I've heard of that place.
QUESTION: Yesterday, Iranian President Mohammed Khatami met with a Lebanese official. First of all, he was expressing support for the Hezbollah; and second of all, urging a postponement of the economic summit at Doha in November. What is the US feeling on both--on the fact that this meeting occurred and on the possibility of postponing? Is it a good idea to postpone the summit until the climate's a little better?
MR. RUBIN: We believe the Doha Summit is not a favor to anybody in the region. The Secretary of State intends to go to this Doha Summit.
I doubt the motivations of the Tehran Government are pure in this regard. They are not a supporter of the Middle East peace process. We believe the Doha Summit is a way of opening up the region to greater economic strength and greater economic integration. So we want the conference to go ahead.
Yes, let's do our one Cyprus question. Go ahead.
QUESTION: Mr. Rubin, since your witness of the stopover of Madame Secretary Albright in Larnaca, Cyprus, the other day, could you please clarify her statements regarding security issues within Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots - most specifically, she means full de-militarization of Cyprus? And could you please comment on reports that the US Government would like to see a NATO force to be deployed first and then gradually Cyprus could become a NATO member, too.
MR. RUBIN: As far as your second question is concerned, I've never heard any discussion of that kind.
As far as your first question is concerned, the way it was explained to me and the Secretary when this agreement was struck was that they were going to be able to talk about security issues. Security issues means everything from stepping back from the green line, trying to improve confidence-building measures across the green line, to ultimately any of the issues that fall under the rubric of security.
But I think the target for these discussions would tend to be in the area of confidence-building measures. But by definition, the word security leaves a lot of room for discussion.
Again, I would steer you towards confidence-building measures.
QUESTION: Could you please give us a readout so far on Tom Miller's trip in the area? And where is he now?
MR. RUBIN: The readout on his trip is that he met us on the tarmac in Larnaca and informed us of what he was able to achieve, and we put out a statement to that effect. So I think he's quite pleased with his trip.
QUESTION: What about the other European capitals?
MR. RUBIN: I'll have to get some further information for you on that.
QUESTION: Mr. Rubin, does the Department of State welcome - as has already the governments of South Korea and North Korea, the Department of Defense and the White House, as well - a global --
MR. RUBIN: Sounds like we do.
If everybody's for it.
QUESTION: Well, we haven't been able to get much response here. A global all-faith intercession and support of the four-party talks and also famine relief in North Korea. We're already on the air, as of yesterday, short-wave, globally. Would Madame Albright also endorse or welcome such an effort?
MR. RUBIN: I don't think that has been specifically posed to her, but we will do so and get you an answer.
QUESTION: But the Department definitely does?
MR. RUBIN: Well, she is the Department, so let's pose it to her.
Thank you. One more, yeah.
QUESTION: Allow me to go back to the Middle East. During the same week that the Palestinian and Israeli delegations will arrive here to Washington, Secretary Albright will be meeting in New York with the United Nations. Is she really giving up on the Middle East?
MR. RUBIN: No, in short. The meetings that are going to be held next week, I believe starting on Tuesday here, are lower level meetings that she will not be attending. But they are designed to hopefully build progress towards the meeting that she will host - a trilateral meeting with Foreign Minister Levy and Abu Mazen in New York, and the Secretary.
So to the extent we have further steps, small or big, she will be engaged. I think she's made quite clear that she will remain absorbed in the issue of the Middle East and continue to work on ways in which to help get us out of this crisis of confidence and back to the peace negotiating table.
QUESTION: Thank you.
QUESTION: Jamie, sorry, one more on Cambodia.
MR. RUBIN: Yes.
QUESTION: Do you have a position on the representation of Cambodia at the United Nations?
MR. RUBIN: Well, that issue is going to come up for discussion later today, as I understand it. The United States will not be in a position to concur in the seating of a Cambodian delegation which represents a regime which seized power through undemocratic means.
This may not be a position that gets a lot of support at the United Nations, but as the United States, we need to stand up for certain principles. We do not believe that the delegation that will be presented will be one that accurately reflects the proper situation in Cambodia. In fact, it's a delegation which seized power through undemocratic means.
And as the country that does, I think, more than any other to promote democracy, we fell it's very important to make clear that a delegation not reflecting democracy - in fact, reflecting anti-democratic forces - ought not to be seated at the UN. Although we are realistic about the likelihood of getting support from other countries, we think it's very important to take this stand.
QUESTION: Thank you.
(The briefing concluded at 1:40 P.M.)
[end of document]
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