U.S. Department of State
Other State Department Archive SitesU.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
U.S. Department of State
The State Department web site below is a permanent electronic archive of information released online from January 1, 1997 to January 20, 2001. Please see www.state.gov for current material from the Department of State. Or visit http://2001-2009.state.gov for information from that period. Archive sites are not updated, so external links may no longer function. Contact us with any questions about finding information. NOTE: External links to other Internet sites should not be construed as an endorsement of the views contained therein.
U.S. Department of State

Great Seal

U.S. Department of State

Daily Press Briefing

Thursday, May 13, 1999
Briefer: James P. Rubin

SERBIA (Kosovo):  
1 Deputy Secretary Talbott's Travel to Brussels/ Consultations with Finnish President Ahtisaari and Russian Emissary Viktor Chernomyrdin
1-2 Broadening Terms of Group of 8 Agreement; Finnish President Ahtisaari; Russian Emissary Chernomyrdin; EU Presidency

Readout of Deputy Secretary Talbott's Meeting in Moscow

4-9 NATO Air Strikes; Balkan Reconstruction; NATO Conditions and Implementation;
  G-8 Proposal; Aid to UNHCR; UN Security Council Resolutions
6 Withdrawal of Serbian Troops from Kosovo
7-9 Russian Position toward Kosovo and the US
10 US-China Relations; NATO Bombing of Chinese Embassy
11-12 Congressman Weldon Delegation
11 Secretary of Treasury Larry Summers; Diversity at the State Department
13 Kartman Talks in Pyongyang
14 Foreign Minister's Visit to Washington, D.C.
14 Visit of Jordanian King to Washington, D.C.

DPB # 64

THURSDAY, MAY 13, 1999 12:40 P.M.

MR. RUBIN: Greetings. Welcome to the State Department briefing, today being Thursday. Let me begin by giving you an update on Deputy Secretary Talbott's developments, as we wait for the Associated Press to arrive.

Deputy Secretary Talbott is on his way to Brussels. He had dinner President Ahtisaari of Finland, then returned to Moscow today; had a two-hour meeting with Mr. Chernomyrdin, a meeting with Ivanov, the Foreign Minister, and then he met also with some Duma members. He continued his work -- the working groups completed their effort, working both on the civilian side and the security side. The effort to broaden the terms of agreement achieved at the Group of Eight meeting last week continues. It's my understanding that Mr. Chernomyrdin is tonight going to be meeting with President Ahtisaari in Finland. So the diplomatic track continues moving forward towards getting the greatest degree of commonality and objectives and elaborating on the meaning of those principles. But it would be hard to describe in detail any of the substantive points. Diplomacy needs some time to ripen before we can discuss the substance.

QUESTION: I have no intelligent questions.


QUESTION: This may be something that it's not ripened -- it's not aged enough to be picked, but what kind of role do you envision the Fins having? I assume this is related to the fact that they're going to take over the EU presidency.

MR. RUBIN: Yes, let me say this -- President Ahtisaari is someone we know very well. He had a long and distinguished career working on Balkan issues at the United Nations. He's someone who is essentially a friend of the process. President Chirac, Chancellor Schroeder, Kofi Annan, Deputy Secretary Talbott have all met with him in recent days. Mr. Chernomyrdin has been meeting with him today. We think that he can provide good advice, a good understanding of Balkan issues and good ideas. He has indicated a willingness to be available at the appropriate time for a more formal role, but for now he is somebody that we are working with because we think he has something to contribute.

QUESTION: Can you tell us whether Mr. Talbott asked him to make a -- go on any missions in connection with his role, or to make any contacts?

MR. RUBIN: I wouldn't be able to get into the kind of requests that are made between diplomats behind closed doors. I am prepared to say that we understand that he is willing to play a more formal role at the appropriate time, but for now has been discussing the various issues with a number of the key players, including Deputy Secretary Talbott and, tonight, Mr. Chernomyrdin.

QUESTION: Who was it that wanted President Ahtisaari to become involved because the Germans are currently holding the EU presidency and I don't remember hearing talk of getting them involved with the Russians? How did this come to fruition?

MR. RUBIN: There is a view widely held amongst the key players -- Chancellor Schroeder, President Chirac, Secretary General Annan, Secretary Albright -- that President Ahtisaari is someone who knows this area very well. And as we try to make sure that we are pursuing all possible and appropriate avenues, we thought it was appropriate to discuss this matter with him. Mr. Chernomyrdin obviously has a similar view; he is meeting with the President of Finland, Mr. Ahtisaari, tonight. So everyone thinks that he is someone that can be helpful, be constructive, who can bring to bear his knowledge; and that is what we are doing.

As far as who said what to whom first, that's not something we normally talk about from the podium.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) -- isn't something -- it isn't a sign of NATO's lack of confidence in Mr. Chernomyrdin's ability as an emissary?

MR. RUBIN: On the contrary. I think Mr. Chernomyrdin is meeting with him tonight; so he obviously thinks he can play a constructive role as well.

QUESTION: Have you had any account from the French of their meetings in Moscow? And can you say anything to confirm or deny reports that Mr. Milosevic is sending signals that under certain conditions he might, in fact, accept an international security presence in Kosovo?

MR. RUBIN: Well, Deputy Secretary Talbott was just there, so I don't think we would necessarily need a read-out from the French. He met with Mr. Chernomyrdin; he met with Foreign Minister Ivanov during the whole course of the day.

As far as the substance of your question is concerned, we've seen a lot of feelers; we've seen a lot of signs; we've seen a lot of half measures; we've seen a lot of feints. What we haven't seen is a substantive agreement to NATO's conditions. President Milosevic obviously recognizes that the toll of NATO's air campaign is becoming increasingly intense. We see cracks continue to appear in the facade of Serbian unity, as the cumulative affect of air strikes becomes evident. There is increasing dissent from the regime among the politicians in Serbia. Defense Secretary Cohen noted evidence of growing concern in the military, including reports that army commanders have begun sending their families out of the country. And now we see Serbian tycoons, such as Mr. Karic, who owe their fortunes to the corrupt policies of the Milosevic regime, who appear to be realizing that Milosevic's current course is leading to their own financial ruin. They are increasingly eager to reach a settlement.

Milosevic himself must be increasingly aware that his course is leading to disaster for Serbia, and he may be looking for a solution. The only solution available to him is full acceptance of NATO's five conditions. We believe President Milosevic seriously miscalculated. He may have hoped that by this time the unity of determination of NATO would have cracked. It hasn't. The cracks in his own armor are widening. We must remain unified and determined and pursue this air campaign and maybe we can see the half-statements, half-measures, public gestures -- such as the claim that there's a major withdrawal when we see no significant signs of withdrawal, maybe some tactical maneuvering within Kosovo -- and turn these feints and these half-measures and these feelers into something real, which is communicating to whomever. There isn't a communications problem here; there are plenty of people who can talk to Belgrade. The issue is the message, not the communicator -- not the messenger. President Milosevic has not delivered the message to the world that he's prepared to accept the NATO five conditions, which I will mercifully not repeat to you right now.

QUESTION: To go back to President Ahtisaari and Strobe Talbott, and Viktor Chernomyrdin and the consultations going on, what is the purpose of this set of diplomacy? What is the product you expect to produce? What is the goal there?

MR. RUBIN: The purpose is that President Ahtisaari is someone who knows the area well. He's been involved in Balkan issues for a long time. He is someone whose advice and counsel we think it's appropriate to seek. Beyond saying that, and saying that he has indicated he may be prepared to play a role at the appropriate time, I wouldn't have any comment.

QUESTION: That wasn't my question. Not just -- speaking more broadly than President Ahtisaari --

MR. RUBIN: No, I thought you were asking about President Ahtisaari.

QUESTION: I get the sense that it's all part of one thing -- I'm quite certain it is. At the end of -- when you're completed with this thing, you don't want to describe what is it you would like to have and what do you want to do with it.

MR. RUBIN: It's pretty easy. We want Milosevic to accept the five conditions. That's it. That's what we want; that's what we're trying to achieve, period, full stop.

QUESTION: Right, that's the goal, but what you're doing now is an effort to get to that point. What is the vehicle for doing that? What are these people trying to do; what are they trying to put together? Is it something that President -- well, I don't want to give you something you can just slough off, but is there --

MR. RUBIN: I don't have anything to add to what I've said so far. The goal is clear: we want President Milosevic to agree to the five conditions We've been elaborating those conditions with Russia through our meetings. We've been elaborating on them with our other colleagues in the members of the G-8. We will continue to do that, to specify very clearly what a rapid and precise time table is, what the composition of the force ought to be, how the withdrawal will be verified of Serbian forces. That's the substance; that is going on.

You're asking me about how the procedural steps interlock in some way, and I'm telling you they do interlock. The interlock in the way of maximizing the chances for President Milosevic to agree to the five conditions. That's what we're about here.

QUESTION: Jamie, you have said the same thing the President said --

MR. RUBIN: That's good.

QUESTION: -- the strike will continue as long as they meet their NATO demands, and NATO is united more than ever or more than before. But at the same time, Secretary of Defense was -- testifying at the Capitol -- said that too many missions, too little forces. So we need either more forces or less missions. And also long war is not in the interest of the US forces. That's what he said on Capitol Hill.

MR. RUBIN: I would want to see very carefully what Defense Secretary said and not comment based on your interpretation. I know that Defense Secretary Cohen, like Secretary Albright, believes very strongly in the efficacy of this air campaign, believes that it's increasingly taking its toll against President Milosevic, and that we need to see it through and see it prevail.

QUESTION: The President spoke this morning about the Balkan reconstruction and said again that the Serbian people should not be kept out of it, kept out of the region's future growth. Under what conditions could the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia participate in Balkan reconstruction, and would it be eligible to do so if Milosevic remains in power?

MR. RUBIN: We believe that there's a short-term and a long-term objective here. The short-term goal is to get President Milosevic to agree to the NATO conditions; to get those NATO conditions implemented; and thus, to get the refugees returned to Kosovo. Over the long term, we want to see greater integration, greater support for Western values, bring more and more parts of this part of Europe into Western institutions. Obviously, that depends on the policies of the various governments. Serbia, unfortunately, is the odd man out. For the people of Serbia, it's very unfortunate. And until there are changes in the policies of the Serbian Government, we cannot see them being reintegrated into the Western community of nations and to Western institutions. We've spelled out what those democratization -- cooperation with the War Crimes Tribunal, a number of other specific steps that we've spelled out in the past -- those remain our views as to what is necessary for Serbia to rejoin the community of nations. Democratization is certainly one of them. We don't have a democracy in Serbia now.

QUESTION: Let me just follow up -- so even if Milosevic were to accept NATO's five conditions and the regional reconstruction were to get underway, the FRY would not be allowed to participate in that; is that right?

MR. RUBIN: What I'm saying is that in our view, so long as Serbia does not play a constructive role in the world -- and Serbia's lack of democracy prevents that -- there will be barriers to Serbia's reentry to the community of nations.

QUESTION: Are you referring to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia or are you intentionally singling out Serbia in that? Because the President did the same thing.

MR. RUBIN: I think we've made very clear that we see Montenegro playing a very constructive role in the international community. We've had very good and constructive relations with President Djukanovic. We have provided assistance to President Djukanovic -- many millions of dollars -- and we will continue to judge people and regions by their actions, not by any other factor.

QUESTION: I realize you don't want to get into the specifics of what's being talked about, but you used a phrase broadening the terms of the agreement with the G-8 proposal. You're not suggesting that the G-8 in any way is modifying or moving toward a Russian position?

MR. RUBIN: No. I'm trying to avoid having to say we're broadening the areas of agreement and we're narrowing the gaps, so that Barry won't roll his eyes. This is just a diplomatic way of saying that we're trying to get greater and greater agreement between NATO's elaborated conditions and the Russian views. So we're going to broaden the terms of agreement that were achieved at the G-8. We're going to broaden the areas of agreement, not dilute them; we're going to narrow the gaps and we're going to fill in those narrowed gaps.

QUESTION: Last week you said that the United States had given $5 million emergency injection of aid to UNHCR and you said there was going to be another increment this week. Has that come?

MR. RUBIN: I would have to check that for you.

QUESTION: Jamie, you made the point that procedure is not the main game or the main item here. But let me ask you just quickly for a little update on the procedure of the resolution because it is significant because of the Chinese factor among others. Can you give us an idea what work is being done toward a resolution -- actual drafting, we understand, is going on; but of course drafting always goes on. Where does it stand? Is it at the end of the scenario? Once you need the agreement with the Russian or first --

MR. RUBIN: There's a lot of misunderstanding about resolution. Let me try to provide some clarity for those who might've misunderstood it.

Resolutions passed by the Security Council can take a very short amount of time or they can take a very long amount of time. In a case like this, given the significance of this resolution, the key drafting is not going to go on in New York amongst UN ambassadors, at least for the NATO countries and for the Russians. This is part of a high-level effort being conducted by foreign ministers, deputy foreign ministers and political directors. That the elements of a resolution is something we're working on. We've said we're working on the elements of a resolution. But that is a very different thing than beginning discussions in New York on a resolution. That means beginning formal consideration of a resolution. Nobody said we were doing that in the near term; nobody ever suggested we were doing that in the near term, even before the Chinese incident.

So what is happening here is first you have to get agreement on your substance before you can -- get agreement on your elements of your resolution before you can decide whether the time is ripe to begin formal consideration of it by the Security Council with a view towards adoption. We're still at the stage where we're working on the substance of what would become the elements of a Security Council resolution. It has always been, and remains still, an open question as to whether Russia would be supportive of considering the resolution formally in the Security Council, as opposed to discussing it in capitals prior to Belgrade's agreement.

Where we are is working. When Deputy Secretary Talbott and his negotiating team, or his discussion teams, work with the Russians, it's on substance so that the elements of a Security Council resolution could be created. I am sure there are resolutions that have been drafted in many buildings in Washington, Bonn, France, Germany, London, et cetera; because people need to be ready if the decision is made to move formally to a resolution. But where we are now is working on the building blocks of the elements of a Security Council resolution.

QUESTION: Sometimes -- and I guess this isn't the occasion -- you get pretty close or reasonably close, then you have a proposed resolution and use that to focus and to -- it gets -- what's the word -- their attention is more easily focused because there's a piece of paper there. And you use that -- that is, you -- to try for and accomplish, presumably, a final agreement. That's not what it sounds like here. It sounds like before you go to the UN with a real planned resolution, you pretty much know what that resolution is going to say.


QUESTION: Jamie, just going back to a point you made earlier, what do you make of the 120 Yugoslav troops that were seen leaving Kosovo today? Does the Administration think this is just a PR stunt by Milosevic?

MR. RUBIN: First of all, I don't know whether it's true, but I don't make much of it. That's one-half of one percent, depending on how you count what's there. It's insignificant; it's irrelevant. We've seen no significant troop movements out of Kosovo. We'll be looking for agreement to the five conditions, including a rapid and precise time table for the withdrawal of all the security forces. When that has been arranged and there is a beginning of that process in a demonstrable and verifiable way, then and only then would we be prepared to suspend the air strikes.

QUESTION: But could it be possible that this kind of happens without a formal declaration, in a face-saving way? Is the Administration entertaining --

MR. RUBIN: What we're looking for is an acceptance --

QUESTION: As long as they go, you don't care how they go?

MR. RUBIN: We're looking for an acceptance of the five conditions, with a rapid and precise timetable. How acceptance is developed -- whether it's a formal document, whether it's a joint statement, whether it's somebody saying what is going to happen -- we'll be looking for actions not words.

QUESTION: Jamie, among those five points, is the withdrawal of all the Serb forces, correct?

MR. RUBIN: Correct.

QUESTION: Does the Administration envision a time --

QUESTION: You're putting me out of business


MR. RUBIN: You're putting Charlie out of business.

QUESTION: Am I? I'm sorry.

MR. RUBIN: He's very upset.

QUESTION: Does the Administration envision the possibility or would it entertain the possibility of a Serb force, once they've all been withdrawn, of any kind of Serb force returning to Kosovo sometime in the near future?

MR. RUBIN: Our position is -- sorry, I'm just catching my breath here -- to get all the Serb forces removed for the very simple reason that the forces we're talking about are the forces that have been responsible for the worst kind of atrocities that we've seen. Since the objective is to get the Kosovar Albanians back, we think it's inconceivable that they would come back in the face of the presence of people who were responsible for rapes and murders, forced expulsions, putting people in packed trains, and all the war crimes that we have discussed with you in great and ghastly detail. So we think they all need to go.

I'm not going to rule out some symbolic presence for the future, and I've said that before. But as far as the substantive position is concerned, that is our view.

QUESTION: Jamie, the discussions in Moscow -- since the firing of Mr. Primakov, have you discerned any change; and how has this affected the Russians position towards Kosovo and towards the United States? Have you discerned any change?

MR. RUBIN: As far as the basic point would be, we continue to work with the Russians in a constructive way --

QUESTION: No, a change in their point of view, not our point of view.

MR. RUBIN: Right. I'm going to try to answer your question if you'll permit me to. We continue to work with the Russians in a constructive way on the details of elaborating NATO's conditions. Working groups met yesterday; they met today. Deputy Secretary Talbot met yesterday and met today. I don't think he saw a movement backwards today; the work continues. So that is the best answer I can offer you. If you want to know the Russian position on the various matters, I would recommend you seek out a Russian interlocutor. But it is our impression that today the work continued with roughly the same substance and style and seriousness that it did yesterday.

QUESTION: Do you have any notion or does the US have when Chernomyrdin might take all this material with him to Belgrade?

MR. RUBIN: I wouldn't want to be the announcer of Chernomyrdin's schedule.

QUESTION: But you would like him to somehow communicate with Yugoslavia.

MR. RUBIN: We don't have a strong view on how this happens. What we have a strong view is that President Milosevic has to agree to these conditions.

QUESTION: Now that there's this germ of a resolution being pollinated --


MR. RUBIN: For a building block of an element?

QUESTION: Yes, yes -- but let me get the rest of the analogy. The US being pollinated in capitals around the Western world, is it still the US hope or the Western hope that the Chinese will abstain? And then the second question, I want to get back to the Fins again -- although I don't want to belabor it -- but you said earlier --

MR. RUBIN: Why don't we do the first one, then I'll come back to you. On the Chinese question, we do not believe that at the end of the day, China will stand in the way of a peaceful resolution of the Kosovo conflict. It has been China's position all along that this should be resolved peacefully.

If, through a Security Council resolution, we are resolving it peacefully and Russia and all the other members of the G-8 and other members of the Security Council all support that, we find it difficult to imagine that China would stand in the way of such a resolution.

QUESTION: You said earlier that there was no shortage of messengers and that that's not a problem. But it seems that with all of this trying to bring the Fins in, that you're trying to add another person that could be another potential messenger. If the problem isn't a communication problem between NATO and Milosevic, how is adding another person, potential envoy, going to help?

MR. RUBIN: We have not said that we would look towards Carl Bildt or Mr. Kukan from Slovakia, the Secretary General's special advisors on this subject, to focus on the brokering of an agreement, but rather to focus on the implementation of an agreement. I've said that before.

There may be a lot of freelance officials going in and out of Belgrade. The only one that we have worked with closely has been Mr. Chernomyrdin. And if Mr. Chernomyrdin finds it useful to have support in that regard, we would have no problem with that; we would think that that very well could be constructed.

QUESTION: In public the Russians, as no doubt you've heard, are saying that they would reconsider efforts to find a solution to this unless you listen to their proposals. Is this -- are you hearing the same thing in private? And is this affecting the talks in Moscow in any way, or is there a --

MR. RUBIN: I'm always amazed that you think that I would disagree with their public stance by telling you what they were saying to us in private.

QUESTION: But if they're telling you this in private -- they've just started saying this the last few days -- then this doesn't mesh with your --

MR. RUBIN: Then what's the point of having a private discussion, if I'm going to announce it to the world?

QUESTION: It gets announced sooner or later anyway.

MR. RUBIN: So let me answer it in a different way, which is to say to you that we continue to work constructively with the Russians on the substance of the issue, even as various public statements have been made.

QUESTION: You wouldn't intend to reconcile these public statements with --

MR. RUBIN: I have a hard enough time reconciling public statements and private actions in the West. Someone else can reconcile public and private statements in Russia.

QUESTION: If the Russians objected to a higher profile role by Mr. Ahtisaari, would you then discourage him from doing that?

MR. RUBIN: That's too hypothetical and not the direction things are going.

QUESTION: Just where the Chinese stand today as far as a resolution, I think you already answered that. But did the Chinese Government calm down after the embassy incident? And how can you describe US-China relations today -- bad, good or better?

MR. RUBIN: I don't think I would ever use either of those three words for US-China relations. But let me say this -- on Thursday there were no significant protests in the immediate vicinity of our offices in Beijing or elsewhere. Ambassador Sasser and embassy staff are now able to move freely between their residences and the embassy. Consulates General in Guangzhou and Shanghai did not sustain significant damage and will reopen on Friday for most American citizen services. Guangzhou will resume immigrant visa processing on Monday. Due to the more extensive damage inflicted on the embassy in Beijing and the Consulates General in Chengdu and Shenyang, caused by the demonstrations earlier in the week, these facilities will remain closed to the public for routine business until at least Monday, May 17. We will decide on the resumption of other activities, including visa processing, as repairs are made.

There were some significant damage to the embassy and other missions -- small fires, rocks broke windows. They're still examining and still trying to determine a comprehensive damage assessment. That's in terms of the facilities there.

In terms of the relations with China, we believe that this is obviously been a rough patch, but we believe that the goals of our policy to improve US-China relations to provide benefits to the United States and to China remain sound. And we believe that since the relationship was not based on any favors we expect China to do us, but rather based on their calculation of their national interests, when we get through this rough patch, that we will continue to work on the issues that we've been working on for some time.

QUESTION: Can I follow up on that, Jamie? Yesterday I asked you about the cost of repair to the embassy. Do you have an answer on that?

MR. RUBIN: I have -- we don't have a thorough assessment of the extent of damages to our missions and other US property in China, nor an estimate of the cost of repairs. There have been no decisions regarding any question of compensation.

QUESTION: Wait a sec; that's not exactly what I asked yesterday. I asked whether the Chinese pay, whether we pay -- both in this case and in general, diplomatically. There have been lots of other incidences like this.

MR. RUBIN: Well, I don't know that any incident compares to the fact of NATO mistakenly bombing the Chinese Embassy in Beijing, and the consequences thereto. So I know there's a tendency to assume there is a bi-rote process that everything works. I wouldn't assume that. What I can tell you is that we expect the Chinese to uphold their responsibility to protect the safety of official personnel and US property in China. We don't have a thorough assessment of the damage, nor an assessment of the cost, and there have been no decisions regarding any question of compensation.

QUESTION: Can you verify that Strobe will see Kofi Annan in Geneva? There's apparently an announcement even -- may be after you came out here, but evidently -- if you know about it. If you don't --

MR. RUBIN: That wouldn't surprise me. I know he's on his way to Brussels, and if he were to stop in Geneva and see Kofi Annan, that wouldn't surprise me.

QUESTION: Well, then --

MR. RUBIN: That's as far as I can go in this forum.

QUESTION: Do you have anything on reports that Admiral Prueher may be our next ambassador to China?

MR. RUBIN: That would be announced by the White House.

QUESTION: A report out of Belgrade saying that the US -- I'm not saying I believe it, I'm just wondering -- saying the US Government has ordered or will order US Internet suppliers to cut their links with Yugoslav web suppliers. Do you have anything about that?

MR. RUBIN: I'd have to check that; I don't have anything for you.

QUESTION: Mr. Rubin -- (inaudible). Do you think it's going to affect in any way international --

MR. RUBIN: I'm not leaving.


QUESTION: Secretary of Treasury. As far as the State Department is concerned about international relations --

MR. RUBIN: Secretary Albright and Deputy Secretary Talbott have both had a very constructive working relationship with Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, Larry Summers. As you know, the President announced that the new deputy secretary designate for the Treasury will be Stu Eizenstat, someone the Secretary of State has known a long time, has had a close working relationship with and looks forward to continuing that relationship between top officials here at the State Department and at the Treasury Department. Other than missing the opportunity to work day-to-day with Robert Rubin, the Treasury Secretary, I think Secretary Albright hopes and expects the situation to, if anything, be better with Stu Eizenstat over there.

QUESTION: On Kosovo -- as you know, Congressman Weldon and other members of that delegation that --

MR. RUBIN: I heard about that, yes.

QUESTION: -- met with the Secretary were testifying on the Hill today. First, can you tell us if the Secretary did in fact discourage them from continuing with their efforts? And does the Administration look at this testimony where they're trying to get congressional support for their efforts as hurting US and NATO's policy?

MR. RUBIN: The Secretary met with Representative Weldon and other members to discuss the situation in Kosovo with Russian Duma members. They gave the Secretary their report. The Secretary welcomed the value of parliamentary discussions between members. However she made clear that several aspects of the resolution that Representative Weldon has introduced are not consistent with Administration policy, which remains based on the NATO five conditions. Specifically, the resolution is vague as to whether Milosevic must agree to NATO's five conditions before NATO's military action is halted; does not make clear that Serbian police and paramilitary forces must be withdrawn from Kosovo; leaves open whether NATO forces would be at the core of the international security presence to be established once the conflict ends; and calls for voluntary repatriation only of those refugees in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, not of the hundreds of thousands of refugees forced to flee by Milosevic's policy of ethnic cleansing.

Representative Weldon and the other members made clear to the Secretary that the intent of their resolution was to be supportive of US policy; however, words matter and the wording of this resolution would not allow us to support it for the reasons I stated.

QUESTION: Could it be a building block?

MR. RUBIN: Or a germ.


QUESTION: A building block is bigger than a germ. I mean, you really -- you're banking on -- and you have a right to bank on it if you like and certainly a reason to want to complete to victory -- but you're banking on getting everything all at once. You're assuming that -- the Administration doesn't seem to be entertaining the thought that maybe some troops will dribble out and maybe they'll do something else and maybe they'll do something else, and ultimately you get where you want to go. You seem to want him to say, I'll do all five things -- right-o.

MR. RUBIN: We can switch places, yes.


QUESTION: No, because maybe -- if Weldon doesn't have something going there, does he? Doesn't look like he thinks so. No.

QUESTION: Change the subject? Has the State Department been involved at all in the efforts by the British Government to get this guy Tomlinson's Web site shut down?

MR. RUBIN: I have nothing on that.

QUESTION: Can you tell us anything about the mention yesterday on the Arab-American leaders and their request for a greater diversity in recruitment?

MR. RUBIN: Secretary Albright does support diversity in recruitment. It's been a hallmark of the State Department since she's been here. She does support that, and we do want to see Arab-Americans in the Near East Bureau.

QUESTION: Is there a feeling that they are under-represented in the State Department?

MR. RUBIN: I just said that she would like to get people in there that are not there now.

QUESTION: Did anybody in the State Department make a commitment to do something about creating more diversity?

MR. RUBIN: I think Secretary Albright is determined to create diversity in the State Department in a number of ways, including through having Arab-Americans in the State Department. That's a commitment that she believes in.

QUESTION: How is she going to go about this?

MR. RUBIN: We're working on trying to achieve that commitment.

QUESTION: The South Korean Foreign Minister is landing any minute. Do you have anything on his visit?

MR. RUBIN: Yes, he'll be meeting with Secretary Albright. There will be -- it's my understanding -- a press availability on Monday. This is part of our bilateral discussions with the South Koreans, a close friend and ally. We'll be talking about North Korea; we'll be talking about North-South relations; we'll be talking about China; and we'll be talking about a number of subjects of mutual interest.

QUESTION: Do you have anything on the election on the new Italian president -- Mr. Ciampi?

MR. RUBIN: That would strike me as an especially internal matter.

QUESTION: Do you have anything about Mr. Kartman's talks in Pyongyang?

MR. RUBIN: Mr. Kartman, yes, I do have something on that. Originally scheduled to arrive in Pyongyang today, the Kartman delegation has been delayed by technical difficulties involving the US aircraft that the team was to travel on. The expected arrival is now tomorrow, May 14, and the length of stay will be one day, as previously planned. The delay was caused by a technical difficulty involving the American aircraft.

QUESTION: Will we use that --


MR. RUBIN: I suspect it's a little smaller than the one that you usually travel on, Barry.

QUESTION: Can I follow up on the South Korean Foreign Minister's arrival here? What is the status -- I seem to remember the second tranche of money under the agreed framework is due to be --

MR. RUBIN: On the oil?

QUESTION: On the oil is supposed to come up, I think June 1 is the date that it was --

MR. RUBIN: I will check that for you.

QUESTION: On visiting dignitaries, the Jordanian King is here. Do you having anything yet, or is it too early?

MR. RUBIN: He'll be here next week. I don't have -- I know Secretary Albright will be meeting with him; the President will be meeting with him. We will be discussing with him the importance of the US-Jordanian relationship. We obviously have played an important role on the debt side and we want to continue to encourage others to do that, and try to assist the King in every way possible as he takes the reigns of power.

QUESTION: Is this a formal state visit?

MR. RUBIN: I don't know what the technical term is. I'll have to check that for you.

QUESTION: On the Kartman trip, there was some degree of uncertainty about whether the access visit to Kumchang-ni would definitely go ahead on May 20. Do you -- have there been any contacts in the last week to firm that up?

MR. RUBIN: Yes, I believe we are confident that the visit will occur on schedule and that they will have the necessary access to satisfy ourselves of what the facilities are for.

QUESTION: On the same subject, is Kartman there to talk about the whole range of issues or just the Kumchang-ni issue?

MR. RUBIN: Given Ambassador Kartman's key role in this area, I would be surprised if other issues did not come up.

QUESTION: Can you say if you know what the status is of the moving the US Embassy in Israel -- breaking ground?

MR. RUBIN: The President would expect to deal with this question shortly, but has not done so yet.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

MR. RUBIN: Shortly.

QUESTION: Shortly.

QUESTION: Has he made a decision to put it off until after the election?

MR. RUBIN: The President would be expected to deal with this shortly, is my understanding.

QUESTION: Do you know what -- (inaudible) --

MR. RUBIN: If I intended to give you the President's decision, I wouldn't have said the President is expected to deal with this issue shortly. I don't announce presidential decisions.

QUESTION: Jamie, just on the impeachment proceedings underway in Russia, do you have anything more to say than you said yesterday? Is the Administration's position --

MR. RUBIN: I wouldn't over-interpret the word shortly, however. Go ahead --

QUESTION: (Inaudible) -- trying to get back.


MR. RUBIN: Yes, you have time to get back.

QUESTION: You commented about it yesterday, but is the Administration -- can you say anything more today? Is the position just wait it out and see what happens? That's it? Right.

QUESTION: Okay, thank you.

(The briefing concluded at 1:25 P.M.)

[end of document]

Back to the Press Briefing Calendar.
Return to the Home Page.
This is an official U.S. Government source for information on the WWW. Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents.