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U.S. Department of State

Daily Press Briefing

INDEX
THURSDAY, JUNE 24, 1999
Briefer: JAMES P. RUBIN

ANNOUNCEMENT
1-4War Criminals Rewards Program
SERBIA (Kosovo)
1-4War Criminals At-Large/Holbrooke's Comments/Possible Arrest of Karadzic in Bosnia/Future Milosevic Policies
FRANCE
2&3Amb. Scheffer/Karadzic
CHINA
4&5Pickering briefing of House Intelligence Committee/ Unfortunate Accident/Compensation
INDIA/PAKISTAN
5&6Indian Forces in Kargil Sector of Kashmir/General Zinni in Pakistan/G-8 Wants Removal of Forces/Prevention of Escalation/US Encourages Dialogue/Restraint
BANGLADESH
7&8Sale of Bangladesh Gas to India
NORTH KOREA/SOUTH KOREA
8&9Amb. Kartman/Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye Gwan Meeting in Beijing About Trip to Kumchang-ni/Dr. Perry Review
IRAQ
9-11British-Dutch Effort For Iraqi Cooperation/Monitoring Program
TURKEY
11Monitoring Freedom of the Press


U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
DPB #80
THURSDAY, JUNE 24, 1999, 12:50 P.M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)

MR. RUBIN: Good afternoon. Welcome to the State Department briefing -- not quite as prompt as yesterday. Let me start with the following announcement.

Under authority provided by the Congress, Secretary Albright is pleased to announce today a war criminal rewards program for the former Yugoslavia. The United States is offering a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest or conviction in any country of persons indicted for serious violations of international humanitarian law by the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia or for information leading to their transfer to or conviction by the Tribunal.

Any person providing such information may be eligible for a reward of up to $5 million. Anyone who has information - particularly information on the location of an indictee in any country - should contact the nearest US Embassy immediately. They may also call 1-800-HEROES, one, or they may contact the US Department of State website at www.heroes.net.

All information and leads provided to the US Government will be treated in the strictest confidence. US and foreign government officials who, while in performance of their duties, furnish relevant information would not be eligible for an award. We are a leading promoter and proponent of justice and the rule of law in the former Yugoslavia. This program is intended to increase the prospects that indictees who are currently at large will be transferred to the custody of the Tribunal for trial. This program applies to persons indicted by the Tribunal or who may be indicted in the future for war crimes committed in the former Yugoslavia.

We strongly encourage all indictees still at large to surrender themselves voluntarily to competent local authorities or to the NATO-led stabilization force in Bosnia. All indictees transferred to the custody of the Tribunal will be treated with dignity and will receive fair and just treatment under international standards.

We discourage bounty hunters from taking any action to detain any indictee. Anyone possessing information on the location of an indictee is strongly encouraged to contact the Department of State immediately.

QUESTION: Jamie, how many at-large indictees are there; do you know?

MR. RUBIN: Well, there are a couple of dozen remaining from Bosnia. There are obviously the five indictees, including President Milosevic, of Serbia and Yugoslavia. This $5 million reward program will apply to information leading to the transfer of Mr. Milosevic. But the new five are the five indicted by Mrs. Arbour several weeks ago.

QUESTION: There are some indictees who, the fact that they've been indicted has not been made public. Do you know if those are going to be made public so that they have a chance -

MR. RUBIN: That would be up to the Tribunal.

QUESTION: With regards to Milosevic, what sort of information could you get? It's not as if you don't know where he is.

MR. RUBIN: Well, again, the issue with respect to war criminals is not just the issue of today or tomorrow. It is our view that, ultimately, people indicted for war crimes in the former Yugoslavia will face justice in The Hague. Their day will come; there is no statute of limitations.

So to answer your question directly, whether this may or may not apply today to the whereabouts of Mr. Milosevic, who may not always stay in Belgrade, who may go to other places - I don't know what his future travel plans are - this will apply until such time as he is before The Hague and Tribunal.

QUESTION: But it seems to me if you say you're discouraging bounty hunters - at least in his case, and perhaps in the case of Milutinovic, that you actually are encouraging people to go out there and grab these guys. The other, second part of that question is, what do you do with this information once you get it; who do you give it to?

MR. RUBIN: We have used this program before in the case of the killings outside the CIA office in Virginia, in the case of the bombings of the World Trade Center. Information provided to law enforcement officials through this program led to the arrest of people. In this case, I specifically said we are not encouraging bounty hunters, and the money goes to those who provide information that leads to the transfer of indicted war criminals.

With respect to the other part of your question, I've forgotten; try it again.

QUESTION: Now I've forgotten.

MR. RUBIN: Good.

QUESTION: Oh, wait, hold on, I have another on the same vein. Ambassador Scheffer with the FBI experts in Djakovica, I guess this morning, made some what might be referred to as gentle hints to the French that they should arrest Karadzic. I'm wondering if the -

MR. RUBIN: The President of the United States -

QUESTION: Wait -

MR. RUBIN: Go ahead.

QUESTION: I'm just wondering if the US has made any official request to the French authorities to do this.

MR. RUBIN: Right. Any contact like that would not be something I would discuss in public. The President of the United States indicated in an interview on television last week that we have taken steps to arrest indicted war criminals in our sector, and we would welcome others doing so. So there's nothing new about that.

QUESTION: On the same subject, this morning in his testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Mr. Holbrooke was talking about the lessons learned from Bosnia and how they should be applied. He said - and this is almost an exact quote - that NATO could have and should have arrested Karadzic in Bosnia, but didn't. Are you aware that NATO troops could have nabbed him and didn't?

MR. RUBIN: Well, I'd have to look at what he said before I made any comment. But certainly, we want, within the scope of the operational considerations of the commander, for indicted war criminals to be brought to justice. So we would share Ambassador Holbrooke's view that the sooner these people are brought to justice, the better. But obviously, neither Ambassador Holbrooke nor I are in a position to second-guess the decisions of the local commanders in these situations.

QUESTION: Well, was there a policy at that time not to rock the boat by arresting Karadzic?

MR. RUBIN: If you're talking about the last Administration, I'll have to check for you. If you're talking about this Administration, when I've been here, there isn't a non-rock-the-boat policy, no. And I can't imagine any Administration would be supportive of having its view be known as the not-rock-the-boat policy.

QUESTION: I remembered the question you don't want me to ask.

(Laughter.)

MR. RUBIN: If I didn't want you to ask it, I wouldn't have come back to you.

QUESTION: In the two - and actually, it's a little different. In the two cases that you mentioned before - the embassy bombing and the CIA shootings - both of those -

MR. RUBIN: Who gets the information.

QUESTION: Yes, yes, yes, exactly, but because both of these people were wanted by US courts. In this case it's not, obviously; it's the International War Crimes Tribunal. So -

MR. RUBIN: Just to go back and compare and join Jim's question and your question, let us say, hypothetically, that someone has information about a war criminal in the American sector in Bosnia and the information is provided to the State Department through this program, we would pass that information on to our military in our sector. That could prove useful in their capture or a voluntary surrender. That would be an example.

QUESTION: Question about the amount, specifically. The $5 million is for the catcher of these five individuals?

MR. RUBIN: No, it's up to $5 million for information. The Secretary will use her discretion, depending on the information and the target and all that, to decide what particular information yields what particular amount of reward.

QUESTION: Do you feel that after Kosovo, Milosevic could do something nasty again in other places, like - (inaudible) -

MR. RUBIN: We're concerned about the policies of President Milosevic. We have been concerned about those policies for some time. It is certainly something that we will be watching very carefully, something we're concerned about.

QUESTION: Can you confirm that an analyst raised a red flag about the -

MR. RUBIN: That was a - Kosovo?

QUESTION: Kosovo/China - about that the targeting may not have been right when NATO inadvertently hit the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade?

MR. RUBIN: Let me say that Under Secretary Pickering briefed yesterday members of the House Intelligence Committee on his trip to China last week to convey to the Chinese Government the results of our investigation into the accidental bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade. Administration officials will continue consultations on the Hill on this matter, and will make a determination about public release after these consultations.

These consultations are continuing. Clearly, a tragic and unfortunate accident occurred. There's no doubt that serious mistakes were made. The President has been briefed; the CIA is doing a further review of accountability. But I wouldn't want to comment on specific elements of the report.

QUESTION: n his explanation to the Chinese, during Pickering's mission to Beijing, did this account that several, I guess, senior intelligence officials given to a number of newspapers - this account of a mid-level analyst come up during the explanation to the Chinese?

MR. RUBIN: This is sort of let's try to get at it from another angle? I am not in a position to confirm the details of this kind of intelligence information at this time.

What I said in response to your colleague's question is that we provided a briefing to the Chinese; we're providing a briefing to the Hill. At the appropriate time, we'll be in a position to discuss these matters publicly, and now is not yet the appropriate time.

QUESTION: Jamie, again on this, have there been any further discussions since the Pickering trip, given the Chinese -

MR. RUBIN: With?

QUESTION: With the Chinese, given their - outright rejection wouldn't be correct, of the report - but their skepticism about the report?

MR. RUBIN: I'm not aware that we've had continued consultations with the Chinese on this report. Having delivered himself of the report and having the interagency team deliver itself of its analysis of how this tragic accident happened, I think we feel like we've given our explanation to the Chinese. Obviously, there are issues of compensation for the families and those injured - families of those killed and those injured - that we're prepared to continue to discussing. There are issues related to the American facilities in China, as well as the Chinese facility in Belgrade, that we're continuing to discuss with them.

I don't know at what level these discussions have gone on, but I don't think there has been a higher level attempt to explain in any greater detail than what has already been explained in quite significant detail.

QUESTION: On that, how does the US get past this in terms of improving US-Chinese relations if the Chinese continue to say that they're not satisfied with the US and NATO explanation that was -

MR. RUBIN: Well, we've given them what we believe was a satisfactory explanation. We've gone into great detail with it. We clearly want to move forward; we believe that China has an interest in moving forward on a number of subjects in the US-China relationship. With the passage of time, we believe it will occur.

QUESTION: Can I ask you something on the Zinni mission to Pakistan? And what is the immediate goal; was it to follow up on the G-8 statement? And what happens if it fails?

MR. RUBIN: Indian forces continue efforts to retake positions in the Kargil sector of Kashmir from forces that have infiltrated from the Pakistani side of the line of control. The United States remains in close contact with both governments. General Zinni, the commander in chief of the US Central Command, is in Pakistan at the direction of the President for talks with military and civilian officials. His trip is part of our continuing close contacts with the Pakistani and Indian Governments. He is pursuing our concerns about ending the fighting in the Kargil area of Kashmir.

He met today with the chief of the army staff, General Musharaf and other military officials. My understanding is that he will meet with Prime Minister Sharif tomorrow. General Zinni is not planning to go to India, but a member of his team - our Deputy Assistant Secretary Lanpher -- will travel to New Delhi as part of our efforts to keep both sides fully informed. As you know, we, the United States, and the G-8 want to see withdrawal of forces supported by Pakistan from the Indian side of the line of control. Reestablishment of the line of control, an end to the fighting, the exercise of restraint and recommencement of bilateral dialogue is part of the Lahore process.

This was endorsed by the G-8 leaders, and we think that this is the path to preventing the kind of escalation that we have been concerned about that we think would be so damaging to the people of the region, as well as the world.

QUESTION: Is the fact that Zinni is not going to India an indication that the US places most of the blame for this current problem on Pakistan?

MR. RUBIN: Well, I wouldn't put it that way. What I would say is that we want to see the withdrawal of forces supported by Pakistan from the Indian side of the line of control. So certainly that's something that we think General Zinni can work on.

QUESTION: I'm from the Daily - (inaudible) - and with me today is the chief editor of our newspaper, Mr. - (inaudible).

MR. RUBIN: We do allow editors in the briefing room.

(Laughter.)

QUESTION: We come far away.

MR. RUBIN: Yes.

QUESTION: The question is on Bangladesh and -

QUESTION: Can I follow up on the earlier question?

QUESTION: Go ahead.

MR. RUBIN: Yes.

QUESTION: What happens if the forces are not withdrawn? Will you leave the sanctions or any other steps that the United States -

MR. RUBIN: Well, we're working this problem right now. We think we're doing what we reasonably can do to try to encourage dialogue, encourage restraint. That is the focus of our efforts right now, and I wouldn't want to speculate about the future.

QUESTION: The question on Bangladesh. Does the United States support sale of gas from Bangladesh to India? This has been a statement made a couple of months back, Ambassador Holzman* in Daka*, which caused a lot of consternation there. And my second question, as a follow-up to that, will the United States support Bangladesh in the gas sector, which is our most lifeline of Bangladesh? I need these questions to be answered by you.

MR. RUBIN: I see; as opposed to your other colleagues, who just throw them out there, hoping they'll get an answer, you have a need.

The real issue is not exports, per se, but how Bangladesh can best use its gas reserves to accelerate the country's economic growth and improve the lives of its citizens. While these decisions must be made by Bangladeshis, the United States and American companies active in the country's gas sector are eager to provide assistance.

For example, a study currently -

QUESTION: Pretty good for off the top of your head.

(Laughter.)

MR. RUBIN: Currently underway and funded by the US Trade and Development Agency is seeking to assess the relative advantages to Bangladesh of potential downstream options for using the gas. Clearly, any consideration of the future of the gas industry in Bangladesh should include the possibility of exporting Bangladeshi gas to the huge market next door in India.

We see enormous potential for greater regional cooperation - I don't know what happened to me this morning.

(Laughter.)

We see enormous potential for greater regional cooperation in South Asia in the energy sector and a - (laughter) -

(Laughter.)

I want to take a break, but I guess I'm not allowed to do that. So -

QUESTION: (Inaudible) - carried live to -

MR. RUBIN: We see - all right, no laughing out there, so I don't see anybody's laughing face - (laughter) --

We see enormous potential for greater regional cooperation in South Asia in the energy sector, and applaud efforts by Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee and Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed to strengthen bilateral trade ties.

We note that Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee visited Bangladesh recently, inaugurating a bus service between the two countries.

QUESTION: Thank you. At least it brought some happy smiles to everyone's faces.

(Laughter.)

MR. RUBIN: Thank you.

QUESTION: North Korean talks - can you give us a read-out on the meeting that took place yesterday, and tell us perhaps why you think that the meeting didn't suffer the same fate as the North-South Korean talks?

MR. RUBIN: Our Ambassador Kartman met June 23 and 24 in Beijing with North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye Gwan to apprise him of the results of our trip to Kumchang-ni in May.

Ambassador Kartman's discussions also covered other issues related to the implementation of the agreed framework and the upcoming Four Party Talks plenary in Geneva in early August. We expect to issue, as I said yesterday, a statement on our assessment of Kumchang-ni.

With respect to the discussions also focused on the subjects that may be raised by the North Koreans. In keeping with our usual practice, I can't provide you details on the context of the discussion.

As you know, with respect to the North-South vice ministerial talks, we warmly welcomed the resumption of that dialogue. We strongly support President Kim Dae-Jung's policy of engaging the North in direct dialogue. As we have observed many times in the past, dialogue between North and South Korea is key to achieving progress on the Korean Peninsula.

We understand that the South and North agreed to remain in contact about the possibility of further meetings, but it would be up to the South to provide an update. There were meetings on the 22nd in Panmunjom on the question of the line of control. I don't have any speculation as to why one set of meetings occurred and another did not.

QUESTION: On the same subject, I know this has come up repeatedly, can you give us any indication when Dr. Perry's review might be ready?

MR. RUBIN: Well, as far as the timing for that is concerned, that is a process that is ongoing. With respect to the comments of South Korean President Kim about the substance of his review, let me say that concepts such as eventual normalization of relations with the North are nothing new. Indeed, the agreed framework between the US and North Korea encompasses a comprehensive vision that provides for just such an eventuality as the North Koreans address issues of concern to the United States. President Kim's engagement policy contains a similar vision.

The US remains ready to take steps towards - and I'm quoting now from the agreed framework - "normalization of political and economic relations" provided that North Korea take steps to address our concerns about its nuclear and missile programs. The agreed framework also addresses steps that the US could take on sanctions easing such as, "reductions of barriers to trade and investment, restrictions on telecommunications services and financial transactions."

As Dr. Perry made clear, he was traveling to the North as an envoy, not a negotiator. He explored the possibility of a major expansion in US-North Korean relations as part of a process in which American and allied concerns about missile and nuclear programs are addressed. This is a core element in our North Korea policy.

So Dr. Perry is continuing in his work. I do not have a time frame yet to provide you for the completion of his review.

QUESTION: Is he kind of fine-tuning his report as events unfold; is that possibly what's holding it up?

MR. RUBIN: I'd really rather let him describe what he's doing, but I don't have a date for his report.

QUESTION: Jamie, I just want to make sure of one thing. The Kumchang-ni report is not out, right, yet, because there's a South Korean report saying that it is out. I just want to make sure you haven't gone around -

MR. RUBIN: It would be our report, and we certainly wouldn't release it in Seoul before we gave it to our demanding and hungry press corps here in Washington.

QUESTION: Right, good, just checking.

QUESTION: Do you have anything to say - there's a number of resolutions in New York about inspection and monitoring of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs. I don't know if the timing is off, but I wonder if you have any --

MR. RUBIN: Well, we've been supportive of the British-Dutch effort to try to obtain Iraqi cooperation with Security Council resolutions so that the monitoring can resume of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction program. We think that is a good resolution that we're prepared to work from, and we are consulting with other countries on the Council to try to work on a way to ensure that Iraq does resume its monitoring programs and comply with the Security Council resolutions on disarmament.

QUESTION: As far as you know, since Desert Fox, does the international community or the US really have any idea as to what's going on?

MR. RUBIN: I didn't hear part of it.

QUESTION: Does the international community or the US, since Desert Fox, which was in December -

MR. RUBIN: Desert Fox, right.

QUESTION: Does it have any idea sort of what the -

MR. RUBIN: Yes, we maintain a very vigilant program of monitoring of Iraq both in conventional military terms and in terms of their unconventional programs. I think we train significant assets to that effect.

We have said that we would be prepared to use military power again if Iraq were to reconstitute its weapons of mass destruction. We think we will be able to make that judgment based on our national technical means. Obviously, we would want as much information and verification and inspections as possible in order to learn as much as possible about such a dangerous thing as a Saddam Hussein armed with chemical, biological or nuclear weapons.

QUESTION: What are the aspects of that Anglo-Dutch resolution, which you would like to improve, as you say?

MR. RUBIN: We don't normally discuss those things in public.

QUESTION: Are you prepared to say what the monitoring of their weapons programs has yielded?

MR. RUBIN: You mean what is our current judgment? I will have to see whether there's something we can say about our conclusions in that regard.

QUESTION: Before Desert Fox, you used to routinely say, we have no evidence that they significantly advanced their weapons programs, even in the absence of inspections. I notice you're not prepared to say that now, but perhaps when you -

MR. RUBIN: Let me try to get some information in which we can provide as best we can our current judgment of that.

QUESTION: The Kurdish delegation - are they finished their meeting in this building?

MR. RUBIN: I don't believe so; I think they're ongoing.

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

MR. RUBIN: Talks often take longer than -

QUESTION: But this has been unusually long.

MR. RUBIN: Talks - I've been part of many talks that go unusually long.

(Laughter.)

QUESTION: Can you tell us what the aim of these talks is, at least?

MR. RUBIN: I think I did that yesterday; I don't have much to add on that.

QUESTION: Can I ask you about another trial in Turkey? I wonder if the Administration is monitoring the trial of journalist Andrew Finkel (ph), and if so, how that factors into human rights in the area.

MR. RUBIN: Well, let me say that we do not support any laws which interfere with freedom of the press. We cannot and would not support any laws which would have the effect of interfering with freedom of the press.

This is an ongoing case, and I'm not going to be able to make specific comments at this time, but we will be monitoring.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR. RUBIN: Thank you.

(The briefing concluded at 1:20 P.M.)

[end of document]

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