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USIA - State Department Report, 97-01-28

U.S. State Department: Daily Press Briefings Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The United States Information Agency (USIA) Gopher at <gopher://>


(Central African Republic, Sudan, Serbia, France/Jews) (420)

There was no regular briefing, but State Department Spokesman Nicholas Burns did speak on-the-record with reporters. No transcript is available of this briefing.

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC -- The United States welcomes the January 25 signature in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, of a formal agreement ending the mutiny which began in mid-November, Burns said.

Burns noted that Chad, Gabon, Mali, Burkina Faso, Togo and Senegal will provide a total of about 500 troops who will insure the implementation of this agreement. "This is actually somewhat significant from an African context -- that you have this grouping of African countries combined for a multi-national force to preserve stability in another African country. It hasn't happened very much in African history in the post-colonial era since 1960," Burns said. He added that "France deserves a lot of the credit for having stimulated these particular countries to undertake this mission."

SUDAN -- Burns said media reports that the United States is giving military assistance to Sudan's neighbors is "wrong, wrong, wrong. We are going to give non-lethal military assistance to some of Sudan's neighbors (but) it hasn't even arrived yet. We're talking about shoe strings, and boots and shirts, backpacks and radios. We're not talking about bazookas and tanks and fighter aircraft or even guns."

Media reports that say the United States granted an exemption to Sudan's status as a terrorist state to allow the Occidental Petroleum Corporation to negotiate an oil deal are also wrong, Burns said. "No exemption asked for, no exemption given," Burns said.

SERBIA -- The United States is "very concerned" that the Serbian authorities have shut down another independent media outlet -- Channel 4 in the town of Bajina Basta. "It is further evidence of the systematic effort that (Serbia's President) Slobodan Milosevic and his cohorts are engaged in, which is to deny free, objective information to the people of Serbia."

FRANCE/JEWS -- Burns said the United States is "very encouraged" by the French government's announcement to set up a blue-ribbon commission to examine the question of property that was seized from Jews during World War Two, including allegations that there still is artwork and real estate originally belonging to Jews that is in the possession of individuals and government agencies in France. "We commend the French government. The French government appears committed to resolving these issues and we applaud its efforts," Burns said.

From the United States Information Agency (USIA) Gopher at gopher://

U.S. State Department: Daily Press Briefings Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
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