U.S. Department of State Daily Press Briefing #15, 99-02-02
From: The Department of State Foreign Affairs Network (DOSFAN) at <http://www.state.gov>
U.S. Department of State
Daily Press Briefing
I N D E X
Tuesday, February 2, 1999
Briefer: James P. Rubin
1 US-Pakistan Joint Statement
1,3,7,8-9 Rambouillet Talks: KLA in Favor of Attending Negotiations /
Awaiting Serb Response / Kosovar Albanian Unity / US
Delegation / Other Delegations / Secretary's Involvement
/ Amb Holbrooke's Role / Leeway on Opening, Closing Talks
/ Validation of Agreement
1-3,5 US Proposal: Decision on Final Status / 3-Year
Self-Government / Autonomy Issue / Elections
3-4 Secretary: Consultations With Congress Today / With Allies
3-7 NATO Force: International Presence / US Role and
Involvement / Options
9-11 Speculation on Inducements: Sanctions / War Crimes Tribunal
7,14-15 Whereabouts of Ocalan
11-12 Released Individuals Not Charged With Killings of AmCits /
Security Issues Discussions / Charges Against Those Released
11-13 Secretary's Meeting with Chairman Arafat Tomorrow / Issues
INDIA / PAKISTAN
13-14 US Policy on Non-Proliferation in Region / Progress Made in
Dep Secy Talbott's Mtgs
14 Issue of Taliban With Pakistan
15 Central Intelligence Director Tenet's Remarks on the Hill
re Osama bin Laden
15 Complaint About US Missile
15-16 Topics of Secretary's Talks During Visit
16 Murder of Human Rights Activists
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 2, 1999, 1:00 P.M.
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)
MR. RUBIN: Welcome to the State Department briefing. I see we have a
critical mass of journalists to start the briefing. I have one statement to
issue, which is the statement that was put out in Pakistan by Deputy
Secretary Talbott and Pakistan's Foreign Secretary. That will be available
to you here. With that brief announcement, let me go to your questions.
QUESTION: Jamie, the spokesman for the KLA says they'll be there and
they'll name the negotiators tomorrow.
MR. RUBIN: This is good.
QUESTION: He also spoke of a proposition they intend to table that a
protectorate -- there was a word before that - but it's some sort of a
protectorate that, for three years, would leave a status of Kosovo to be
determined, sort of a final status type of operation. I wondered, the
Contact Group was very specific about the terms of a settlement. They knew
what they wanted. Is there a reaction to a notion of a protectorate leaving
that kind of an option?
MR. RUBIN: I don't want to get into a situation where we're pre-
negotiating publicly a discussion that hasn't even started in Paris. But
let me say this -- we are pleased that the Kosovar Albanian side appears to
be coalescing in favor of coming to the negotiations outside of Paris. That
is very important.
At the same time, we are awaiting the decision of the Serb side as to
whether to attend these talks. Let me be very clear, NATO has indicated
that there will be swift and serious consequences if the Serbs do not make
that decision. This is a moment of opportunity, a window of opportunity for
both parties to sit down with the international community, determined to
help and try to resolve this conflict that has cost so many lives and that,
obviously, needs to come to an end and cannot come to an end on the
battlefield, can only come to an end at the negotiating table.
With respect to our proposal and how the views of Mr. Krasnigi applies to
our proposal, let me simply say that we envisage a situation, where the
highest possible degree of self-government will be provided to the people
of Kosovo for three years. That will include police; that will include
education; that will include health; that will include other instruments of
self-government. And that will defer the question of what will happen to
Kosovo after those three years.
Presumably, if this agreement works and there is implementation of the
agreement, the circumstances that we'll be facing three years from now will
be far, far different than the circumstances we face today where people are
dying, where atrocities are committed, where Serb forces are on the rampage
and where refugees or internally displaced persons are potentially at
If one got an agreement and three years went by and one had a very high
degree of self-government with all that entails, as I indicated, that would
be a much better climate in which to make decisions about the permanent
status of Kosovo. So we are trying to avoid a situation where we have to
negotiate something that can't be resolved right now. All of the Kosovar
Albanian parties are in favor of independence, not just the spokesman of
QUESTION: Then I guess my impression from last week is corrected. I, at
least, thought that the US and the other countries as well had decided they
don't support independence, they support maximum self-rule, autonomy; and
that's that. If the KLA doesn't like it, well, we'll find others to
negotiate with. And now I think you're saying that after three years
anything is possible, including independence. Correct?
MR. RUBIN: I don't see how anybody could interpret what I just said in
that way. If you'd like me to repeat what we said last week, I'd be
delighted to do so for you. We do not support independence.
QUESTION: But in three years' time, all options are open. Correct?
MR. RUBIN: First of all, nothing has changed. You are always seeming to
think you have found the pot of gold --
QUESTION: I didn't hear three years until today.
MR. RUBIN: -- something I said. And there is no pot of gold here.
QUESTION: I never heard three years mentioned until today.
MR. RUBIN: I've mentioned three years on numerous occasions.
QUESTION: Would you answer the question?
MR. RUBIN: What's the question?
QUESTION: The State Department position, if I understand correctly, is
that for three years, if everything works right, they will have maximum
self-rule; and after three years it is up to the parties to determine the
future of Kosovo.
MR. RUBIN: It's up to the parties to determine the future of Kosovo now,
but they are not doing so.
QUESTION: It isn't. You have told them what to do.
MR. RUBIN: We have come forward with the proposal.
MR. RUBIN: In which we are laying out the highest possible degree of self-
government for three years.
MR. RUBIN: We have no illusions that the aspirations and the intent of
the people of Kosovo and their leadership will remain the same. All I am
saying to you is that trying to resolve problems in the context of a war
and in the context of ten years of political rights being stripped away is
a very different thing than resolving problems and aspirations and issues
of that nature after three years of a high degree of self-government. As
far as the United States Government's position is concerned, nothing has
changed; we do not support independence.
QUESTION: Jamie, how important is it for the Kosovar Albanian side to
come to the table with a unified point of view? What I'm getting at is, if
you do reach some sort of agreement between the government of the FRY on
one side and this group of ethnic Albanians, how do you know you really
have an agreement on the ethnic Albanian side? (Inaudible) -- a lot of
opinions in that part of Serbia, not all shared even within the delegation.
MR. RUBIN: Well, that will obviously be an important question that has to
be faced as people face the question of implementation force and other
matters. But the more unified the Kosovo-Albanians are, the more likely
they will be able to achieve their objectives. One of the lessons of most
negotiations is that the other party tries to exploit differences between
you. If you're unified, you're much more likely to achieve the maximum
possible goals you've set forth for yourself.
QUESTION: Jamie, can you tell me, do you see a NATO force as an
indispensable part of any agreement that is reached, that without that
force on the ground you couldn't sort of enforce the peace?
MR. RUBIN: Let me make two points on that. First of all, Secretary
Albright is leading a group of very senior officials - Secretary Cohen and
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Shelton and, I believe, National Security
Adviser Sandy Berger - to Capitol Hill later this afternoon. They will be
discussing in detail the various issues related to Kosovo.
Secretary Albright will be laying out the stakes involved here -- the
reasons why we thought it was so important to put together a diplomatic and
military strategy that will enable us to resolve and help resolve this
conflict now, rather than waiting for it to deteriorate dramatically in the
springtime when weather will allow for greater military action, and what
our national interests are in resolving the problem in Kosovo, preventing
it from spreading and infecting the success of Bosnia, preventing it from
spreading to a wider war and preventing the possibility of a humanitarian
Those are the stakes we have set forth. Secretary Albright has a very
intense consultative process over the last week to try to get the allies
together on a combined diplomatic and military strategy. That has worked to
unify Europe and the world behind a resolution to this problem.
With respect to what we envisage, we do envisage some international
presence that would be needed to implement this agreement. The exact nature
of that presence -- whether it would require American participation, what
it's mission would be, what the circumstances of our involvement might be
and what the goals would be -- are things that Secretary Albright and
Secretary Cohen and others will be discussing in detail. As I indicated
yesterday, we've made no
decision to my knowledge. It would be up to the President to make that
decision as to whether the United States would participate.
QUESTION: But do you have an opinion of whether this force is absolutely
necessary to maintain any agreement that may come out of these meetings?
MR. RUBIN: We do believe some international presence will be necessary.
The exact nature of that, the size of it, the rules of engagement and all
of those critical factors are things that are under discussion. But I think
everyone recognizes that an agreement is going to require some international
presence, the exact nature of which is what people are discussing.
QUESTION: Yesterday, you listed at least four US interests in the area -
national interests. Would it be possible for those interests to be
safeguarded by a peacekeeping force that doesn't include American
MR. RUBIN: I am not going to be drawn into very good questions that lead
to answers to the question that the President has not yet made, which is
should the United States decide. I don't want to tip the balance one way or
the other by answering your question. Obviously, that's a subject of
intense interest. We have played the lead in gathering together the NATO
allies and the Russians and the Contact Group in a strategy to bring them
to the table and hopefully get them to reach an agreement.
I've just indicated I think it's fairly obvious that some international
presence will be necessary. The question of what kind of presence, the
circumstances in which it would be involved, the participation of European
countries - these are all factors that will be weighed and that are going
to be discussed extensively with Congress.
QUESTION: But if these four folks go up to the Hill, do they have a
concept, for instance, of how large a force? For instance, yesterday, you
knew that if any Americans - if Americans were involved, ultimately --
their commander would be General Clark. They would be, ultimately, under an
MR. RUBIN: If it were a NATO force, yes.
QUESTION: Yes, so some things have been thought through a little
MR. RUBIN: They've all been thought through. That doesn't mean we
necessarily want to discuss them in public at this time, prior to
consultations with Congress.
QUESTION: All right, so my question is, is there a concept now of how
large a force - apart from its composition - could do, would be needed, to
do an effective job of maintaining the peace and protecting American
interests in the Balkans?
MR. RUBIN: I can assure you that in the contingency planning that has
been done here that we've been examining a number of options for many
months now in NATO and elsewhere. We're continuing to look at various
assumptions and considerations in regard to that planning that was
instituted last fall. This is only prudent, but I don't intend to provide
you a steer as to what the outcome of these consultations are going to
QUESTION: You mentioned the thing where the Kosovars will have degrees of
autonomy - police, education, health and other things. Let me ask a couple
of other things. Overall security would remain in the hands of the Serbs;
is that right?
MR. RUBIN: The question of how the details of this agreement will be
spelled out does not strike me as useful to negotiate such a situation in
public, prior to the arrival in Chateau Rambouillet of the parties. I have
described in general terms the high degree of autonomy and self-government
that we envisage, including very real institutions that affect the lives of
the people of Kosovo. But the exact terms of the agreement that we intend
to put to the parties on Sunday, including the very good question you
asked me, is not something we're prepared to discuss fully in public
prior to presenting it to the parties.
QUESTION: Will self-government include local elections?
MR. RUBIN: Yes.
QUESTION: Do they exist know? I don't know.
MR. RUBIN: They've had elections that have not been recognized, as I
understand it, from Belgrade. They've had elections. That's how Ibrahim
Rugova has been repeatedly ratified and validated as the leader of the
QUESTION: Will there be some kind of international supervision to make
sure that these elections are not skewed?
MR. RUBIN: That is normally part of such a peace process, yes.
QUESTION: Have you gotten into this matter that Secretary Cohen discussed
yesterday about - he said absence of an agreement of at least two sides of
this issue in Kosovo, no deployment is possible. He said that deployment of
combat troops of any kind - I believe he meant ours or other NATO troops -
would not be done to make the peace. Is that consistent with your
understanding and this Department's understanding?
MR. RUBIN: I don't think anybody is considering the deployment of
American combat troops into Kosovo. Let's remember, there's three possible
outcomes with some gray. One is that the two sides reach an agreement. That
would be a permissive environment, in which some international presence
would obviously be required, the exact nature of which is under discussion.
The second possibility is that the Kosovar Albanians agree and the Serbs do
not. NATO has spelled out very clearly that that would subject the
Serbian side to air strikes by NATO. The third possibility is that
the Kosovar Albanians refuse to agree and the Serbs agree, in which
case the international community, as I indicated yesterday, would almost
assuredly lose its enthusiasm for supporting the Kosovar Albanians in their
aspiration for legitimate rights and in their effort to avoid being
attacked by the Serbs and, furthermore, that we would take steps to cut off
their ability to continue the conflict.
Those are the three options. I'm not aware there's any serious consideration
of American combat troops in any of those three outcomes.
QUESTION: Well, don't you call the troops that are deployed by the US in
Bosnia combat troops? And won't we be talking about armed soldiers that
would somehow provide a buffer?
MR. RUBIN: I'm distinguishing, Bill, as you probably know between a
permissive environment and a non-permissive environment. In a permissive
environment where the two parties have agreed to allow and signed up to an
arrangement by which an international presence would include a NATO force,
they would not be combat troops, per se, because they would not be entering
combat. They would be entering as peacekeepers and peace implementers
pursuant to a peace agreement.
American ground forces entering in a different context -- not a permissive
environment -- is not something under serious consideration.
QUESTION: I understand that's what Cohen said.
MR. RUBIN: That's good.
QUESTION: Okay. I think we may be in agreement.
MR. RUBIN: Yes.
QUESTION: But you're talking about troops that would be functioning much
the same as a la Bosnia, a la current deployments; is that correct?
MR. RUBIN: I indicated in response to Betsy's question that some
international presence is obviously required. The exact nature of it, the
mission, the size, the participation of the Europeans or others are all
things being considered. I don't intend to spell out the mission for a
force for a peace agreement that hasn't yet even begun to be negotiated in
public at this time.
QUESTION: Could we go back to the Kosovar Albanians who are going to show
up? How much confidence is there that these are the people that could
actually deliver on any promise?
MR. RUBIN: We have to rely on Ambassador Hill's judgment in this regard.
He's the one who's spent more time with the Kosovar Albanians than perhaps
anybody else. He has a sense, in conjunction with Ambassador Walker -- who
has made a number of cease-fire agreements and made a number of agreements
for prisoner releases and things of that nature -- that there are people
you can talk to that can deliver.
With respect to whether every Kosovar Albanian is going to agree with what
might come out of the peace talks, I suspect they won't. But we believe we
will be able to discuss this with a critical mass of Kosovar Albanians who
are in a position to make an agreement. At the end of the day, we are not
going to let one particular splinter group be the spoiler.
QUESTION: What does that mean -- you're not going to allow them to be the
spoiler? Let's say that there is - obviously, it's a hypothetical - but
that there is an agreement that the KLA then breaks. What happens
MR. RUBIN: One can speculate on many hypothetical possibilities and that
is the business of our planners. Our planners are considering all the
options; and until our planners decide that it is useful to speculate on
those options publicly, I don't intend to do so.
QUESTION: You have been quoted by the Turkish press today saying off the
record that Kurdish leader, Abdullah Ocalan is in Corfu, Greece?
MR. RUBIN: Who is quoted?
QUESTION: The Turkish press. You said to the Turkish press off the record
MR. RUBIN: I'm quoted off the record to the Turkish press?
QUESTION: I don't know.
MR. RUBIN: Is that what your question had in the preamble?
QUESTION: The question is, (inaudible) that you said something like
MR. RUBIN: I will never and will not start today respond to a question
that breaks all the rules of journalism to ask.
QUESTION: Who is going to be in the US delegation.
MR. RUBIN: Ambassador Hill will be leading the American delegation. There
will be an inter-agency process that Secretary Albright is actually working
on right now to ensure that the Department has the necessary support from
the various Departments in the government. I think Secretary Albright has
indicated that at the appropriate time, if necessary, she is prepared to
also participate in these talks.
With respect to other governments, I think it is clear that the European
Union will have Ambassador Petritsch participating. The Russians will also
have a participant. Then there will be the involvement at the sort of co-
chairman level of Foreign Minister Cook and Foreign Minister Vedrine. Then
I expect there will be a lot of busy phone work.
But we will have an inter-agency team over there. We will have an inter-
agency backstop in process here at the State Department. Secretary Albright
is prepared to involve herself as appropriate if necessary.
QUESTION: How early might she --
MR. RUBIN: It's a little too speculative at this time, but presumably
during this period -- the two-week period for reaching an agreement.
QUESTION: Can I follow up that quickly? While we're running through
participants and backup teams, the question keeps coming up, is there a
role in any of this for the most experienced American diplomat in the
Balkans, Richard Holbrooke?
MR. RUBIN: What's the question?
QUESTION: Is there a role in this process for the most experienced
American diplomat in the Balkans - comma -- Richard Holbrooke?
MR. RUBIN: Is there a role?
QUESTION: Is there a role? Will Holbrooke play a role?
MR. RUBIN: Ambassador Holbrooke and Secretary Albright talk about this
regularly. Ambassador Holbrooke is obviously focused, as UN Ambassador, we
hope, on resolving the issues that are being discussed. We certainly hope
that they can be resolved very soon and that we can have him move forward
to perform his mission as UN Ambassador upon being confirmed by the Senate.
But certainly Ambassador Holbrooke and Secretary Albright have been in
regular consultation and discussion on a subject where he has special
QUESTION: Could there be any leeway on the timing of the talks if the FRY
said that they could do talks, say, the week after or two weeks after, but
not that weekend.?
MR. RUBIN: There is no leeway on starting the talks. I've heard nobody
suggest that we're going to move on that issue. With respect to the one-
week time frame for completing the talks that will then allow for a review
of up to another week, certainly nobody -- as Secretary Albright likes to
say as a former professor -- she is simply not willing to entertain
questions from her students at the beginning of the term about how they
want an extension on their term paper at the end of the term. They should
all get started and work.
As far as the two-week time frame for getting the negotiation completed,
that is backed up by the authorization to Secretary General Solana to use
military force through air strikes if that isn't completed.
QUESTION: While we're in this mechanical mode, is there any view here as
to how -- again, it's all hypothetical, should there be an agreement. Is
there any view as to whether there should be some process of having the
people in the two communities validate it? In other words, you know what
I'm thinking. In terms of the compression of time --
MR. RUBIN: I think there is no question that the Serbian Government can
deliver the Serbian forces in Kosovo. We have tried to gather together a
cross-section of the Kosovar Albanian community, some of whom have been
elected or are representatives of those who have been elected. We have
tried to handle this as best we can, given the urgency of resolving the
QUESTION: You realize my point - that it goes to the compression of time.
In other words, if there is an agreement, there's no process that's
necessary. A post-negotiation process is not necessary.
MR. RUBIN: The agreement envisages an election for self-government. As
far as who will come in the next four days, these are the delegations that
we think are sufficient to do the job. Let's remember, there is a great
urgency to getting this job done so that there isn't a massive deterioration
and a humanitarian crisis in the extreme in the springtime. It sounds like
a consulted question between two news agencies. It is always worse when
there are two of them putting their heads together.
QUESTION: You threw me off track.
MR. RUBIN: Good.
QUESTION: There are reports out of the region suggesting that there will
be inducements for the parties to make peace, which is a pattern the
Clinton Administration - many administrations have followed.
MR. RUBIN: You mean without using that vegetable word, you're trying to
ask me --
QUESTION: Easing the sanctions on Serbia and construction aid.
MR. RUBIN: There are those in Europe who may have their ideas and they
may have communicated those to us. We have not entertained serious
discussion with our European allies on easing sanctions. Let's remember,
there are two sets, basically, we're talking about here.
One set of sanctions were imposed during the last year on Serbia with
respect to airplane flights, investment, investment credit for the
crackdown that has occurred in Kosovo for the insertion of additional
security forces, the failure to comply with the War Crimes Tribunal. We,
the international community, has laid out quite clearly what needs to
happen for those particular steps to be suspended. That is compliance with,
essentially, UN Resolution 1199 and some that have gone before it.
There is a second issue, which is the so-called outer wall of sanctions. We
have made clear at the time and throughout that our view is that the outer
wall should not be breached in the absence of progress on not only the
Kosovo issue, but on cooperation with the War Crimes Tribunal and the
democratization in Serbia. That has been our position.
QUESTION: There is one report, and I won't name the paper, by someone
known favorably to all of us, that even suggests that Milosevic is going to
ask, sort of quietly, to have a guarantee from the United States that there
be no war crimes --
MR. RUBIN: I am sure that there are those in that country who are
speculating on that, and a good reporter is likely to report on that
speculation. As far as the question is concerned, this came up, I would say,
once a week from 1993 until 1995, where everyone speculated that the
international community would trade immunity from prosecution for war
crimes in exchange for a settlement of the Bosnia crisis. I remember being
at the receiving end of those insistent queries, and we made clear at that
time that we did not intend to do so nor could we do so; that the
tribunal was set up by the Security Council and that it was up to the
prosecutor to pursue leads and investigations where the prosecutor saw
Sure enough, the agreement was signed and no immunity was offered. There
have been a large number of arrests and detentions and voluntary surrenders
pursuant to the indictments of the tribunal in Bosnia. There are some still
outstanding, and those people should not rest easily. There is no statute
of limitations on war crimes.
Essentially, the same applies to this question. The tribunal has been given
the mandate to look into crimes against humanity -- war crimes -- in the
former Yugoslavia, which includes Kosovo, obviously. It is only Justice
Arbour who can make decisions as to what leads she should pursue and who
merits prosecution. I've heard nobody suggest anything of the sort. The
first I heard of anybody even mentioning it was when I read my newspaper
QUESTION: Okay, so as far as the Clinton Administration is concerned,
it's out of the question.
MR. RUBIN: This is not for us to decide. It's for the tribunal to decide,
so this is not something I've heard. I'm not aware of any discussion of it -
zero, nada, nil. The decision is for the prosecutor to make. We have held a
principled position on the war crimes issue for the last six years, and
there would be no reason to change that.
QUESTION: Tomorrow, Arafat comes calling. Others are saying it's at 10:00
a.m. I don't know if that's correct, but he sees the Secretary. If that's
right -- if it isn't, please correct me - but could you give us an idea of
what her plans are to take up with him? Will it include the Israeli
allegation that there's a revolving door for releasing terrorists and,
indeed -- just so I get it all I one question, be done with it - you said
yesterday, you couldn't find any evidence but it was a serious allegation
and US would be talking to Palestinian security experts. Has that happened
MR. RUBIN: With respect to the last question first, we have seen the
charges; we take them seriously. We have checked into this thoroughly, and
we have not seen any evidence that would confirm the charges that the
individuals released were involved in the killing of Americans. So those
charges, so far as we can tell, are simply not proven by any evidence. With
respect to other related issues of larger numbers of people in the
revolving door, let me say that we do have concerns. We are raising them
with both sides. We had long discussions with the Palestinians over
the full range of security issues, including these points of concern.
But we also discussed ongoing security operations, including the successful
Hamas arrest yesterday in Gaza. An important point here is that the
security discussions with both sides are part of a process, and we are
going to look into trying to get all the information we can.
With respect to Chairman Arafat, the Secretary will meet Chairman Arafat
tomorrow morning. I don't have a time; I think it might be around 9:30 a.m.
or 10:00 a.m. We'll get that for you. She'll be discussing the full range
of issues relating to what needs to be done to move the Wye implementation
forward and accelerate the permanent status talks.
QUESTION: Could you go back to the first because it was so direct an
answer, I wasn't ready to take it down?
MR. RUBIN: We have checked into these charges thoroughly. We have not
seen any evidence that would confirm these charges - namely, that
individuals released were involved in the killing of Americans.
QUESTION: I understand. Do you know whether the individuals - taking out
the American part of this --
MR. RUBIN: Well, that was one of the charges.
QUESTION: No, of course, that's central.
MR. RUBIN: It was something we took particularly seriously.
QUESTION: Of course, if Americans were victims. But taking Americans out
of the equation, which you just did, were individuals released who are,
indeed, important terrorism suspects?
MR. RUBIN: We are discussing this issue with the security officials. We
have concerns that we are trying to address by getting information. I don't
have a conclusion to offer you, other than to say that we're seeking the
maximum amount of information. But with respect to a specific charge that
was made and widely publicized, we have no evidence and have looked into it
QUESTION: I don't want to beat it to death, but the Israelis produced
five names. And they said these five were involved in --
MR. RUBIN: Killing Americans.
QUESTION: In killings that Americans were among the victims.
MR. RUBIN: Right. We have no evidence --
QUESTION: Okay. I got you. I got the American angle straight. Were these
five named individuals indeed released or do you know? Forget the American
MR. RUBIN: I don't think I'm in a position to answer that question; but
to the extent that the claim made was that they were involved in killing
Americans, there is no evidence that we're aware of, having looked into
this extensively, to confirm these charges.
With respect to the broader issue of releases, we have concerns that we are
addressing directly with the Palestinians.
QUESTION: There will be other things that I assume they talk about. Can
you sort of go over them?
MR. RUBIN: They will be talking about, I think I said that, but
discussing the full range of issues relating to what needs to be done to
move the Wye implementation forward and accelerate permanent status
negotiations and obviously, the issue of deepening the US-Palestinian
QUESTION: They will be talking about how to deepen the US-Palestinian
MR. RUBIN: Correct. Through their commission and other continuing
discussions and meetings.
QUESTION: Will they be possibly planning the first meeting of the
MR. RUBIN: I will have to check on that. Perhaps after the meeting, I'll
be in a better position to talk about specifics.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) -- whether the commission is up and running would
MR. RUBIN: We will go into the commission in excruciating detail.
QUESTION: One more mechanical -- I don't suppose there are any chances of
having an opportunity to question either the Chairman or the Secretary at
MR. RUBIN: I think that it is not going to have a press conference.
QUESTION: Do you think that the US policy towards nuclear proliferation
in South Asia has changed or calmed down a bit? The US doesn't really
expect non-proliferation anymore, just maybe restrained, not in the
reversal or the rollback since?
MR. RUBIN: Was this designed as a softball? The short answer to that
question is, no, absolutely not. We have made clear that we have very clear
and important objectives that we have laid out for some time. We believe
that it is extremely important to protect not only the non-proliferation
regimes, but also the world from the danger of an arms competition between
India and Pakistan.
We have called for the signature and ratification of the CTBT, a restraint
regime covering nuclear weapons and their means of delivery, an export
control system, a moratorium on the production of fissile material pending
negotiation of a treaty banning the production of such material, and,
obviously, the importance of direct talks between India and Pakistan on the
issues between them. Those are our objectives; they have not changed.
We have always said that we are prepared to use our tools in a discriminating
and flexible way to achieve those objectives. To the extent that we can
achieve progress towards those goals, we want, of course, to encourage that
through incentives and disincentives. That's always been our policy;
nothing has changed. I think, if anything, our determination to continue to
try to achieve these goals has been shown with each additional mission by
Deputy Secretary Talbott to that end.
QUESTION: You did point out yesterday that the Talbott mission did
achieve some progress and momentum and movement, you said. You may be
familiar with the joint statement that has been issued. Can you please
point out or just highlight any concrete progress that has been made?
MR. RUBIN: We believe that concrete progress was made, I think I
indicated in comments yesterday, in particular with respect to the signing
of the comprehensive test ban and the timing of that signing. We have some
important movement on that. You can shake your head and frown but that's a
QUESTION: Have the Pakistanis also given Talbott a similar, more concrete
promise as to when they will sign the CTBT?
MR. RUBIN: I'm not aware of that.
QUESTION: Jamie, did they talk about Kashmir; and if so, is there
anything you can report?
MR. RUBIN: I don't think there was much movement on that.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) -- the Taliban?
MR. RUBIN: The Taliban is a separate bilateral issue between the United
States and Pakistan. Deputy Secretary Talbott's mission was focused on the
India-Pakistan angle. We have many different ways in which we can raise the
bilateral issues between us and Pakistan and we will do so.
QUESTION: Do you have any new information on whereabouts of Ocalan? Also,
what I want to find out -- you made it very clear in the past the position
of America in terms of the Ocalan and him being in Italy and so on. But
what is your position now since he is going from country to country, if he
is still going? Would you make any arrangement for him to let him give
himself up in Turkey?
MR. RUBIN: It is not up to us to make those arrangements. As I indicated,
I feel great sorrow for the pilot of that small plane who can't find a
place to land. We have no information on his current whereabouts. The
United States believes that he should be brought to justice for the
terrorist crimes of which he is accused in a manner consistent with
international standards for due process.
In addition to denying terrorists such as Ocalan safe haven, refuge or
asylum, countries should take steps consistent with their national legal
systems to assist Turkey's international efforts to bring Ocalan to
justice. That is our position. We think he needs to be brought to justice,
and we think all those who can assist in that process should do so.
QUESTION: So, since he's on the air now, what's he to do?
MR. RUBIN: I don't understand the question.
QUESTION: Well, since he has gone from country to country to country and
you have a very clear position, what is the prescribed action?
MR. RUBIN: Those who might be in a position to assist Turkey in its
effort to bring to bear justice should do so through bringing him to
QUESTION: So, in other words, he'd have to land in some place, some
MR. RUBIN: Planes do have to land, yes.
It's one of those laws of physics and nature, yes.
QUESTION: So some country will have to accept him to take the whole thing
into the direction of justice.
MR. RUBIN: Yes.
QUESTION: So are you suggesting any country to do that?
MR. RUBIN: Every country should take the necessary steps, if possible, to
assist Turkey in its effort to bring to justice this terrorist leader.
QUESTION: Jamie, on the Hill today, George Tenet said he was increasingly
concerned about Osama bin Laden's activities. He said that recently,
activities similar to what occurred prior to the Africa embassy bombings,
they've been noting that. Can you elaborate on that or has there been
increased threats or security --
MR. RUBIN: That's a CIA judgment that he made that I would leave to he
and his agency to elaborate on. We have taken the position that we
obviously cooperate very closely with the CIA and other organizations in
making sure we've done all we can to identify threats in advance. As you
know, Craig Johnstone laid out yesterday the steps we're taking to try to
protect against those threats. But I am not in a position to elaborate the
specific dangers and the specific threats that DCI Director Tenet may
or may not have been referring to.
QUESTION: Jamie, has the US made any response -- in its Interest Section
or any other forum -- to Iran's complaints that a US missile landed on its
territory last week?
MR. RUBIN: We will have to check that. I am aware of the complaint. I
don't know what steps we took. I suspect there wasn't - I don't know; I
will have to check that.
QUESTION: Jamie, I wasn't on the trip and --
MR. RUBIN: We missed you.
QUESTION: Thank you very much. I missed Moscow in January.
I was wondering if you would be so kind as to review what you can of the
results of the conversation between Madeleine Albright and Mr. Yeltsin,
number one. And then the other open conferences, what you can say about
progress or lack of progress, receptivity, willingness to work these
problems out on Iran, on Iraq, on Kosovo, all these major issues and the
ABM Treaty, as well.
MR. RUBIN: Well, it's about 45 minutes into the briefing and I think the
most efficient and official way to resolve that very, very good question is
for me to get you copies of all the transcripts in which Secretary Albright,
herself, addressed each one of those questions after the trip to Moscow,
and I would be happy to do that for you.
QUESTION: If I could just narrow it to Yeltsin? Did he say, da, we're
going to work something out here on Iraq? Was there good camaraderie
MR. RUBIN: She spoke to him on the phone for 25 minutes, they had a good
conversation and I am not in a position to get into the details.
QUESTION: On Colombia, I guess. A group of American congressmen - from
both the Senate and the House -- are sending two letters to President
Pastrana urging him to protect human rights protectors in Colombia - two of
them were killed over the weekend and four more were kidnapped - all of the
in Colombia. Do you have any reaction to this?
MR. RUBIN: We deplore the recent outrageous murder of human rights
activists. The targeting of human rights activists is particularly
repugnant as these people work to defend and protect the human rights of
all Colombians. We deplore and condemn the murder of innocent civilians and
call for an immediate end by all combatants to these senseless murders. We
do not know who committed this act. We note that the government of Colombia
is investigating this crime. No matter who committed this act, it is an
atrocity, and we would expect the government of Colombia to resolve
this case as soon as possible.
QUESTION: Okay. Thank you.
MR. RUBIN: Thank you.
(The briefing concluded at 1:45 P.M.)