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U.S. Department of State Daily Press Briefing #67, 00-06-29

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

From: The Department of State Foreign Affairs Network (DOSFAN) at <http://www.state.gov>


614

U.S. Department of State

Daily Press Briefing

I N D E X

THURSDAY, JUNE 29, 2000 Briefer: Philip T. Reeker, Deputy Spokesman

ANNOUNCEMENTS
1	Battling International Bribery 2000
CUBA
1-2	The Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act / Commercial
	 Exports of Food and Medicine / Nethercutt Bill / Restrictions to
	 People-to-People Efforts  
ISRAEL
2-3	PHALCON Sale to China
JORDAN
3	U.S. Embassy in Amman Cancels Fourth of July Reception Due to
	 Security Threats 
IRAN
3-4	Two Iraqi Tankers Seized Smuggling Gasoil
GERMANY
4-6	International Parental Child Abduction / Assistant Secretary Mary
	 Ryans's Meetings with German Officials / Cook Child Custody Case 
BELIGIUM
6-7	Tri-Mission July Fourth Event Cancelled
ETHIOPIA / ERITREA
7-8,12	Talks on Technical Issues Scheduled at the State Department Monday,
	 July 3 
NORTH KOREA
8	Trilateral Talks with U.S., Japan and South Korea Scheduled in
	 Honolulu, June 29 and 30 on Issues Regarding North Korea 
11	Missile Talks Scheduled in Kuala Lumpur
CHINA
8-9	Xinhua News Agency to Purchase Apartment Building in Arlington, VA.
RUSSIA
9-10	Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers Decide Against
	 Suspending Russia for Human Rights Abuses in Chechnya / U.S. Calls
	 on Russia to Implement the UN Human Rights Commission Resolution 
MEPP
10	Secretary of State Visit to Jerusalem
LEBANON
10-11	Violations  of the UN Line of Withdrawal

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING

DPB # 67

THURSDAY, JUNE 29, 2000 2:15 P.M.

(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)

MR. REEKER: Good afternoon, everybody. My usual apologies for being delayed today. I thought I was having a bad hair day, and then I realized I don't have any hair, so I decided I better come on out here.

I'd like to begin today by welcoming a group of eight foreign affairs graduate -- fellows and graduate foreign affairs fellows: Mike Flores from George Washington University; Michele Los Banos from Harvard; Samantha Carl from the University of Pittsburgh; Natalie Ashton from Harvard; Tunisia Owens from Princeton; Toniann Wright from Columbia; Daniel Wald from Tufts; and Shanon Nagy from the University of Pittsburgh. Welcome to the press briefing and, again, apologies for being delayed today. But we're very pleased to have you visiting.

I would also like to call your attention to a statement issued earlier today regarding the release of "Battling International Bribery 2000," the second of six annual reports to Congress reviewing implementation and enforcement on the Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions. And, again, we had a statement on that.

With that, I will go to the questions, beginning with Mr. Gedda.

QUESTION: The President was asked about Cuba policy yesterday, particularly with respect to the agreement reached by House Republican leaders on easing of the embargo. And he said he hadn't been briefed fully on it and wasn't sure about the impact that it would have, and he also expressed concerns about the implications for people-to-people contacts, based on what was written into this agreement.

Do you have anything on any of this?

MR. REEKER: Yes. I mean, as you noted, George, the President did discuss this yesterday at his press conference. As the President noted, our Cuba policy, including the embargo, is based on a bipartisan consensus spanning more than three decades. The Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity Act, known as the Helms-Burton Act, became law, as the President mentioned, in the wake of Cuba's shoot-down of two US civilian aircraft in international airspace, back in February of 1996.

Our policy, overall, is to provide support for the Cuban people without strengthening the Cuban Government. And I think that's what the President highlighted yesterday. While the embargo receives most of the media and international attention, support for the Cuban people is the central theme of our policy, and the people-to-people exchanges that the President discussed include cultural exchanges between Americans and Cubans, and permitting sales of food to independent, non-governmental entities in Cuba.

We are prepared to consider alterations in our policy, in response to clear and unequivocal steps toward democracy in Cuba; but so far we've seen little indication that the Cuban Government is prepared to make such moves.

In terms of the exports of food and medicine: As the President indicated yesterday, he believes that commercial exports of food and medicine should not be used as a tool of foreign policy, except under compelling circumstances. He has taken executive measures to exempt those products from most unilateral sanctions.

It's not clear, in terms of the Nethercutt bill -- the latest version of that bill -- exactly what it does. Our understanding is that it will further restrict travel to Cuba, which is counter to the people-to-people effort which I just described, and which the President talked about yesterday. These further restrictions to those people-to-people efforts is something the President thinks is unfortunate. I think Senator Lugar's agricultural trade bill probably better reflects a legislative approach that we'd like to see on this issue.

QUESTION: Middle East stuff?

MR. REEKER: Is there more on Cuba?

QUESTION: Oh, sorry.

QUESTION: Does the Administration know how many Americans travel to Cuba through a third country each year without having any evidence on their passport that they've gone?

MR. REEKER: I don't have that information, and I don't think it's the kind of thing we would have.

QUESTION: Well, isn't it illegal for Americans to go to Cuba through a third country without getting a stamp on their passport? And isn't it widely practiced?

MR. REEKER: There are restrictions that are handled -- regulations handled by the Office of Foreign Assets Control at the Treasury Department, and I would refer you there for details on those restrictions.

QUESTION: OK. Israel says it's sending someone over here to try to defuse the tension over the PHALCON, according to an Israeli Air Force chief. And, also, I just saw a report that the US Embassy in Jordan has canceled its Fourth of July celebrations over fears of terrorism.

MR. REEKER: Let me do the first question first. In terms of the PHALCON sales, I have seen the reports of that, and I don't have anything particular for you on travel of a senior defense official, as it was described in the press reports. We've made very clear that we continue to discuss at the highest levels of the Israeli Government this issue.

The President discussed this yesterday in his press conference, and I would just refer you back to what the President said: that we have concerns there, and we are talking -- he has talked to the prime minister, Prime Minister Barak, about this extensively. There is concern in Congress, and so we're still working on that. But I don't have any particular response to the wire reports we've seen now about a visitor.

QUESTION: Do we know whether Secretary Albright discussed this at any length on her trip?

MR. REEKER: I don't know whether this was a topic of major discussion during her visit in Israel. I'll have to wait for the party to come back, which should be any time now. But we can look into that further today. But as the President stressed yesterday, it is a topic of great concern and something that we're still discussing with the Israelis.

On your second question vis-a-vis Jordan, yes, as you've probably seen in wire reports, the US Embassy in Amman has decided to cancel its Fourth of July reception. I want to note that the US has full confidence in the Government of Jordan's demonstrated ability and willingness to address security threats, but the Embassy there decided to take this preventative measure to further minimize the chance of any incident there.

Each embassy, as you know, conducts its own security assessment, and an embassy like Amman may decide to hold or limit or cancel its July 4th events. And so that, in fact, is the case here. You will recall that last week, on June 22nd, we issued a Public Announcement regarding the concern -- information we had concerning terrorist threats targeting US Embassy in Amman.

QUESTION: A follow-up on that. Can you tell us whether there have been additional threats since the advisory was issued, or this is still in line with the advisory issued earlier?

MR. REEKER: I believe this is in line with the advisory. The Embassy had to make its decision based on its assessment of its security. That Public Announcement is in place and will not expire until September 21st.

QUESTION: No additional threats, to your knowledge?

MR. REEKER: I don't know of any additional threat information in Jordan, no.

QUESTION: As long as we're in the Middle East, Iran late Tuesday said it had impounded two tankers carrying smuggled Iraqi oil.

MR. REEKER: Iran, tankers, oil. Yes -- you can see what my days are like.

QUESTION: It says they're holding the vessels off the coast of Kish Island.

MR. REEKER: We had seen those reports, and in response I tried to get some information for you. We consider Iranian actions in support of UN Security Council resolutions a positive development, which we certainly welcome, and we hope that that would continue.

As we've discussed numerous times from here, Iraq has long used Iranian territorial waters to smuggle illegal gasoil, which funds, among other things, the terrorist activity directed against Iran. Under a series of UN Security Council resolutions, it is the obligation of all states to prevent illegal smuggling, and states in the region obviously have a very clear interest in doing so.

As you probably noticed before, Iran has several times previously closed its territorial waters for periods -- brief periods -- to oil smuggling, as happened in April and May of this year. So that's what I found out in response to those stories.

QUESTION: Do you know whether the contents of the tankers' cargo will be tested?

MR. REEKER: I don't have anything further on that at this point. We'll continue to look into that. Based on the reports we've seen, we wanted to welcome the Iranian action, as a positive development in line with the UN Security Council resolutions and the requirements therein. Obviously, the Iranians have an interest in doing so. But I don't have further details on that. We'll continue to look into that.

QUESTION: A different subject. Mary Ryan went to Germany, talked to German authorities about child custody cases. Can you give us some information about that, please?

MR. REEKER: That's right. I put out a statement yesterday regarding the meetings that Assistant Secretary Mary Ryan had with German officials on the Binational Commission for International Parental Child Abduction. Our statement is an accurate characterization, I think, of Assistant Secretary Ryan's meetings that took place in Berlin.

We believe very much that Assistant Secretary Ryan's meetings this week were an important first step toward better implementation of The Hague Convention in Germany, and we're looking forward to our next round of discussions with the Germans on this issue, which will take place here in Washington next month, July 24th and 25th.

QUESTION: Can you tell me -- the Post said this morning that Joseph Cooke had visited with his children in Germany. Is that correct?

MR. REEKER: I read that article in this morning's Washington Post and, contrary to what was stated in this morning's Washington Post, Joseph Cooke did not, in fact, visit with his children in Germany on Friday. I understand that Mr. Cooke's mother did have a visit with the grandchildren, but that Mr. Cooke remained here in the United States.

QUESTION: One more, please. Can you say whether the children in fact -- did you all have a consular officer that went with her for these visits?

MR. REEKER: I'd have to check into the details on that.

QUESTION: The paper says that the children are reported to have said, after this meeting, that they didn't want to see their grandmother any more because they were afraid of being kidnapped.

MR. REEKER: It would really be inappropriate for me or for any of us at the State Department to comment on this issue without having fully discussed it with the Cooke family, so I'm afraid I'll have to leave it at that.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) that the Germans are contemplating is forward-looking and not retroactive? Would somebody in Cooke's position stand to benefit from what the Germans are doing?

MR. REEKER: Well, I think, as I said in the statement yesterday, Assistant Secretary Ryan went with a mandate and some time lines to review existing child abduction cases and the systemic problems regarding these issues in Germany. She outlined some concrete proposals, in terms of improving German implementation of The Hague Convention on the civil aspects of international child abduction.

She raised five specific abduction cases that we believe are representative of the US concerns over Germany's compliance with The Hague Convention, and their obligations under that convention. I think as the statement noted, these cases also illustrate systemic problems in Germany's implementation that affect other cases, besides the five that she raised.

We did discuss -- Assistant Secretary Ryan did discuss specifically the case of Michelle and Danny Cooke, whose US citizen father, Joseph Cooke, would like his US citizen children home as soon as possible. And we expressed some of the concerns that we've had over the recent action restricting visitation by the children's grandmother, and urged that the children be returned to their father as soon as possible.

I think, though, the important step here was that these things were discussed in great detail, and the agreement was to have another meeting next month here in Washington, as well as an additional meeting again in Berlin in September, to continue working together with the Germans on these issues.

QUESTION: On the same subject. Can you tell us whether Mary Ryan's trip to Germany was primarily as a result of us having -- not us, but the issue having been brought up earlier with the German Foreign Minister? And if it's part of a larger movement to try to enforce -- get countries to enforce The Hague, are there other countries she's going to visit? There are plenty of other friendly allies, also signatories to The Hague, who don't enforce it.

MR. REEKER: As you know, Terri, this was a subject that was raised not only when Foreign Minister Fischer was here earlier this year and met with Secretary Albright; it was a subject that the President discussed when he met with Chancellor Schroeder in Germany recently. It was a subject that we take extremely seriously. It's an issue of great concern to us, and Assistant Secretary Ryan's trip was specifically to go out and deal with this issue with her German counterparts. And that's what she's done, and we've set up a series of follow-on meetings so that we can pursue the better implementation of The Hague Convention.

Today, Assistant Secretary Ryan is in Austria talking with Austrian officials on the same subject. And that's another country where there have been some cases of concern.

QUESTION: Are there any other stops?

MR. REEKER: No, I believe she's returning to Washington after this trip from Vienna.

QUESTION: Have any other American embassies besides the one in Jordan canceled July 4th?

MR. REEKER: As I understand it -- let me note first, at least, that our standard practice, I think as we've discussed for many years, is to send a cable out to all of our posts every year. This year we did it on June 13th, suggesting a careful review of current security situations, and to take appropriate security precautions with respect to the July 4th celebrations. And then based on their security assessments conducted at each individual post, ambassadors and posts may decide to hold or limit or cancel their July 4th event.

And I do understand that today Brussels has decided to cancel their July 4th street fair, which was scheduled there, in addition to Embassy Amman, which we just discussed a bit earlier.

QUESTION: That's the only other one?

MR. REEKER: That's the only other one that I have information on now. And we would keep you informed of any other posts that have changes in July 4th plans, as we get information.

QUESTION: Can I ask --

QUESTION: Is that a US-sponsored event or is that something sponsored by the city in Brussels?

MR. REEKER: As I understand it, it's a mission -- a tri-mission. As you know, in Brussels we have three missions -- the bilateral mission, the mission to US-NATO, the mission to the European Union. It's a tri-mission event. It involved basically a street fair event, with a tent on a closed-off street, and they decided today to cancel that event.

QUESTION: Phil, on another issue --

MR. REEKER: Can we just -- Betsy, did you have a follow-up?

QUESTION: No, I followed. Thanks.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) -- to cancel?

MR. REEKER: I think it's a decision that the Ambassador took. As I said, each embassy had to -- we reminded them again to assess their security situation, take appropriate precautions. Brussels was planning this street party, and given the particular security situation and the physical situation of that event, the decision was that this year they would not proceed with that, and they would instead have whatever customary, normal, diplomatic event they might have.

QUESTION: For my follow-up, is there a street event and a normal ambassadorial July 4th thing?

MR. REEKER: I'm not sure of the details of what each of the three missions may have or what they were planning. I know that they have now determined to cancel this outdoor street event, and would expect that they have a normal customary diplomatic event -- which I may remind you, if you're trying to check embassy to embassy -- often these events don't take place on the 4th of July. It may be the 3rd or the 5th, depending on local decisions.

QUESTION: You're saying that the Brussels event was canceled because of the vulnerability of the location and not because of a specific threat?

MR. REEKER: I'm saying that the Ambassador, or Ambassadors in this case -- three -- in their review of the security situation abroad generally -- in Brussels in this case -- decided to cancel the 4th of July event. I think as we discussed when we issued the worldwide caution on Tuesday, that with the height of the tourist season we were reminding America citizens abroad to remain vigilant in general. And we noted again that should we receive information about a specific and credible threat, that information would be shared with all potentially affected. And in this case, I don't have such specific and credible threat information to put out.

QUESTION: I understand the Ethiopians and Eritreans are coming next week for peace talks here. Can you tell us about that and whether these will be face-to-face talks, on what you want to accomplish, and that sort of thing?

MR. REEKER: I just have preliminary information on those talks, but we do understand that talks on technical issues involving Ethiopian and Eritrean expert-level delegations are scheduled to take place at the State Department on Monday, July the 3rd. These talks, as we know, follow the cessation of hostilities between the two countries, the agreement that was signed at Algiers, and that agreement left a number of outstanding issues to be resolved before a final peace agreement can be concluded.

So I don't have any specific details for you. We can try to get some for tomorrow. But there will be Ethiopians and Eritreans coming to Washington for meetings on July 3rd, on Monday.

QUESTION: Will they be face-to-face?

MR. REEKER: That's the type of technical detail about the talks that I don't have. They're going to be talking about the technical issues that were outstanding from the peace agreement, but in terms of how these are conducted -- the parameters or the structure of the meetings -- I just don't have details yet.

QUESTION: And why are you moving them from Algiers to Washington?

MR. REEKER: It was determined that they could come to Washington and do this here. I think it was an option and they took us up on the invitation.

QUESTION: Is that here at the State Department?

MR. REEKER: Yes, at the State Department. I can't tell you which room or exact time tables or any other details, but we expect them here Monday.

QUESTION: Anything on the Korean talks starting today in Hawaii?

MR. REEKER: The Hawaiian talks. I wish I were there. I don't think I got anything further on that. Those are scheduled. Do we have any further update on that? No. So the talks will take place. Those are the trilateral talks with Japan and South Korea, part of our regular discussions with those two allies on issues regarding North Korea, known as the TCOG, taking place in Honolulu today and tomorrow, I believe until Saturday.

QUESTION: Are there any developments in the great Chinese spying saga, Xinhua? I understand that the Chinese were sent a letter.

MR. REEKER: Yes. In fact, the Xinhua News Agency notified the Department of State yesterday that the agency would like the Department's authorization to sell the apartment building at 1515 Arlington Ridge Road. They have agreed with the Department's requirement that the agency not use the property while it's being marketed, and we intend to authorize the sale, and we're going to work with the Xinhua News Agency and the Chinese Embassy to bring this whole matter to a conclusion.

QUESTION: Did they say why they decided to sell it?

MR. REEKER: You'd have to ask them that.

QUESTION: Do you get a commission if you help them? (Laughter.)

MR. REEKER: I don't know, Charlie. If CBS lets you moonlight on the side --

QUESTION: They need permission to sell it as well?

MR. REEKER: They do. If you'll refer to the Foreign Missions Act, any transaction -- buying, selling, I believe renovating -- under that Act requires permission.

QUESTION: And that's within the 60-day period that you have to decide whether they can sell it as well?

MR. REEKER: I believe any of those decisions that require notification, the Department has 60 days to make a determination on those. But we are saying here that we intend to authorize the sale of that building.

QUESTION: So have they notified you that they want to buy another?

MR. REEKER: I don't believe so.

QUESTION: This letter from -- can you release a copy of this letter?

MR. REEKER: I don't know whether it was a letter. I don't believe I used that phraseology. I was told that the Xinhua News Agency notified the Department. Exactly how that notification was made, I'd be happy to check into. I don't think it's our practice, generally, to release diplomatic correspondence, but I'd be happy to look into that.

QUESTION: Now, is Xinhua the only news agency that has to notify you? I mean, I don't know, maybe the Iranian News Agency and some other agency won't?

MR. REEKER: I understand, from our earlier discussions last week, that Xinhua is the only agency that has to get approval for that. I believe that there may be other agencies that are required to notify, but I understand the news agencies from the former Soviet Union -- Tass and some of the others -- that requirement for approval was lifted in 1993.

QUESTION: Russia came under more criticism today for its actions in Chechnya, this time from the Council of Europe. Was the US pleased with the vote, or would it rather have seen Russia stripped of its membership?

MR. REEKER: Well, we've seen reports of the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers, chaired by Italian Foreign Minister Dini, that they have decided against suspending Russia for human rights abuses in Chechnya. We understand that, while in Russia, Foreign Minister Dini and a Council delegation met with President Putin and other senior officials regarding human rights in Chechnya. We very much welcome a dialogue between Russia and international parties, including the Council of Europe, on this issue. We've certainly spoken about it extensively from here.

We believe, certainly, the continued engagement between the Council and Russia will aid Russia's transition to a free and democratic state that respects international human rights standards. And in that regard, I'll add that we call on Russia to implement the UN Human Rights Commission resolutions, which call for a broad-based, independent commission of inquiry that meets international standards, and to facilitate visits by the UN Special Rapporteurs.

QUESTION: Can you give us anything further on what the next step is in South Lebanon, since the Lebanese Government is still claiming that there are three hillocks, or hills, that are still being occupied even though the Secretary General has certified the withdrawal?

And one other thing -- might as well throw it in at this point -- would you entertain a request to have an off-the-record briefing sometime next week after the party gets back, to kind of straighten around the confused situation of reporting from the Middle East on the summit and various other things?

MR. REEKER: Sure. Why don't we talk about that first. I'm sure there will be briefings accordingly but, as you know, Secretary Albright is returning. In fact, she should be on the ground now, thanks to my own tardiness. I believe the Secretary has already arrived back.

I think you know from the news reporting and what we've said here that the Secretary conducted significant discussions with Israeli Prime Minister Barak, with Chairman Arafat, and with Israeli Foreign Minister Levi. Her objective, just to remind you, was to determine if we have a basis to go to a summit. The Secretary is back in Washington today, and she is going to see the President this afternoon, and the President will then have a chance to consider the situation and make a decision on the next steps. So I don't think there is anything clear-cut on summits. The Secretary is going to be able to brief the President beginning today. I'm sure their discussions will continue tomorrow and in coming days, and then the President will make his decision on next steps after he has had a chance to digest the facts.

Again, the objective of the Secretary's trip was to determine whether a basis has been established to conduct a summit, not to establish that basis. And she accomplished the task set for her, and had these discussions with Israelis and Palestinians. She's going to come back, brief the President, and the President will make a decision.

In answer to your earlier question on Lebanon: I think you'll recall that Secretary General Annan visited the region last week, and briefed the Security Council Monday on the results of his meeting. He had a very upbeat briefing at that time, and placed recent events in Lebanon in the context of fulfilling the Security Council Resolution 425, and reaffirmed that progress reflected in the Security Council presidential statement of June 18th was ongoing. This was a very important element in the UN's efforts to implement Resolution 425, and helped to advance UN plans to deploy UN forces in the South of Lebanon, and to work with the Lebanese Government as it starts to restore authority in the South. We were very pleased with the Secretary General's trip, and commend him and the Special Envoy for achieving implementation of the resolution regarding Israeli withdrawal.

Now the Lebanese Government has an obligation to assume responsibility for security in the southern part of Lebanon in accordance, again, with the resolution, and it's important, as we've said from here, that they move quickly to do so. I think you'll remember that the Lebanese cabinet recently voted to deploy forces in the South that contain elements of their armed forces, and that will be a very important step, and that deployment should take place.

I think as you noted, there have been some claims of violations of the UN line of withdrawal that were reported to the United Nations, and that's the correct procedure. As the Security Council president said earlier this week, violations have been minor and we expect they are going to be cleared up in a few days. So it's very important that both sides continue to exercise restraint, and respect the UN withdrawal line, and that all parties should report violations to the UN and let them be handled through the appropriate channels.

QUESTION: I'd like to ask about the missile talks between North Korea and United States. Why is it going to be held in Malaysia, instead of New York?

MR. REEKER: I think Malaysia is a fine place to hold these talks. You'll recall that the last talks, the preparatory talks we had, those were held in Rome on May 31st. And at that time we made progress on the arrangements for this round of talks. Over the last month, since the preparatory round, we've been doing just what we said we would, and having discussions on location and appropriate time, and that's the announcement that we made yesterday. I think Kuala Lumpur is a perfectly fine place to do that, and we expect Assistant Secretary Robert Einhorn to lead our delegation to those talks.

QUESTION: Just one follow-up. Is that where the last MIA talks took place?

MR. REEKER: I'd have to, to be sure, refer you the Pentagon on the specifics of those. I do believe Kuala Lumpur has been used for other talks before, and it is a very fine place to do that.

QUESTION: Is it more convenient for North Korea or more convenient for the United States?

MR. REEKER: I think it's a location that we determined was mutually convenient for both sides, and I know Assistant Secretary Einhorn is very much looking forward to traveling with his team for those talks.

QUESTION: On Ethiopia and Eritrea again, are these talks going to be --

MR. REEKER: Sorry. Let's do North Korea and then we'll come back.

QUESTION: Is Chuck Kartman -- wasn't he leading these talks?

MR. REEKER: No, he doesn't do the missile talks. Chuck Kartman has done the other North Korea talks.

QUESTION: And where will the talks take place in Malaysia? Will they take place at the US Embassy?

MR. REEKER: They'll take place in Kuala Lumpur, and I don't have a specific building for you there.

QUESTION: Does North Korea have relations with Malaysia?

MR. REEKER: Yes, I understand that they do.

QUESTION: OK, that's all.

MR. REEKER: Yes, we can go back to Ethiopia and Eritrea.

QUESTION: Right. Is Tony Lake going to be sort of hosting this?

MR. REEKER: I do understand that Tony Lake will be here in Washington for those. Again, I don't have specifics on those talks. It's a recent development. I was able to check in before coming out here. Maybe I can use that as the excuse for being late: I was checking on what we know about the Ethiopia/Eritrea talks. They will be held Monday here in the State Department.

QUESTION: And definite on going -- or is there a time?

MR. REEKER: I just don't have any details on the format, the schedule -- other than Monday -- and the basic fact that they're technical issues following on from the cessation of hostilities agreement which was signed in Algiers.

Anything else?

(No response.)

MR. REEKER: OK.

(The briefing was concluded at 2:50 P.M.)


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