State Department Briefing

 

Thursday  April 24, 2003 1050PST

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING THURSDAY, APRIL 24, 2003 1:50 p.m. EDT BRIEFER: Richard Boucher, Spokesman (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED) ANNOUNCEMENTS Department of State Hosting "Take Your Child to Work" Day Elections in Nigeria FRANCE U.S. Relations with France IRELAND Richard Haass' Talks with Counterparts in the Region KOREA/CHINA Talks in Beijing / Efforts to Resolve Concerns Over North Korea's Nuclear Program IRAQ Coalition Efforts for Democracy for Iraqi People Oil in Iraq Belongs to Iraqi People NEAR EAST assistant Secretary Maura Harty's Travels to the Region ISRAEL/PALESTINIANS Status of the Roadmap Roll-out CUBA Response to Plane Hijacking Human Rights Commission MR. BOUCHER: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. It's a pleasure to be here. If I can start, I will first call your attention to some of the children who are in the building today. It's "Take Your Child To Work" today, and we have some of them here in the briefing room who I plan on giving the first question to, so get ready. (Inaudible). We also have some slightly older students with us today from colleges and universities around Washington. We decided to do a couple of events in anticipation of World Press Freedom Day on May 3rd and we had students who represent school newspapers and also national student wire service come in this morning and meet with State Department officials and they also did a Digital Video Conference with a Public Affairs Officers with our embassy in Poland with about a dozen student journalists from the Political Science Department at Warsaw University, so we're doing a couple different events in anticipation of World Press Freedom Day on May 3rd and had them in to join us today even though they are not our children. They are young adults, actually. Second of all, I would like to say a few things about the elections in Nigeria. The Independent Electoral Commission in Nigeria, on April 22nd, declared President Obasanjo the victor in last Saturday's election. The United States congratulates the overwhelming majority of Nigerian people for what was a peaceful exercise of their right to vote. They demonstrated patience; they demonstrated commitment to the democratic process. International and domestic election monitors have reported at least 12 of 36 states that they witnessed widespread voting irregularities. Nigeria's laws provide for investigation of these complaints and we commend those political leaders who have called on their supporters to remain calm. We call on the parties to resolve differences through peaceful and legal means. We appeal to the party, the Obasanjo administration and the National Assembly to act expeditiously to end electoral abuses and to ensure the integrity of the electoral system. A slightly more detailed statement will be available to you after the briefing. And now, if I might, we'll go to questions, and I believe Mr. Russell Crock or Jonathan Dutko# has the first one. QUESTION: Because of the French criticism in the administration we have "freedom fries" and "freedom toast" in some quarters instead of "French fries" and "French toast." Now that Newt Gingrich has denounced the administration's diplomacy, should we find another name for "The Grinch Who Stole Christmas?" (Laughter.) MR. BOUCHER: No, I don't -- I was going to look in my book. It's not a question we anticipated, so I think I will just leave the question. We'll call it a rhetorical question and move on to other things, but thank you very much for the contribution. Does somebody have a follow-up? QUESTION: On that, your Assistant Secretary of State for Asia -- I mean, for Europe and Eurasia gave a very interesting interview yesterday to some Portuguese newspapers in which he is quoted as saying that, "Mr. Gingrich is an idiot." Do you share that -- MR. BOUCHER: I can't share anything with you at this moment. I've seen a story in French, which may be French, translated from Portuguese, translated from English. So until I know exactly what she said in English, I don't think I can amplify on her comments. And of course, since it was in French, I averted my eyes at the proper moment. (Laughter.) QUESTION: You mean it was toned down? You think it may have been toned down through translation? (Laughter.) QUESTION: Some of us saw Mr. Haass, Dr. Haass, this morning about Ireland and one question that I didn't think to ask is, things seem to be at a bad point and is the Secretary planning any intervention? Of course the President would be the ultimate, but I don't think Haass has any plans to go to Ireland. Is he on the phone or -- MR. BOUCHER: I think there are a few things to remember -- that first, Richard Haass is always on the phone, is always in contact either directly or through our representatives in London and Belfast and Dublin with the people who can help this process along and make it happen as I think he's been quite open about his active role in terms of his public comments in recent days. The administration has very much supported the effort that's been made recently to push this process forward in a big way, work closely with all the parties, the President was just out there supporting the effort, the Secretary has kept in touch with the Irish Foreign Minister from time to time. Obviously, he's in close touch with Foreign Secretary Straw about any number of subjects, and this is one that does come up in their conversations, again, on a fairly regular basis, so I think you can -- it's -- I can say clearly that the United States is very much behind the effort being made right now to resolve some outstanding issues and move the situation forward in a significant way, and we will make every possible effort to see that those efforts succeed. Terri. QUESTION: I'm moving on. Did North Korea acknowledge in talks in Beijing that it has a nuclear weapon? MR. BOUCHER: I'm not going to try to speak for North Korea any more today than I usually do. We have certainly said for many years now that we thought North Korea had nuclear weapons. So it would not come as any great surprise for them to say something like that. But, I guess, what I would have to say is North Korea and China said a great many things during the course of the discussions that we've had in Beijing, and we will look at all of that. We will look at it all; analyze it carefully, as we decide how to proceed next. QUESTION: You don't have to speak for North Korea to speak to -- tell us what they told you. That's not speaking for North Korea. Did they tell you? Did you hear? There, you're the subject now. Did you hear from North Korea? MR. BOUCHER: No, no, no, that's just a game. Let's be serious. They said a lot of things. They said a lot of things that require careful analysis. They said a lot of things that require careful analysis before anybody jumps out and makes grand pronouncements on, "it means this and it means that." So we have made very clear we will look at everything that they said. We will analyze it carefully, and we'll decide on next steps. And I am not going to pick out one piece, confirm this, deny that, or make assumptions about what they said about this or that. The idea that they might have nuclear weapons is certainly no great surprise to any of us. We have been saying that for years. QUESTION: Richard, what is going to happen tomorrow? MR. BOUCHER: Tomorrow, Assistant Secretary Kelly will depart Beijing and proceed on to Seoul and Tokyo, as he had planned. Whether there will be meetings tomorrow, and in what form they might take, I frankly don't know at this point. I suppose by the time we wake up tomorrow, they will have decided those things and done whatever they decide to do in Beijing. As the Secretary said earlier today, the discussions are coming to close. We have, I think, largely fulfilled the expectations we had for this, which was a chance for us to lay down clearly the United States' views, including the need for a verifiable and irreversible end to North Korea's nuclear weapons programs. We have heard North Korean views. We have heard China express its views in this forum, as well. And so, having had this initial opportunity for all sides to put forward what they want to put forward, it's coming on time to come back and analyze that. Whether there is anything more to say to each other tomorrow, I think we'll just have to find out from Beijing after they get up. QUESTION: Do you rule out a U.S.-North Korean bilateral tomorrow? MR. BOUCHER: There is no expectation of that. The things that I have heard about were a possibility of meetings -- the Chinese meeting with us, the Chinese meeting with the North Koreans, or perhaps another three-way meeting, or perhaps none at all. It depends what the delegations in Beijing feel they need. But as I said, we have already heard a great deal, we have already said a great deal; and we'll consult with our allies and friends in Seoul and Tokyo, and then we'll come back and analyze everything that's been said. QUESTION: Well, now you're confused again. MR. BOUCHER: No, I'm not. QUESTION: Yeah you are, because several people have said that the talks have concluded; at least the trilaterals have concluded. MR. BOUCHER: The Secretary said they are coming to a close. QUESTION: He also said that -- MR. BOUCHER: I'll stick with him -- no, he didn't. QUESTION: Yes, he did. In his Q&A session, he did. QUESTION: In his Q&A session, he did say that were concluded, but he may not have intended -- MR. BOUCHER: Again, whether we have -- QUESTION: Okay. MR. BOUCHER: -- completed this round of meetings or not will depend on when they wake up in the morning in Beijing. If there is something more they want to do, something more they feel they have to say to each other, they might. I don't want to rule it out. I don't want to say it's a definite yet. That would be -- QUESTION: So it would be premature to say they've ended early? MR. BOUCHER: It would be wrong to say it in any case because as we've said, Mr. Kelly is going to be in Beijing from the 23rd to the 25th. The 25th he will go on to Seoul. He would have meetings during the course of his visit to Beijing with the North Koreans and the Chinese in a multilateral forum. That's what he's done. If he's completed his work, he's completed his work. QUESTION: Did Mr. Kelly, in his report so far, did he feel that -- did he give the impression that another meeting, I mean, another round of talks would be useful? MR. BOUCHER: We weren't there at this moment to agree or not to agree to another round of talks. We'll take back everything that was said, everything that we heard, and everything that others -- both China and North Korea said -- and then we'll analyze and decide what next steps might be. QUESTION: Richard, in his speech, you said the Secretary said that the people have expressed their views there, he said very strong? Strong? Can you amplify it? How? How so? Was there banging on the table or was it -- what does he mean by it? MR. BOUCHER: I think, as you've noticed from some of the public rhetoric of certain among the parties and the quite clear willingness of the United States to state our views and -- that I think people were quite frank. Certainly we were very clear on our views on the need for a verifiable and irreversible end to North Korea's nuclear programs. And other strong views are held by others, as well. QUESTION: Okay. But when you -- okay, so when you say "quite frank," does that get to the level of people raising their voices -- MR. BOUCHER: I have not heard of screaming or banging on the tables, but as I said, maybe there's more to be reported. We'll take everything back and decide what to do next when we hear it all. Nicholas. QUESTION: Richard, do you know how long the meeting lasted today and also yesterday? MR. BOUCHER: The meetings yesterday were in a trilateral arrangement, as well as some bilateral discussions with the Chinese. I think today what happened is we had meetings with the Chinese, the Chinese had meetings with North Korea, and so there were several different sessions like that. QUESTION: But there wasn't a trilateral? MR. BOUCHER: I don't think there was a trilateral meeting on Thursday, no. Either way, any way it works; people have a chance to say what they need to say. Betsy. QUESTION: Can you say whether you didn't like what you heard? Whether what you heard was not what you hoped to hear? MR. BOUCHER: I don't want to try to characterize it. The views that we heard, they weren't our views, they were other people's views and we will look at them. We'll look at everything that was said very carefully and decide what to do next. I mean, nobody should be under any illusions that we were going to walk in here and one side or the other was going to say, "Well, I've thought about what you've been saying, and it's okay. I'll do it all." Let's get serious about this. This is an initial round of talks, a chance for people to lay out their views, a chance for everybody to hear each other's views and then for each side to go back and analyze it and decide what to do next. The talks have fulfilled that function, but that's all that was expected to begin with. Terri. QUESTION: Can I clarify? So then you think that there was a meeting today where the North Koreans, the Chinese and the U.S. all sat down together, but there were various series of bilats, which together make up multilateral talks in your view? Is that what you have said? MR. BOUCHER: Yeah, but don't just generically talk about bilats. We met with the Chinese. QUESTION: Right. No, no, no. I didn't -- okay. MR. BOUCHER: The Chinese met with the North Koreans. We didn't have a bilateral with the North Koreans. QUESTION: Well, why then, I mean, why then -- why would it have been any different. MR. BOUCHER: There was a lot said, there was a lot said the first day to each other and people laid a lot of things out in the trilateral session. They laid more things out in contacts with the Chinese. We've heard Chinese views, we know what the North Korean views are, they know our views. But as I said, this is proceeding and fulfilling the function that it was designed to fulfill and that's all we're expecting from it. Yes. QUESTION: Can I, can I, quickly, Richard, so if the trilateral part was the first day, then do you know how long that lasted? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know. I don't have exact times yet, no. QUESTION: Okay. MR. BOUCHER: Okay. In the back. Gene. QUESTION: Yeah. Can you confirm that John Bolton has been quarterbacking this Korean initiative? MR. BOUCHER: I wouldn't put it that way. He's an important player on anything that involves nonproliferation or proliferation, in this case, and nuclear weapons, but I don't think I would make him the quarterback. I think I would probably make the Secretary the quarterback. QUESTION: Will Kelly report, then, to the halfback here? MR. BOUCHER: Kelly will report to the Secretary and to everybody and the coach, and the general manager and the owner. (Laughter.) MR. BOUCHER: Which is the American people, so -- QUESTION: Richard, you said -- MR. BOUCHER: Okay, Sunni. QUESTION: Well, actually my question was Nicholas', but I would just like to ask you whether you would be so comfortable characterizing these talks as productive or not? MR. BOUCHER: I'm hearing a ring. I'm not trying to put adjectives to it. I think the best I can do is say we went out there to say what we had to say and to hear what they had to say. The talks have fulfilled that purpose. We've been able to achieve that purpose in going out there. Okay. QUESTION: Has the Secretary talked to China's Foreign Minister today after being informed the talks may end earlier? MR. BOUCHER: Not today. They had a talk yesterday. But again, the understanding was there were certain things that were to be done in terms of the talks. And it's not a question of early or ended or, I mean, anything like that. It's just a question of we've done what we've gone out to do, and they've done what they went out to do. We'll see if they have another meeting tomorrow or not. I wouldn't characterize it otherwise. QUESTION: And during the bilateral talk with China, is there any view or progress or shared view, opinions, between U.S. and China? MR. BOUCHER: I think, first of all, we've expressed both in public and in private our appreciation for the Chinese in helping get this together and for the clear position that they have taken in favor of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. And their efforts, I think, are very helpful in that regard and we find it a good opportunity to work with them on this issue. QUESTION: Richard, you said that an initial -- this was an initial round of talks. So leaving aside for the moment the question of whether you've actually decided to hold another round, can you say that at least you do see it as part of a process which you envisage continuing in some form or another? MR. BOUCHER: No, I couldn't say something like that at this point. QUESTION: Can you comment on this? There's a couple -- two, I believe, but at least one report circulating out there in the ether that the North Koreans had said that they might, had threatened to begin testing of whatever they had. And I realize you didn't want to answer the earlier question about whether they had said they had nuclear weapons at all, but can you say whether those reports are -- the ones that I'm referring to -- have any merit to them? MR. BOUCHER: I can't. I can't pretend to say anything on behalf of the North Koreans or describing what they've said. As I think I've noted before, a great many things said, but it's not time to start jumping to conclusions or picking out pieces. Some of these things that were said require careful analysis before I would even attempt to describe them accurately, and so I'm not -- I'm not in a position to do that today. QUESTION: How about this? This isn't intended to be the end run, but I know you'll think it is. Do you have any reason to believe that the North Koreans -- or fear that the North Koreans may soon test some kind of nuclear weapon? MR. BOUCHER: I suppose one never knows what the North Koreans might do. QUESTION: No, can I ask an end run question? The U.S. went into these talks concerned about North Korea's nuclear program and their intentions. MR. BOUCHER: Yeah. QUESTION: Have any of your concerns been alleviated? MR. BOUCHER: Again, we're going to look at everything that they've said, analyze it, analyze how they said it and what they said, what they said in Korean, as well, to make sure we understand exactly any nuances that are there; look at what the Chinese said; and decide whether and how to proceed. I think you know that our concerns about many of the things they've done already, indeed, international concerns about many of the things that they've done already are quite serious. I suppose we'll analyze the sort of factual situation as well as what they said. QUESTION: You mean proliferation when you say international, right? MR. BOUCHER: No, I'd say that the proliferation issues, but also the international outcry on the fact that North Korea has nuclear weapons programs. North Korea has expelled the IAEA inspectors; North Korea has violated all of the agreements it made with any number of parties on denuclearization of the peninsula. So those facts need to be considered, as well, what we know about those situations, about other things going on, as well as what they said. Betsy. QUESTION: Can you say if reprocessing of the spent fuel was one of the topics that was discussed? MR. BOUCHER: Reprocessing is certainly a significant concern of ours. We had said it would be an extremely serious matter that would, indeed, change the situation as far as we were concerned. And I think I'll just leave it at that. That's our view and we expressed our views on any number of topics. QUESTION: But you're not willing to say whether it was -- MR. BOUCHER: Again, I don't want to give you the whole U.S. presentation. I don't want to pick out pieces of it, either. So I think our views on many of these subjects are well known: our view on the need to end nuclear weapons programs in a verifiable and irreversible manner; our views on reprocessing; our views on denuclearization of the peninsula overall; our views on the fact that we do have other concerns about things in Korea and had been prepared to enter into a comprehensive dialogue. I think many things about our views are well known. The focus of these talks is to talk a verifiable and irreversible end to nuclear programs; and, second of all, the need for inclusion of others in a multilateral manner, if we are to expect any concrete results out of this kind of discussion. QUESTION: Other than a nuclear program, did the U.S. delegation mention anything on the security guarantee that North Korea has? MR. BOUCHER: As I said, the focus here was on ending the nuclear program, nuclear weapons programs in North Korea; and, second of all, on how -- on the need, in our view, to include other countries, particularly Japan and Korea, South Korea, in multilateral talks if this process is to achieve something. Ma'am. QUESTION: Actually, North Korea offered to the United States any new condition to give up their nuclear program. MR. BOUCHER: Once again, I am not going to try to characterize anything said by the other side. They said a lot of things. We'll analyze it; decide on next steps. Yeah. QUESTION: Richard, there has been a lot of focus on the multilateral aspect of the talks. But if the North Koreans aren't willing to offer any hints of progress in a multilateral forum, but are willing to offer some, some positive elements in a bilateral forum, what will be the big deal of starting with a bilateral with the North Koreans and then seeing what you can get and open it up to other people later? MR. BOUCHER: What makes you think that either one or the other is true? I am not going to address a hypothetical question that is based on what could easily be two false assumptions. So I'm sorry. That's pure speculation and really heading down a road that I am not willing to head down. QUESTION: You have talked about the inclusion of the South Koreans and the Japanese in a future round. Along the way, you have mentioned other countries who might be interested, as well, including the Russians and the Australians. What about them? MR. BOUCHER: Our view is that there are many governments, many countries that have an interest in this, not only an interest in denuclearization of the peninsula, but also the countries that had been prepared before these programs to offer some opportunity to North Korea; that had been prepared to do things that might improve relations or help the North Korean people lead better lives; and therefore, there are many interested governments. We've always said that, in particular, Japan and South Korea's interests and ongoing contacts, in many cases, with North Korea make it especially important that those two governments participate. And, as you know, we have made a special effort to work with them throughout this process, and they sent some people to Beijing. Assistant Secretary Kelly and his delegation have been keeping representatives of Japan and South Korea closely informed on what was going on; and Assistant Secretary Kelly will also be in Seoul and in Tokyo on his way back to the United States. Joel. QUESTION: Richard, was anything said concerning their -- meaning the North Koreans -- proliferation of conventional weapons, shipping them off to other locales? Remember, about four months ago, a ship was -- a freighter was called off Yemen -- MR. BOUCHER: Yeah, again, not wanting to pick out pieces of our presentation or speak for anybody else who might have said something, I think it's important just to remember that there are a great many concerns the United States has that we have been willing to address, but that first and foremost we've said we need to address and resolve the issue of nuclear weapons programs. Yeah. QUESTION: A follow-up. Also, earlier, the South Koreans and North Koreans seem to be talking amongst themselves. And the North Koreans said for many months that they needed oil to power their country for electricity production. Did they come back to you saying that they require this, that, or -- MR. BOUCHER: Again, one more question about what they said. I am not here to say what they said. QUESTION: All right. MR. BOUCHER: Certainly, given North Korea's energy needs, given North Korea's -- the situation of the North Korean people, one has to wonder why North Korea would pursue a course that makes it impossible to achieve any benefits from its contacts with the outside world. Beyond that, it's for them to explain why they are doing this. QUESTION: If the U.S. knew that they had a nuclear weapon -- since you say you are not surprised if they did say that -- why wasn't that part of the confrontation that Secretary Kelly had when he mentioned the HEU program? MR. BOUCHER: I think the issue of denuclearization of the peninsula is a broader one than one program or another. But that particular program was a direct and serious violation of the Agreed Framework, and a direct and serious violation of what they were there to talk about, so that's why he raised it. QUESTION: And nuclear weapons weren't? MR. BOUCHER: I can't get into it, but it may not have been. I mean it's a serious matter. But in the context that Assistant Secretary Kelly was talking I, frankly, don't remember if that particular subject came up. QUESTION: Richard, a couple, several questions ago, you said that you needed to analyze what the North Koreans were saying to you in the negotiations. Did they hand you specific material, and are you analyzing their answers in order to discern what they meant in answer to our questions, such as whether they said they had a nuclear weapon, or whether they would test nuclear weapons, or you analyze -- I mean, could you shed a little light on the post-analysis? MR. BOUCHER: We'll look at everything that they said. That's, perhaps, the simplest way I can say. They said a lot of things. We'll look at everything they said, and then we'll decide what we do next. QUESTION: So, well, the reason I ask -- and I know -- and I am not trying to -- I understand you don't want to speak for North Koreans -- that -- did you get a clear answer at least, one way or the other, on these questions we initially asked about what they said? Or, you know, that's -- because you were implying by saying that we're going to analyze it that maybe they could have said both. MR. BOUCHER: No, I -- the question doesn't make sense, but I'm afraid I am just not in a position to explain why because the -- when somebody says something, they say it. QUESTION: Right, so why -- yeah, right. That's why -- MR. BOUCHER: And then we don't say, "But the press is going to ask about this, would you say it again?" They said a lot of things at the meetings, and we'll listen to what -- we'll look at what they said. I'm sure that we'll analyze it carefully. I want to make clear again, though, that we looked at this as an opportunity to say a lot of things ourselves. And, as the Secretary said this morning, it's very clear. We put forward ideas and views and requirements that they need to take very, very seriously. And we are not going to be intimidated by statements or threats or claims in pursuing these goals. We're not going to pay for, as we have said, pay to end programs that never should have started to begin with. So we'll look at everything that they said. But they need to look seriously at everything that we have said as well. QUESTION: The analysis question raises a question for me, which is logistical in nature and you may not know the answer. But if you don't, can you look into it? What language were these talks, the trilats, conducted in? MR. BOUCHER: English and Korean, through interpreters. So we have -- I mean, we spoke English, they spoke Korean, and people translated it. QUESTION: Is it normal practice to tape record these kind of talks? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know if they were tape-recorded or if we just had notes. QUESTION: Well, you talk about you'll look at what they said and you can -- I mean, if you want -- MR. BOUCHER: We have notebooks exactly like yours where we write everything down. QUESTION: Yeah, but then it's not quite as good as the real thing. MR. BOUCHER: Oh, it's very good. QUESTION: Can I just -- yesterday, after the trilat -- after the meetings, you said that Kelly and his team had met with South Korean and Japanese diplomats in Beijing. MR. BOUCHER: Yeah. QUESTION: Do you know if they did that again today? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know specifically they did that today, but I just generally know they have been doing that all along. So I can't report a particular meeting, but I would expect that they did that today. QUESTION: And would you say -- your reference to we're not going to pay for programs that shouldn't have been started. The previous administration kind of paid, didn't it, to end programs? Is that -- or am I reaching too far? MR. BOUCHER: No, I am not trying to misconstrue what they did. QUESTION: No, I didn't mean you were. MR. BOUCHER: The previous administration reached understandings that capped certain North Korean programs for a long period of time. QUESTION: They compensated North Korea. MR. BOUCHER: It turned out -- well, they capped the programs and looked at how to provide for the energy needs of North Korea. It turned out that all that time the North Koreans were cheating on the deal QUESTION: Correct. MR. BOUCHER: So, you know, that's the fact. That's the fact that we have to deal with. But that's not anything the previous administration did. That's something the North Koreans did. QUESTION: Yeah, okay. MR. BOUCHER: All right. In the back. QUESTION: Sorry, I checked a transcript what the Secretary said this morning, and he said it's an analyzed proposals. Are there any proposals from either side? MR. BOUCHER: As I said, there were a great many things said by the North Koreans. We will look at them all and we'll consider them. QUESTION: Yeah but, it's not an ideas, not a views, not a -- I mean, he said a proposal. MR. BOUCHER: Yeah, he did say proposals. That's right. QUESTION: He said proposals. MR. BOUCHER: Yeah, that's true. QUESTION: So there was proposal? MR. BOUCHER: Yeah, that's true. QUESTION: Was it yours or theirs? MR. BOUCHER: I am not in a position to go any further at this point. Okay, in the back. QUESTION: Yes, sir. Iraq. MR. BOUCHER: Iraq? QUESTION: Yes. MR. BOUCHER: By popular demand? QUESTION: Yes. MR. BOUCHER: One more on North Korea. QUESTION: Can you give us a fix on what Assistant Secretary Kelly's schedule is? Where he's -- MR. BOUCHER: I don't have the specifics at this point whether or not there are meetings tomorrow morning. He'll proceed on to Seoul tomorrow. And I think he is in Tokyo on Saturday. I think that's as much detail as I know. QUESTION: Can I continue? MR. BOUCHER: Yeah, well, visit Seoul and Tokyo on Friday and Saturday. I think that means Seoul on Friday, Tokyo on Saturday. I am pretty sure that's the way it works. And we did consult daily with the South Korean and Japanese officials. So I can we did that on Thursday, as well as Wednesday. QUESTION: In the English or in -- MR. BOUCHER: We talk any number of languages with our friends. QUESTION: I had one more question on that, then. I just realized that if you said that today it was a series of bilats, then if that's what happens again tomorrow, under your definition that would be a continuation of the three-way talks if today was a continuation of the three-way talks and it was just bilaterals, right? MR. BOUCHER: Yeah, continuation of the discussions with Japan -- I mean, sorry, with China, North Korea, and the United States. That's what we out for; some of those meetings all together, some of those meetings, you know, two of them, two of us, but -- us and China, but -- QUESTION: The Secretary said that there would be more bilats tomorrow. So, in fact, those two things are in congress, aren't they, that they would have concluded today, and that these bilats go on tomorrow? MR. BOUCHER: I think he said there may be. But he didn't say they concluded today, as far as I remember, maybe he did in passing -- but the statement he made "coming to a close," -- QUESTION: -- but today's were defined as three-way talks, also. Right? MR. BOUCHER: The fact is the delegations are still there. We said he would be there; that Assistant Secretary Kelly would be there from the 23rd to the 25th, for meetings with the Japanese -- with the Chinese -- excuse me. It turns out with the Japanese as well, but specifically, for meetings with the Chinese and for trilateral -- multilateral talks with the North Koreans. These discussions have continued. Trilateral discussions were held yesterday. A series of separate meetings with the Chinese were held today. I don't know which, if any, will be held tomorrow, but he is there. For the period indicated, the delegations are there. They are having meetings. We have had a chance to express our views. That's what we were going out for. We got had a chance to hear their views. That's what we were going out for. And he'll conclude tomorrow, as we predicted, and proceed with his schedule. Okay. QUESTION: Iraq? MR. BOUCHER: Iraq yet or not? No? QUESTION: North Korea. MR. BOUCHER: North Korea. QUESTION: Is North Korea justified in viewing U.S. policy toward it as hostile? MR. BOUCHER: No. QUESTION: Okay. MR. BOUCHER: Okay, end of North Korea? QUESTION: Yes. MR. BOUCHER: Okay. No? In the back. QUESTION: But he was first. MR. BOUCHER: He goes to Iraq first, if you are changing subjects. Yeah. QUESTION: General Garner, when he was in Northern Iraq, he described Kirkuk as a Kurdish city. And this morning, the Turkish Foreign Minister, they react very strongly. They said that Kirkuk is a Iraqi city, not a Kurdish city. And they will ask to United States is it U.S. official will is that Kirkuk is it Kurdish city? MR. BOUCHER: I don't have a transcript of what he said. I'd have to check exactly to see what he said. I can tell you what our view is. Our view is that all the people of Iraq need to participate and be represented in their future government, whether they're Shi'a or Sunni, Kurds, Turkomen, Assyrians or others. And the goal of the meetings that General Garner has been having in various places with people around Iraq and the meetings that we've convened with Special Envoy Khalilzad and our Deputy Assistant Secretary Ryan Crocker is to get all the different people from different regions in Iraq, start getting them together, start talking about their own future together. It's not a question of assigning one group or the other a particular city or a particular role. QUESTION: You are not labeling any city as the Kurdish, Arabic or the Shi'a or something like that? MR. BOUCHER: I, we're not labeling it, no. I don't know in what way the description may have been made or not by General Garner, but I'll see if there's anything in the transcript like that. Sir. QUESTION: Do you have any reaction to the Egyptians receiving the delegation of the Iraqi opposition? And the Arab League wants an input in what's happening in post-Saddam Iraq. MR. BOUCHER: I don't know specifically about what delegation the Egyptians might be meeting with. We have certainly kept in touch with governments in the region. Many of them have an interest in the post-conflict situation in Iraq. We hope many of them will be willing to help the Iraqi people, as we're willing to help the Iraqi people reestablish themselves, organize themselves to take charge of their own destiny. And we would certainly welcome participation and contributions from Arab governments, as well as others that we have been talking to, to help the Iraqi people get back on their feet and take hold of their own business. QUESTION: Does Egypt have a special role? I think the President spoke to Mubarak yesterday, for instance. Of course, he speaks to a lot of leaders. MR. BOUCHER: Yeah, I don't know anything particular about the President's phone calls. We've kept in touch with a number of friends in the Arab world throughout this process, and I'm sure we'll continue to do so. Sir. QUESTION: Yeah. Assistant Secretary of State Harty was in Riyadh over the last couple of days, and as well there was a congressional delegation to Syria. I was wondering if you had anything on either meeting. MR. BOUCHER: Harty, as in Maura Harty, Consular Affairs? QUESTION: Yes, sorry. Consular Affairs. MR. BOUCHER: Do you know about her travel? I didn't know specifically about her travel. She has already been there several times and traveled to this region. She's been very active since assuming her position in trying to resolve, specifically, the cases of Americans who are separated from an American parent. As you know, there's a number of those cases in this region and particularly in Saudi Arabia. I would say that she's had some positive results already but because of the Privacy Act I can't talk about specifics -- but that's she's been very active and quite successful in many cases in helping resolve some of those cases. QUESTION: On the congressional delegation to Damascus, have you -- MR. BOUCHER: I don't have anything on that. We certainly assist congressional delegations overseas, but they report on their own activities and their own views. QUESTION: Is there anything you can say on the assistance Saudi Arabia has been giving in the Iraqi situation, deploying a mobile hospital, I believe it was? MR. BOUCHER: Again, leave it for individual governments to talk about what they're doing in each of these situations, but refer you back to my general remark. We certainly welcome any assistance from Arab governments or any governments in helping the Iraqi people the way we're helping the Iraqi people. Yes, go way back. QUESTION: On the UN, does the U.S. have a decision or a strategy as to whether it's going to be doing a series of resolutions or just one big omnibus resolution that kind of sets out what it wants as far as Iraq and the UN? MR. BOUCHER: Well, I think given that we did a specific resolution today, it wasn't an omnibus, then there has to be a series because other issues will be covered in other resolutions. So there's, yeah, generally the idea that there will be several resolutions. I can't tell you exactly how many at this point, but a single, initial one was done today. We're pleased that that passed the Security Council 15-0. It's a good development that the Secretary General's authority over certain parts of the Oil-for-Food program has been extended until June 3rd, which is when the current phase of the program expires. This is a technical rollover of Resolution 1472. It provides the Secretary General with the necessary authority and flexibility to run the program on a temporary basis so it can continue to deliver needed food, medicine and other humanitarian goods to the Iraqi people. It makes sense in that it will allow for additional contracts to be processed and humanitarian supplies shipped during the next few weeks, and it enables the Secretary General to better plan for the delivery of humanitarian goods to support the Iraqi people. So this is one of the first things we wanted to do and we were happy to support -- I think it was a Mexican draft, and to join with all the other members of the Council in taking this first step together to extend the Secretary General's authority to help the Iraqi people. Let's go down there. QUESTION: I had a -- if you want to ask on that. QUESTION: There are reports that oil is again starting to flow from both the northern and southern oil fields in Iraq. What's the position now? What, as the authority in effective control of Iraq, what do you intend to do with this oil? Is it for domestic consumption or do you envisage exports resuming shortly? And what -- how far have you got in sorting out the arrangements for any exports that might take place? MR. BOUCHER: Well, I think, again, the fundamental premise has to be that this oil belongs to the Iraqi people, that this oil is for the Iraqi people as they get organized to decide what to do with whatever is pumped from their fields. And it's not for us to decide, it's for them. I think in terms of some of the immediate needs inside Iraq, that some of the refining capacity is available or up and running again, so that's a positive development in terms of how we can help them get the infrastructure back together and make sure that their own needs can be taken care of. But in terms of what they eventually might decide in terms of exports and sales at this point, I don't have any further information on that. QUESTION: Richard, do you have any update for us on the next meeting, or town hall meeting? Will that be in Baghdad and is going to be on Monday? MR. BOUCHER: Baghdad on Monday. QUESTION: Baghdad on Monday, definitely. And do you have anything you want to say about that meeting and who was invited? MR. BOUCHER: Weather, I'm told. It was really a matter of weather that made it impossible for some of the people to get there by Saturday. Let me see what more I hope to have on that meeting. Well, there we go, farther back. Well, actually, the answer to what more I have is nothing more than I said yesterday. Expected to be on Saturday, on Monday. QUESTION: Did you say yesterday -- I'm sorry, this might seem technical -- but whether -- who gets invited to this meeting -- whether it's representatives or principals, for lack of a better word? MR. BOUCHER: I don't -- no, I didn't say yesterday one way or the other. I don't have any particular information on this meeting other than to say it's part of a series of meetings similar to the one that was held in Nasiriya. I would expect it to be similar to the one held in Nasiriya. QUESTION: So, is that to say it's similar in the sense that the one in Nasiriya, we were told that it was a -- MR. BOUCHER: That's to say on how to describe exactly the participants is something I would have to check. QUESTION: Okay. QUESTION: Can I move on? Have you gotten any further in your -- in deciding how it is that you're going to roll out the roadmap? MR. BOUCHER: I think we've always -- well, the timing of this, obviously, is the same as it's always been since the President said immediately upon confirmation. But I'm not able to give you precise arrangements at this point because we don't know when that will happen and how it will happen. We'll see when the Palestinian Legislative Council votes. The important thing to remember, though, is we've talked about the release in terms of the release to the parties. The goal is to start sitting down with the parties and start the process of implementation, start the process of us talking to them, and we hope, them talking to each other, about how to implement these steps, how to achieve the progress that's needed in security, how to achieve the progress on both sides in terms of the responsibilities. So the key to rollout, you might call it, or release is to really release it to the parties and start talking to the parties about how to implement it. Betsy. QUESTION: Can you -- the spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Syria is here for a Council on Foreign Relations program. Do you plan to meet with her, or does anyone else in this administration plan on -- MR. BOUCHER: I don't, myself, have any meetings scheduled with her, and I just don't know if she has other meetings scheduled while she's here. QUESTION: A question back on Iraq. The U.S. still has Iraq on its sanctions list as a state sponsor of terrorism. And is this something that you are going to work on or is there consideration being given to taking it off the U.S. state sponsor list at the same time as you're asking the UN to take it off, to take sanctions off Iraq there? MR. BOUCHER: Let me check on that and see how that process would proceed. Certainly, ridding Iraq of terrorism and terrorists is part of the goals of the coalition forces, and I'm sure that we can trust them to do that. How the procedure works for removing someone, and whether it requires, you know, a certain amount of this or that to do it, I'll just have to check. QUESTION: Is it something that people have already been working on? MR. BOUCHER: I'm sure they have. They just haven't told me what they're doing. QUESTION: Because Yemen was -- or South Yemen was taken off, right? One of the two was? QUESTION: Iraq. QUESTION: Yeah, Iraq was taken off once and put back on, so it's been done. MR. BOUCHER: Yeah, it is done. It doesn't have to be done on a particular timetable. It's not like once a year we get a chance. We can do it any time. But exactly what bureaucratic steps are necessary to do it, I just don't know. QUESTION: But if the UN were to lift sanctions first, you would still have sanctions on them. MR. BOUCHER: Again, I'm sure this is all being considered appropriately. I would only be speculating on how the timing of various things might or might not work. Elise. QUESTION: If we're talking about timing, doesn't there have to be some evaluation of whether, for instance, any terror groups maintain headquarters there? I mean, there are countries on the list that are not terribly active in terrorism, but there are reasons you folks see for putting them -- Cuba, for example. While they don't use terrorism against other countries, they do various things. In other words, you're not prepared to say right now, are you, that Iraq is clean and it's time to come off the list? MR. BOUCHER: I'm not prepared to say what steps it takes to come off the list. So I can't answer questions about some period of evaluation. There are countries in the world where there are terrorists that are not supported by the government, that are not sanctioned by the government, it's not allowed by the government, that are being, you know -- where the government is actively looking to try to get them and stop them from doing things. One would hope that Iraq would become such a country. There are countries -- the countries that are on the list are because the government has allowed, harbored, sanctioned, approved, supported or otherwise endorsed -- and the language is legal in the law -- the presence of terrorists on their soil. Elise, you had something? QUESTION: Back on the roadmap. Would you expect that there would be discussions with the new Palestinian Government, Abu Mazen or any other members of his new cabinet before there would be a rollout of the roadmap, or are you just going to roll it out and then start discussions with the Palestinians? MR. BOUCHER: We talk to them all the time, to Abu Mazen, to other people in his cabinet, to other people in the Palestinian community, about achieving peace, about building a Palestinian state, about proceeding along the lines of the reciprocal -- the rights, responsibilities and obligations that the parties will have under the roadmap. You know, even without a roadmap, we were able to work on things like the financial accounting procedures and transparency so that tax revenue could begin to flow again. So there are things that we've been doing all along, talking to them about all along, that constitute progress. But when we have the roadmap, when we have a confirmed Palestinian Prime Minister and government, we'll be in a position to sit down with a document and say let's talk a little more specifically now about these steps that we have outlined that do lead in a concerted way to a path towards peaceful states that can live side by side. Ma'am. QUESTION: Iran. Has Iran responded to the President's warning to cease and desist causing trouble in Iraq? If not, what can the U.S. do about it? MR. BOUCHER: I don't -- I don't think I have anything to add on that topic today. The Secretary did address a little bit this morning, and I'd just leave it to what he said. Sir. QUESTION: About the Iraqi democracy, Richard, what kind of democracy you are supporting, secular or religious? MR. BOUCHER: Iraqi democracy. QUESTION: Yeah, I know, but the democracy is two kinds. MR. BOUCHER: The Iraqi democracy, as the Iraqis decide their democracy should be. We're not imposing our own blueprint. We're not imposing our own picture of the United States or any other place in the world. We are letting the Iraqis decide how to form a representative government on their own. Please, sir. QUESTION: On Colombia. QUESTION: Can we stay to Iraq? MR. BOUCHER: Sure, we love Iraqi democracy. It's a great thing. QUESTION: Can I just ask, surely, when you say Iraqi democracy, you -- there are certain -- you can't have certain kinds of governments, even if everybody or the majority of people support them. I mean, you are against -- if everybody voted, like in Algeria a few years ago, to have a government that, you know -- MR. BOUCHER: Well, it was called "One man, one vote, one time." QUESTION: Right. MR. BOUCHER: No, we are not -- QUESTION: Right. MR. BOUCHER: We are interested in the Iraqis having their own representative government. QUESTION: Right. MR. BOUCHER: Okay. There are people around the world who have democracy, who have representative government, who are from all kinds of cultures, all kinds of ethnic groups, all kinds of religions. There are democracies around the world where the people are -- Muslim. There are Christian Democrats in the world. I suppose there are what you might call Islamic Democrats in the world. So the point I think is to say that it has to be an Iraqi democracy and representation of all the Iraqi people, a chance for them to enjoy the freedoms that so many other people enjoy, and to decide their own future and faith. QUESTION: Richard, there are religious leaders right now, who are forming political parties and giving speeches and are emerging as political leaders in Iraq right now that espouse, best that I can tell, a vision for that country that would not allow for women's rights or other kinds of individual liberties, which many in the West would consider to be underpinnings of representative government. Surely -- what I am asking, does the State Department consider certain types of things off limits? MR. BOUCHER: We consider respect for individuals, respect for all people in society, refraining from persecution, refraining from torture, refraining from discrimination, refraining from discrimination against women, taking steps to promote an active role of all segments of society. We consider all of those things essential to founding a democracy that can truly represent all of the people of Iraq. QUESTION: Richard, so if I get you correctly, you're saying that any party that would have -- have to have a majority in Iraq, or a future Iraqi government, would have to adhere to democratic principles? MR. BOUCHER: You don't have a democratic government if the government doesn't adhere to democratic principles or engage in some kind of philosophical -- I don't know what it is here. QUESTION: Well, no, I mean, if it -- MR. BOUCHER: No, look, you want to be straight on this? You're talking about certain Shi'a groups who are advocating a certain kind of theocracy. Okay? Now there are other Shi'a groups that are advocating a different kind of democracy. There are other Shi'a groups who aren't even Shi'an, who are basically secular, with people who belong those groups who are Shi'a, who advocate democratic principles. There are other people who are Shi'a by religion but don't believe that religion and politics should be mixed together. There are a great many groups within the Shi'a community of Iraq, within Iraq. There are groups from outside Iraq that are coming in. This is good, this is democracy. People will be saying things. People will even get on TV and say things in a way that, God knows they were not permitted to do under Saddam Hussein. So, let's be frank. The fact that people are out there expressing their views is fundamentally a good thing. Ultimately, how all of this comes together, I can't predict at this point. All I know is we are going to keep working the process as we have to get all of these groups together, as many as possible, as many as who want to participate, and to let the Iraqis decide on their form on democracy, of representative government. QUESTION: What you are describing is a hands-off attitude, I mean, letting -- MR. BOUCHER: No, it's an active attitude. QUESTION: You're so confident that things will come down okay. You don't have a candidate; State Department doesn't have a candidate. The Pentagon may, but the State Department doesn't have a candidate. (Laughter.) You're going to let things sort themselves out. Is that fair to say? MR. BOUCHER: We're going to actively help Iraqis from throughout the country, from all different points of view, come together and decide their own future. QUESTION: But it must be based on some confidence that a democratic institution will result. MR. BOUCHER: It's based on universal principles of democracy and human rights. QUESTION: But so -- and just -- I'm sorry; I don't want to belabor it. MR. BOUCHER: You do. QUESTION: I belabor it. Well, it's a very important issue, Richard. MR. BOUCHER: I feel belabored. QUESTION: Come on. It's an important issue. MR. BOUCHER: It is an important issue. QUESTION: It is if you're inviting parties into these meetings and you want as many of these parties even if their platform or what these leaders are saying would be for their vision of a state not based on democratic principles. MR. BOUCHER: I didn't say that and I'm not intending to say that, either. QUESTION: No, I'm asking -- okay. MR. BOUCHER: I'm not sure that states that don't want a democratic process are -- parties that don't want a democratic process are going to participate in a democratic process. I mean, this is so totally hypothetical and 12,000 miles away from what's actually happening in Iraq with different groups, with different leaders, with different people, people who can pick up the trash and make the water run and people who can provide expertise from outside and people who can lead different groups of Iraqis on the path to democracy starting to get together in a very significant and very positive way and discuss their own future. Can he change the subject? QUESTION: Please. QUESTION: Colombia gets the first change. QUESTION: Colombia gets to do it first. Sorry. QUESTION: With respect to what's gone on in Iraq, I guess in the last half month, you've said there have been British broadcasts, Brit BBC World, they did an expose on the Karbala type pilgrimage, and they actually had a formal news conference with three clerics. Are these folks getting swelled heads with respect to Eli's question about theocracy? MR. BOUCHER: I didn't see these people, nor how big their heads were, but let's again put in perspective three people who may or may not be interesting to watch on TV out of 2 million pilgrims, 2 million people carrying out a religious rite that they couldn't carry out before, carrying out a religious rite because the coalition has intervened, because the coalition has come in and given them back their religious liberty, and doing so in a way that represents all these different points of view, but a common devotion to their religion, doing so in a way that was not possible for 20-some years, doing so in a way that reflects these universal values of religious freedom and human rights. That's a good thing and we're glad to have been able to make it possible. QUESTION: Richard, but with respect to what Betsy had said yesterday, do you think Iran and other entities might be meddling to stir up -- MR. BOUCHER: I don't have anything new to say on Iran and other entities, things like that. Okay, we're going to Colombia. Sir. QUESTION: Thank you. Can I have your reactions to the approval by the Colombian Supreme Court to extradite the first member of the FARC terrorist group accused of killing, one of the killers of the Americans working in Colombia a few years ago? MR. BOUCHER: I'll have to check on that and get something for you. I'm sorry; I don't have anything for you now. QUESTION: Latin Countries for 200, Richard? MR. BOUCHER: That's where you give the answer and I give the question. I'm interested in this. (Laughter.) QUESTION: I already tried that on North Korea. Cuba. The Cuban Interests Section yesterday held a press conference, which they don't often do, in which they brought up all the hijackings that have been happening and the imprisonments, and they accused -- they accused the U.S. of trying to -- trying to exacerbate a crisis there and encouraging people to hijack planes to the U.S., et cetera, a whole host of complaints. What, I mean, do you have a response to that? We've talked about them piecemeal before, but -- MR. BOUCHER: It's hard to address that kind of complaint or to take it seriously, frankly. You have a government that's been cracking down in an outrageous fashion, in a universally condemned fashion, on people who are just trying to exercise the rights that they supposedly have under the Cuban constitution, who are just trying to exercise, you know, what modicum of freedom they might have under the Cuban system. And here we have a government that's gone out to arrest them wholesale and is throwing people in jail who tried to speak or tried to write or to practice journalism, as it's known to you and to many others around the world. And for that kind of government to say that this is our fault is just silly. QUESTION: What is actually being done, if anything, on the ground there about the hijackings? I remember when one guy was holed up in an air control tower and our -- the head of our Interests Section went and talked -- MR. BOUCHER: I think if you remember, the head of our Interests Section went to the control tower and told the people that we do take hijacking seriously and we do take appropriate legal action if people hijack planes. So I think, you know, that's an ample demonstration right in Cuba of what our policy has been and remains. QUESTION: And have we seen any difference after we've complained and Secretary Powell put out a statement on the arrests? Have we seen any -- MR. BOUCHER: I'm afraid that with that, with the interest in Cuban human rights that was expressed by the Human Rights Commission members in Geneva. Nonetheless, the Cuban Government has continued to defy decency, as well as the interest -- the statements of a whole variety of nations including ourselves. QUESTION: Speaking of Human Rights Commission. MR. BOUCHER: Yeah. QUESTION: Have you ever, or is there going to be an assessment of the concluded session? And what, exactly, is the United States -- MR. BOUCHER: The session hasn't concluded. We have continued to work and build resolutions. QUESTION: (Inaudible.) MR. BOUCHER: I don't think so. I am told that there is still work going on -- QUESTION: Oh, all right. Well -- MR. BOUCHER: -- on some matters. QUESTION: When you went into the session, you were talking about how -- that they were -- it was losing credibility and all this kind of thing and that you were going to be proposing certain reforms, one of which I believe has come out in your reaction to the Zimbabwe defeat, which is -- you were looking for people not -- to no longer use No Action Motions as a way to defeat or prevent debate on condemnatory resolutions. But when it's over, could you give us an assessment of U.S.'s -- MR. BOUCHER: I am told this will -- the session will continue until the 25th. QUESTION: Oh, okay. MR. BOUCHER: They have adopted a number of country resolutions, which we have talked about. We have also been able to get joint consensus on several thematic resolutions. The Commission will consider further important resolutions this week. At this point, it would be premature to characterize the work of the Commission. QUESTION: Okay. When it is over could you see if you want to characterize it? MR. BOUCHER: I will see if we want to do it, or if we just want to provide you with transcripts of how our delegation out there decides to do it since they are on the ground doing the work. Okay. QUESTION: (Inaudible) on the Commission though? I mean, isn't that one of the reforms that you are going to talk about? Well, not just -- MR. BOUCHER: Well, there are any number of members on the Commission right now, who have little or no respect for human rights. That's one of the problems of the Commission. QUESTION: Thank you. MR. BOUCHER: Yeah. QUESTION: Wait. MR. BOUCHER: Sorry. Sunni's got one more, sorry. QUESTION: (Inaudible) Grinches and NATO, could we go back just one last time on France? MR. BOUCHER: Go back to the first question of the briefing. QUESTION: Can we just go back to -- I know you have discussed some of this at the briefing yesterday. But the question of the meeting that Mr. Grossman attended yesterday to discuss how France might or might not change its role in some of the NATO meetings. Can you characterize the outcome or the decisions that were reached at that meeting? MR. BOUCHER: First of all, I don't accept your characterization of an interagency meeting. And, second of all, I am not going to discuss our deliberations on policy. You know what the policies are. QUESTION: Thank you.

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