State Department Briefing

 

Thursday  June 12, 2003

U.S. Department of State Daily Press Briefing Index Thursday, June 12, 2003 12:45 p.m. EDT BRIEFER: Richard Boucher, Spokesman DEPARTMENT -- Secretary Powell's Travel to Cambodia, Bangladesh and Jordan NORTH KOREA -- Ambassador Pritchard's Contacts with North Koreans -- Status of Multilateral Talks -- North Korea Nuclear Program BURMA -- Congressional Legislation Regarding Burma Policy -- Secretary Powell's Op-Ed on Burma ISRAEL/PALESTINIANS -- Secretary Powell's Phone Calls -- Bus Bombing Yesterday and Continuing Violence -- Commitment of the Parties to Goals of Peace and Security CHILE -- Free Trade Agreement MEXICO -- Secretary Powell's Meeting with Mexico Foreign Secretary Derbez NATO -- Secretary Rumsfeld's regarding New Spending for NATO Headquarters IRAN -- IAEA Inspectors Visit to Iran / IAEA Report ICELAND -- International Whaling Commission and Iceland Membership HUMAN RIGHTS -- Inter-American Commission on Human Rights INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT -- Countries Which Have Signed Article 98 Agreements / Military Assistance UNITED NATIONS -- International Criminal Court / UN Security Council Resolution CYPRUS -- UN Secretary General's Plan IRAN -- Student Demonstrations U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING THURSDAY, JUNE 12, 2003 (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED) 12:45 p.m. EST MR. BOUCHER: Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen. Sorry I'm a bit late. It takes me a little while to catch up when I come back. So now that I'm back from the last trip, let me announce the next one. The Secretary of State Colin Powell will depart on June 16th for travel to Cambodia, Bangladesh and Jordan. He will return to Washington on June 23rd. The first part of the trip is in Cambodia where he'll attend the ASEAN Regional Forum on June 18th and the ASEAN post-ministerial conference on June 19th. And then on June 19th, he'll go on to Bangladesh for meetings with the prime minister and other senior officials. The United States values Bangladesh as a voice of moderation in the Muslim world. President Bush has asked the Secretary and US trade representative Robert Zoellick to attend the World Economic Forum in Jordan. So he'll be in Amman after Bangladesh and will have meetings there at the World Economic Forum meeting in Jordan. And there will also be, in Amman, a principals meeting of the Middle East Quartet on June 22nd. The Quartet principals will review the results of the Red Sea summit meetings in Sharm el-Sheikh and Aqaba, and how best to assist Israeli and Palestinian efforts to end terror and violence, and make progress towards President Bush's vision of two states, Israel and Palestine, living side-by-side, at peace and security. So that's what I can tell you about the trip so far. We'll do the usual rotation of journalists for seats on the plane, and there is a limit to the amount of detail we have at this point. There are still pieces being filled in. QUESTION: Yeah, I checked with you -- MR. BOUCHER: Yes, Barry. QUESTION: -- on the geography in Jordan. Of course, I understand the forum will be at the Dead Sea? The city Dead Sea. MR. BOUCHER: That's what we understand, yeah. QUESTION: But the -- MR. BOUCHER: You can go to their web page. QUESTION: -- the Quartet will be Amman? MR. BOUCHER: That's what's expected, at this point, that we'll do the Quartet meeting in Amman. QUESTION: Okay. MR. BOUCHER: But don't -- I mean, I'm not going to -- I'm not going to absolutely, 100 percent, promise that -- we are still working out logistical arrangements. John. QUESTION: Sorry. Could you just fill in that last date of when he arrives in Jordan then? MR. BOUCHER: The expectation is that Bangladesh will be a day stop and he'll arrive in Jordan late that night of the 19th. QUESTION: And can I ask you one more thing? MR. BOUCHER: Sure. QUESTION: On the -- well, the Europeans are represented various people. But will the principals of the Quartet be there, as far as you know? I know Annan will be. MR. BOUCHER: I did meet -- I think I mentioned it was a meeting of the principals as a Quartet. QUESTION: Okay. Who is the European? Is it Solana? MR. BOUCHER: The European is Papandreou, Solana and Patten. QUESTION: Okay. MR. BOUCHER: The European is all three of them. (Laughter.) QUESTION: The trio meaning the Quartet. MR. BOUCHER: Yeah, I expect they'll be there. I can't vouch for every single one of them. QUESTION: Can I ask you about the first stop? The Secretary seemed to imply in his commentary, in your opinion piece this morning in the Journal that Burma would be a leading topic of discussion with the -- with his ASEAN colleagues. What else do you expect -- North Korea? I notice that the North Koreans are not sending their foreign minister, but an ambassador-level person. What 's your expectation for the ASEAN meeting? MR. BOUCHER: I think the first expectation is we're going there to meet with the ASEAN leaders to talk about things that are their mind -- issues of political security in this region. And so, first and foremost, we'll be out there talking to ASEAN about the issues that they are taking up and how they are trying to move forward in their region with more cooperation, with more security, and frankly, with economic cooperation. As you remember from the Secretary's trip, last trip to the region, the issue of ASEAN free trade is very important to us. So those will be issues that we do take up, and then how we can cooperate with ASEAN in these kinds of things in the region. Now, there are other things in the region that are important to us: The issues involving particular countries like Burma, and the way the regime has been acting, the way the regime has treated Aung San Suu Kyi and her continued detention. And, moreover, as the Secretary points out in his op ed piece today, there -- the regime's continued refusal to undertake good faith efforts with the UN towards a peaceful resolution of the problems and movement back towards democracy. There are also other issues in the region I expect will come up. A lot of people there are interested in North Korea, so that will be a topic of discussion. I wouldn't expect any particular events or decisions to be made out there, though. QUESTION: On North Korea, did Mr. Pritchard meet his North Korean colleagues in the United -- in New York last week? MR. BOUCHER: Mr. Pritchard and others in this building do meet from time-to-time and exchange communications from time-to-time with the North Koreans through the New York channel. But, actually, Mr. Pritchard hasn't had any meetings for about two weeks. QUESTION: He hasn't had any meetings? MR. BOUCHER: No. QUESTION: So it's not true that he saw them last week then? MR. BOUCHER: It's not true that he saw him last week. QUESTION: Okay. MR. BOUCHER: And it's not true that he made a proposal that he had made any kind of proposal for bilateral discussions. So, other than that, there is nothing true in the story. QUESTION: But you're saying that he might have -- (laughter.) MR. BOUCHER: No, it's not true that he ever, two weeks ago, or any time before that, or after that, or tomorrow made any proposal for bilateral discussions. As you know, we have continued to support the idea of multilateral talks. We have continued to emphasize the need to broaden those talks to include all of the parties who have a direct interest in this region. You have seen we are now discussing in meetings with the Japanese and the South Koreans out in Honolulu -- our team is out there for trilateral discussion -- we continue to work closely with our allies. The President's has had his meeting with allies. He has also talked to the Chinese and the Russian leaders about this when he was in St. Petersburg. So the effort the United States is making is going to make clear that we're looking for a peaceful solution and we will continue to be willing to do that in a multilateral setting. And we, in fact, believe that setting should be broadened from what it was in China. QUESTION: Yeah. Can I just follow up on these various points? But if there was a five-way meeting, say, would the United States be happy to have in parallel with that just as a bilateral -- MR. BOUCHER: We have always talked about a multilateral forum, multilateral context. We're not making any proposals for a bilateral talk in any context. QUESTION: And another matter is -- I've completely forgotten what the other one was. QUESTION: Yes, in the opinion piece, the Secretary talked about the legislation that's up on the Hill that passed the Senate yesterday. It was unclear to me, though-- maybe it's just because I'm confused -- is the administration pushing for things - for there to be more sanctions put into the legislation, or are you happy with the way it is? MR. BOUCHER: There's two versions of the bill, I think. There's a bill that Senator McConnell introduced in the Senate that I think passed the Senate, right? And then there's a bill from Congressman Hyde and Congressman Lantos that is still working its way through the House of Representatives. So we're working with both sets of sponsors of the legislation to try to see how we can work out -- achieve final legislation that has an appropriate and strong new policy. I'm, frankly, not personally familiar with every element in those bills. I think most of what we're looking for is already in there. It's just a matter of how it's put together and how it's organized. QUESTION: If you're looking for - if you're happy with the Senate bill as it is and are trying to reconcile the House bill with that? Or you'd want the Senate bill? MR. BOUCHER: I think it's a matter of working with both sets of sponsors of legislation so that we all come out with something everybody can support. QUESTION: And unless I'm mistaken, you just did something unprecedented by saying that new policy from the podium? MR. BOUCHER: No. Actually, the Secretary did it in his op-ed. I think he admitted that we were, in fact, going to change our policy on Burma. We're going to do something different. Just thought you guys would enjoy that. QUESTION: Right - it's The Wall Street Journal. But, Richard, this was you - this is you saying it from the podium, which I don't believe any spokesman that I've been here, ever heard this -- MR. BOUCHER: Well, let's have a round of applause then. QUESTION: Exactly. (Laughter.) A change in policy for the first time. MR. BOUCHER: No, we've come out and talked about new policies. Sometimes they were the same old thing, (laughter) but we have often talked about having a new policy. David. QUESTION: You are opposed to the rather sweeping trade curbs that this McConnell version would -- MR. BOUCHER: As you can see from the op-ed piece that the Secretary wrote, the issue of an import ban -- we do think it's economically important because of the way the structure of industry is organized and we think it is an important message to the regime that we can prevent their imports of products from which they benefit from the income of -- from which they derive some income. But at the same time, we need to look at that in terms of our international obligations, in terms of the general need for the President to have waiver authority. So those kinds of things are being discussed so we come up with appropriate language. QUESTION: I remembered my North Korean question, now. The Secretary made a rather cryptic reference this morning - a bit of a mixed metaphor, he said that finding a way for the North Koreans to get out of the box. I wonder if you could elaborate? Yeah, he did. MR. BOUCHER: That's not a mixed metaphor. But anyway, keep going. QUESTION: Well, it is because I think you mean get out of a hole rather than a box, right? Because usually when you say somebody is in a box, you mean -- it's like Saddam Hussein used to be in a box. MR. BOUCHER: Look, these guys are in a box in a hole. (Laughter.) And here's the issue. They have affronted the entire international community by, first of all, having a side deal -- a side program to develop enriched uranium; second of all, by more and more declaring that they intend to develop nuclear weapons and the other day coming up with a fairly specious argument that somehow if they only had nuclear weapons, they could have more money and a smaller military. But in any case, what they're doing is building themselves a box by every time somebody in the outside world tries to help them out - whether it's with the prospect of better relations, or ongoing relationships, they seem to throw up a wall directly. And you get enough walls around you; you're in a box - to mix up my metaphors even more. The fact is you have the Chinese, the Russians, everybody else saying, we want a denuclearized peninsula, at the same as the North Koreans say, "Oh, we want a nuclear weapon." And that is what I would say, is putting yourself in a box. QUESTION: Okay, quickly, the usual way diplomats help people get out of boxes is by finding sort of face-saving formulae. Is that the kind of thing you're looking at? MR. BOUCHER: No. We're finding a way for them to end their nuclear programs. At this point I don't have anything new on that. We've made very, very clear they need to irreversibly and verifiably end their nuclear programs on the peninsula and we think that is the approach that others have taken, as well, in calling for a denuclearized peninsula. QUESTION: I think the White House said the Secretary was back on the phone today over to the Middle East, but didn't say to whom. MR. BOUCHER: Yes. QUESTION: If you would? MR. BOUCHER: So far today the Secretary has had phone calls with Israeli Foreign Minister Shalom, Jordanian Foreign Minister Muasher, Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faysal, Egyptian Foreign Minister Maher. I would point out that yesterday - I don't know if you went through this, Phil, but he talked to Foreign Secretary Straw; a number of Europeans; Italian Foreign Minister Frattini, German Foreign Minister Fischer. The Middle East was a key topic in all of those discussions, as it was today in his conversation this morning with Swedish Foreign Minister Lindh. QUESTION: Can you elaborate a little bit on the - it seems logical that he would talk about the need to repair the situation. And it doesn't look -- MR. BOUCHER: Well, let me do it in my words. QUESTION: Okay, please. No, I didn't know if you were going to -- MR. BOUCHER: Since you're giving me the opportunity. First, we want to make clear, and I think the Secretary has made clear in his conversations that we absolutely condemn the horrific act of terrorism that took place in Jerusalem yesterday and extend our deepest sympathies to the victims of the vicious attack, their families, and to the Israeli people. Our view is we must stop the terrorism. And we cannot allow this terrible and tragic incident to derail the progress that began at the President's Red Sea meetings in Sharm el-Sheikh and Aqaba. Prime Minister Abbas and Prime Minister Sharon have both expressed their commitment to the goals of peace and security. And we're talking to them, working with them about how to remain focused in moving forward towards that goal. We think it's time for those who believe in peace to act against terror and in support of a goal of peace that was set forth by the President. And part of-- well, the subject of the Secretary's phone calls is to talk with people about how to keep moving towards that goal, despite the violence; how to stop the terrorism; to remind people of all the commitments that were made on the Red Sea last week; particularly in his conversations with the Arab states, to talk to them about the things that they were going to do, that they can do, to help the Palestinians build a capability to stop the terrorist groups from getting money from whatever sources, and really to implement a lot of those things. So that all those steps that we can take to make sure the focus remains on the terrorists -- that the people in Hamas, the people in Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Al-Aqsa Brigade - all these organizations, they need to find their funding cut off, their support cut off, and their ability to operate cut off. And we think that everybody in the region - not just Israelis and Palestinians, but everybody in the region should be focused on doing that right now. QUESTION: It is very clear, the message to the Arab countries. And the message to Israel is clear. What isn't clear to me is what you make of the Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority. In this respect, the White House particularly, represents him as the target of this terrorism. I mean that people are trying to make his efforts to achieve peace more difficult, right? At the same time, the Israelis are saying, he should be doing more to not just talk about terror, but actually intervene, intercede, and try to stop the militants from attacking. So I don't know what the administration particularly -- if the administration thinks Abbas can both do that and at the same time not be a target of the militants. MR. BOUCHER: Well, I mean first of all, I think the Secretary pointed this out to you yesterday, but we've always understood that as we start to move down the road to peace, as we move on the steps in the roadmap, there are going to be extreme groups opposed to this. And there will be those who carry out violence. This has been, unfortunately, the sad pattern before. And we've always said it's important to keep focused on stopping those groups, on stopping that violence, but also on moving forward towards the longer term. Second of all, in terms of what each side wants the other side to do, I'm sure each side wants the other side to do more. And there are steps that the Israelis promised to take. There are steps the Palestinians promised to take; and steps that they're committed to by accepting the road map. So, yes, we think the parties should do more. We think there are steps the Palestinians should be undertaking in the security situation, in the security area. And we and others need to work with them to make sure they can do that. QUESTION: In a word, I think you're --tell me if you're saying that the U.S.-- I know all the parties-- but the U.S. feels Abbas can both do more and also even in doing more not lose ground with the Palestinians, not jeopardize his standing? MR. BOUCHER: I think -- QUESTION: Which is -- MR. BOUCHER: I think -- Barry, I am not going to adopt a, you know, an approach that points the finger in one direction or the other. Yes, there are things -- there are things the Palestinians should be doing and can be doing. Our view is that the choice of a new Prime Minister by the Palestinian Legislature put them on a new path. It put them on a path towards a peaceful state that can live side-by-side with Israel creating the institutions of a people's state, creating the institutions of a state that can control security in those areas. We think it's important for them to move down that path, just as we think it's important for others to carry out their obligations, as well. Okay. John. QUESTION: Did -- in his conversation with the Israeli Prime Minister, did the Secretary repeat the call for restraint the President made a couple of days ago? MR. BOUCHER: The point in this situation, I think, is not the Israel Prime Minister or the Palestinian Prime Minister. The point in this situation is the violent groups: the violent groups, Hamas, Palestinian, Islamic Jihad. They need to be stopped. There are things the Israelis can do. There are things the Palestinians can do. There are things the Arabs can do, and we all need to be working to stop those violent groups from carrying out these kinds of activities. QUESTION: We understand what you want the Palestinians to do. But what are you asking the Israeli Government to do? MR. BOUCHER: We're asking the Israeli Government to first carry out the steps that they committed to; and second of all, to work with the Palestinians to help establish better security. They have -- QUESTION: So you are not asking them to stop assassinations, as they did again today? MR. BOUCHER: Our views on that haven't changed. QUESTION: No, but today you began by saying you're condemning something that happened yesterday, but a lot of things have moved on since then and there was -- the violence today was by the Israeli side. You have no comment on that? MR. BOUCHER: There was a horrible bus bombing yesterday. I don't think we should just pass on it and go on to the next day. I'm sorry. QUESTION: What, so the Israelis should then retaliate? Is that what you're saying? MR. BOUCHER: No, but we have a problem with violence that both sides need to be focused on, both sides need to work together to stop. QUESTION: Yeah, but the question is, do you think that this kind of retaliation, which usually kills large numbers of civilians in Gaza is the appropriate response? MR. BOUCHER: I think we have always said that Israel has the need to defend itself, but it should do that in a way that furthers the long-term goal of peace. That's what the President said the other day. We haven't changed that view. QUESTION: Okay, but does this further the long-term goals of peace? Firing rockets at vehicles in Gaza in the middle of the day? MR. BOUCHER: Again, I don't think the issue today is the Israeli Prime Minister or the Palestinian Prime Minister. The issue is the violent groups that try to perpetrate violence whenever there is a move toward peace, and the people need to focus on how to stop that violence from occurring. Warren. QUESTION: Why do you think the President expressly condemned this, exactly this, two days ago, and now today you're silent on it? That's what we're asking. MR. BOUCHER: I'm not silent on it. I am saying our view hasn't changed. I have repeated the basics of the view. I am not changing it. Warren. QUESTION: Can you get into the details the Arab foreign ministers he talked to today? And secondly, on the subject of targeted assassinations, it's been reported that there was some sort of understanding with Sharon that he wouldn't conduct these unless it was to stop an imminent terrorist attack against Israel. Is that the case? MR. BOUCHER: As far as the understandings with Sharon, I think the reporting is that was -- well I'd just leave it to the White House to comment on that, on anything that they have in those discussions with his Chief of Staff or others. And, as the -- what was the first question? I'm sorry. Concrete details. MR. BOUCHER: I don't -- I don't -- I am not in a position to go into details of the conversations, but I think they made quite concrete commitments, their leaders did in the Red Sea at Sharm el-Sheikh, and that's what we'd looked for them to carry out. QUESTION: Richard, I just want to clarify something. Did you say that Secretary Powell had spoken with Prime Minister Sharon or with Foreign Minister Shalom? MR. BOUCHER: Foreign Minister Shalom -- QUESTION: Okay. MR. BOUCHER: -- so far. QUESTION: Okay. That's what we thought. MR. BOUCHER: Betsy. QUESTION: Richard, there are reports out of the region that Abbas has threatened to resign because he is angry, that he feels that Arafat has been undermining his ability to stop this violence. And I was wondering if anyone from this government had talked to him yet about his concerns? MR. BOUCHER: I don't -- I have no idea if those reports are true or not. Our view is that Chairman Arafat, like any -- all of the others -- need to focus on how to support the new government, how to let the new government take hold of the security problems, and how to keep the violence from occurring, how to stop the violent groups. So that -- that's what everybody ought to be doing, him included. Adi. QUESTION: Well, Richard, wait. On that line -- QUESTION: I'm a little bit confused because two days ago, in Argentina, Secretary Powell said he was deeply troubled by what the Israelis did that day. And today -- the President voiced a similar opinion today. You're not voicing a similar, sort of, criticism of the Israelis. I just want to figure out why that is. Why you criticized them two days ago and not criticize them today? MR. BOUCHER: As I've said, the United States' position on this has not changed. I'm not about to just step over a horrible attack that happened yesterday that's been the source of renewed violence against innocent people. But our view on retaliation and targeted killings hasn't changed. QUESTION: So because this was -- because this was retaliation, you're not criticizing because of that? Is that right? MR. BOUCHER: I'm saying that our view hasn't changed. It's not that I'm not criticizing, I'm just not saying anything new here today on that particular subject. QUESTION: Richard, on yesterday's attack and what you were talking about with Betsy in terms of Arafat, did Chairman Arafat's condemnation of the bus-bombing raise any flicker of interest or appreciation in this building or in this town? Or is that just kind of - it doesn't matter any more to you guys whether he condemns this stuff or not? MR. BOUCHER: Our view is that people need to support the government, the new government of the Palestinians to end the violence, take the steps to establish security. And that, yes, of course, everybody ought to condemn the horrible attacks like the one yesterday. But at the same time, it's important that everybody actually work to stop these violence groups and work to end the violence and terrorism that comes from there. QUESTION: So you don't think that Arafat's condemnation means -- is any -- is a sign of anything? MR. BOUCHER: I have to say we've worked with the man for a long time and I've heard a lot of condemnations from him. QUESTION: Richard, when is Mr. Wolf going to the Middle East? MR. BOUCHER: Towards the end of the week. I expect him -- QUESTION: Can you be more specific? MR. BOUCHER: No, I can't. He will go out to the region towards the end of the week. As you know, the goal is to help monitor, coordinate and promote implementation of the parties' commitments with particular emphasis on the roadmap. He is presently in Washington, D.C. Okay. Joel. QUESTION: Richard, on the issue of financing of terrorist groups-- the Saudi Government today talked about steps they've taken to try to cut off Saudi money from getting to terrorist groups. But they acknowledged that some Saudi money may -- through intermediaries -- still be reaching Hamas' political wing and probably entities controlled by Yasser Arafat. What's your view on this? Have the Saudis taken the steps they need to? Or what more could they do? MR. BOUCHER: I have not seen the whole press conference yet so I don't know what detail they went into as far as the measures that they've taken. I think you're quite aware that at the Red Sea Summits, there were fairly specific statements about what they would do. We welcome those statements. We welcome the steps that are being taken to implement those commitments by all the Arab leaders. And we think it's a very important step forward. But as long as the violence continues, there will always be more things that we should be doing to try to control this even better. Let's go one, two, three. Sir. QUESTION: Just one other term. The word "cycle of violence" is often used. Now the Israelis said there's no cycle. Do you use the term "cycle of violence?" Do you -- MR. BOUCHER: We do sometimes. We tend not to use it very much any more because there's violence. And these violence acts need to stop. It's not a matter of saying, "I'm doing this because he did that." It's a matter of finding ways to address security problems that both sides face through cooperation and finding ways for both sides to take charge of their security problems in a way that doesn't lead to further confrontation. QUESTION: Richard, could you give your views concerning direct quotes? Hamas has ordered all military cells to carry out attacks against Israel. And also, the Israeli military, I guess, has said that they want to throw everything against Hamas. And furthermore, you've spoken in the past where Iran has entered into some funding or instigating some of this terrorism network. There appear to be some antigovernment demonstrations in Tehran -- MR. BOUCHER: All right, let's not - if we follow this chain, we're going to connect everything in the whole world to this. It's important for everybody to do what they can to do what they can to stop the ability of these groups to carry out violence. We've made clear that they need to be - their capabilities need to be stopped. It's not even a matter of what they will or won't do. It's a matter of what they can or cannot do. There were commitments by Palestinians, commitments by the Israelis on security. There were commitments by the Arab leaders who came to the Red Sea and met with the President on what they would do. And as one of your colleagues has noted, the Saudis have already started to detail how they're implementing that, and that's good. There are others, as well, where the Secretary has made quite clear in his meetings in Syria and his statements on Iran that the outside people who are offering support to Hezbollah, to Hamas, to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, that that support needs to end, as well. We've been absolutely clear on that and continue to make that clear to the governments involved. These groups are undercutting the Palestinian cause, making it harder for Palestinians to achieve what they aspire to, as well as just perpetrating terrible violence against innocent people. So our sort of comprehensive view of this situation includes people who are there, who aren't there, people in the region of all kinds who need to just end the support and who can take steps to end the violence by these violent groups. Okay, sir. QUESTION: If I may, back to North Korea. Can you talk about what Secretary specifically expect from the meeting at Honolulu? Are there additional steps or tougher measures toward North Koreans? MR. BOUCHER: We expect good, solid and complete and thorough consultations with our friend and allies. That's as far as I'm going to go right now. They're out there meeting. I think they're just starting, so I'll leave it to them to describe what they've been doing in their statement that they usually issue at the end of the meetings. QUESTION: Can we expect a statement today, or -- MR. BOUCHER: No, I don't think so. I think -- when -- do you know when this -- tomorrow is the three-way, so it's generally a whole set of meetings. It starts out bilaterally and accelerates to a grand crescendo of three countries meeting together. QUESTION: On Latin America - can we just change topics? MR. BOUCHER: Yes. QUESTION: The ALCA, the Free Trade Agreement between the United States and the rest of the region -- can you give us any updates on the current situation and the discussions to create the Free Trade Agreement? MR. BOUCHER: The Free Trade Agreement of the Americas? QUESTION: Yes. MR. BOUCHER: It remains a very important goal for us. The Secretary talked about in public, but also in private during his trip to Chile and Argentina in the last few days. The President, as you know, has reiterated the emphasis that he places on free trade, in general, as a tool for development, as an opportunity for people to develop and grow prosperous. So this remains a very important priority for the United States. And as we were down there, we talked to a lot of the governments involved. We see-- we're very proud and happy to have concluded the Chile Tree Trade Agreement and see that as a positive step in the right direction. So the Secretary put a lot of emphasis on this. Now, as well, I would say that Trade Representative Robert Zoellick has been very active in working with the countries of Latin America to work on -- not only the Free Trade Agreements like the Chile one or the Central America one -- but also try to look for ways to move this whole process of Free Trade Agreement of the Americas forward. QUESTION: Is the deadline to reach an agreement January 2005? MR. BOUCHER: January 2005. QUESTION: That's still the deadline? MR. BOUCHER: Yes. The Secretary was asked that specific question during his trip. We can get you the complete answer that he gave. QUESTION: And just one more question. Secretary Derbez is arriving tonight to meet, actually, with all the -- in this summit of -- the summit of trade ministers that USTR is holding this week-- I mean this weekend. Does the Secretary has any plans to meet with Secretary Derbez? I mean Secretary Powell. MR. BOUCHER: I don't know at this point. Let me check. I think they were looking at it, but I don't know what the schedules allow. QUESTION: Richard, Secretary Rumsfeld seems to have kicked the can a little bit further down the street in your ongoing battle with the Belgians over the Universal Competence Law by saying that the U.S. will oppose any new spending on NATO. I don't know if this is renovations for the NATO headquarters or what it is. Is that correct? MR. BOUCHER: I have to double check. I haven't seen the transcript. I don't know if that's a correct quote or not. In terms of policy, also I will check and see if we've got that level of specificity yet, but I do remind you the Secretary, several months ago, said that we would have to consider this as we considered all the issues involved with the presence of the alliances there. QUESTION: Okay, so as far as you know, though, you're not aware that the -- that your concern has been translated into actually holding back on dollars to be spent on NATO headquarters? MR. BOUCHER: Again, Secretary Rumsfeld -- if that's what Secretary Rumsfeld said, I'm sure Secretary Rumsfeld would be glad to explain it to you further. I don't doubt it in any way. But I'm not even sure whose money - how the budgets are handled in order to spend money on improvements to NATO headquarters. So I just haven't had time to look into the whole process and how it works and what stage we might be in terms of allocating or not allocating money. I appreciate the thought. It's a nice gesture, Charlie. Jonathan. QUESTION: There was a report that the Iranians had obstructed the work of the inspectors. Have you seen that, and can you confirm it? Nuclear inspectors, IAEA. MR. BOUCHER: I don't know that I'm in a position to describe work between the International Atomic Energy Agency Inspectors and Iran. What I would say is that we have a very important meeting coming up on the 16th of this month. The Director General's report from the International Atomic Energy Agency has been circulated to the 35 members of the Board of Governors, although it hasn't been made public yet. As far as the latest visit to Iran by the inspectors, I think I have to leave it to them to comment on how things went. But I would say overall that we have made clear that we find Iran's nuclear activities very troubling. Its nuclear ambitions represent a serious challenge to the entire international community, specifically to the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Nonproliferation Treaty. We look forward to working with other members of the Board of Governors in Vienna at next week's quarterly meeting to coordinate an appropriately strong response. We expect that the International Atomic Energy Agency Board will want to express its concern about what the International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors have found to date in Iran; we expect they would call on Iran to give full cooperation to the Agency; to fix any problems; to answer any questions that have been identified by the agency; and furthermore, to sign and to implement without conditions to safeguard strengthening additional protocol. We also expect the Board will want to give absolute full support to the ongoing efforts to bring the facts to light. Given the remaining unanswered questions about the importance of the issue, we would recommend that Dr. ElBaradei provide a follow-up report to the Board later this summer that, at that point, could contain a complete description of Iraq's -- Iran's failures to abide by its safeguards obligations. QUESTION: A hop, skip and a jump from Vienna, next week there's another meeting going on. It's the Annual Meeting of the International Whaling Commission in Berlin. Can you tell us what the U.S. plans to do at this meeting in terms of Iceland's membership in the Commission and in terms of the proposal, which is being called the "Berlin Initiative," by which most of the IWC's operations would be privately funded? MR. BOUCHER: I hadn't heard about it. Let me go check on it. I thank so. It seems like we just finished with the last meeting. Jonathan. QUESTION: Do you have anything to say on the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and their decision to -- not to include the American representative? MR. BOUCHER: Well, we're disappointed that our candidate wasn't elected to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. We remain very strong supporters of the Commission and the Inter-American Human Rights system in general, and we'll look for every other opportunity to advance human rights and to work with the Commission. I do have to point out that while individuals -- that while Commissioners are proposed by governments, Commissioners actually serve and vote as individuals, not as formal representatives of the government. QUESTION: Do you have any explanation of why this happens --? MR. BOUCHER: No, we think Mr. Martinez was a well-qualified candidate. He was a distinguished leader known for activism in promoting excellence in legal systems, and we think he would have been an important addition to the court. QUESTION: Richard, this afternoon, you will be signing your 38th, I believe, Article 98 agreement. MR. BOUCHER: I think that's right. QUESTION: The deadline -- I asked this yesterday -- the deadline for countries to sign these agreements or lose their IMET and foreign military assistance is fast approaching. I'm wondering, because the deadline is July 1st, and it's coming up so quickly, if you're -- if there is a new concerted effort to sign up countries, or if they are just going to -- or if you're putting the impetus on them by telling them that, "Look, this deadline is approaching and you'd better sign up quick." And also, I'm wondering if you have any reaction to the UN -- the decision at the UN? MR. BOUCHER: Okay, two things relating to the International Criminal Court. First, on the law that you're talking about, it's the provisions of the American Service Members Protection Act enacted as part of the fiscal year 2002 Supplemental Appropriations Act. Under that law, the provision of military assistance is prohibited effective July 1st of this year, to any country that's a party to the International Criminal Court. The President is authorized to waive those restrictions for any country that's entered into an Article 98 agreement with the United States. The restrictions don't apply to NATO countries, major non-NATO allies and Taiwan. He is also authorized to waive the restrictions if he determines that it's important to the national interest of the United States. This has been a subject of discussion with other governments. We have had negotiators, ambassadors, embassies and others raising this issue with countries with whom we're interested in signing Article 98 agreements. We do think this is a relatively straightforward procedure and one that we'd like to see concluded with as many countries as possible. It has been an ongoing effort and, as you know, it has been a gradual accretion of numbers in more and more countries that we have signed with. The Secretary raised this with a number of Foreign Ministers when he was down in Latin America last week. We have -- we brought with us Assistant Secretary Rademaker, who is also working on these matters so that he could have a number of meetings while were down at the OAS, so that we can conclude as many as possible. What eventually happens in terms of signings and waivers and things like that, I guess, we'll start to account for once we get to July 1st, but it is a deadline. We are making people aware of these provisions of U.S. law, and we are trying to work with as many governments as possible to conclude Article 98 agreements. QUESTION: Do you guys have a breakdown of which countries would lose assistance? And the reason I ask this is because -- which countries would lose assistance because they haven't signed the Article 98 agreements. And I ask this because I understand that although, publicly, that there will be 38 after you've gone to sign one today, there are a couple that have been signed that are being kept secret at the request of the -- of the other signing government. And I'm just wondering how this works with U.S. taxpayers getting to know where their money is being spent. MR. BOUCHER: It's not possible at this time to give a public list of those who will not have signed by July 1st. We don't usually stand here and try to predict the future, at least not in that level of detail. So let's wait until July 1st. We'll tell you about who signed, who hasn't, what waivers are being exercised. There are different kinds of waivers that may be used by the Secretary and the President. And that too will enter into the equation of whether -- what finally happens to military assistance that might be available or not no longer available. QUESTION: Can I just clarify that? MR. BOUCHER: And the UN -- let me -- let's take up the UN resolution because we did just get the vote that we were looking for on the extension. The UN Security Council voted on the U.S.-sponsored draft resolution that extends Resolution 1422 for another year. The vote was 12 in favor and 3 abstentions -- Syria and Germany and France. Resolution 1422 protects peacekeepers and officials in UN-authorized operations from investigation and prosecution by the International Criminal Court. This extension, as you know, was anticipated. Resolution 1422 expressed the Security Council's intention to renew this request under the same conditions for further 12-month periods in the future for as long as necessary. We respect the prerogatives of those countries who are members of the court, and we're not seeking to undermine it. But peacekeepers contributed by countries that are not a party to the court should not be placed in legal jeopardy by their participation. QUESTION: What do you make of the -- just the fact that your two great European allies, France and Germany, didn't support you on this? MR. BOUCHER: I think they're just going to have to explain it themselves. I am not going to try to make anything of it right now. QUESTION: Richard, is the number of countries that have governments that have signed these agreements exactly 37 now? MR. BOUCHER: No. QUESTION: No? MR. BOUCHER: It's 38, right? QUESTION: No. MR. BOUCHER: After the signing, yes. QUESTION: So there -- MR. BOUCHER: At this precise moment it's 37. QUESTION: So there are no secret agreements because we have a list of 37? MR. BOUCHER: Not any that I have ever heard of, and, Phil, are you going to deny there are any secret agreements? QUESTION: I mean, I am not asking for names because they're secret. But do they exist? Are they -- are there countries which -- MR. BOUCHER: I will double check and see if I can describe exactly. We have a list of 38 -- 37 countries that we have signed agreements with. QUESTION: But you don't know. You can't say for sure that there aren't others. MR. BOUCHER: I have never heard this kind of story before, so give me a chance to check. I don't deny everything until I have had a chance to make -- make sure I'm right. QUESTION: Very, very briefly. Yesterday, the Secretary met with the Cypriot Foreign Minister. He is under the impression that you guys are going to -- at least he told some people this morning that you guys are going to push ahead with trying to get them back to the talks on the Secretary General's plan. Is that basically correct? Is that what -- MR. BOUCHER: That's basically what I have been telling you for about three months, and that it remains true today. We have been -- QUESTION: Richard, three months ago, the Cypriot Foreign Minister didn't meet with the Secretary. I'm sorry. MR. BOUCHER: The Cypriot Foreign Minister met with the Secretary yesterday to discuss the status of negotiations. The Secretary has made clear in the past, as he did at the meeting yesterday, that our goal is to restart discussions in support of the United Nations, based on the UN Secretary General's plan. QUESTION: Maybe this was dealt with yesterday. But do you have anything to say about the student demonstrations in Iran? And is the U.S. going to -- the U.S. Government going to sort of accelerate its public diplomacy activities in support of them? MR. BOUCHER: Did you -- did we have something yesterday, do you know? We didn't brief yesterday, but did we have something? MR. REEKER: We' have something. MR. BOUCHER: No, come on. Oh, I do. Yes, I do, Warren. Thank you. I think it's to reiterate a basic policy that Iranians, like all people, have a right to determine their own destiny. The United States fully supports their aspirations to live in freedom. It's our hope that the voice of the Iranian people in their call for democracy and the rule of law will be heard and transform Iran into a force for stability in the region. We view with concern the arrests of protestors taken into detention simply for voicing their political views, and we expect the regime to protect their human rights and release them. We applaud the Iranian people for calling attention to the destructive policies of the Iranian Government that do such a disservice to its population. Iran's support for terrorism, pursuit of weapons of mass destruction and denial of human rights deter the kind of foreign investment that could help create jobs for numerous unemployed and underemployed Iranians. David. QUESTION: Just one more about Burma. In the Secretary's essay, he says that the junta has finally and definitively rejected the efforts of the outside world to bring Burma back into the international community. Does this mean that we no longer see any utility for the Razali mission, for instance, to mediate there? MR. BOUCHER: I think we'll have to consult with Ambassador Razali, with other members of ASEAN, as far as what -- what the possibilities might be in the future, but at this point, it seems that the answer from the junta has been very strong and it's been graphic and it's been unfortunately violent. Terri. QUESTION: Back on Iran, for a second. What can you say about the status of cooperation right now on -- between Iran and the U.S. and Saudi Arabia on the aftermath of the Riyadh bombing? There were some developments shortly after. I'm wondering if they are -- if -- Iran thinks -- MR. BOUCHER: I don't know of anything new on that. And, as you know, we have made clear our view that Iran needed to cooperate with the investigation of the bombing. Whether there is any news on that, I think I'd have to leave to the Saudi Government, who are handling the investigation. Okay. Are we finished? No, not quite. QUESTION: Just back on Iran -- MR. BOUCHER: Sir. QUESTION: -- on the student demonstrations. Do you care to respond to some Iranian parliamentarians, who have suggested that the United States was provoking the protests? MR. BOUCHER: No. I am not going to respond to all of the charges. Thank you.

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