State Department Briefing

 

Friday  June 13, 2003

U.S. Department of State Daily Press Briefing Index Friday, June 13, 2003 12:45 p.m. EDT BRIEFER: Richard Boucher, Spokesman ISRAEL/PALESTINIANS -- Assistant Secretary Wolf and Team Travel to Region -- Proposal for an Inter-Positional Force / Third-Party Monitoring -- Terrorism and Hamas, al-Aqsa Brigade, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad -- Secretary Powell's Telephone Calls to Foreign Leaders -- European Union Efforts to Classify Hamas as Terrorist Group SPAIN -- Madrid Talks on Non-Proliferation Security With Other Countries SERBIA AND MONTENEGO -- Apprehension of War Crimes Tribunal Indictee NATO/BELGIUM -- War Crimes Laws and New Spending for NATO Headquarters CHINA -- Charles Lee and Lawsuit Against Jiang Zemin IRAQ -- Reconstruction Update and Rebuilding Infrastructure -- War Crimes in Iraq ICELAND -- International Whaling Commission and the Berlin Initiative -- Discussions with Iceland about US Aircraft SOUTH KOREA/JAPAN -- Trilateral Coordination and Oversight Group Talks in Honolulu CHINA/TAIWAN -- New Notation on Taiwan Travel Documents and Effect on Travel U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING FRIDAY, JUNE 13, 2003 (ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED) 12:45 p.m. EDT MR. BOUCHER: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. It is a pleasure to be here. I don't have any statements or announcements, so I'd be glad to take your questions. QUESTION: Can I try on a couple of Middle East things? Kofi Annan suggesting to Al Ha'aretz maybe there should be a security force to stand between Israel and the Palestinians. Does the State Department have a view of that? The second one is really related. Has Secretary Wolf and his group departed? Are they due there this weekend? MR. BOUCHER: I don't think they have quite departed, but they are due there this weekend. Assistant Secretary Wolf will be going out with a team of mid-level officials to start setting up the operation. The operation will be there to monitor, coordinate and promote implementation of the parties' commitments, with particular emphasis on the commitments that were made at the Aqaba summit. They would expect to go out there, get there over the weekend, and start meeting with Israelis and Palestinians shortly, very shortly, after their arrival. As far as the issue of some force, I really refer you back to what the Secretary said just a few hours ago this morning. There have been these calls. There always are calls for a third-party force. And we recognize -- it seems to be sort of a persistent theme. We have always said, for our part, that, as we said in Rome and Genoa, that third-party monitoring was appropriate, and now we have Assistant Secretary Wolf leading a team out there to help monitor, to help implement, to help the parties achieve what they have committed to. But it really depends on the parties achieving what they have committed to, and outsiders can't -- that outsiders can monitor and help and facilitate, but, in the end, the will has to be there, the decision has to be made by the parties. QUESTION: But the Wolf pack, Wolf and his people, will not -- MR. BOUCHER: That's good. We might adopt that. QUESTION: No, no, no -- QUESTION: Yeah, you'll probably see it in some newspaper. MR. BOUCHER: That's not good? Okay, we won't. We won't adopt it. QUESTION: -- historical baggage -- MR. BOUCHER: I guess that's true. QUESTION: You know, they're observers. I mean, they have a real mission, but they're not going to keep -- not physically intervene. MR. BOUCHER: Barry, again, that sort of inter-positional force has been discussed for a long time. It is an idea that comes up again and again. It's -- frankly, you know, we've heard people talk about it the last 10 or 15 years. But again and again when it has come up, I think people who have looked at it closely have always said, absent the agreement of the parties, the inter-positional force can't achieve its own goals without the parties agreeing to do certain things, and then we can help the parties achieve what they've agreed to. So, at this point, what they have agreed to are the commitments in the roadmap. They've agreed to the commitments that they made at the Red Sea summits: everybody to work against terror, to work against violence, to work to promote the creation of Palestinian institutions, work for a better life for Israelis and Palestinians. And the group that we're sending in can help the parties achieve that, can help the parties implement those commitments. QUESTION: Richard, yesterday you were able to say with quite some specificity that Ambassador Wolf, Assistant Secretary Wolf -- whatever his title is now -- was still in Washington. Are you able to say that today? MR. BOUCHER: Yes. QUESTION: All right. QUESTION: Richard, is there a Quartet meeting in Paris today attended by Mr. Satterfield? MR. BOUCHER: I forgot to check. I'm sorry. The big Quartet meeting is coming up June 22nd in Jordan, but I forgot to check on -- QUESTION: Will you let us know? MR. BOUCHER: Yes, I will. QUESTION: Two questions. One, is it still the plan that Wolf will go there and spend maybe a couple of days and then come home again, or -- MR. BOUCHER: I don't know precisely what his plans are at this point. Very likely that he will go and spend some time, set up the operation. He may come back from time to time. But I don't have the precise date for him to next return to the United States. But he is going to set up the mission, start working with the Israelis and Palestinians, bring his team out there, and get going on the ground as soon as possible. And then at what point he feels like he needs to come back and get more instructions or resources or whatever, we will just have to see. QUESTION: Can you say what it is that makes him uniquely suitable for this position at this time? Why is it that the U.S. Government chose this person? MR. BOUCHER: He is one of our most senior diplomats. He has worked very capably in a great variety of environments, including some very difficult ones. He is, I think, decisive and able to make things happen, and that is always what we like to have on the ground in these difficult situations. QUESTION: Yes. Talking of Middle East, now that the United States is trying to formally push for a resolution, don't you think the U.S. should be looking neutral, not supporting Israeli attacks as being justified or whatever, or condemning the Hamas attack? I mean, you have adopted a position on India and Pakistan, and say we just want to stop killing, we are not going to say anything, you know, who is right or wrong. Don't you think the same approach should be adopted in the Middle East, too? MR. BOUCHER: I think the approach that we have adopted in the Middle East is to try to help the parties achieve peace and try to support people who are committed to peace and try to support people who have made commitments to seek peace, and not to support people who are threatening indiscriminate killing of innocent civilians. No, we are not going to adopt neutrality vis-à-vis Hamas. I'm sorry, that is just not in the cards. QUESTION: (Off mike.) MR. BOUCHER: In terms of the Israelis and the Palestinians, we are trying to work with both sides. We do work credibly with both sides to try to help them achieve their goals, try to help them achieve their goals in a peaceful manner. But no, we are not adopting neutrality towards terrorism, period. QUESTION: Years ago, there was no terrorism by Hamas. Hamas didn't exist. We still didn't get anywhere. MR. BOUCHER: You don't get credit for what you did 30 years ago if you killed 15 people this week. QUESTION: The Secretary was willing to talk about wanting to see restraint from Israel today, which we didn't hear quite so specifically yesterday. Why is that? What's changed in 24 hours? MR. BOUCHER: The goal is to stop the violence. All the parties in the region need to do what they can to stop the violence. The President said just the other day, you know, we urge the nations that want to see peace to fight terror, cut off money to organizations like Hamas, isolate those who are willing to kill to stop peace from happening. So the goal, the issue, is to stop violence. How do you stop the violence? How do you stop the terrorism? The Secretary made clear we need to stop the terrorism in order to stop the need for a response to terrorism. So there is an effort underway through what the Secretary has been doing, what the White House has been doing, including the National Security Advisor, what our people on the ground have been doing, to try to bring everything to bear to stop the violence, stop the terror. That includes all the parties meeting their commitments, including Israel and the Palestinian side on security. That includes each of the parties doing what they can. But it also includes the other countries who were at the Red Sea summits to carry out their commitments, and I think we talked yesterday about the Saudi press conference where they've outlined some of the steps they're taking already. The Secretary talked this morning with Foreign Minister Shara of Syria to press once again for Syria to end its support for Hamas and groups like that that carry out terror. So, in terms of all his phone calls yesterday that the Secretary made and talking to people in the Middle East, that was the subject: What can you do to help stop the terror and to get us moving down the road that we've outlined, the road towards peace? So he talked to the Israeli Foreign Minister, the Jordanian, the Saudi, the Egyptian; talked to Prime Minister Sharon, Prime Minister Abbas, EU High Representative Solana yesterday. Then this morning, he's talked to, as I said, the Syrian Foreign Minister and Secretary General Kofi Annan -- all those devoted to what can you do, what can each of the parties do, what can we do, to stop the violence, to stop the violent groups and to stop -- and the responses to violence. And that's where we do look for all the parties -- QUESTION: -- so far today? MR. BOUCHER: I don't think we count this in hours. I think we count it in steps to really stop the violence; that if we are going to end with the violence at some point, we have to see all the parties cutting off money, cutting off support, cutting off the ability to operate, cutting off the ability of violent groups to challenge the authority that needs to be vested in the Palestinian Authority and the new government. QUESTION: Is there a reason why Wolf's arrival in Israel is -- apparently, you're trying to keep it a secret? MR. BOUCHER: I think generally when we have had travelers going into this region, we don't widely publicize the exact time of their departures and arrivals. Just generally for security reasons, I think that has just been our practice. I'm not trying to do anything special or different in this case. I just haven't even looked for that information because I don't think it's our normal practice to do so. QUESTION: Well, it's pretty -- yeah, actually, when Assistant Secretary Burns makes trips and Satterfield -- MR. BOUCHER: We don't announce his flights and times. QUESTION: I'm not asking for his flight. I'm just saying, why can't we -- you say over the weekend, and it's been over the weekend. Why not say Saturday or Sunday? I mean, this isn't something you're trying -- it doesn't seem -- MR. BOUCHER: No, it's not particularly secret, but I think we allow people to travel with a certain amount of -- we don't necessarily publicize people's specific travel plans. QUESTION: Well, there's -- MR. BOUCHER: You're only limited -- there's only a limited number of ways of getting to Israel. If we tell you Saturday, I'm sure you can meet three flights on Saturday, or less. QUESTION: And so you don't want -- MR. BOUCHER: And there will be a ton-and-a-half of people there. QUESTION: You don't want people to meet him at the airport? That's the reason? MR. BOUCHER: We'll meet him at the airport. That's -- QUESTION: No, no, no. You don't want reporters to meet him at the airport? MR. BOUCHER: Well, we certainly don't want any security problems to arise in this -- QUESTION: He is not going any place else beforehand though, is he? MR. BOUCHER: I am not going to detail anybody's travel plans. I'm sorry. It's not our practice. We don't -- we don't give out specific dates, times, flights, locations, or anything like that. Generally, when people travel to this region, we've just generally followed that practice. There is nothing particular about it. Ambassador Wolf -- I haven't actually asked him, one way or the other. It has just been the way we do things. QUESTION: But, Richard, this is a guy who has been appointed by the President. He's got an incredibly high-profile position, right? MR. BOUCHER: Yes. QUESTION: His job is very important. MR. BOUCHER: Yes. QUESTION: So I don't understand. MR. BOUCHER: So does Assistant Secretary Burns, so did George Mitchell, so did General Zinni, so did all the others I can remember. And I don't remember ever announcing, you know, specific days of travel. QUESTION: Okay. Well, I'll go back and -- MR. BOUCHER: I may have time-to-time, but, generally, it's not our practice to do that. QUESTION: And you can't say that he's not going someplace else first? You can't rule that out? MR. BOUCHER: I am not going to get into anybody's itinerary. I don't know where is -- I, frankly, don't know. I haven't asked him if he is on a direct flight, or if there is a stopover, or if he is going to spend the night somewhere. QUESTION: The Secretary singled out three groups today as terror groups, and one was the al-Aqsa Brigade. Does the State Department -- I guess I could look in the Global Terrorism Report -- but does the State Department take the view that that's controlled by Yasser Arafat? And if it is, if all three groups shared the glory of killing four Israeli soldiers on Sunday -- or the notoriety of it, I should say -- and I wondered if you link any of this to Yasser Arafat. MR. BOUCHER: I don't think our position on that has changed. I would refer you back to Global Patterns of Terrorism, and also our regular reports on the PLO and terrorism that we provide. QUESTION: But, I mean, are we mindful? Do we think -- does the State Department -- I don't mean we -- does the State Department think -- MR. BOUCHER: I don't have any -- I don't have any new analysis, Barry. It's a subject that comes up. QUESTION: Okay. MR. BOUCHER: It's a subject that we deal with in the various reports that we write periodically. These reports are a matter of public record. You can get them. You can look at them. I don't have anything new to say. QUESTION: Okay. And apropos to the phone call to the Syrian today, we know their ties to Hezbollah, but Hezbollah isn't involved, it seems, in these attacks. Are any of these three groups linked to Syria? Is Syria helping these three groups? MR. BOUCHER: As we have said in the past, at least, Hamas and Palestinian -- QUESTION: Headquarters. MR. BOUCHER: -- Islamic Jihad have offices there that we asked to see closed down. And we look for all activities of those groups out of Syria to be closed down. Sonni. QUESTION: Going back to the force, the intervening force. So, yes, the force was seen as helping the parties achieve what they have committed to, in other words, the dampening down to ending the terror. Would the United States be prepared to support it? MR. BOUCHER: That is a hypothetical at this point. We have looked at the situation. We have looked at this situation many, many times. Third-party monitoring is what we have consistently talked about because we felt -- and, you know, upon careful analysis of the situation, that was the best thing to help the parties achieve their goals. If you want to speculate that, you know, so I know people -- there have been people writing about send NATO to the Middle East for 15 years. It is not a brand new idea. Somehow, every time there is violence, people say it again. But, upon analysis, I think this has been looked at again and again, and the view has always been that you have to help parties make the commitments, carry out the commitments, and above all help the parties themselves cooperate on security. And that has been the goal of U.S. policy for many years, and that is a goal that we continue to pursue through the roadmap process, and through the whole process of trying to achieve security for Israelis and Palestinians alike. QUESTION: And on -- could I change to Madrid for a minute? QUESTION: No way. QUESTION: Not yet? Could you -- QUESTION: Mideast. QUESTION: Mideast, okay. I'll come back later. QUESTION: The European Union is going to -- I believe today or soon anyway -- talk about putting the political wing of Hamas on its terrorist list. Right now, it only has the military wing and it separates those. Is this something that the United States has been asking for and which you consider completely appropriate, especially under the circumstances? MR. BOUCHER: We would consider it appropriate, and we have found various ways to make that view known to Europeans. QUESTION: So you're happy they are -- I mean, would you expect quick action on it, from what you have heard from your EU friends? MR. BOUCHER: You'll have to ask them about quick action and what they intend to do. QUESTION: How long have you been asking them to do it? MR. BOUCHER: It's been an ongoing subject of discussion for some time. QUESTION: Years? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know if I could say precisely years. But, as you know, shortly after September 11th, when we sort of stepped up all of the effort in the financial area, the United States, for its part, does list all of the terrorist organizations, including Hamas and Hezbollah and others, and we have encouraged others to do -- to take a similar approach. And in many ways, the approach in Europe has evolved. They have listed more and more a wider spectrum of groups, and this would be a logical continuation of that. QUESTION: Did the U.S. ever separate between the political wing of Hamas and the military wing? MR. BOUCHER: Not that I know of, no. Betsy. QUESTION: Richard, I am just trying to understand where Wolf sort of stands now. He -- aside from upstairs on the sixth floor. Is he being formally announced as being an envoy of some kind? I mean, is he going to have a title for this job, or will he be going back to NP, do you know? MR. BOUCHER: He was formally announced by the President. That ought to be good enough. I can't actually remember the exact words that the President used. But whatever the words were, that's his title. And he has got an assignment to do, as long as it's necessary to do this assignment. I am not aware of any specific plans, one way or the other. I think there is an Acting Assistant Secretary now for Nonproliferation Affairs. But whether he would -- at what point he might return to that job, I can't predict, at this point. QUESTION: Madrid? MR. BOUCHER: What's going on in Madrid? QUESTION: Madrid. That's my question. What's going on in Madrid? Can you give us an update about Under Secretary Bolton's meeting in Madrid on the -- MR. BOUCHER: Oh, that meeting in Madrid. Didn't they put out a statement? They put out a statement yesterday or the day before? It was on the AP wire? Well, you can also get copies directly from us. You can get certified copies directly from us, too. Okay. We have copies of the statement they put out in Madrid in order -- a group of countries got together to pursue the Proliferation Security Initiative that the President announced in his speech in Krakow, in Poland. And the whole list of countries in the statement, some dozen countries, and I think we found it very positive, and people will go back and look at the various aspects of how to stop proliferation, how to interdict shipments, how to interdict operations, how to share information, how to use legal means, diplomatic means, intelligence tools and other tools to prevent the proliferation shipments that might be occurring. And so there was, I think, a commitment by all the countries there to look at this, and also a commitment to include others who might be interested in participating and helping with this process. Arshad. QUESTION: Does the arrest in Belgrade this morning make it more likely that Serbia and Montenegro will be certified and that U.S. aid will continue to flow to them? MR. BOUCHER: I wouldn't be able to make a prediction at this point. The Secretary will consider all the facts, including his apprehension, as he makes his decision on certification, which has to be -- well, it will be done Sunday. I suppose we will, as we did before, when certification fell on a Sunday, we will expect to announce it on Monday or make the final decision on Monday. But I would like to say that we commend the Government of Serbia for the overnight apprehension of one of the "Vukovar Three" who was indicated in 1995 by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. According to the indictment, he commanded and supervised soldiers who removed 300 or more persons from the Vukovar Hospital in Croatia, beat them for several hours, killed at least 200, and buried the victims by bulldozer in a mass grave. Once again, we urge all the governments in the region to fulfill their international obligation to comply fully with the Tribunal and to actively seek, arrest and transfer all at-large indictees, including Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic to The Hague. We urge all fugitive indictees to come out of hiding and surrender with dignity for the benefit of their country. So that's where we are. But we commend them for the action that they took overnight. This is a positive step in getting one of these very serious indictees on his way to the Tribunal. QUESTION: Have you been able to run down or figure out what Secretary Rumsfeld was talking about in Brussels yesterday about holding up funds for a new NATO Headquarters? MR. BOUCHER: I don't have anything more on that today. There is a problem with Belgian law, a problem that has raised concerns that the Secretary has spoken to, that Secretary Rumsfeld has spoken to. The Secretary has raised these concerns directly with the Belgian Government. Secretary Rumsfeld raised them yesterday in his meeting with the Defense Minister. And we look to the Belgians to resolve this problem. QUESTION: But, well -- thank you for that, but that's not the answer to the question. MR. BOUCHER: You are very welcome. QUESTION: Is the United States -- MR. BOUCHER: I'm not here -- you can look up Secretary Rumsfeld's transcript, if you want to. I don't -- QUESTION: Richard, this is -- you have an Ambassador to NATO who sits on the NAC, the governing board. It is a State Department issue if you guys are going to stop some money, whether it was -- from going to -- from going to build a new or to renovate a NATO Headquarters, which is what Secretary Rumsfeld said. If it's not the case, I think we'd like to know. MR. BOUCHER: First of all, you need to get the transcript of what Secretary Rumsfeld said. And, second, the answer to this problem is not -- is not in our behavior. The answer to this problem is in Belgians changing laws, Belgians fixing their problem. This is a problem we've raised with the Belgians and we look for the Belgians to fix the problem. QUESTION: Well, okay. So what -- can you just give me -- what is the answer to the question: Is the United States withholding money for the construction or renovation of new NATO Headquarters because of the universal competence law and the suits that have been filed under it? MR. BOUCHER: Again, there is money in the pipeline. I don't know if one would say it's being withheld or not. But the resolution to this problem is not to withhold or to withhold. The resolution to this problem lies in Belgium. And that's what we've been pressing for. That's what -- QUESTION: So the State Department is unaware of this? MR. BOUCHER: No, the State Department wants Belgium to solve the problem. QUESTION: Are you suggesting -- MR. BOUCHER: And that's the solution to any questions about the money. QUESTION: Are you suggesting that the money is contingent on Belgium addressing the issue? MR. BOUCHER: I am not suggesting anything particular at this point, other than the Belgians need to solve this problem. We have made that clear and Secretary Rumsfeld has made that clear. QUESTION: When the Ambassador -- when the U.S. Ambassador to Belgium was quoted as saying that the U.S. may, in the future -- I don't know, a couple of months ago, saying there may be some problems with NATO Headquarters in Brussels -- MR. BOUCHER: The Secretary of State said it was a concern. QUESTION: Well, you guys said this guy had been misquoted back then. MR. BOUCHER: I don't remember what the quote was at that point. He may have been misquoted. QUESTION: Indicating it wasn't true. Are you trying to say that -- MR. BOUCHER: I don't remember what the quote was. I'm sorry. I'm not going to jump on that one. The Secretary of State has raised these concerns in public and in private with the Belgians. The Secretary of Defense has raised them in public and in private with the Belgians. The goal is to get them to change the law, and so none of these other questions will arise. QUESTION: We just learned this morning that, according to the U.S. Consul in Shanghai, Charles Lee expressed his will to become one of the plaintiffs in the genocide lawsuit against Jiang Zemin because of his persecution of Falun Gong. How would the State Department comment on this? MR. BOUCHER: I don't know. I have not heard such news, and I'm not sure we would have anything to do with it. QUESTION: And a follow-up. The State Department Human Rights Report has documented the persecution of Falun Gong for the past four years, and with each year more pages, and the newest one has mentioned Falun Gong about 50 times. Do you think a lawsuit will help to bring this persecution to a stop? MR. BOUCHER: I don't have any particular comment on that lawsuit. I think we have to let the courts deal with that. The State Department has - the Administration, the Justice Department, does present papers with regard to such lawsuits, but I would leave it as a matter for the courts. QUESTION: I'm asking the point of view of State Department. MR. BOUCHER: My point of view is that we leave judicial matters to the courts, and that anything we have to say to the court will be said in court. Adi. QUESTION: Could we do Iraqi reconstruction? MR. BOUCHER: Yes. QUESTION: Where does the State Department stand on -- are you sending any more of your own people to that country to sort of analyze and sort of look at matters involving the water situation and sort of efforts involving that? And where does -- where does this Department stand in terms of helping the Americans there now on the ground? And sort of what is your overall assessment of how the reconstruction is going right now? MR. BOUCHER: Anything else? QUESTION: No, that's it. MR. BOUCHER: That's big enough, huh? I think the first priority has been to reestablish basic services, and if you look around Iraq, generally, that has been done. There is more and more electricity being generated, even in areas like Baghdad. There are areas of the country that have more water than they had, more clean water than they had under Saddam Hussein, because he intentionally deprived certain groups and certain people from having clean water. So there's a lot that's been done to restore basic services. And, again, I think our people in Baghdad are able to provide detailed information on that. The second effort is to get institutions up and running. There has been a concentration on security, as there should be, because security has been the problem that we have seen in many areas, particularly in the central part of the country. And so the military has been working that, but also the civilian authorities, the coalition provisional authority. There is a lot being done to get up -- up and running the Iraqi institutions in a way that doesn't repeat the problems of the past. So there is something like 10,000 Iraqi police officers back on the street, and we are told the criminal courts has resumed legal proceedings earlier this month. So there is a police and judicial system being reestablished. The third question that is being addressed is the political question, and that there have been meetings of groups around the country. There have been contacts with a variety of groups in Iraq to try to help them move forward toward a political system that can be run by Iraqis. And so you have a coalition provisional authority now meeting and engaging in an ongoing process of political consultation throughout the country. And they will form a political council that can then help contribute to the process of establishing an Iraqi government, that can help choose ministers, so that the people in the ministries have some direction, so that the Iraqis can, more and more, take over the management of their own affairs. So that's an ongoing process as well. And then the bigger question is the constitutional process of establishing the future of an Iraqi government that will be solely Iraqi. And that also will involve the choice, the bringing together a very -- a larger group to form sort of a constitutional convention. So all of those things are underway. The emphasis has been on basic services, on security and on getting going with the political process. And I think there is substantial achievements to show in all of those areas. QUESTION: (Inaudible) found there, and what sort of -- what is he sort of uncovering, and just an update on his -- MR. BOUCHER: On what? QUESTION: Prosper going to Baghdad for war crimes. MR. BOUCHER: The approach that we have taken to war crimes is that crimes that were committed in the past by the Iraqi regime, the new Iraqi government will need to consider first, and the new Iraqi judicial authorities will need to consider first. So it is an issue that needs to be kept in mind. Certainly, there is a lot of information being gathered, the discovery of mass graves, the discovery of mass graves from earlier periods of Iraq's history, but also some of these horrible things happened not very long ago. That kind of information needs to be brought forward, needs to be analyzed, needs to be kept. But, eventually, those decisions will have to be made by the new Iraqi judicial authorities, as to how they want to pursue those crimes. QUESTION: You haven't answered my question about what your stance is going to be at the Whaling Commission meeting this week in Berlin. MR. BOUCHER: Yes. QUESTION: Could you tell me what it is? MR. BOUCHER: I'd be glad to. I was going to do it anyway. QUESTION: Well, you know, I asked about NATO, and you wouldn't answer that. So I figured maybe there was a problem. MR. BOUCHER: I answered a question on NATO. The United States recognizes Iceland as a party to the Whaling Convention. A number of other International Whaling Commission members, including the United States, have circulated a diplomatic note communicating an objection to Iceland's reservation to the moratorium on commercial whaling. Only three of those countries -- Italy, Mexico and New Zealand - do not accept the convention as being enforced between themselves and Iceland. The Berlin Initiative is a proposal by Mexico to establish a new Conservation Committee that would review and develop the various conservation-related proposals put forward each year and oversee the actions related to more than a hundred conservation-related resolutions adopted over the years by the Whaling Commission, such as those involving whales and their environment. The Berlin Initiative also includes a request for the Conservation Committee to consider the establishment of a trust fund to finance conservation-oriented research, and, particularly, to assist scientists and institutions from developing countries. This fund would augment, not replace, the Commission's regular budget. The United States supports this initiative as an improvement in the governing structure of the Commission. So that's what our position is on all those things going on there. QUESTION: All right, on Iceland. MR. BOUCHER: Yes. QUESTION: Will the U.S. vote in favor of a motion to expel Iceland from the Commission? MR. BOUCHER: As I said, we recognize them as a party to the Commission, but we're also against the moratorium. QUESTION: There is a move afoot, though, to -- MR. BOUCHER: Against their reservation on the moratorium -- I'm sorry. QUESTION: There is a move to kick them off. MR. BOUCHER: To kick them out. I am not -- I don't know that we have taken a position on that at this point. QUESTION: All right. Can I just add one more about Iceland and not about whales? MR. BOUCHER: Yes. QUESTION: Last week, Beth Jones was in Reykjavik, and gave them a letter from the President saying that you're going to move your planes from Keflavik -- aircraft.. I understand that the Icelanders have protested this. Have you gotten any -- have you had any communication from Iceland? MR. BOUCHER: Let me double-check on where we stand. This has been an ongoing subject of discussion whether -- within NATO, and, particularly, with the Icelandic government about the airplanes and the aircraft that we maintain in Iceland. It has been a matter that we have worked with the Defense Department and the Icelandic authorities on. So let me just get you an update on that. Okay. Sir. QUESTION: Can you update me on what's going on in Honolulu? It seems that the U.S. had the bilats with -- MR. BOUCHER: No, I'll let -- they've having their meetings and they'll put out a communiqué at the end, as they normally do. QUESTION: Do you know when that might be, our time? MR. BOUCHER: I haven't checked exactly. I would expect it would be, you know, midnight or something our time because they have their trilateral meeting today, they usually go until late afternoon, and Hawaii is quite a few hours the other direction in time. QUESTION: Thank you. MR. BOUCHER: We've got one way in the back. QUESTION: Oh, yes. Taiwan (inaudible) has a notation (inaudible) in Taiwan on its cover of its passport. But a few days -- and we did have your comment last year. But a few days ago, Taiwan announced that it had decided to add one word -- Taiwan -- other than "Issued in Taiwan" on the cover of its passport. Could we have your comment? MR. BOUCHER: Yes, I will read you the same comment we made last year about it. I'm always happy to do that. QUESTION: The policy that hasn't changed? MR. BOUCHER: The change -- this is -- exactly -- a policy that has not changed. The change will not affect how the United States handles travel by, or travel documents, of the people on Taiwan. As we noted last year, we have been aware that Taiwan planned to take such steps. This is a matter for a decision by the Taiwan authorities. It is their decision and we were not part of it. They've stated publicly that this does not represent any change in their policy, and there is certainly no change in our One China policy. QUESTION: On that, are you going to let travelers from Taiwan who carry the new passports to come to enter the United States? MR. BOUCHER: This is a travel document. How they do their travel document has not been a matter of consultation, discussion or decision by us. It is purely their decision. They can make it. (The briefing was concluded at 1:20 p.m.)

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