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Thursday  June 26, 2003

State Department Briefing

U.S. Department of State
Daily Press Briefing Index
Thursday, June 26, 2003
1:10 p.m. EDT

BRIEFER:  Richard Boucher, Spokesman

ANNOUCEMENTS
-- Secretary Powell to Attend OPIC Signing Ceremony
-- Secretary Powell to Speak at the U.S.-Africa Business Summit

IRAQ
-- Mobile Biological Weapons Laboratories
-- Intelligence Agencies' Conclusions Published in Public Memo
Analysis of Authentic Evidence by Intelligence Agencies

IRAQ/SYRIA
-- Status of Syrians Taken into Custody During Border Operation
-- U.S. Tightening Border Controls

TURKEY
-- Talks with Foreign Minister Gul
-- Turkish Proposals for the Reconstruction of Iraq/ $8.5 Billion Plan

NORTH KOREA
-- Status of Light Water Reactor Construction
-- TCOG Meeting Date Undetermined 

UN
-- Terrorism Committee to Publish a Draft Report

LIBERIA
-- U.S. Considering Peacekeeping Options

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
DAILY PRESS BRIEFING

THURSDAY, JUNE 26, 2003
(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED)

1:10 p.m. EDT

MR. BOUCHER: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. If I can, let me
remind you of one event -- well, two events at one place tomorrow. The
Secretary of State will be attending a signing ceremony for the rail
line that runs from the deep water port of Nakala on the Indian Ocean
in Northern Mozambique through Malawi to Eastern Zambia. That will
take place over at the Washington Hilton, where he will then give the
keynote address to the U.S.-Africa Business Summit.

So that's an event tomorrow and the ceremony is at noon, and then
after that he'll deliver the luncheon address. So he'll be talking
about Africa. As you know, the President just gave his speech to the
same group and talked about general policy.

The signing ceremony is for a $30 million support financing from OPIC,
from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, to rehabilitate the
port and rail facilities of this important corridor. It will be the
first integrated port and rail operation to be operated by the same
concession in Africa, and represents a new era for U.S. investment in
Africa.

So that's an important event tomorrow. It's a practical application of
our support for development and regional integration in Africa.

With that reminder, let me go on and take your questions about this or
other things.

QUESTION: The issue of those two trailers and what it might have said
-- what they might have said about Iraq's weapons is back in the news.
I wondered what the State Department's view is today, and the
Secretary's particularly because he has expressed confidence that it's
telling evidence.

MR. BOUCHER: Our view and the Secretary's view, the U.S. Government
view, is that these are mobile biological weapons laboratories. This
view was expressed in a public paper put forth by the CIA and DIA
analysts who had worked most extensively on the matter, most
extensively and directly on the matter.

The reports today of a memo from our Intelligence and Research branch
-- I'm not going to be able to describe in detail a particular memo,
but I would say they, too, had looked at the situation. You have to
remember, our Intelligence and Research Bureau basically looks at the
same information everybody else does, but they also have their own
angles, their own analysis of this. They did not dispute the
conclusions that had been reached by the other agency analysts. They
pointed out some questions that need to be looked at, issues that
needed to be raised.

When the Secretary got this memo, he made sure it went over to the CIA
right away. We have been assured by the CIA that those issues were
considered, were looked at, and that they were confident and remain
confident in their judgment that these are mobile biological weapons
laboratories.

So there's no question of INR contradicting the CIA conclusions. They
just raised some issues that they felt should be answered, needed to
be answered, before conclusions like that were reached. And, indeed,
we have been assured by those who reached the conclusions that those
issues were considered.

QUESTION:  I understand that and I appreciate it, but --

MR. BOUCHER:  Slow down.

QUESTION: I understand and appreciate what you're saying. I do. And
this is not challenging what you said, but this is to wonder if the
further analysis or the further, the deeper view, or the expanded view
State analysts had went to whether this is authentic information or
not. In other words, did they question --

MR. BOUCHER: No. They looked at the same information, the same kind of
technical information, descriptive information, engineering reports
and things like that, and were, I guess, somewhat cautionary in terms
of the kinds of conclusions that they felt could be reached on that
particular information at that moment. They said there were other
questions that need to be considered, and as I said, these questions
were considered, and three, four weeks later, we are -- all of this
stuff has been looked at. It has all been worked into the mix and the
U.S. Government remains quite confident of the conclusions that we
reached that these are mobile biological weapons laboratories.

QUESTION: You said they were somewhat cautionary, cautious about the
conclusions. So at the initial stage, would it be correct to say that
they were not, that they were not 100 percent -- they were not
prepared to go out and say, "Yes, definitely these are mobile
biological laboratories," but they would be now in the light of the
clarifications which they've received quite recently, in the last week
or so? Would that be a fair --

MR. BOUCHER: No. I wouldn't -- I don't think that's the process that I
described to you. The process that I described to you is that in the
initial stages, our analysts did look at much of the same information
and said that they, personally, were not quite prepared to say with
confidence yet that these were definitely and could only be mobile
biological labs.

They didn't say, "These are not mobile biological labs." They said
they weren't quite prepared to reach that conclusion yet, based on
their -- what they had seen and their analysis of what we had. They
pointed out a number of issues that they felt need to be considered
before that kind of strong conclusion was reached. And, indeed, one of
the first things the Secretary did with this memo is to make sure it
went to the CIA, and he's kept in touch with the CIA Director and
others to make sure that these issues were indeed considered.

They were considered. They have been further considered. And the
people at the CIA and elsewhere who have reached these conclusions
about it being mobile bio labs assure us that all those issues have
been considered and that they remain confident in their conclusions.
In fact, there has been nothing in the last few weeks that would do
anything to lower their level of confidence, and we all remain
confident in their conclusions that these are mobile bio labs.

QUESTION: The -- so the -- what exactly -- would it have been in
mid-May, then, perhaps, that the INR Bureau were not prepared to say
that they were --

MR. BOUCHER: No, I think the memo was written in early June, that they
raised some of these issues. It was, indeed, after the public -- after
the publication of the CIA/DIA white paper.

This is a process that works. I mean, nobody should be surprised that
there is debate and analysis and ongoing looks at information within
the intelligence community. You know, debate is the way you get to the
truth. And we always, within the intelligence agency -- particularly,
when people are having to make a judgment call, we always have
different points of view. And one of the roles of INR, one of the
reasons we have an intelligence function at the State Department is so
we have people who can look at things from different angles. And
that's their job. That's what they did. The Secretary values very
highly the fact that they have the integrity and they have the
autonomy to reach -- to give -- raise other issues and reach other
conclusions.

But, in many ways, within the intelligence community, as well as it
works in the outside world, there is always debate on some of these
things. And that's the only way that good analysis can proceed.

But let's go on to somebody else maybe, one of these days, or not?

QUESTION:  Well, let me follow up on --

QUESTION: I'll do the same thing. So when the Secretary spoke in late
May --

MR. BOUCHER:  So I have answered it already then.

QUESTION: -- on this subject, was he aware that the INR Bureau was not
prepared to endorse 100 percent the definitiveness of this conclusion?

MR. BOUCHER: I don't think he had reached the memo -- I don't think he
had gotten the memo at that point. But I would point out, once again,
as I have before -- since you are saying the same thing, I'll say the
same thing -- that the Secretary was -- that the INR memo did not
contradict the conclusions. It was not an attempt to undercut, to
contradict what had been said. It just said they were not ready to go
that far yet. The Secretary wanted to make sure those issues had been
considered. They had been considered, and he was quite comfortable
with the conclusions that had been reached in the published paper, in
what he had said, what the President said, and what we had all said.

QUESTION: So, Richard, would it be safe to say that the INR Bureau had
not seen the information that the CIA and DIA had before the
publication of their findings?

MR. BOUCHER: No, I don't think it would be safe to say that. I assume
they saw most, if not all, of the same information. That was what they
based their own analysis on.

QUESTION: So why would they have not written this memo until after the
publication of the findings? Why would they have not raised these
questions earlier, do you think?

MR. BOUCHER: There is a logical pattern here that you can't -- you
have information, okay? The analysts who are closest to the
information, have worked on it most extensively and directly at the
CIA and the DIA, produced an unclassified analysis of that
information, including a confident conclusion that these were bio
labs.

Having seen that conclusion, our INR folks said -- looked at the same
aspects, looked at much of the same information, and said, "Whoa,
maybe we're not quite ready to go that far. There's some issues here."
Okay? So they couldn't raise those -- they couldn't say we're not
ready to go that far until the others had reached their conclusion. I
mean, it's just the way the thing evolved.

But then, having gotten the INR memo, having raised those issues with
the CIA, we then knew, were assured by the analysts who had worked
most extensively on this, that, indeed, all those issues had been
considered and that they remained confident in the conclusion.

QUESTION: Well, what was the process, then, between February 5th and
June 2nd, if it took -- well, I mean, Secretary Powell went out with
this stuff on February 5th.

MR. BOUCHER:  We didn't have the mobile bio labs in hand --

QUESTION:  No, true.

MR. BOUCHER:  -- until sometime in, what, April?

QUESTION: And these questions all arose from -- not just from the
intelligence that you had before finding the labs, but all arose from
the -- once you tentatively had the labs?

MR. BOUCHER: Yeah. Nobody questioned whether Iraq had mobile
biological laboratories. Nobody was questioning whether Saddam had a
program to develop biological weapons and did develop mobile labs to
do that. The only question that was raised was: Are these trucks -- is
this it? Are these the trucks that we showed the diagrams of?

And as you know, we didn't go out the next day -- we did very careful
analysis to make sure that these were, and we had a lot of experts
look at these trucks. We had a lot of analysis of it before we started
coming out with the conclusion that yes, indeed, these are the trucks.
And as I said, some people have raised questions, said, hmm, maybe not
quite ready to go that far myself, but -- because of certain issues.
Those issues were looked at and we are very confident that these are,
indeed, the mobile biological laboratories that the Secretary spoke of
on February 5th.

QUESTION: I have another question. The article says that Tenet may not
have seen this memo, but you say that Secretary Powell sent it over to
the CIA?

MR. BOUCHER: I'm not sure Tenet did see it personally at that time. I
know we did share it with the CIA, but I don't know at what level and
whether it was sent directly to Tenet or not.

QUESTION: Well, Secretary Powell speaks to the CIA, doesn't he? He
speaks to --

MR. BOUCHER: I didn't say that Secretary Powell spoke to the CIA.
Secretary Powell was in Egypt at the time, so I don't think he was the
one. He asked that it be shared with the CIA and I won't get in --

QUESTION: Oh, you said he sent it to the CIA immediately? He had it
sent to the CIA?

MR. BOUCHER:  He caused it to be sent to the CIA.

QUESTION: Okay. And he didn't follow up on it with any phone calls of
his own?

MR. BOUCHER: He's been in touch subsequently with Tenet and others to
make --

QUESTION:  On this?

MR. BOUCHER: Yeah, on the question of labs, to make sure all these
issues had been considered. And, indeed, they have considered them and
remain confident, as always, in their conclusions.

QUESTION: Can you give us some indication of what the concerns were at
the State Department?

MR. BOUCHER: No, not beyond what I've said, that the analysts over
here who looked at the information were not -- did not feel prepared
to come to that kind of conclusion yet themselves, and said we need to
look at a number of areas before we reach that kind of conclusion. As
I said, those areas had been looked at, were looked at, and everybody
remains confident now that the CIA has done this kind of analysis.

QUESTION: Richard, I just want to make sure that I understand your
last point in particular. Are you saying now that the analysts that
wrote the memo in INR, that they now have changed their mind and
believe that -- that -- just let me --

MR. BOUCHER: No, I'm not saying that, and I was sort of asked that
before.

QUESTION:  Okay.  I just --

MR. BOUCHER:  I'm not trying to say that.

QUESTION:  Just let me finish.  Maybe I'm --

MR. BOUCHER:  Yeah.  No, keep going.

QUESTION: But that -- because you had said that they had raised
potential questions as to alternative uses for the trailers and they
were not prepared to say conclusively, as the CIA/DIA did, that the
labs -- excuse me -- that the trailers were, in fact, labs.

Have these individuals changed their minds now?

MR. BOUCHER: I don't really know. I have not seen anything subsequent
from them. What we have seen is subsequent from the experts at the CIA
and elsewhere, who work on this more extensively, to say, "Yes, we're
aware of all of those issues that were pointed out. We have looked at
them. They were considered. I think they have been integrated into our
judgment, and we remain confident of that judgment."

QUESTION:  So when you -- sorry.

MR. BOUCHER: So we raised a bunch of issues. They looked at them, had
looked at many of them and said, "No, we have answered all of those
questions. We're confident in what we concluded."

QUESTION: When you say the conclusions of the analysts in INR did not
contradict what the CIA/DIA had concluded, how -- I don't see that
logic. Because the CIA/DIA had conclusively decided -- and,
presumably, still believe that -- that there is no other, in their
mind, logical use for these trailers than as bio labs, but the
analysts here are saying that could be a possibility, but there are
other possibilities, you know, missile refueling, whatever. Food
storage, I think, was even one.

MR. BOUCHER: No, no, I am not going to get into any other
possibilities.

QUESTION: You don't have to get into it. But I'm just saying that, how
is that not contradicting?

MR. BOUCHER: But it's the difference between going in a different
direction, and just not going that far down the road. I mean, the INR
folks didn't say --

QUESTION:  -- that you're wrong.

MR. BOUCHER: You know, they say it's this way, and we say it's that
way. They just said, they say it's over there, and we say maybe we're
right here right now. And, you know, if we answer these questions, we
can get there. So they were all looking in the same direction; they
just weren't quite ready to reach those conclusions yet.

QUESTION: It sounds like they are still not ready to reach the same --

MR. BOUCHER: No, it sounds like the people that we relied on for the
judgment, the people who had worked more extensively on this, are
confident in their conclusions. We trust them. We rely on them for
that conclusion. We accept and endorse that conclusion. They remain
confident of that conclusion. We remain confident of that conclusion.

QUESTION:  Can I ask you how State feels --

QUESTION: Who are all these people who have a stake in that
conclusion.

MR. BOUCHER:  The people at CIA and DIA, who did the paper.

QUESTION:  And State.  That's right.  That's my question.

QUESTION:  Are you interested in the opinion of the INR?

MR. BOUCHER: We're always interested in the opinion of INR, and they
share it freely whenever they feel like it.

QUESTION: But you haven't even asked them what they think now. You
can't even say what they think now.

MR. BOUCHER: Once again, I think we're all confident in the judgments
that have been made by the intelligence, the broader intelligence
community.

QUESTION: I wanted to come at it from the opposite end. I mean, on the
pecking order, if that's the right phrase, of intelligence of this
sort, State doesn't stand up there with the CIA and Defense on an
issue like this, does it? What brought them into it? Isn't it
essentially the CIA you rely on for this type of information? Why were
you looking for corroboration from the State Department?

MR. BOUCHER:  It doesn't quite work that way.

QUESTION: Is it because the Secretary was taking a very public,
important, visible stance that he wanted to hear what State might
think?

MR. BOUCHER: I wouldn't -- no, it's not. How can I say? It's not a
voting system.

QUESTION:  No.

MR. BOUCHER: It's a way of getting at the truth. It's more like an
academic community. You know, it doesn't -- there's the Einstein
quote, you know, "It doesn't take 100 scientists to prove me wrong. It
only takes one."

You've got to be -- the goal is that through the process of people
raising issues, looking at these issues, analyzing things -- and we're
part of that. And INR has an important role because they can look at
things from a different angle. If they are right, they are right. If
others are right, they are right. And at some point in all these
things there is a balance of judgment.

The CIA/DIA paper that you all have was expressed in terms of "we are
confident." Okay, that's a judgment, right? INR said they weren't
quite ready to reach that judgment yet, but the people who had worked
most extensively on this were.

QUESTION:  Were.

MR. BOUCHER:  And they still are.

QUESTION:  Right.

MR. BOUCHER: And in the end, it is a judgment, but you go with the
people who had worked mostly on this, who have looked at all the
angles, who assure us that they've looked at all these angles and
remain very confident in that judgment, and we remain very confident
in that judgment.

QUESTION:  You just said the people who work mostly on this --

MR. BOUCHER:  More extensively and directly.

QUESTION:  Meaning the CIA and the DIA?

MR. BOUCHER:  Yeah.

QUESTION:  Right.

MR. BOUCHER:  Sir.

QUESTION:  Richard, next door to Iraq and Syria --

QUESTION:  Could I just ask one more on this -- on the same subject?

MR. BOUCHER:  Sure.

QUESTION: Coupled with the report yesterday that one of your -- one of
the INR analysts had reservations about public allegations about Cuba,
what all exact -- I'm a bit puzzled what you see the role of the INR
Bureau now. Clearly you don't -- how much regard -- how much weight do
you attach to its conclusions upon these matters?

MR. BOUCHER: We have very high regard for INR. We have very high
regard for the integrity of their analytical process. The Secretary
has made that personally clear to them repeatedly, over time. We
expect from INR a slightly different optic, a slightly different angle
than others -- one that has a little more of the Secretary's interests
in mind. And this is part of the debate. It's part of the discussion.
It's part of the way we try to arrive at the truth of things. And so
INR plays a very valuable role.

Does any one agency, because of its initials, have the definitive
judgment on everything? Not necessarily. But INR provides us with
insights, raises issues and provides analysis that's very important to
our foreign policy process.

Sir.

QUESTION: Richard, next door to Iraq and Syria, over the last week
they have had and possibly fired on American troops with a convoy. And
I don't know what cooperation -- you've asked the Syrians to close
down some of the terrorists' offices in Damascus. What's happened in
the last week to ten days?

MR. BOUCHER: Well, I think the Pentagon, the CENTCOM folks'
authorities, have talked about the operation that was carried out near
the Syrian border in Iraq with a convoy. They have reported that they
have in custody, I think it's five Syrians, and that they would expect
to return those people to Syria when the arrangements are worked out.

It's important for us that we be able to operate against targets
there. It's also important to us that the security of the border with
Iraq be maintained, and as you know, over time we've had a lot of
discussions with Syria on that, and that transits by former officials,
transits in and out of Syria be stopped, transits of illegal goods be
stopped across that border. So those are issues that we've been
discussing for sometime with the Syrians and which remain important to
us, along with others like the presence of terrorist groups.

The Syrians have raised the most recent incident in the detention of
their guards, and we're able to say now that those people will be
returned as soon as the arrangements can be made.

QUESTION: Is that a good capsule of what the Ambassador told the
foreign ministry when he was called in last week? You have these --

MR. BOUCHER: We have a chargé there now, I think. I don't think the
Ambassador's there right now.

QUESTION:  I'm sorry.

MR. BOUCHER: But at least last week, the Ambassador, I think, was back
here for a bit.

QUESTION:  Oh, all right.

MR. BOUCHER: It's been evolving. I mean, we didn't -- we've had a
number of discussions with the Syrian Government since the incident.
So I can't tell you what was said at any given moment, but that's
where we are today.

QUESTION: But they've said, they are reported to have protested,
right? Syria said Wednesday that some of the U.S. Ambassadors protest
the shoot-out. And we know that -- I thought the Ambassador was called
in this Thursday.

MR. BOUCHER: I don't know that there -- he may be back. I don't know
that there's a specific meeting today or Wednesday. I would have to
check and see about a specific meeting, but this is where we are now
in terms of the situation.

QUESTION:  Oh, okay.

QUESTION: Well, what's your assessment of how well, if at all, the
Syrians are blocking the borders and --

MR. BOUCHER: We've seen, I think, some progress in that regard. I
think you're all aware of tighter controls on who gets in, who gets
out, that have been imposed in Syria. Actual control of the borders
and its full extent -- I don't think I have an overall assessment at
this point.

QUESTION: But isn't that something you're following up on since these
promises were made directly to Secretary Powell?

MR. BOUCHER: It is something that's -- yeah, this is something that
remains important to us that we continue to follow up on.

Sir.

QUESTION: Yes, Richard. Last week Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Mr.
Ugur Ziyal was in Washington, D.C., and he brought some kind of plan
to use $8.5 billion, which U.S. offered to Turkey, spend in Iraq as a
some kind of a project. Did you accepted the Turkish offer and did you
decided to visit Turkish Foreign Minister Gul exact date in the -- did
you schedule --

MR. BOUCHER: I don't have a date for a visit by Foreign Minister Gul.
The Secretary and he did have a chance to talk in Davos, in Davos on
the Dead Sea -- at the Dead Sea -- at the World Economic Forum meeting
at the Dead Sea. The Secretary sat down with Foreign Minister Gul for
a while and they talked about current issues, including the question
of Iraq and resupply of Iraq, and those questions. They did not then
-- I am not aware of subsequently -- set any particular date for the
next meeting. But they always keep in touch whenever they can.

As far as a particular proposal about the spending of the $8.5
billion, I don't have any conclusion, at this point. We're in
discussions with the Turkish Government, so I won't be able to get
into any particular projects or anything.

QUESTION: Because of this money, is the Congress and the U.S. Treasury
connect with the IMF renewal of the Turkish economy program? And do
you still insist in the releasing to this money for the IMF
connections?

MR. BOUCHER: As we haven't changed our view of how the money can be
best used, so I don't -- I just don't have anything more detailed for
you, at this point.

Ma'am.

QUESTION: Yes, again, on Turkey. As you know, the Turkish Government
has submitted an extensive package of proposals for the reconstruction
of Iraq, and which is followed by Turkish Government decision to open
up borders and access to ports and bases to foreign troops for the
stabilization in Iraq. Any progress, any response to these two points?

MR. BOUCHER: Well, just to say that we welcome the steps that were
decided by the Turkish Government to open up the ports and airports
and its border, in terms of supporting aid and reconstruction in Iraq.
That's consistent with the UN Security Council 1483. It's an important
step in facilitating further recovery in Iraq, and also developing
constructive relations between Turkey and the new Iraq.

QUESTION: Do you have any negotiations, I mean, any talks between the
two sides for this -- on this package?

MR. BOUCHER:  Who are they?  Which two sides are you talking about?

QUESTION:  The Turkish Government and the U.S., I mean.

MR. BOUCHER: We're certainly quite aware of the various capabilities
of Turkey and Turkish firms in aiding the recovery of Iraq and
participating in the reconstruction. We think that the way that they
have opened the border and the flow of supplies that's developed is an
important aspect of that and can lead to further things. But I am not
aware of any particular discussions on specific projects, at this
point.

Many of those, I think -- I am not sure we're talking about the same
package, but I think many of the interests of Turkey and Turkish firms
and participating in the reconstruction, many of those interests will
have to be pursued with the Iraqi government, once that's constituted.

QUESTION: This package was submitted during the visit of Under
Secretary last week. And it also includes --

MR. BOUCHER: Are you talking about the same package he is talking
about?

QUESTION:  No.

MR. BOUCHER:  About spending the $8.5 billion?

QUESTION:  No, I am not talking --

MR. BOUCHER: Or you're talking about a different package and how to
help in reconstruction?

QUESTION:  Yes.

MR. BOUCHER: As I said, a lot of that -- some of that will be pursued,
in terms of contracts or other interaction with the Iraqi government,
once it's constituted.

QUESTION: But this -- you know, with this last package, Turkey also
wants to contribute for the force, the stability force.

MR. BOUCHER:  Again, I don't have anything new on that package.

QUESTION:  Okay, thank you.

MR. BOUCHER:  Sir.

QUESTION:  On North Korea.

MR. BOUCHER:  Yes.

QUESTION: Would you update us light water reactor construction in
North Korea by KEDO? And is it still in progress or freezed or --

MR. BOUCHER: The bottom line on this is no decisions have been made
yet, but we are certainly in touch with other executive board member
countries; that is, Japan, South Korea, and the European Union. We're
consulting closely on the future of the light water reactor project
with them, but it's informal consultations at this point.

We have also discussed this with our partners, Japan and South Korea,
at the Trilateral Coordination Oversight Group. But, at this point,
there has been no decision.

QUESTION: You said an informal meeting at TCOG. Have you decided a
next meeting in Washington?

MR. BOUCHER: I don't have a date for the next meeting of the
Trilateral Group yet. It may be decided, but I don't have it.

Okay, Terri.

QUESTION: At the United Nations, the Terrorism Committee has now
passed out a draft report it's been preparing. And it was focusing on
how well countries have shut down the -- have shut down the network.
And I believe the report is supposed to come out next week. I am not
positive.

But, anyway, in this draft report, they are saying that they have
found nothing to support the Bush Administration's assertions that
Iraq was a safe haven for al-Qaida terrorists. And it also says that
the U.S. didn't give them any evidence to follow up on.

MR. BOUCHER: I am not going to start commenting on UN drafts. Let's
see how it gets into final, once people have looked at the facts
carefully. I think we still remain confident in the facts that we have
presented on that.

QUESTION: Well, is this something that you are lobbying on to get the
report changed then before next week?

MR. BOUCHER: Again, I am not -- I am not going to start playing around
with UN draft reports. Don't know who they were written, what they
were based on, but we'll see what happens in the final version.

QUESTION:  Do you know if that's supposed to come out next week?

MR. BOUCHER: I don't know. You have to ask the UN when their reports
come out.

Christopher.

QUESTION:  On Liberia?

MR. BOUCHER:  Yes.

QUESTION: Can you tell us if the U.S. is considering to participate in
the international peacekeeping force in this country?

MR. BOUCHER: At this point, I think all I can tell you is that all
options are under consideration. We have been willing to participate
with a joint verification team if the parties start to abide by the
ceasefire and we're able to verify that they are meeting their
commitments. We've, as you know, supported the concept of West African
peacekeeping and the efforts -- pledges that have been made by West
African states.

But, again, that requires the parties to abide by their commitments.
We are obviously reviewing the security situation vis-à-vis our own
personnel in our embassy there, and keep that under review. But, at
this point, as far as what might come down the road, I just -- all I
have to say is we're looking at all of the possible options.

QUESTION: On that -- I know it's not really your business, but you
would probably know -- are there large numbers of Marines in the
vicinity? There were recently. Are they still there? I mean, because
you would use those --

MR. BOUCHER: I'm not going to report on the presence of or the
location of the Marines. I would say that we are -- we always, in
reviewing our security posture, one of the things we're looking at is
beefing up our security presence in Monrovia. But as far as specific
forces or possibilities, I don't think I have anything -- I just don't
have anything specific at this point.

QUESTION: So when you say beefing up your security presence, what kind
of -- what kind of presence is that? I mean -- you mean --

MR. BOUCHER:  Whatever way we might beef up our security presence.

QUESTION:  For U.S. nationals?

MR. BOUCHER: For -- largely for the embassy and the facilities that
the U.S. Government runs there.

QUESTION:  I guess that's it.

MR. BOUCHER:  That's it.  Thank you.

(The briefing was concluded at 1:45 p.m.)

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