State Department Noon Briefing, July 25, 2003
|Friday July 25, 2003
U.S. Department of State
BRIEFER: Richard Boucher, Deputy Spokesman
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
FRIDAY, JULY 25, 2003
1:05 p.m. EDT
MR. BOUCHER: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome back, to some of you. Okay, I don't have any statements or announcements, so I would be glad to take your questions.
QUESTION: Following up on the Liberia announcement, what is your understanding of Charles Taylor's departure intentions?
MR. BOUCHER: His what?
QUESTION: His intentions to depart or not depart.
MR. BOUCHER: He has, I think, recently, this week, reiterated his intention to depart. There was a conversation I think was publicized that he had with one of the NGOs where he said he did intend to depart and would do so. I think he, at that point, gave a ten-day timeframe.
Our view, as the President stated again this morning, is he must depart, that that's an important factor in allowing Liberia to achieve a different future, it's an important factor in stabilizing the situation. We think he should depart as soon as possible.
QUESTION: Do you have any readout on what happened in Freetown, in the meeting there, and any decisions on logistical support by the U.S.?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't have any -- much information on that meeting other than it occurred. As you know, the meeting was yesterday. It was designed to help facilitate the deployment within the next several days of a vanguard Nigerian peacekeeping battalion that would go from Sierra Leone to Liberia. This is the vanguard for the West African forces that will be moving into Liberia.
In terms of the United States support for the operation, though, generally I can tell you that we have made an initial contribution of $10 million to a contractor known as Pacific Architects and Engineers, and they will, on our behalf, support the deployment of the West Africans. It will include a full range of logistic support, to include transportation, equipment and communications. We provided similar funding for work that this firm did in Sierra Leone and Cote D'Ivoire as well, so it's some contractor that we have known and has worked with the West Africans before.
QUESTION: What is the logic of using contractors to do this, rather than military personnel?
MR. BOUCHER: Well, I think, actually, our military uses contractors like this sometimes, too. We've done this in other places and other times. If it's a matter of organizing a supply chain and warehousing space and renting forklifts, one can do that with a contractor.
QUESTION: But why would you prefer to do it with contractors in this case?
MR. BOUCHER: It's more direct and it doesn't require the same overhead and it doesn't use U.S. troops for roles that others can perform.
QUESTION: The name, again, is Pacific Architects and Engineers?
MR. BOUCHER: Pacific Architects and Engineers.
QUESTION: Presumably, they're not doing any architecture in this little business. When did they work in Sierra Leone for you guys?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't have the exact time of that contract, but I think it's recent.
QUESTION: And this is a State Department contract or a Pentagon contract?
MR. BOUCHER: This is a State Department contract.
QUESTION: Will they have any backup from the U.S. military per se? I mean, will they be using U.S. military facilities anywhere as part of their logistical operations? And how exactly does it work?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't know. I don't think I'm able to get into that level of detail at this point. Obviously, if some of the supplies that need to be provided are, you know, military supplies or come from, you know, being provided from U.S. military warehouses, we would work with them. It's not a solely standalone operation. Their job is to support logistically the West Africans as they go forward into this operation. That is our commitment as well. This is part of that commitment, and the President talked today about some other steps that we're taking to make sure we can support the West Africans.
QUESTION: Okay. Let me put it this way. Can they operate before the A-R-G, the ARG, appears in the waters off Liberia?
MR. BOUCHER: The Amphibious Readiness Group will proceed, as the President announced, off the coast of Liberia. The contractor is providing its support to the West Africans who are already there, so they will be operating before the group arrives.
QUESTION: Do you expect the contractors to actually end up on the ground in Liberia?
MR. BOUCHER: Don't think I know that yet. Don't know if it will be done from Sierra Leone or Nigeria or in Liberia. One presumes at some stage, once peacekeepers are there and the situation is safe, that there would be on-the-ground support as well, but I don't know exactly when.
QUESTION: During meetings with the Turkish Foreign Minister this week, did the administration ask Turkey to open its border with Armenia, to lift its blockade?
MR. BOUCHER: I'll have to check on all of the meetings. In the Secretary's meetings, they -- the Secretary and the Turkish Foreign Minister discussed Armenia. The Minister, basically, updated us on the status of their relations, their efforts with Armenia, and the Secretary encouraged the easing of tensions and working towards a better relationship. That's pretty much the level of conversation at that.
QUESTION: You don't know if he specifically asked about the blockade?
MR. BOUCHER: There was not specifically discussion of borders or blockades or details like that.
QUESTION: Same topic?
MR. BOUCHER: Same topic.
QUESTION: How about the resolution of Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict? Did they discuss it during their meeting?
MR. BOUCHER: Not in a lot of detail, no. I can't remember if it -- yes, it didn't really come up in the conversation, at least when I was there. Now, we did have other discussions with the Turkish delegation, so I just can't tell you for sure whether it came up in those or not.
QUESTION: Yes, on the Turkish thing. There were media reports from Turkey, as I'm sure you saw, saying that the request was for 3,000 Turkish troops. Can you confirm that?
MR. BOUCHER: No, I can't confirm any numbers. The specific requests were made during the visits of General Jones, General Abizaid, to Turkey, so the military people on both sides would have to talk about that, if they wished.
QUESTION: And in the discussions yesterday, I assume you talked about the political complications of deploying Turkish troops in Iraq. And did you agree on some kind of way to mitigate the possible sensitivities that might arise among the Kurds, for example?
MR. BOUCHER: I think the request was made with full consideration of the situation in Iraq and full consideration of how Turkey and Turkish troops could contribute to stability in Iraq and not cause -- not lead to any -- what did you call them? -- complications.
QUESTION: Thank you. To move to another part of the world, Mr. Boucher, specifically the Philippines, what might be the role of the United States regarding the peacekeeping in the Philippines, specifically the role of the U.S. Institute for Peace? There are negotiations right now between the MILF and representatives of the government, and specifically the United States has been approached, apparently, through the U.S. Institute of Peace to play a role as a broker for peace in Mindanao.
MR. BOUCHER: I'll have to see. I don't have anything specific on that. We've certainly supported the government's efforts to achieve peace and said we'll help if we can, but I don't have anything specific at this point. I'll see if there is anything specific to say at this point.
QUESTION: If I may quickly follow this up.
MR. BOUCHER: Yes, ma'am.
QUESTION: The Philippine senate has apparently passed a resolution precisely asking or making a request to the United States to play a very strong role as an instrument for peace, specifically as a broker for peace during these talks, which, of course, in Malaysia is now going on. Now, talks have been -- other entities had, such as OIC, the Organization of Islamic Nations and Libya, I think, in the past, had played this role, but apparently the Philippines felt -- feels that this has not been -- this has not been sustained.
Now, considering that the United States plays a very strong role in beefing up, modernizing the military capabilities of a country like the Philippines, what would be your comment regarding, this time, a very unique role for the United States to play as an instrument for peace?
MR. BOUCHER: I appreciate the question, but it's essentially the same question you just asked me before. What exactly the United States role might be, how we might contribute to this situation, I don't think I can say yet. We'll be looking at this and I'll see if there's anything more specific that I can share with you later today. Okay?
QUESTION: I see.
MR. BOUCHER: Sir.
QUESTION: Yes. A Japanese parliamentary committee Friday passed a bill and (inaudible) dispatch of troops to help rebuild Iraq, and this bill has been approved by both the lower -- Japanese lower house and the upper chamber.
How do you comment on that, and what is the U.S. reaction?
MR. BOUCHER: We have said consistently we welcome any contribution that Japan can make to the reconstruction in Iraq. We certainly welcome the financial assistance, the humanitarian assistance, reconstruction assistance and military or -- assistance for the stabilization in Iraq. We recognize what an important issue this is and how it's an important development for Japan, which we welcome, and we think that Japan's ability to play this positive role in Iraq is a reflection of the kind of role it can play in world affairs.
QUESTION: Can I make a follow-up on that?
MR. BOUCHER: Yes.
QUESTION: According to this bill, Japanese self-defense forces would only be sent to areas free of military conflicts. But according to U.S., the Pentagon acknowledged that in Iraq U.S. is engaged in a guerrilla type of combat, so and also that currently Iraq is still dangerous situation.
Does U.S. have a very clear differentiation between the area of military conflict and of area free of military conflict?
MR. BOUCHER: That's a question that can be worked out with the military. There are, indeed, large areas of Iraq which are peaceful, which are stable, where the reconstruction work is underway but which do need some kind of security presence. So I'm sure as our military works with all the others who might contribute to this, and there are many countries who are contributing, that they can find the appropriate area for the different countries' forces that might be sent.
QUESTION: Can you tell anything like how large an area of military conflicts and --
MR. BOUCHER: No, I can't. That would be a judgment our military people would want to make, and I can't make it here.
QUESTION: So that means you don't have a clear differentiation --
MR. BOUCHER: No, that means you're asking a question at the State Department. I don't control the military forces. If you want to ask a question about military forces, the Pentagon is not very far. Okay?
MR. BOUCHER: Sir.
QUESTION: You have been in the past couple months quite outspoken about the elections that are coming up in Cambodia. Now that they are only 48 hours away, do you have anything to say?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't have anything to say right now. I'll see if there's anything we want to say later. Thanks.
QUESTION: Can I raise a question about another third world election -- Guatemala? Could you give us an update on the situation at the Embassy and any additional comment about the violence in Guatemala City yesterday?
MR. BOUCHER: As far as the situation regarding the Embassy and U.S. citizens, at this time U.S. interests and personnel have not been directly threatened. The U.S. Embassy has suspended public services but remains available to American citizens needing emergency assistance. The Embassy has issued a Warden Message urging Americans in Guatemala to avoid areas of the city where demonstrations are underway and urging them to keep abreast of current events.
We have issued statements, as I think you know, from both the Embassy and the Department here yesterday about the violent demonstrations that had been occurring. We think these are dangerous. These are an affront to democracy, and not part of the democratic process. We do have a stake in stability of Guatemala. We have profound interests in human rights and democracy in Guatemala, and we continue to follow this situation very, very closely.
We have noted some statements by Mr. Rios Montt that he said he couldn't control his supporters, but, in fact, we know that his party is supplying tents, food, portable toilets to the demonstrators. And so we think the parties should cease that kind of support to these violent demonstrations.
QUESTION: Do you have any view on whether his candidacy should be validated by the courts?
MR. BOUCHER: Well, that's been a matter that's gone through, I think, several decisions of the courts in Guatemala, and is now I think being taken up by the constitutional court, which is the court of last resort on constitutional matters. So they agreed yesterday to review the Supreme Court's decision. That will be decided in the Guatemalan court system.
QUESTION: On that, I don't think you gave a reason for suspending public services at the Embassy. Is that because you feel that there is any threat to U.S. interests in Guatemala, or where do you come into this?
MR. BOUCHER: We often do that when there is turmoil. We don't want to have visa lines outside our embassies. We don't want to invite people to come and see us if the embassy is located near places where there might be demonstrations, for fear that people might get caught up while they're coming or going. So it's just prudent to suspend public services on days when there might be large demonstrations, particularly violent ones like these.
QUESTION: But there is no suggestion that these demonstrations have any --
MR. BOUCHER: At this point, we have not been directly threatened or the target of the demonstrations.
QUESTION: Staying on U.S. embassies in the Western Hemisphere --
MR. BOUCHER: (Laughter.) Well, we don't have to choose the category before we ask the question. You just ask the question.
QUESTION: There is a report -- a report in the Canadian press this morning that you guys had been warned or told, alerted to an al-Qaida plot against the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa by the Syrians. Is there anything to that?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't have anything on that.
QUESTION: Well, it said that the -- it said that the U.S. -- that a plot was thwarted for the Embassy for last September.
MR. BOUCHER: Once again, I don't have anything on that. It doesn't quite sound like the thing that we might have something to say on, but I'll see if there is.
QUESTION: The topic is, "Suspected al-Qaida plots," about which I don't expect you to have anything. (Laughter.)
Malawian officials have said that five foreign nationals who were arrested in their country in June were subsequently in U.S. custody and have now been released with no charges brought against them, and that their release occurred in Sudan. Do you have any comment on any aspect of this, and particularly on whether these five were ever, to your knowledge, in U.S. custody?
MR. BOUCHER: No, I don't -- I don't have any comment on those stories. I think as far as these things go, I think you yourself said the Malawi officials were the -- Malawi was the government that arrested them. You'd have to check with them.
QUESTION: On foreign nationals detained by the U.S. (Laughter.) Can you say where talks are with the Australians about the issues of detainees at Guantanamo? Have you reached any understandings with them, as you have with the British?
MR. BOUCHER: There have been some, certainly some very good and positive talks with the Australians. The Defense Department, I think, has provided statements for the press on the discussions we had this week with the Australians, so I'll leave it to their statements.
QUESTION: While we're getting (inaudible) I know you discussed this -- (laughter) --
MR. BOUCHER: Well, you want to ask me all the Pentagon questions, I'll tell you where to ask.
QUESTION: This isn't a Pentagon question. What is -- yesterday, the congressional report on 9/11 was released and it contained a heavily -- well, it had some harsh criticism of Saudi Arabia in it, although that was -- the section was --
MR. BOUCHER: Although it didn't contain --
QUESTION: -- heavily redacted. The Saudis are, not surprisingly, a little upset about this. I'm wondering what your view is of the congressional report and its findings about the Saudis and alleged financing of al-Qaida.
MR. BOUCHER: Well, first of all, the alleged findings about the Saudis were in the sections -- were alleged to be in sections that were not released, so I don't have anything to say on material that people presume is there but wasn't released. The declassification process was carefully gone through and we much of the report as possible was declassified, but there were sections that were not. So I can't start commenting on things that people think were there but they don't know were there because they weren't released.
QUESTION: I'm sorry, it was my understanding -- again, I wasn't here yesterday, but there was a -- the heading was there but there was nothing below it. Is that not the case?
MR. BOUCHER: Well, I'm not going to fill in below it.
QUESTION: I'm not asking you to.
MR. BOUCHER: I'm not in a position to fill in below it.
QUESTION: I'm not asking you to. Have you --
MR. BOUCHER: So what am I supposed to comment on? The heading?
MR. BOUCHER: The heading?
QUESTION: Yes. And what the -- okay, fine. If you don't want to talk about it, that's fine.
MR. BOUCHER: The only point I can make is that -- and I think you know this -- we've worked very closely with the Saudi Government against al-Qaida. They recognize the threat that al-Qaida represents. They have -- since September 11th in particular, we have worked more and more closely with them against these potential threats.
As you know, since the bombings in Riyadh, we've worked jointly on -- with Saudi law enforcement, intelligence agencies. We've found this cooperation increasingly beneficial and increasingly effective. So we have a very high level of law enforcement and intelligence cooperation with the Saudi Government that helps to end terrorist financing, ends the operation of terrorist groups. You've seen them make further arrests now. And so that's the state of affairs at present.
QUESTION: That cooperation led into your decision yesterday to end the ordered departure?
MR. BOUCHER: Yes, and other things as well.
QUESTION: I realize that this is really one for the White House, but the President did make reference today to this new committee, economic committee that you're setting up with the Palestinians.
MR. BOUCHER: Mm-hmm.
QUESTION: I wondered if you could give us any, perhaps, since probably you'll be running it, any more details of what exactly it will do and who's on it and what the objective is.
MR. BOUCHER: I don't think I can give you a lot more detail, but I can tell you a little bit more about it. Yes, presumably, the -- as you presume, the State Department, our Under Secretary for Economic Affairs, will chair the group, the Joint Palestine Economic Development Group. It will be a group of U.S. and Palestinian officials, as I said, Under Secretary Larson from our side, as well as others from the U.S. Government. And they will look at the process of economic reform, the process of investment, how to bring jobs and growth to the Palestinian community.
QUESTION: Yes, going back to the Philippines, Mr. Boucher, al-Ghozi and two members of the Abu Sayyaf, the dreaded Abu Sayyaf, have escaped detention from the compound of the military. And does this throw open, you know, the question about the President, President Bush, going to the Philippines in -- sometime in October? And what might be, considering that this is also a regional problem, because apparently this guy has been also busy in Indonesia and he makes bombs and stuff like that.
So considering the role of the United States to precisely help, you know, in -- against terrorism there, would you be able to speculate as to whether President Bush visit there will be sort of going to have a monkey wrench to it?
MR. BOUCHER: My job is not to speculate, I have to say. Your job may be to speculate, but I'm not standing up here to join you in speculation. The White House will say what they have to say about the visit. I'm not aware of any change whatsoever. I don't believe they've had anything different to say about the prospect of the President visiting the Philippines since that --
QUESTION: All right. What is --
MR. BOUCHER: What is our role? Our role is to work with other governments in the region to fight terrorism in many, many ways. And particularly with the Philippines, we have very close cooperation and we'll continue to cooperate with governments in the region against terrorism and against terrorists, including those who might have escaped from jail.
QUESTION: Very briefly, sir. As far as the travel advisory that has been issued by the department, by the State Department, would you be able to comment farther regarding that so far as restrictions of travel by U.S. citizens to the Philippines, in some parts of the Philippines?
MR. BOUCHER: I think it's all fairly straightforward and explained in the advisory itself.
QUESTION: So, on North Korea, so the U.S. has very clearly expressed its desire for a multilateral approach to this issue. So why has the U.S. not so clearly expressed its appreciation or interest in Russian participation in the next talks?
MR. BOUCHER: We have. We have said that we think a number of countries have a role and can make a positive contribution. We have said that, first and foremost, the neighbors, Japan and South Korea, should be included, but we have also expressed our support for including the Russians in those discussions.
QUESTION: So the U.S. would be open to having the Russians --
MR. BOUCHER: We'd be very happy. We, in fact, have made clear, I think, our view, both in public and in private, that we do think the Russians should be included, but we have also said the first priority is to get Japan and South Korea included.
QUESTION: One more?
MR. BOUCHER: No, covered.
QUESTION: There have been some reports about possible -- a possible date for new -- a new round of talks in Beijing between U.S., North Korean and Chinese officials in late August or early September. Is there any --
MR. BOUCHER: I haven't seen those reports, but they're wrong.
QUESTION: Are you saying there won't be a meeting in late August or early September?
MR. BOUCHER: I am saying that nothing --
QUESTION: Are you saying that a meeting hasn't been set?
QUESTION: Earlier? Earlier than that, maybe?
MR. BOUCHER: I'm not saying anything because nobody has given me a chance. (Laughter.) But if I were to say something, I would say that, as you know, we talked quite extensively with the Chinese last week. We have kept in touch with the Chinese since then, but there are no new developments, and there are no meetings or talks scheduled or planned for any particular date at this point.
QUESTION: So you're ruling out late August and early September? (Laughter.)
MR. BOUCHER: I don't predict the future. I am just saying there is nothing planned right now. Because if I say no, and then it just so happens that, you know, something happens on a particular date, I don't want to be wrong.
QUESTION: Right. But not predicting the future, commenting on the past, perhaps, do you have anything to say about the latest contretemps between India and China, in terms of incursions and what it means for regional stability there? And if you don't, I have another question.
MR. BOUCHER: I don't, but I'll check on it for you.
QUESTION: Okay. A couple of months ago, or maybe a month ago, or at least several weeks ago, you had said that you would oppose a move being launched by Cuba and Libya and the UN Human Rights Commission to throw Reporters Without Borders out, to deny them their observer status. It didn't work, or your opposition didn't work. And yesterday ECOSOC tossed them, removed their accreditation for next year. Your comment?
MR. BOUCHER: That's news. I'll check on it.
QUESTION: On North Korea. Did you -- can you confirm the -- some news report that North Korea sued 11 American Presidents, dating back to President Truman, about the Korean War and --
MR. BOUCHER: I have not heard anything about that. You'd have to check with somebody involved.
QUESTION: Well, Richard, it looks like the North Koreans are looking for compensation for the Korean War. Is this anything that -- that the U.S. is prepared to contemplate as part of a negotiation?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't know where you get these things, but I have never heard about this one, and I am not going to contemplate anything right now. Thank you.
QUESTION: Yes, could you elaborate on today's announcement of a new sanction on the North Korea entity, Changgwang Trust Company?
MR. BOUCHER: Yes. On July 17th, the United States imposed missile proliferation sanctions on the North Korean entity, Changgwang Sinyong Corporation. Sanctions were imposed on Changgwang Sinyong Corporation for its knowing involvement in the transfer of missile technology, Control Regime Category 1 scud missiles to Yemen in December of 2002. Sanctions were announced in the Federal Register today and take effect today. Sanctions were imposed for a three-year and eight-month period, and they will expire in March 2007.
QUESTION: Richard, are is this the proliferation of the weapons on a ship that was intercepted by the Spanish, and it was allowed to go to Yemen?
MR. BOUCHER: Yes.
QUESTION: So you're imposing companies -- you're imposing sanctions on the North Korean company that proliferated, but you're allowing Yemen to keep the weapons?
MR. BOUCHER: The export of the missiles is subject to sanctions. Many countries in the world have agreed on restraining their export of such missiles and wouldn't sell them. I think at the time we explained the situation with regard to Yemen. As you know, we have assurances that this was the last part of the shipment, and that there will be no further shipments. And in consideration of our relationship, our cooperation on terrorism, and consistent with the law, we're not imposing sanctions on Yemen for this activity at this time.
QUESTION: Richard, what did take long time? That was incident in last November or so.
MR. BOUCHER: December 2002.
QUESTION: So six months, more than that, have passed on that?
MR. BOUCHER: It depends on these things. A lot of time there is just a legal and bureaucratic process that has to be looked at that we have to go through.
QUESTION: Is Yemen theoretically liable for sanctions under these acts?
MR. BOUCHER: As I said, it's consistent with law not to impose sanctions on Yemen for this.
QUESTION: That's not my question. I said is it theoretically liable -- could you have chosen to impose sanctions on Yemen for receiving these weapons?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't know, frankly. I think that's the law in this case is fairly complex, but we think it's consistent with the law in this case not to impose the sanctions. And that's the decision we made because of the kind of relationship we have with Yemen, the political process and the decision we made at the time to allow them to accept these missiles as a completion of an order that would not be repeated.
QUESTION: I guess this is probably the same question, but let me just try and -- the purchase is okay, but the sale isn't?
MR. BOUCHER: As I said, the law is very complicated on this point, and I am not going to pretend to able to explain it simply here.
QUESTION: All right.
MR. BOUCHER: We look carefully at the law. As you know, we made a decision at the time that it was consistent with U.S. interests to allow Yemen to take possession of these missiles. But they assured us at the time they were not buying anymore. We have an excellent relationship with Yemen. We made that decision. That decision is consistent with the law, and we're not imposing sanctions.
QUESTION: Right, one more on this. It's my understanding that these sanctions do not just apply to the Chang -- whatever the name of the company is --
MR. BOUCHER: Changgwang Sinyong.
QUESTION: -- but also to the North Korean Government.
MR. BOUCHER: The effect of the sanctions is, yes, that they apply to the individual company. But there is the Helms Amendment to the missiles sanctions law that requires that except for the ban on commerce licenses, the sanctions apply not just to the corporation and the related entities, but also to all activities of the North Korean Government relating to the development and production of Missile Technology Control Regime Annex items, or affecting the development and protection of electronic space systems or equipment and military aircraft.
MR. BOUCHER: And I think you all know this company has also been subject to sanctions under Iran Nonproliferation Act, and we talked about that July 3rd.
QUESTION: Right. And so that leads me to the next question, which is the practical effect of these new sanctions is really nothing, right?
MR. BOUCHER: No, the practical effect of these new sanctions is to extend the sanctions period because we chose a period of three years and eight months for this. That would mean that the sanctions would expire in March 2007. The sanctions that have been imposed under the Iran Act would have expired on June 25th, 2005.
QUESTION: Okay. And the practical effect of the sanctions against the North Korean Government? I mean, these kinds of -- the prohibition that this brings, I believe the items were already -- already exists under various U.S. --
MR. BOUCHER: Yes, often there are overlapping sanctions, obviously. We're not selling high tech electronic systems, space systems or equipment or military aircraft to the North Korean Government.
QUESTION: Or buying it?
MR. BOUCHER: Or buying it.
Okay, in the back.
QUESTION: My last question about the Philippines.
MR. BOUCHER: Okay.
QUESTION: May I get back to you regarding what you may be able to give so far as a response regarding my question about the role of the U.S.?
MR. BOUCHER: The Press Office will try to help you when we get information for you, okay?
QUESTION: I will check that.
MR. BOUCHER: Yes.
QUESTION: Thank you.
MR. BOUCHER: Sir.
QUESTION: Oh, yes, moving onto Chinese stuff. On the yesterday, we got the (inaudible) recent testimony by Assistant Secretary Paula DeSutter. She clearly mentioned the evaluation by China of the Chemical Weapons Convention, on the Biological Weapons Convention, and she said the China still have maintained the advanced biological and the chemical weapons program. How do you think on that and how are you going to deal with this program?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't have anything particular on the testimony. I'd leave it to their testimony to tell you about it. We do have discussions of nonproliferation and other issues coming up with the Chinese. I think she will be going out to join Under Secretary Bolton during his talks in China, Japan, North Korea, this -- South Korea -- excuse me -- at the end of the month. So we'll be -- we always discuss issues of nonproliferation with the Chinese and we'll be doing it again soon.
QUESTION: Richard, there is a humanitarian peace conference here in Washington sponsored by Members of Congress. And the American Humanitarian Lawyers Group in San Francisco and notables have taken part in this, including Senators Harkin and Congressman Pitts, and humanitarian lawyer, Karen Parker, and also the Norwegians are helping too with this, interceding with the problems in Kashmir. But yet this morning, Indian troops apparently killed infiltrators, and also judges were killed in Pakistan.
Is there anything more that the United States can do to settle this problem in that region?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't have anything new to say today about the problems in Kashmir. We have worked very hard on this issue. We have worked very hard in terms of trying to end infiltration across the line of control. We made that a consistent point and one that we continue to raise, and we have looked -- talked to both the Indian Government and the Pakistani Government about things they can do to help this process along.
So I think we have been working very consistently and very hard on this problem and we'll continue to do so.
QUESTION: Could I --
MR. BOUCHER: Sure.
QUESTION: Do you have anything to say about armistice and the 50th anniversary of signing it? Do you want to keep it the way it is for another some years?
MR. BOUCHER: I think the White House -- I think the President already made some comments this morning, so I'll leave it to him.
QUESTION: On the Rewards for Justice Program, any decision yet on whether the informant who turned in Uday and Qusay's whereabouts will be paid? And, if not, where does that stand?
MR. BOUCHER: No decision yet. There is a process that we're going through. We're already in touch with the Defense Department so that they can give us the appropriate information that they need to give us, and then we have an interagency group that will meet, that will look at this and make the decision, the recommendation to the Secretary, so that we can pay this -- pay this reward.
The informant is eligible for two times $15 million, so that's $30 million, and we look forward to being -- up to $30 million. We look forward to being able to pay the reward just as we said we would.
QUESTION: Just as a follow-up, Richard, on that.
MR. BOUCHER: Yes.
QUESTION: Where does the money physically come from? Is that part of State Department appropriation?
MR. BOUCHER: It comes from State Department appropriations, yes.
QUESTION: No bonus for you.
QUESTION: Are they taxed on that money, do you know?
MR. BOUCHER: Only in their home country. It's not subject to U.S. taxes, unless they're U.S. residents or citizens.
QUESTION: And you said you haven't received the name yet from DOD?
MR. BOUCHER: We need the information on, you know, who it was, what they provided, the level of risk that they took, things like that --
MR. BOUCHER: Can I finish this sentence? Can I finish this sentence maybe?
The day that the raid happened that we got the information and were able to carry out the raid, we were in touch with the Defense Department to tell them what the information was we needed. We're working with them to get that information so that we can go through this process as quickly as possible. We want to make this happen quickly. I think the previous record is 19 days from submission to payment, and we'll see if we can do that or better.
QUESTION: Richard, on that, is the informant also eligible for any immigration status in the United States?
MR. BOUCHER: The Reward for Justice Program is a reward program for information that's provided and assistance provided. Whether there would be other factors involving the individual that might lead to some other immigration status, I don't know. But this does not involve -- this particular program does not involve that.
QUESTION: Okay. Leaving aside the Rewards for Justice Program, is that something that's under consideration given --
MR. BOUCHER: I don't know of anything in that regard at this point.
QUESTION: -- the difficulties you might face enjoying his wealth in Iraq?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't know of anything in that regard at this point. I don't want to speculate.
QUESTION: Is it not on the -- in the offer -- I'm sorry -- that people who provide information are eligible for resettlement or some variation of the witness -- I believe it's on the website.
MR. BOUCHER: I'll double-check on this. As far as I know, this is just money, but I'll double-check and see.
QUESTION: And you said -- I just want to make clear. You said the previous record was 19 days, quickest time. So it being only three days now, you're not chomping at the bit here, and you're not -- I mean, I realize you want to get it done quickly.
MR. BOUCHER: We're doing this as fast as possible. We look forward to completing it and we will -- we will process this payment and do the appropriate work as quickly as possible.
QUESTION: Just a quick one on the North Korea sanctions. I don't quite have clear -- excuse me -- if these are new sanctions being put in place, or is this really more of an extension of sanctions that existed from the previous times?
MR. BOUCHER: In terms of the sale -- the events that led to the imposition of sanctions, this is a new decision to impose sanctions because of a sale that they made. There were other sanctions already because of other sales that they have made. This entity is basically the North Korea Missile Exporting Corporation, and so every time, you know, when they sell missiles overseas and we find out about it, it falls under this law or that law.
So the penalties, the actual imposition of penalties, falls on top of other penalties that have been imposed before, and it's very -- it's really the same set of penalties. What the effect does, though, of making this decision at this time with this time period is it takes penalties that were already there for other reasons and extends them into the future because of this particular sale. I think that's clear. I hope.
QUESTION: Yes, can I make two follow-ups on the question of the force (inaudible)? My first follow-up is --
MR. BOUCHER: I'm sorry, on the question of what?
QUESTION: It's about the bill regarding the Japanese self-defense force to Iraq. What kind of role the U.S. expect the Japanese to play in rebuilding Iraq, and is there any differences between what U.S. expected, expect Japanese to play, and what the Japanese want to do or to play?
MR. BOUCHER: The first is what kind of role do we expect them to play. I think I answered that: a positive role, a useful role, a contributory role, one that helps stabilize Iraq and helps Japanese interests and our interests and, more importantly, the interests of the people of Iraq.
And as far as sort of what we wanted and what they offered, what we wanted is for people to offer what they can and to do what they can, and we welcome all these offers of support. We welcome Japanese decisions to go forward with assistance, humanitarian aid, reconstruction aid and a military role. And so no, there's no differences between the United States and Japan about what they might do.
QUESTION: So that means like if, according to you, there basically is the humanitarian support in Iraq like --
MR. BOUCHER: I said there were a lot of things that need to be done. We welcome any role that Japan is prepared to play in helping out.
QUESTION: Okay. Is the U.S. expecting Japanese self-defense force to play like a backup for the security forces in --
MR. BOUCHER: I don't have any definition of the military role at this point. That gets worked out between the militaries.
QUESTION: One more, please.
MR. BOUCHER: One more, okay.
QUESTION: Yes. If because of the time for the departure for Japanese if Japanese decided to depart the self-defense troops to Iraq, and the time is going to be after about sometime in November after a congressional election, is the timing disappointing to the U.S.? You have disappointment at --
MR. BOUCHER: Again, you're asking me to work out military logistics, and I can't do that from here.
QUESTION: Thank you.
(The briefing was concluded at 1:55 p.m.)
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