State Department Briefing, September 8, 2003
September 8, 2003
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Wolf, Feltman and Kurtzer Meet with the Israelis and Palestinians
MR. BOUCHER: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I don't have any statements or announcements, so I'd be glad to take your questions.
QUESTION: I have a question. Of course --
MR. BOUCHER: Where do you want to start?
QUESTION: -- the scuttle among the Palestinians is of interest to everybody. The Secretary called the Israeli Foreign Minister, I know, but did he make any other calls? Is anybody going to the region?
MR. BOUCHER: At this point nobody going to the region, but obviously we have representatives out there who are working very hard. Ambassador Wolf has been meeting with all the parties and reporting back regularly to Washington, including the Secretary. Our Consul General Jeff Feltman has been keeping in close touch with the Palestinians, and including a meeting that he had today with Ahmed Qureia, Abu Alaa, to discuss the process. He's been following the process forward. And, of course, Ambassador Kurtzer is keeping in touch with the Israeli side.
The Secretary himself has spoken with European High Representative Solana, with Italian Foreign Minister Frattini, with French Foreign Minister de Villepin and with Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath today, as well as, well, he talked to the Argentine Foreign Minister Bielsa about other things. But, generally, these conversations have covered the UN resolution on Iraq and/or the situation in the Palestinian Authority.
The general attitude that I would express at this point is to say, first of all, it is up to the Palestinian people, through the Palestinian Legislative Council, to decide on their Prime Minister, decide on their new Prime Minister.
The Secretary said yesterday we hope that whoever is selected will be given the political power and the control of the security forces and of the finances of the Palestinian Authority to stop terrorist organizations such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
Forward movement with continued terrorist activity by Hamas and other terrorist groups is simply not possible. Hamas and such groups obliterate the hopes for peace and the possibility of two states living side by side in peace and security.
So, whoever becomes the new Palestinian Prime Minister, we are looking to see if he has the commitment, the authority and the resources to move forward on the roadmap; and at this juncture, that means principally to move forward on taking control of the security situation and acting against groups like Hamas and Palestinian Jihad.
QUESTION: I'm not sure everybody who he spoke to, or their government, were entirely in line, allied with the United States. They're more inclined to ask the U.S. to put pressure on Israel. Could you speak a moment or two about -- or three -- about what you see as Israel's obligations?
MR. BOUCHER: We think both parties have obligations under the roadmap, and our goal is to move forward with both parties under the roadmap. The Secretary, I think in his speech on Friday, said that we will continue to pressure both sides and we want to see both parties move forward on the roadmap.
The juncture that we have come to on the roadmap, however, we think requires action by the Palestinians to take control of the security situation and to stop the efforts of violence groups who have tried to disrupt the process and kill innocent people.
So we will continue to work with both sides to move forward. That has been our role, will continue to be our role. But also, to make clear when it's time for parties to take decisive actions on security, that it is time for the Palestinians to do that.
QUESTION: Richard, do you expect or are you asking that whoever assumes the new Palestinian Prime Minister position retain Mr. Dahlan as head of security services, and can you say whether this shakeup in the Palestinian Authority over the weekend has any effect on U.S. aid to the Palestinian Authority?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't -- I don't want to predict any changes in U.S. assistance. We have, as you know, under Prime Minister Abbas -- we did a lot to support him and a lot to support his effort.
We had, for the first time, $20 million of direct assistance going to the Palestinian Authority. We had the first visit by a Palestinian Prime Minister to the White House. We had the first handovers of security responsibility in Gaza and Bethlehem to the new Palestinian Government.
So we made a lot of efforts and we had some measure of success. We want to continue with that success. We want to continue moving down the road to the roadmap. We want to continue to see both parties take steps. But that's going to require that the Palestinians be able to take the steps they need to take on security -- to establish real control of security -- and that means having a prime minister with commitment, with authority, and with the resources to do that.
QUESTION: And can you say anything about Dahlan?
MR. BOUCHER: I wouldn't get into trying to choose a Palestinian cabinet. They will have to -- just as they have to choose their own Prime Minister, they have to choose their own cabinet. We'll see what --
QUESTION: But the U.S. has invested a lot of personal time. The President has mentioned his name and praised him in the past.
MR. BOUCHER: We've mentioned a lot of names when we were working with people, and I'm sure we'll mention names in the future as well, depending on who they assign to these jobs.
We intend to work with the Palestinian Authority as -- as they build institutions, as they build a democratic process. That, remember, is the bigger goal: to help the Palestinian Authority as they create the institutions that can support a Palestinian state. And so we want to treat them as best we can as -- in their governing process, let them make the decisions, and make clear that we're prepared to work with them if they're prepared to take their responsibility.
QUESTION: Richard, Abu Alaa, before he -- well, when he was nominated by Chairman Arafat said that he -- one of the precondition -- or a precondition for him to accept the job would be support from the EU and the United States. Given that Arafat has apparently just announced to the Palestinian Legislature that Abu Alaa has, in fact, accepted the nomination, and the fact that Mr. Alaa, he met with Mr. Feltman -- when was that, today?
MR. BOUCHER: Today.
QUESTION: Can we infer or assume, then, that the United States has told him that he will have your backing as long as the -- he continues moving in the same direction as --
MR. BOUCHER: I don't -- I wouldn't characterize the meeting in that way. The Consul General, Acting Consul General Feltman, is meeting with various people to keep abreast of the situation, but to make clear this overriding point we have made in public as well as in private, that the Palestinian Prime Minister needs to be able to move on security, and that that is our key interest right now, but that we do, at the same time, intend to work with both sides and continue to make sure that both sides continue movement on the roadmap.
So, no, it's not a -- it was not a pledge. It's not -- I don't have the full details of the meeting, but I generally characterize the meeting as conveying the kind of sentiments that I convey now.
QUESTION: But you are -- you do believe that he is someone that can be worked with? You don't think that he is in the same mold as Chairman Arafat?
MR. BOUCHER: We'll have to see, first of all, whether he has, as I said, the commitment, the authority and the resources to move on these questions, to move forward on the roadmap. And second of all, we'll see how the government is formed and what kind of action they take.
QUESTION: I guess the reason I'm asking is because you were pretty unabashed in your support for Prime Minister Abbas, despite the fact that he didn't have the authority from Arafat over all the security apparatus. So I'm just wondering now, you know, have you told him that the only way you can support him is that -- is if he gets control of the security apparatus and reins in Hamas and Palestinian --
MR. BOUCHER: It's not about personalities, or our supporting individuals. We're prepared to work with a Palestinian Prime Minister who can move forward on the roadmap. With Prime Minister Abbas we were able to move on the roadmap. He was exercising authority he had, and while we understood and said it was limited to some extent, we were managing to achieve some progress along those lines. But he was never -- he was not able to get real control over all the security services, and thereby get real control over the activities of terrorist groups. We think that's the juncture we're at now, and that that needs to be established.
All I can say is, we'll see how the government is formed, what kind of commitment they have, what kind of resources they're given, and what kind of actions they take.
QUESTION: So, just -- I'm sorry.
MR. BOUCHER: I do, eventually, want to get beyond the first row.
QUESTION: Sorry. You're not, at this point, conditioning America working with the new Palestinian Prime Minister on those goals that you've just stated; you're simply saying that you'd like to see the new Prime Minister, who you're willing to work with, move towards those goals?
MR. BOUCHER: I'd say that's right. We're making the same observation of what needs to be done as we made when Mr. Abbas was Prime Minister, that the task before us remains the same, the need to get control of security services and use that to get control of the terrorist organizations remains the same. And whoever takes over as Prime Minister is going to face the same set of facts. In order to move forward on the roadmap, we need to do that. And our desire is to move forward on the roadmap with both parties. Our commitment remains strong to doing that, and we will continue to work with both sides, pressure both sides, to make progress.
QUESTION: Richard, (inaudible) Mr. Sharon is in India seeking India's help as far as fighting terrorism in India and also in Israel, and seeking India's help in Israeli and Palestine dispute. Now, India has, I understand, a big list of arms with -- to the Prime Minister, just like Pakistan had with the U.S. So you have any comments as far as this arms race in the region may go, and nuclear threat?
MR. BOUCHER: No.
QUESTION: How about Prime Minister Sharon's visit?
MR. BOUCHER: I think, simply put, you know, this is a bilateral matter between Israel and India. We have excellent relations with Israel, excellent relations with India. I suppose we're always glad when our friends make friends with each other and work together. We think we have a lot of common interests, and I'm sure they feel like they have common interests as well. So we'll work with both India and Israel. If there's anything where our support or approval is needed in their relationship, we'll try to work constructively with both sides.
QUESTION: How about any objection from United States as far as arms deals is concerned, which is two countries doing business --
MR. BOUCHER: Well, depends what's being sold, but there have been sales before that we have raised no objection to.
QUESTION: If Mr. Qureia does take the helm as the new Palestinian Foreign Minister --
MR. BOUCHER: Prime Minister.
QUESTION: Prime Minister, rather. The demand saying that the United Nations has to approve before he would take office -- is this troubling, or do you have to --
MR. BOUCHER: I don't want to try to do that again. I think that's essentially the same question that was asked over here, and I'm just going to leave it with the answer I gave there.
QUESTION: Can I move to the Iraq resolution?
MR. BOUCHER: We're still on this a little bit. Mark.
QUESTION: Can you say, from the Secretary's conversations on the phone this morning, whether he and the Europeans are of one mind on whether the new Palestinian Prime Minister should be in total control of the security services?
MR. BOUCHER: I think the Europeans will have to express themselves in detail on this, if they wish to -- and he did talk to a variety of people. But generally, I think we and the Europeans and many of the others we talked to emphasize the importance of real progress on the roadmap, emphasize the importance of taking control of the security situation, particularly with regard to the terrorist groups. The Europeans have just made a decision to -- a political decision to list Hamas as a terrorist organization, and they're now starting to meet to carry through on that. We look forward to that implementation.
But I think that is a sign from the Europeans of the importance that they now attach to ending the activities of these terrorist groups. And we all know that's the item on the agenda. So I think, to the extent that they, you know, they haven't gone in quite the level of detail you're talking about, but they've all talked about the need to move forward on the roadmap, to have control of the security situation and to end the activities of the terrorist groups.
QUESTION: Just a quick follow-up. Since Europe underwrites the Palestinian Authority to a large extent, has the Secretary urged them, urged the Europeans to restrict their PA donations to agencies that are totally under the control of the Prime Minister and the Finance Minister?
MR. BOUCHER: I think that's a step that the Europeans have already taken -- if not completely, to a great extent -- because they, like other donors, have been very concerned, were very concerned in the past, about how carefully the money was being used and how transparently it was being accounted for.
And if I remember back to many of the statements that Chris Patten has made on behalf -- EU Commissioner Patten has made on behalf of the European Union, that they were, indeed, instrumental in working with us and working with the Palestinian Authority in making sure the new financial system went into place and that whatever donations were made were carefully and transparently accounted for.
QUESTION: What specific steps can you outline that you would like to see follow the declaration of Hamas as a terrorist group by the Europeans, financial or other?
MR. BOUCHER: Let me see if I can get the details.
There's just a process that the Europeans have to go through to make their political decision effective and they're having working group meetings this week, apparently, to do that.
The Secretary has stayed in touch with European foreign ministers on this subject, so they have working group sessions, and then I think it needs even to turn into national action. So there's a bureaucratic process they have to go through to make this political decision effective. That's what we're talking about in terms of carrying through to make sure that the money doesn't go from Europe to Hamas.
QUESTION: Is there anything you can say about certain charities or groups that you think need to be shut down or anything like that?
MR. BOUCHER: Well, we, ourselves, have listed Hamas for a long time and have listed a number of associated organizations, and I'm sure the Europeans are quite familiar with the extent to which we think other organizations need to be listed.
And since the goal is to prevent funding from reaching Hamas, then we would hope that they would have as extensive possible a listing to make sure that money doesn't reach Hamas.
QUESTION: Richard, who decide the level of authority of the new Prime Minister? I mean the Palestinian Council or United State or Israel? Who decide that?
MR. BOUCHER: The Palestinian Legislative Council is going to decide what authorities he's given. One of the key elements is to resolve the split security situation that was -- existed when Prime Minister Abbas was put in charge. But that, at the time, I believe, was the decision of the Palestinian Legislative Council.
We would hope that Chairman Arafat and the Council would decide to put all security services under control of the Prime Minister.
Okay. She wanted to talk about the Iraq resolution?
QUESTION: This morning, Kofi Annan talked about a Permanent 5 meeting that he was calling in Geneva later this week. Is that something that Powell is going to be traveling to?
And also, he raised the examples in the past of the UN special representative running the civil administration in places like Timor. Is that something that the U.S. is now willing to consider for Iraq?
MR. BOUCHER: Okay, let me talk about two things. The idea of a meeting in Geneva, certainly, we welcome the Secretary General's involvement in this whole process of a new resolution as well as the time and attention he's paid to the Middle East situation. So there is a lot to talk about with other Perm 5 members and with the Secretary General.
We're not -- haven't decided yet on the proposal for a meeting in Geneva. The Secretary has not decided. I think he's been in touch with some of his Perm 5 counterparts.
Obviously, there's the opportunity to meet together with the Secretary General in New York a week or so later. So I think they'll all keep talking about this and decide together whether a meeting in Geneva would be useful at the end of this week.
QUESTION: And on the civil administration?
MR. BOUCHER: Oh, and then on the first one I was going to ask -- answer: The Secretary, I think, talked about that to a great extent in his appearances on NBC and other shows over the weekend.
The point is, I think, that the international community has abilities and responsibilities, and as we try to exercise the responsibilities that we have acquired because of the action that we took, we also want to make maximum use of the abilities of others. And the UN has a great deal of energy and expertise in pursuing political arrangements, and that's why we've written the resolution to allow for an expanded -- a vital role of the United Nations in the process, but an expanded role in the political and some other areas. So, as you know, we've written it so the UN would have a very extensive role on the political process.
Just turning it over and dumping it into the UN wouldn't necessarily mean forward progress, but we think we can all contribute to the great -- greatest extent of our abilities to helping the Iraqis as they create the institutions and the political structure that can exercise full sovereignty on behalf of the Iraqi people.
QUESTION: New subject?
QUESTION: No, wait. Can we stay on this?
MR. BOUCHER: I guess I should --
QUESTION: For a second?
MR. BOUCHER: Yeah.
QUESTION: In his conversations -- well, should a meeting in Geneva come about, I can't help but notice that all but one person from the Quartet would be there, and that the Secretary actually spoke to that one person who would be missing from the Quartet, Foreign Minister Frattini, this morning. The Italians, including Mr. Frattini, have been talking about having a Quartet meeting on the 23rd on the UNGA sidelines. I'm wondering if -- did the Secretary suggest that they might have that on Saturday, along with a --
MR. BOUCHER: There is nothing set on a new Quartet meeting, and I don't want to speculate at this point.
QUESTION: It wasn't a topic of conversation that you're aware of?
MR. BOUCHER: The idea of having a Quartet meeting sometime soon has been a topic of conversation. I can't go any farther than that at this point.
QUESTION: Just to follow, Richard, was the topic of the Geneva meeting part of the discussion with de Villepin this morning?
MR. BOUCHER: It was a subject of discussion with most of his -- well, with his Perm 5 counterparts over the last few days. So, yeah, it came up with -- he talked about it with Foreign Minister de Villepin.
QUESTION: Yes, about the UN resolution. Yesterday, President mentioned about that some countries is asking to UN resolution for joining to multinational forces. Is it the Turkey is one of them? Is they are putting the condition about this, then?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't know. That's a good question to ask the Turkish Government.
QUESTION: But they are asking from you.
MR. BOUCHER: But they are -- if they're asking, they'll be glad to tell you they're asking, I'm sure. We've been in touch with the Turkish Government about possible contributions of troops. We've said we would welcome any decision by the Turkish Government to contribute troops to Iraq and we are continuing to talk to them about that possibility.
QUESTION: Also, President yesterday, in the same speech, he mentioned about that -- about northern Iraq, he said that this Kurdish area is going to go to self-governing. Can you elaborate what is the meaning of the self-government? Are they planning to --
MR. BOUCHER: Well, I think, first of all, we need to stick carefully to what the Sec -- what the President said. He said the north of Iraq is moving forward with reconstruction and self-government.
We have always supported and continue to support the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq. The President expressed last night confidence in the ability of the Iraqi people to govern themselves. The President also expressed his conviction that Iraq is ready to take the next steps toward self-government.
The ultimate goal is to turn over political authority at all levels to the citizens of Iraq. But decisions on the future political structure of Iraq will be made by the people of Iraq through that process.
Okay, in the back. Sir.
QUESTION: What is the U.S. position on the case of Mr. Vladimir Gusinsky, the Russian tycoon who has been arrested in Venizelos Airport in Athens August 21st, and a process is pending on the further Greek courts to be extradited in Russia at the request of the Russian Government.
MR. BOUCHER: I don't know if we've taken a position. I'd have to check and see.
QUESTION: Apparently, a major joint operation of the army and police is going on in Macedonia. Yesterday, several people were killed. And what is the position of the U.S. Government on what is going on there?
MR. BOUCHER: Don't know.
QUESTION: You don't have -- (laughter).
MR. BOUCHER: I'll have to check and see if we have something to say.
QUESTION: Jack Pritchard, the former State Department official, spoke this morning and he said the six-nation process that began can only carry the situation so far, and he says what is required is a sustained commitment by the United States to deal with North Korea; we have got to have a full-time negotiator who can do coordination with North Korea; and that it must keep the other four members of the six-nation process informed.
What I just read you is, more or less, direct quotes. Do you have any thoughts on his proposal?
MR. BOUCHER: I think if you look at the way that we've structured these discussions, we've made available opportunities for whatever configuration of discussions might be helpful. But we've also -- and Jack Pritchard had a lot to do with this, this process of keeping the others informed who are interested in this.
So we've been able to organize a forum in which the community of most interested parties -- geographically, at least -- were able to deal with this in one forum. We've always kept the others completely and fully informed of whatever is said in direct meetings or direct discussions, and so we think that this forum maximizes the communication but also maximizes any opportunities, should that be appropriate, for meetings of two parties, three parties, four parties, or whatever.
QUESTION: Just to follow on that, Ambassador Pritchard essentially called for sustained, serious, direct bilateral talks outside the six-party mechanism, and he suggested that the six-party mechanism, if it met only every couple of months, was sort of like a drive-by, where you roll the window down and stick your head out and talk to the North Koreans, you roll it back up.
MR. BOUCHER: I'd hate to think of six cars driving by and rolling windows down at the same time, but --
QUESTION: This was basically his point, that it's going to be very hard to get this done "a six," as it were.
MR. BOUCHER: Well, I think we have always felt that the important thing is that this is matter for any number of nations. The affront of North Korea has been an affront to the international community, including the neighbors they had agreements with. But also, the potential solutions, the potential benefits down the road to North Korea, potential relationships, are also centered on these nations, and that's why we need to deal with it in this kind of forum.
As I said, it provides ample opportunity for other kinds of discussions. Even sustained discussions in this forum, we believe are possible. But having just had the first set of discussions in this forum, I think we would say it's not time to junk it and try something else. We've achieved some success in moving the ball forward, at least to another round of discussions, to an understanding that we need a nuclear-free peninsula.
QUESTION: So you have no interest for now, then, in bilateral talks outside the context of the six-party --
MR. BOUCHER: I would say we've just gotten started with this forum and it's time to pursue it because we do think it has, at least, showed a bit of promise in terms of what it might produce.
QUESTION: Richard, do you want to say anything now, since the topic is raised, about a former negotiator of North Korea, at a moment in very -- a sensitive moment in the negotiations openly criticizing policy that he, two weeks ago, was part of? Does that in some way weaken, you know -- I mean, why -- the North Koreans could jump on this and demand two-party or say, "Hey, Pritchard just said that."
MR. BOUCHER: There are plenty of people expressing their opinion every day.
QUESTION: Right, but they hadn't just --
MR. BOUCHER: And now he has become just one of them.
MR. BOUCHER: What can I say? It's a free country.
QUESTION: Richard, on this. Do you have any reaction to the latest bombast of the North Koreans ahead of their National Day party? What I'm referring to specifically is this, these statements that they don't see the need, again -- again, conflicting statements that they don't see the need for any more talks.
MR. BOUCHER: This -- not the one before where they said they didn't see the need for talks --
QUESTION: This one, today.
MR. BOUCHER: This one, today. And between the last one and this one, we've had a statement that they intended to go back to further discussions in the six-party forum. Right?
MR. BOUCHER: So, well --
QUESTION: You can just say no if you want.
MR. BOUCHER: No.
QUESTION: You insulted them enough there.
MR. BOUCHER: No. We think, you know, we have taken this process seriously. We, the Chinese, and others have said that there was a consensus that these talks could be useful and that parties intended to continue them. We would expect North Korea to stick to that.
QUESTION: Well, in that vein, then, a senior Russian official has just arrived in Pyongyang, and I'm wondering if you have used this person or anyone else in the time between the talks in Beijing and tomorrow's celebrations to suggest to the North Koreans that, you know, provocative moves are not going to be helpful on the occasion of their National Day.
MR. BOUCHER: We have certainly made it clear in our discussions in Beijing and our public statements that North Korea should avoid any provocative or escalatory actions that would increase tension in Northeast Asia and would also increase North Korea's isolation.
We believe all our partners in the international community, including the other participants in the six-party talks, are making the same point, as well.
QUESTION: Do you have any reaction to reports out of North Korea that they now are threatening a missile that can reach further distances than ever before, including all of South Korea?
MR. BOUCHER: Well, we've seen them developing long-range missiles for many years. We've always made clear our concern about such missiles. We've made clear that such developments don't enhance the security of North Korea, but, in fact, only add to North Korea's estrangement from the international community, particularly its immediate neighbors.
QUESTION: There's no independent confirmation from the U.S. on what they believe is --
MR. BOUCHER: I wouldn't be able to get into details on what we know, because that comes from our intelligence.
QUESTION: Iraq. You have answered part of my question --
QUESTION: Excuse me. North Korea, please, one more.
MR. BOUCHER: One more North Korea.
QUESTION: Sorry for that.
MR. BOUCHER: We'll come back.
QUESTION: Yes, still North Korea. Yesterday, the Secretary said on the TV ABC interview, and he said, "Two weeks, we going to make a judgment." Can you say anything on that? Can you elaborate what he meant? He said, "We will have to make a judgment with our allies over the next two weeks." That means you're going to have a kind of a TCOG meeting in two weeks for major decision or future, you know, dialogue process?
MR. BOUCHER: I -- God, I hate to admit it, but I didn't remember him saying that so I didn't have the chance to check up and see. Let me see if there's some particular event planned in the next few weeks that -- where we would be making decisions with our allies about how to proceed or how to approach the next round.
MR. BOUCHER: Yeah.
QUESTION: You have answered part of my question, but does the Secretary feel vindicated now that he's the President's point man for the future Iraq?
MR. BOUCHER: It's not a question of that. The Secretary has always put this in terms of serving the President and the President's strategy. The President's strategy has always been to maximize the effort and the contribution of the international community. That's why September 12th of last year the President took the problem to the United Nations.
We went into Iraq with a coalition. Right after the war, we sought UN resolutions that led to the vital role. The President in mid-May started talking about a vital role that the United Nations can play. And so we have been working with other countries to develop and expand that vital role, and I think it's demonstrated by the efforts the UN has made and the contributions the UN has made to the reconstruction, to the humanitarian situation, but also the political process -- that we were sincere in seeking a vital role, and that the UN has quite a contribution to make that we all welcome.
QUESTION: Richard, does the State Department have anything to say about the arrest of our colleague Tayseer Alouni of Al Jazeera, the correspondent who was in Iraq and in Afghanistan, by the Spanish authorities, your allies?
MR. BOUCHER: I'd have to check on that and see if we have anything to say. I'm aware of it, but I didn't prepare anything on it.
QUESTION: Yes, on the Iraqi reconstruction, yesterday the President talked about the international donors conference and he said, quote Europe, Japan, state in the Middle East -- they're all benefit from the success of freedom in the two countries and that they should contribute to the success. And do you have anything or elaborate something in the case of Japan, and do you have any more details, you know, like expectations or something in case of Japan?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't think I can give, you know, pledge amounts for individual countries. They'll have to decide that. We certainly -- I mean, the basic premise that everybody has an interest in seeing a successful, peaceful, democratic Iraq take its place among the community of nations, I think that is something that is widely accepted and recognized, and that's why we already do have so many countries contributing to the reconstruction. We have 29 other countries involved militarily, and several more than that that have people on the ground doing medical assistance and medical care.
So it's -- it is an international effort, and we think we can further expand that effort by passing the UN resolution that the United States is proposing. In terms of the process, the donors process, there is an established donors process with Afghanistan, and there continue to be meetings of the donors group for Afghanistan, and there'll be a few coming up in the next few weeks. And second of all, the process for Iraq is underway. There was just a meeting in Brussels last week. There'll be another meeting in Madrid in October. And the donors group will continue -- leading donors will continue to coordinate as we move forward. And I think Japan is active in those groups.
QUESTION: Richard, on (inaudible)?
MR. BOUCHER: Yeah.
QUESTION: A couple of things on the President's speech last night. One, he said that the Secretary would be talking in the coming days or later this month with people about Afghanistan. Was he referring to meetings at the UN or something else?
MR. BOUCHER: The -- there's -- yes, he is referring to the meetings the Secretary will have at the UN. I believe, actually, Secretary Snow is also going to have some meetings in Dubai at the conference out there with Afghan donors. And then the Secretary would expect to meet with donors in -- at the UN as well.
QUESTION: And when the President spoke about the Secretary holding a donors conference next month for Iraq, was he referring to the meeting that is actually going to be held by Spain in Madrid on the 23rd? Or is there a separate meeting that the Secretary is going to hold --
MR. BOUCHER: No, that's the main donors meeting that we're all looking towards.
QUESTION: You don't expect another meeting that would be hosted by you, here?
MR. BOUCHER: No, not at this point, except for the fact that we'll probably try to get the people together at the UN to meet with the donors there. That may be what was being referred to.
QUESTION: All right. And then also in the speech, the President talked about this $87 billion, talked about it going to both Afghanistan and Iraq. Is there any kind of a breakdown you can offer in terms of how much will be going to which, you know, which, how much will be going to each one?
MR. BOUCHER: The breakdown -- I think the White House is providing fact sheets and things like that. There's 51 billion that goes to ongoing military operations in Iraq. There is -- let me get this right -- 20 billion that goes to help the transition to self-government and create the conditions necessary for economic investment in Iraq.
And then with regard to Afghanistan, there is 800 million in this supplemental, plus 400 million that comes from the last supplemental, that will be the accelerated assistance to Afghanistan, the $1.2 billion that we've talked about in general terms, that will go to Afghanistan for police and military training, critical infrastructure for citizens, things like roads, schools, health clinics, local projects, generating jobs for demobilized militiamen, and then rule of law efforts. Generally, that's where that 1.2 billion will go for Afghanistan.
QUESTION: Richard, we're moving into a political season, and how critical is it to convey to foreign governments that that's indeed what's happening? General Zinni may have come out with a statement critical of the administration, or it could partly just be entering into politics. How -- and George had just mentioned Jack Pritchard leaving his --
MR. BOUCHER: I don't -- I think other governments know our political timetable. They can make their own conclusions. You can make your own conclusions about why people say different things at different times. I think they know that the Secretary, that the President of the United States speaks clearly on these subjects, and we have made very clear to other governments that that's who they should be listening to. And they'll find quite clear direction from the President on what we intend to do.
QUESTION: Yes, on the resolution, the Iraqi new resolution, do you have a timeline on the discussion with the Perm 5 and the voting of it? Do you plan to have it finished by the General Assembly?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't have a specific timeline. We'll be working very intensely on this over the next several weeks. You can -- there's a lot of work going on. There are meetings today. Ambassador Negroponte met this morning with the Arab League representatives at the U.S. Mission to discuss the resolution. And we'll continue our discussions with other members of the council. The Secretary General is getting together with all 15 representatives of the Security Council informally today, as well, to discuss the resolution. And then, you know, I've gone through, so far, the Secretary's phone calls to discuss this directly with other members.
I would continue to say that initial feedback has been generally positive. A great many governments want to work with us. We've started to receive some specific suggestions from other governments, and certainly we'll take those into account. And as we've said of all the others, people who have ideas, we welcome them, we welcome them in the specific terms that you need to put them into a resolution.
QUESTION: Can you say the specific suggestions from what country, and about what?
MR. BOUCHER: No, I don't think I can go into the making of the salami here. We're working closely with a number of governments who have already started to feed us specific suggestions, and there may be others who wish to do so as well.
QUESTION: So the General Secretary called for a meeting this weekend. As a member country, are you saying that you're trying to persuade him to pull out the meeting?
MR. BOUCHER: No, I -- I addressed that 15 minutes ago. I don't have anything new to say on that possible meeting yet.
QUESTION: Can I say -- can I ask a Tibet question?
MR. BOUCHER: Sure.
QUESTION: Could you confirm the visit by the Dalai Lama to the Secretary and also to Secretary Dobriansky?
MR. BOUCHER: The Dalai Lama, as a Nobel Laureate and a revered religious leader, will be in Washington for the events surrounding the second anniversary of the September 11th attacks. During his previous visit in 2001, he met with both the President and Secretary Powell. He'll meet with appropriate U.S. officials this time in his capacity as a religious leader.
The Secretary will see him on Wednesday morning. I would expect Undersecretary Dobriansky to see him as well, but I don't have a time for that meeting as well.
I would also say that we're encouraged by the two visits that envoys from the Dalai Lama made to China over the past year. We hope that this process leads to a substantive dialogue and a resolution of their longstanding areas of difference.
The United States recognizes Tibet as part of China, in case you want to know.
QUESTION: Thank you very much. One last thing. Sorry, thanks for your patience.
The Dalai Lama said he wants to go visit Tibet with no preconditions. The Chinese Government said he has to admit China -- Tibet is part of China as a condition to go. Do you take a position on that?
MR. BOUCHER: We have taken the position as far as the status of Tibet that I just gave you. In terms of dialogue, progress and discussions between the Chinese and the Tibetan envoys, I think we'll have to leave that to them.
QUESTION: Are you going to take a position on the preconditions under which the Dalai Lama should be allowed to visit --
MR. BOUCHER: I said, as far as those matters, we'll leave it to them.
QUESTION: If I could get back on the Iraq resolution. Schroeder had said that he would provide a list to the United States, or to the Security Council, for German suggestions for changing the resolution. I know you don't want to get into specifics of it, but could you say at least if you've received it and if it represents the specifics the Secretary asked Germany to provide?
MR. BOUCHER: I'm not going to be in a position to detail every government that may have communicated with us in specific terms. I think we have had some detailed discussions with German representatives. Whether that's actually led to the point of providing possible text, I don't know.
QUESTION: Would you say if that satisfies what the Secretary had asked Schroeder to do in terms of providing specifics?
MR. BOUCHER: I'll just say we'll continue to work with governments like the Germans. We have been working with them and we'll continue to work with them on specifics.
QUESTION: Can I go back to Nobel Laureates for a second? The International Committee for the Red Cross, which is an institution which you guys have funded heavily and apparently seem to have great respect for, met with Aung San Suu Kyi last week and determined that she is not, in fact, on a hunger strike. What gives here? Is it still your understanding that when you put the statement out on Sunday that she was on a hunger strike?
MR. BOUCHER: Yes.
QUESTION: And what's happened in the -- what's happened -- or do you not believe the ICRC?
MR. BOUCHER: No, we do believe the ICRC. We have seen the statement that the spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross made. Red Cross representative were given access to Aung San Suu Kyi on Saturday, and were told at that time by her that she was not on a hunger strike. And we're relieved to hear that new information.
We welcome the fact that the Red Cross was given the rare opportunity to see her, but point out that her situation remains unacceptable, that the Burmese junta continues to hold Aung San Suu Kyi in custody without cause, has done so since May 30th, despite repeated calls from the international community to release her, and despite the junta's own promises to do.
Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners should be released immediately by the junta. We received information last weekend that we regarded as credible, we made it public out of concern about Aung San Suu Kyi's situation, and we believe we acted appropriately in making that point clear. We're glad that the Red Cross has now had an opportunity to see her, and relieved that they've been able to tell us that as of the date that they saw her, she was not on a hunger strike.
QUESTION: Well, is it your impression, then, that your making public your information led to an improvement in her conditions, whereby she stopped the hunger strike?
MR. BOUCHER: That's possible. Unfortunately, because these visits are rare and intermittent, because the information -- because she's not free, first of all, and because people don't see her on a regular basis, it's hard to speculate on what happened between the time that we heard she was on a hunger strike, and a week or so later when we found she was not.
QUESTION: Just to be clear, so you believe she was on a hunger strike when --
MR. BOUCHER: We think the information that we had a week ago was credible, that she was on a hunger strike. Now I have information also credible that, as of last Saturday, she was not. What changed in the intervening period, we can't say, because people didn't have access.
QUESTION: Richard, do you have any comments on the statements and reports and books that the U.S. had a chance to try to find bin Laden but it refused by -- and from Sudan and other countries?
MR. BOUCHER: That story's been around for a long time. I think it's been addressed many times. I don't have anything more to say, no.
QUESTION: And a question one more on Saudi Arabia. Saudi Ambassador in Washington again talking angrily that concerns in the U.S. is again that his country is being labeled as supporting terrorists, al-Qaida and all that. Any comments on his latest remarks yesterday?
MR. BOUCHER: I would say, as we've always said, that our cooperation with Saudi Arabia has been excellent. It's steadily improved. We've had law enforcement cooperation, intelligence sharing, a variety of other kinds of cooperation with Saudi Arabia.
There've been any number of steps that we've worked with the Saudis on, including investigations and sharing of intelligence about possible attacks that have led to some success, arrests, in Saudi Arabia. And we'll continue that process of working with Saudi Arabia to continuously improve our joint efforts again terrorism.
QUESTION: Can we go back to affronts to the international community, which, this one Iran, the meeting -- the IAEA meeting in Vienna. Do you have anything to say about that?
MR. BOUCHER: We have been working actively with other members of the international community to build support for the strongest possible resolution from the International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors in the meeting that they had this week.
There's compelling evidence that the International Atomic Energy Agency has provided regarding Iran's safeguards violations and failures, its ongoing efforts to hide and deny nuclear activities to the International Atomic Energy Agency, and its refusal to cooperate fully with inspectors.
From our discussions to date, we believe that almost all members of the International Atomic Energy Agency Board share our grave concerns about Iran's activities, fully support the International Atomic Energy Agency's ongoing efforts to uncover the truth of Iran's programs, and agree that Iran must urgently take steps to cooperate fully and answer all outstanding questions.
The meeting began today. As of this moment, the Board has not yet discussed Iran. However, Dr. ElBaradei's opening statement today to the Board, which is available on their website, he acknowledged that information and access from Iran were in some instances slow in coming, piecemeal and reactive -- piecemeal and reactive -- and at times the information provided has been inconsistent with that given previously.
In his opening remarks today, the Director General also called on Iran to do several things: one, to provide a complete list of all imported equipment and components stated to have been contaminated with highly enriched uranium; resolve questions regarding the conclusion that the process of testing of gas centrifuges must have been conducted; and to provide complete information regarding the conduct of uranium conversion experiments.
He also urged Iran to move rapidly toward the conclusion and bringing into force an additional protocol, and suggested that even during the interim period before an additional protocol is brought into force, Iran should allow the Agency prompt access to all sites and locations that the Agency deems necessary to visit, as well as allowing environmental samples to be taken as needed.
I would say we agree with the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency on the many things that Iran needs to do, and as I pointed out, I think there's considerable consensus within the Board that Iran needs to support the efforts of the Agency to uncover the truth about the program, and take steps to cooperate fully and answer all questions. So we'll be working with other members of the Board to try to get a resolution that makes that clear in the strongest possible terms.
QUESTION: Did you put forward a resolution and then pull it back?
MR. BOUCHER: No, we put forward a draft text last week. We then worked with others on the Board to work on that text. There were a number of meetings, in Vienna as well as meetings that Under Secretary Bolton had in Paris with his counterparts, because many of them are in Paris for proliferation security. They worked on that draft, and we came up with a slightly revised version of the draft that was acceptable to, it seemed, many of the governments we were talking to. So that will be the subject of discussion in Vienna.
QUESTION: One more. A month ago yesterday, Secretary Powell, and maybe through you and maybe not, talked about how important it was for the Arab League to, if not recognize the Iraqi Governing Council, at least welcome it and allow it to participate in its meeting.
Yesterday, Dr. Rice said pretty much the same thing in a little bit stronger language. I'm wondering if the Secretary is planning on any more lobbying ahead of this meeting in Cairo tomorrow to get the Arab League to admit the Iraqis.
MR. BOUCHER: We've been in touch with a number of members of the Arab League. We've kept in close touch with Arab governments. As they've looked at this question, I believe from the press reporting I was watching this morning, that they were indeed discussing it this evening in Cairo. Those discussions were underway and, as far as I know, had not been concluded by the time I came out.
But we do think it's important that the international community work with the Governing Council. The United Nations has already welcomed -- the United Nations Security Council has already welcomed the formation of the Governing Council. And as you know, many further steps are possible in the new -- under the new resolution that we're proposing in terms of working with the Governing Council and having them lay out their plan for Iraq.
Ambassador Bremer, I think, laid out in his message to the Iraqi people last week, and in an Op-Ed piece today in the Post, that there were seven effective steps towards the -- for the Iraqi people to take control, exercising their own sovereignty. Three of those have been completed already, and others are underway. So this process is well underway, and we hope all that would -- all would recognize the importance of working with the Iraqi people and the opportunity to do so by working with the Governing Council.
QUESTION: On the IAEA meeting, there was a wire story last Friday suggesting that the United States was not going to be able to persuade the IAEA to send this issue to the Security Council. Is it still the U.S. desire that the IAEA forward the issue of Iran to the United Nations Security Council?
MR. BOUCHER: It is still our view that this is a matter that needs to be taken up at the appropriate time by the Security Council and needs to be sent at the appropriate time to the Security Council. We've made that view known to other governments in terms of our consultations over the past week or so. And as I said, the work that was done last Friday in Vienna and by Under Secretary Bolton in Paris to come up with the strongest possible resolution, is looking especially at the steps that Iran needs to take to correct the problems that Iran has created, and the deficiencies of information.
When and how that will lead to possible referral to the Security Council, I think may not be addressed in this particular resolution. But the emphasis in that resolution, as we believe it should be right now, is on the steps that Iran needs to take to rectify the situation, and to make up for all the deficiencies and lack of information.
QUESTION: Do you have anything on the Secretary's conversation with Frattini today, this morning, specifically?
MR. BOUCHER: Similar to the other talks with his European counterparts, he's talking about the situation with regard to the Palestinian leadership and the positions that we've been taking to make clear the need for authority, commitment and resources for there to be forward progress. He has also, I believe, discussed the Middle East with Foreign Minister Frattini as well as others -- I'm sorry, also discussed the Iraq resolution with Foreign Minister Frattini as well as others.
QUESTION: Anything on the meeting with the Spanish Foreign Minister?
MR. BOUCHER: Just in a general sense now, you should expect to see the Secretary and the Foreign Minister after the meeting. They'll come down together to C Street, about 2:30 or so, which just gives us time to eat lunch if we stop now. I'm just hinting at that, in case somebody wants to take me up on it.
But as far as the meeting goes, it starts at 2 o'clock. They'll discuss a wide variety of bilateral issues, including Spain's contribution to the Iraqi stability force and the proposed UN resolution on Iraq.
Spain has been one of our closest partners in this endeavor, including the work we're doing together at the United Nations. Spain is also an active ally in the war on terror. The Spanish military has already contributed 1,400 troops to the stability force in Iraq.
In addition to her meeting today with Secretary Powell, Foreign Minister Palacio will meet with Housing and Urban Development Secretary Mel Martinez. Tomorrow she'll meet with Vice President Cheney and National Security Advisor Rice.
Okay. We had one more or not?
Last one. Really.
QUESTION: A follow-up on the Saudi situation. Do you believe there's nationals, Saudi nationals crossing into Iraq, and they are conducting a holy war against the U.S. forces there?
MR. BOUCHER: We have made clear that there are foreign nationals who have been reaching Iraq and who are present there. In exactly what numbers and nationalities, I don't think I can specify for you. Some of them are reported to be Saudis.
So this has been an area of our cooperation with the Saudi Government to work with them, talk to them about steps that they are taking and can take to ensure that whatever foreign nationals might be reaching Iraq for nefarious purposes, that they are not doing so from Saudi territory.
QUESTION: About the peacekeeping -- the prime minister -- or actually, the Foreign Minister of Iraq Mr. Hoshiar al-Zibar says that the Iraqi Council of the Government does not accept forces from neighboring countries. What's your take on this?
MR. BOUCHER: We've talked about that from various points of view over the last few days. I don't really have anything new today. We've said before that it's a matter that can be worked out, that there are possible contributions that countries can make that we could through the military, but also with the Iraqis to make sure that it contributed to stability; and that should people make such offers, we'll try to work it out.
(The briefing was concluded at 2:05 p.m.)
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