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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Press Relations Office > Daily Press Briefings > 2003 > Press Briefing Transcripts > February
Daily Press Briefing
Richard Boucher, Spokesman
Washington, DC
February 20, 2003

INDEX:

TURKEY

1-5,11-12,15 Secretary Powell's Discussions with Turkish Government

IRAQ

5-8 Update on Security Council Action / Work on Further Resolution
13-14-15 US Discussions with Other Countries on Further Resolution
19 Timing for Next Report from Han Blix

AFRICA

8-9 Assistant Secretary Kansteiner's Travel to Region

COLOMBIA

9-10,11,18 US Policy and US Assistance
10-11 Update on Plane Crewmembers Being Held / Search and Rescue Efforts

VENEZUELA

10 Arrest of Venezuelan Chambers of Commerce FEDECAMARAS President Carlos Fernandez

CYPRUS

12 Ambassador Weston Travel to Region / UN Secretary General's Travel

GREECE

12 Reported Arrest of November 17 Member in New York

BURMA

12-13 Reported Proposal for "Constructive Dialogue" with US

NORTH KOREA

13,17 Reports of North Korean Fighter Jet Crossing the Northern Limit Line
13 South Korean President's Remarks on Opposing Military Attack on North Korea

CHINA

13 Secretary Powell's Upcoming Visit to China / Discussion / Agenda

NORWAY

16-17 Explusion of Mullar Krekar

ISRAEL/PALESTINIANS

18 Quartet Meeting in London

ISRAEL

18 US Discussions with Israel About Possible Assistance to Israel

BOLIVIA

20 Situation in Bolivia


TRANSCRIPT:

MR. BOUCHER: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. It's a pleasure to be here. I don't have any statements or announcements. I'd be glad to take your questions.

Mr. Gedda.

QUESTION: Any update since the Secretary spoke on the talks with Turkey?

MR. BOUCHER: In the last two or three hours? No. As he said, we would hope to hear from the Turkish Government today, but they're having meetings and we'll see what they decide to tell us after those meetings.

Jonathan.

QUESTION: They want something in writing. Is the United States prepared to put something in writing on this?

MR. BOUCHER: We've been talking to Turkey about the -- how to proceed together in terms of military preparations and also economic assistance, and so yes, we've been talking about how to make clear to our publics and their parliament what we might agree upon. But we're not there yet.

QUESTION: That's what's going on right now? Is that the -- that you're now trying to formulate some kind of joint statement or some kind of written --

MR. BOUCHER: No, we're trying to reach agreement.

QUESTION: So --

MR. BOUCHER: We haven't yet reached agreement so we can't put out --

QUESTION: You haven't yet reached agreement --

MR. BOUCHER: It's not a matter whether or not to put it in writing. We haven't reached agreement on how to do these things.

QUESTION: On the amount?

MR. BOUCHER: I'm not going to get into the details of it at this point.

QUESTION: All right. Can I just -- I just want to clarify and make sure I understood what the Secretary said. When he said that he was waiting to hear back from the Turks by the end of the day, is he waiting to hear a final decision on a parliamentary vote today, or is he hoping to hear -- is he expecting to hear that yes, we will bring this to the parliament, the government will put it before parliament tomorrow or, who knows, maybe later?

MR. BOUCHER: He's waiting to hear whatever the news is from Turkey. He's waiting to hear after the meetings the Turks have been having today where they stand on these issues, on the things that we've been discussing. I don't know if it's up to the Turkish Government whether they'll have a definitive answer of one kind or another.

QUESTION: But is there anyone in particular that he's waiting to hear from, the Foreign Minister, for example? Or is he just expecting to hear from the Turks via news reports?

MR. BOUCHER: Except -- well, we get other reports besides news reports.

QUESTION: The embassy or something?

MR. BOUCHER: Whether he'll hear directly from the Turks or from our ambassador, our embassy or however, I don't know. He's just waiting to see what the results of the Turkish Government's discussions today produce.

QUESTION: When he said there are other creative things we can do, what did he mean specifically?

MR. BOUCHER: He said that?

QUESTION: Yes.

MR. BOUCHER: No, I'm trying to remember what the context was. He said -- he talked about the assistance, right, and that the --

QUESTION: There was a ceiling on the offer but that there are other creative things we can do.

MR. BOUCHER: Oh, it was just that when you come to any particular amount of assistance, there are always various ways of providing it, so a given amount of money could either provide a certain level of grants or a higher level of loans, if it were used as a guarantee or a subsidy for a loan. There are different ways of using the money to produce different economic results, and what we've tried to do is to work with the Turkish Government to show that we can help them in a variety of ways that are not solely limited by the specific amounts.

QUESTION: How long does the U.S. have before deciding where to send the thousands of troops that are on ships in the Mediterranean?

MR. BOUCHER: We haven't set a -- we haven't announced any specific deadline. You can check with the Pentagon as far as where the troops are and where they might go. But we've made clear it's an important decision and it needs to be made quickly. And as the Secretary said, he has been in intense discussions with the Turkish Government over the last week or two and looking to hear from them soon.

QUESTION: Richard, have you heard any suggestion today that the Secretary might stop in Turkey on his way back from Seoul or, I suppose, theoretically on his way?

MR. BOUCHER: Between Japan and Korea or between China and Korea?

QUESTION: No, on his way between Seoul --

MR. BOUCHER: I have not heard such a suggestion.

QUESTION: Between Seoul and Washington?

MR. BOUCHER: I have not heard such a suggestion.

QUESTION: The Secretary made this reference to being up till past midnight with the -- what was he talking about?

MR. BOUCHER: You caught that, didn't you?

QUESTION: Yeah.

MR. BOUCHER: Remember last Thursday morning he met with the Turkish Foreign Minister. All day that day and the next day, we had American officials, Turkish officials meeting. The Turkish Economic Minister, Mr. Babacan was here, too. And that evening after the day's meetings of

QUESTION: Thursday or Friday?

MR. BOUCHER: Thursday evening, after the day's experts meetings had been over and when the Secretary was getting ready for his Friday trip to New York, he had another late-night meeting with the Turkish delegation.

QUESTION: Here?

MR. BOUCHER: Here in Washington, yes. In the Washington, D.C., area.

QUESTION: In this building?

MR. BOUCHER: At his home.

QUESTION: So he invited the Turks out to his home, or did they say that they wanted to have another meeting before they left and went back to Ankara and --

MR. BOUCHER: No, this was half way through their consultations. They didn't go back to Ankara until Friday or Saturday. This was Thursday night.

QUESTION: Okay, okay.

MR. BOUCHER: We'd had a day of discussions. They wanted to talk to him again, and he said come on out to the house.

QUESTION: Okay, now this gets actually to the question I asked yesterday, which was, was the Secretary hearing anything different two days ago in his phone call with the Prime Minister than what he was hearing on Thursday when he met with the Foreign Minister. You didn't want to answer that question then, so I assume you don't want to answer it now. But --

MR. BOUCHER: Yeah, I'm not going to try to pretend to talk for the Turks.

QUESTION: And I'm not asking you to. But --

MR. BOUCHER: If we're hearing something, they have to be saying something -- and my water just was too close to the edge. All right, Matt has officially flummoxed the spokesman. (Laughter.)

All right, keep going.

QUESTION: Well, what exactly -- I mean, the Secretary obviously found some utility in having a meeting out in Northern Virginia until midnight.

MR. BOUCHER: And he has found utility in his follow-up discussions with the Turkish Government. He has found utility in his follow-up discussions with the Turkish Prime Minister and the efforts that our Embassy is making and our Ambassador is making out in Turkey.

QUESTION: Well, given his extraordinary personal endeavors in this, is he in a position right now to be encouraged at the way things are going?

MR. BOUCHER: I don't want to try to characterize them at this point. We're waiting to hear what the news is from the Turkish Government.

All right, shut everything down. Christophe.

QUESTION: Still on Turkey, apart from the financial packet, are you also discussing with Ankara the Turkish plans to send troops in Northern Iraq in case of a conflict, and is this compatible with your --

MR. BOUCHER: As you know, there has been a lot of -- a number of a U.S. military delegations that have been through Turkey every week or so. I probably haven't even noticed them all or counted them all. So there is, I would say, ongoing military discussions and coordination with Turkey.

The discussions that we've been having with Turkey have been about sort of the military preparations in general, about the political environment for doing that, and about the economic assistance, the various pieces that fit together into U.S.-Turkish cooperation should it become necessary to use military force against Iraq.

QUESTION: Is there any progress being made on the second UN resolution, the wording or in lining up any additional support at the UN?

MR. BOUCHER: We're working with other countries about the wording of the resolution, the timing of the resolution. We would expect a resolution soon, probably next week. We want to see a resolution that, as the President said, makes clear that the Council stands by its demands, that the UN Security Council will stand up for itself and for its own resolutions, previous resolutions.

In terms of actually sort of gaining support or losing support, you have to have a resolution for people to vote for or not to vote for. But the consultations with other members of the Council to make -- to reach a clear understanding of the situation, those have continued in a variety of ways, through our embassies, through people traveling, through the Secretary's discussions, through above all the discussions in New York.

We think the situation is quite clear at this point. Iraq has failed to comply. All the evidence is that Iraq is continuing to deceive the Security Council in failing to comply. Many of the things that were promised last week to the inspectors have not come true. No more scientists have appeared for private interviews. The famous Iraqi commission that was scouring the countryside for documents and weapons hasn't produced a thing. The Iraqis haven't produced any new documents. It turns out the decree that they issued on weapons of mass destruction, when you actually read it, it says that private individuals and companies can't have weapons of mass destruction. It doesn't mention the government. It doesn't mention any cooperation by government officials. It doesn't require any effort on the part of government officials to come clean about all their holdings of dangerous weapons.

So I think we're at a point now, a week or so from Iraq's last set of promises, and as with Iraq's previous promises and the promises before that, even the little that they promised on process has not come true.

QUESTION: Do you think the lack of cooperation -- do you think what went on at the UN last Friday contributed to this lack of Iraqi cooperation?

MR. BOUCHER: I don't want to speculate on Iraq's motives, their defiance and their obstinance seems to persist no matter what's going on outside. I suppose they may take some cues and some hints from outside, but the only thing in the past that seems to have led to some modicum of Iraqi cooperation has been the presence of forces and the willingness of the Security Council to take military action if necessary. That's the only reason why there are inspectors in Iraq at all. And as I said, what modest degree of cooperation they've gotten has always been because Iraq was faced with the prospect of military force.

QUESTION: Richard, the Secretary admirably fielded a question upstairs earlier about pressure or threats being used against the smaller members, the elected members of the Perm 5. I'm wondering, have you guys been in touch with other governments, perhaps even just UN members, not even Security Council members, about positions that they have taken over the past couple days in the open debate? And I specifically refer to Costa Rica, whose UN Ambassador was fired yesterday for coming out and saying that he thought inspections needed more time.

MR. BOUCHER: I don't know about any -- no, I don't --

QUESTION: Was there any formal complaint lodged by --

MR. BOUCHER: I don't know of any specific contacts on any specific governments. We obviously followed the debate closely. We listened to a lot of countries. I think there were 60-some governments that talked. There were 28 the first day, 35 the second day, according to our reporting. So we did follow it closely what other governments said. There was a variety of opinions. There were quite a few who stood up and said the Council has to stand by its word, the Council has to do what's necessary, and a variety of other views that were represented as well. So we listened to all the views.

Jonathan.

QUESTION: Richard, going back to the resolution, what's the current thinking on the timing of this? Are you planning only to put out a resolution when you're confident that it might have a good chance of passing, or are you prepared to put one forward when you know that it's not likely to pass?

MR. BOUCHER: I'll take C, none of the above. Our practice in the past has always been to put forward what we thought was the best resolution, to put forward what we thought the Council needed to do, and then to work with other Council members to bring them around. That's the case in, I think, most of the resolutions that we've worked over the last year or two, going back to the -- I remember the revisions of the sanctions resolution.

So I think our intention would be to put forward a resolution that we felt was appropriate, that made clear that Iraq was not living up to the obligations of 1441 and that made clear the Council's judgment that this would have consequences.

Obviously, we'll try to do that in a way that is likely to meet with the greatest possible support, but once we and others put forward a resolution, we'll work to get the necessary support for it.

QUESTION: Can I just follow up on that? You keep saying consequences. Is it your view that the term "serious consequences" would be adequate in a second resolution, or do you think it should be, since it is a second resolution, it should actually be more specific?

MR. BOUCHER: Well, as I've pointed out, it's an 18th resolution. The Council, the Security Council, has threatened Iraq with serious consequences ten or 11 times already -- found Iraq in material breach I think nine times already. But we have always said we think the authority is already there to do what is necessary to disarm Iraq if Iraq doesn't disarm peacefully.

And the point of another resolution would be to make clear to Iraq and to the world that the Security Council will stand up for its own resolutions.

QUESTION: Richard, would you expect a resolution to be introduced while the Secretary is out of the country, or would it be safe to assume that a resolution wouldn't be introduced until the Secretary was ensconced back in Washington?

MR. BOUCHER: It's never safe to assume.

Charlie.

QUESTION: Richard, on a related issue that was also brought up this morning, and I don't know if there's been any change, in the last three hours, has Dr. Blix conveyed any messages or indications of what he's going to ask of Iraq on the al-Samoud II missile?

MR. BOUCHER: You'd have to ask Dr. Blix.

QUESTION: Well, I'm asking you if it's been received here.

MR. BOUCHER: Yeah, well, everybody asks me what we've received in order to get me to talk about what other people are saying and doing. I really want to leave it to other people to talk about what they're saying and what they're doing. I'm not here to make news for Dr. Blix.

QUESTION: Well, can you at least say if it's been received, as opposed to what it is that he has sent?

MR. BOUCHER: No.

Ma'am.

QUESTION: May I change subjects?

QUESTION: Just one more quick one.

MR. BOUCHER: Terri.

QUESTION: This was before we came out so you may not have seen it, but a number of African countries meeting in Paris have come out with a statement saying that they support France's stance on Iraq. Did you see that?

MR. BOUCHER: I just saw a wire story. One would have to read more carefully to see what exactly it is that they support, how do they describe that position that they support.

QUESTION: More time, more inspectors, is what they are saying.

MR. BOUCHER: We've pointed out more time, more inspectors, doesn't do anything if Iraq's not cooperating.

QUESTION: But isn't that a bad omen if you've got Cameroon, Angola and Guinea signing this document?

MR. BOUCHER: Were they there?

QUESTION: They were there at -- yeah.

MR. BOUCHER: Again, we'll look at it more carefully. Obviously, we talk to those countries directly. The Secretary met with them in New York. Walter Kansteiner is out in Africa right now. He's been in Angola today for meetings -- our Assistant Secretary for Africa. He met with President dos Santos about, obviously, issues involving Angola, but also issues involving the Security Council. And if the arrangements work out, I would expect him to travel to Cameroon and Guinea as well during the course of his trip.

QUESTION: Do you know when?

MR. BOUCHER: I don't have dates for the other stops.

QUESTION: May I change to Colombia?

QUESTION: Kansteiner (inaudible).

MR. BOUCHER: No, he hasn't nailed down the travel arrangements to stop in the other two countries. He's been in the United Kingdom and South Africa and then today he was in Luanda, Angola. A broad range of bilateral and regional issues, and also obviously Security Council issues.

QUESTION: So he is bringing with him what the Secretary described as the persuasive U.S. case that he'll be sharing with the -- that he shared with the Angolans today and may, if things work out, also with Cameroon and Guinea?

MR. BOUCHER: He's discussing with them as members of the Security Council what action the Security Council can take to make clear that the Security Council will stand up for itself and stand by its resolution.

QUESTION: Is he offering anything in particular?

MR. BOUCHER: We don't do this by quid pro quo. We have broad relationships with countries, but we don't offer quid pro quos.

Ma'am.

QUESTION: May I go to Colombia?

MR. BOUCHER: Yes.

QUESTION: I have a question on Turkey.

MR. BOUCHER: We'll get back to Turkey later. Let's go to Colombia for a while.

QUESTION: What is the U.S. mission in Colombia -- anti-drug or anti-terrorism?

QUESTION: It's C.

MR. BOUCHER: Yes. Or C, if you want me to. The situation in Colombia, as I think you know and as we have said many times before, is a terrible convergence of terrorists and drugs, and that when you have insurgents supported by drug money funded by the earnings of illicit narcotics, you need to deal not only with the question of narcotics trafficking, but you need to deal with military insurgency problems. And so in our last round of appropriations, we managed to get legislation that permitted us to put some of our money into counter-insurgency efforts, and that is something that is proceeding because the two are so linked.

Protecting Colombian society, protecting Colombian institutions, developing the country, is a job for the Colombian Government, but we're able to help them in this respect, and it's important that we do so both on the aspect of narcotics and on the aspect of counter-insurgency.

QUESTION: A couple more questions. Will you ask for a supplemental budget to get more money for Plan Colombia?

MR. BOUCHER: I don't have anything on any supplemental budgets at this point. I think you've seen money in the 2003 bill. We've already made our proposal for more money in the 2004 bill. So this is an ongoing expenditure for the United States in order to support Colombia.

QUESTION: One more.

MR. BOUCHER: Okay, then we have some more in the back on Colombia.

QUESTION: Are you trying to get the three Americans held by the FARC released?

MR. BOUCHER: We certainly want to see them released immediately, we want to see them released safely, we want to see their safety and well-being confirmed. At this point, as I said, we've had reliable reports that the FARC is holding these people but we have not had confirmation of their whereabouts and their well-being.

QUESTION: Thank you.

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. Boucher. After the nonviolence agreement signed yesterday in Venezuela, the president of the National Federation of Chambers of Commerce and member of the opposition was accused and arrested today in the morning. If there is any reaction on that, because the list is big and they expected more arrests?

MR. BOUCHER: We know. And we thought that the agreement on nonviolence was a positive step that could help the dialogue. At this point, though, the arrest yesterday of the Venezuelan Chamber of Commerce head we see as a very worrisome development that can only add to Venezuela's continuing political difficulties. We fear the act could undermine the dialogue process. Combined with recent events and the existing warrant against the confederation of the Venezuelan Workers' President Carlos Ortega, this increases our concerns about human rights in Venezuela.

We expect Venezuelan authorities will respect Mr. Fernandez' rights as guaranteed by the Venezuelan constitution.

Sir.

QUESTION: On Colombia, would the murder of they say one American and the kidnapping of the three more Americans by the terrorist group the FARC, is the United States stepping on a stronger position against this terrorist group in Colombia? And also, what is your comment on the Brazilian Government position not to declare the FARC as a terrorist organization?

MR. BOUCHER: I didn't have a chance -- I didn't see anything on the Brazilian Government decision so I don't have anything for you on that. I'd leave it to them to explain.

We have seen the FARC as a terrorist group for some time. We think it's a terrorist group that's very dangerous. It's proven that over the years. Dangerous to Colombians and Americans alike. It's also a group that's heavily involved in narcotics trafficking and shows this nexus of traffickers and insurgents very well, and that's why we've been helping Colombia strengthen its ability to deal with this threat.

QUESTION: Is the United States doing something else besides what we already know it's doing for Colombia?

MR. BOUCHER: I don't know what you know. We've certainly talked about many, many things. The money is clear. The programs are clear. The commitment of the United States is clear. The cooperation with the United States is very clear. The Secretary was just down there last December, had very broad and wide-ranging discussions with a variety of Colombian government officials, including a meeting at the Defense Ministry with the heads of the various services as well as the Defense Minister. He visited the police units that are engaged in the counter-narcotics activity. So I think he expressed our support across the board for Colombia's institutions and for Colombia's society and what Colombian President Uribe is trying to do.

QUESTION: Can we change the subject to Burma?

MR. BOUCHER: No, we've got another Colombia.

QUESTION: Have you seen the report alluded to by Bob Novak in the Post today, former Congressman Barr critical of the way these flights were being carried out before the one that went down last Thursday.

MR. BOUCHER: I didn't see the report and I don't think I have anything to talk -- to say about how these flights were conducted.

Okay. If we're changing the subject, the gentlemen over there had a chance at Turkey first.

QUESTION: Do you plan -- I want to go back to Turkey.

MR. BOUCHER: Yes.

QUESTION: Do you plan to ask the Turks to come to Washington again to talk it over?

MR. BOUCHER: We'll keep in touch with the Turkish Government. We have an embassy in Ankara that's been very active in meeting with Turkish officials. The Secretary's been on the phone with them and I'm sure there will be opportunities to talk directly, but I don't have any specific plans at this point.

QUESTION: One more Turkey?

MR. BOUCHER: Yeah.

QUESTION: Do you know why American delegations did not meet with Turks today although it said it's scheduled.

MR. BOUCHER: What?

QUESTION: American delegation did not meet the Turks today.

MR. BOUCHER: An American delegation in Ankara, or --

QUESTION: Yeah, Ankara.

MR. BOUCHER: No. You'd have to check with Ankara on what delegations they have and meetings they have. We have delegations out there all the time. I don't know who's out there right now, frankly.

Okay.

QUESTION: Is about in seven days we're supposed to find the solution to the Cyprus problem. I was wondering, do you have anything to report as far as where we head so far because the February 28th is already is approaching.

MR. BOUCHER: I think I talked about that a day or two ago. We're very much hoping that the Cypriot parties and the people in the region will take the opportunity. There are a lot of discussions going on right now. We're strongly supporting the efforts of the Secretary General. Our Special Cyprus Coordinator Tom Weston is out in the region already. And I think the Secretary General gets there in a couple days, so we're really hoping that people will take the opportunity of the presence and the efforts that are being made to find a solution to this problem.

QUESTION: One more question? The other day a Greek professor has been arrested in New York City in connections for November 17th organization and I was wondering if you have anything to say because a big issue over in Athens since that professor has taken the visa from the U.S. Embassy in Greece.

MR. BOUCHER: I don't have anything to say. I think you might check with the domestic authorities, legal authorities first, but I will see if there's anything on that.

Okay. Now, Burma.

QUESTION: The Burmese said yesterday that they were inviting the U.S. Government to join in dialogue. Have you received an official invitation and do you have a reaction to this?

MR. BOUCHER: Well, we saw the statement, but the fact is the Burmese have not raised a proposal with us on what they called a constructive dialogue. At this point we're not really prepared and in a position to comment on the idea. We would, of course, welcome concrete steps by Burma to move towards democracy and greater respect for human rights.

The critical dialogue is the one between the regime and Aung San Suu Kyi and the National League for Democracy.

QUESTION: So you haven't received an official invitation?

MR. BOUCHER: No.

Okay. Go that way.

Ma'am.
QUESTION: Thank you, Richard. I have a quick one on North Korea. What is your reaction to the latest provocative action by North Koreans' fighter jet over along the border with South Korea?

MR. BOUCHER: I think first I have to refer you to the Pentagon for any details of the actual incident and what happened. We would make clear that any kind of provocative action is not going to help resolve this issue. In fact, we've been seeking a peaceful solution and that provocative actions and escalatory conduct by North Korea has only deepened North Korea's isolation and made it more difficult to find a solution.

QUESTION: Thank you.

MR. BOUCHER: Yeah.

QUESTION: Can I follow up on North Korea?

MR. BOUCHER: Okay. She can follow up on North Korea.

QUESTION: Do you have any comment on South Korean President Roh, his comment that he opposes any military attack on North Korea by the U.S.?

MR. BOUCHER: I don't have any particular comment, no. We've made clear we're seeking a peaceful solution and we have no intention ourselves of invading or attacking North Korea.

QUESTION: Two questions on China. When the Secretary goes to China, will he ask the Chinese Government to -- not to veto the second resolution, specifically not to veto?

MR. BOUCHER: He will discuss with the Chinese as permanent members of the Security Council the importance of the Council taking action on Iraq, the importance of the Council standing by its previous resolutions, the fact that Iraq has failed to cooperate and it's time for the Council to reach a judgment on the consequences on what to do about that.

It's a consultation. It's a discussion with the Chinese. But until there's an actual resolution, one can't go asking people to vote for or whatever.

QUESTION: One more. In the language of the resolution, will you repeat "facing serious consequences," or will you actually say what the consequences are?

MR. BOUCHER: That was tried before and I'm not going to get into the language of the resolution at this point. I'm just not in a position to do so.

Okay.

Ma'am, over there.

QUESTION: Richard, I understand that you need, the United States needs nine votes to assure a second resolution in the United Nations.

MR. BOUCHER: That's the way it works.

QUESTION: There are no members -- there are members that are not, that do not have a permanent seat in Security Council like Mexico and other countries. How are you working with them in order to try to assure their votes, to -- if you convinced France, probably Mexico will be in line. (Laughter.)

MR. BOUCHER: Well, I think first of all, each member of the Council takes on a responsibility by joining the Security Council. And it's a responsibility towards international peace and security. It's a responsibility to make sure the Council means something and the Council means what it says. And so each member of the Council is going to have to decide individually what they want to do and what they need to do in terms of the responsibility that they've taken on by getting on the Council.

That's true whatever's happening. As the Security Council's met more and more often over recent years and everybody who was an elected member as well as the permanent members have often had to make difficult judgments and hard choices, but the Council needs to stand for something. The Council needs to stand you for its resolutions. So what we've been doing is talking to members of the Security Council about the situation as we see it: Iraq's failure to comply; Iraq's defiance; Iraq's attempts to prevent inspections from achieving any meaningful result; and to make clear that the Council has passed a resolution that says that this kind of behavior is not acceptable and will have consequences.

So we're consulting with Mexico as we're consulting with other governments in New York, through our embassies and capitals, the Secretary's been in meetings, had meetings and been on the phone with Foreign Secretary Derbez from time to time and I'm sure that kind of close consultation will continue.

QUESTION: If you'll allow me a follow-up, please.

MR. BOUCHER: Yeah.

QUESTION: I remember asking you this before when you were working on the first resolution. Have the Mexican Government by any chance has request anything in particular to the United States in exchange of their votes, as for example Turkey's doing now in order to let you use their territory?

MR. BOUCHER: Well, let's do two things here. One, I'm not going to speak for other governments, what they may or may not have said or asked. I took that position 20 minutes ago and I'm not going to change it now.

QUESTION: But have the Mexican Government raised --

MR. BOUCHER: Stop. Slow down. Slow down.

QUESTION: I'm sorry.

MR. BOUCHER: Second of all, 15 minutes ago I think I said we don't do this by quid pro quo. There is a responsibility that members of the Council have that they take on and that they need to fulfill. That's why they are on the Council. That's why they wanted to be on the council.

The situation with Turkey is not a question of buying Turkish cooperation. Turkey needs to take certain actions that are in its own interests. Turkey needs to have stability in the region and if it becomes necessary to get rid of the weapons of mass destruction next door by using military force, we think it is very much in Turkey's interest, just the way it's in the interests of the United States and others in the region to get rid of that instability, to give them back an economic opportunity and an economically stable neighbor, and to give the whole region a better life in addition to giving the Iraqi people a better life.

In doing that, there may be economic costs. There may be economic consequences. And we are prepared to help Turkey as a friend and an ally with those economic costs and consequences. But the reason for Turkey or any other government to make sure that Iraq is disarmed, it's because it's in their interest and in all our interests to make sure that that source of weapons of mass destruction is removed from the region.

QUESTION: I'm, Richard, sorry. Your ambassador in Mexico have said that if the Mexican Government do not vote in favor of the U.S. resolution at the United Nations, the relationship with both countries won't change in any way, shape or form.

MR. BOUCHER: I don't know what the exact quote is.

QUESTION: Any comments on that because, I mean --

MR. BOUCHER: No. I'm not going to comment on something our Ambassador has said until I see what he actually said.

Okay, let's come back to the front for a while.

QUESTION: I don't think this question's been asked yet so I will try it. The Norwegian Government yesterday decided to expel Mullah Krekar or however we pronounce his name. Considering that you guys have been quite interested in this case for some time and I believe the Secretary spoke on at least one occasion recently, as I remember with Foreign Minister Petersen about it. What do you -- what's your reaction to it?

MR. BOUCHER: As you say, we've followed this case very, very closely. Mullah Krekar is the leader of Ansar al-Islam, a Kurdish terrorist group in Northern Iraq with close ties to al-Qaida. We'll actually be putting out a statement a little later today that says that we put them on the financial sanctions list -- the Ansar al-Islam folks.

The Government of Norway has decided to expel Krekar for national security reasons. We support that decision. We have a strong interest in making sure that people associated with terrorism are not able to facilitate terrorist acts.

QUESTION: I'm sorry, you say you're putting them just on the financial list?

MR. BOUCHER: We've put them on the Foreign Terrorist Organization list already, right?

QUESTION: No, I think not.

QUESTION: No.

MR. BOUCHER: Have we? It's a financial list, yeah.

QUESTION: The Kurds have been asking you to do that and it's supposedly under consideration?

MR. BOUCHER: It's under Executive Order 13224. It's effective today. The addition appears already on the website of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control and we're also today asking the UN Sanctions Committee to add Ansar al-Islam's name to its consolidated list of entities and individuals.

QUESTION: And are -- is the FTO list under consideration?

MR. BOUCHER: I will have to check on that. I don't actually have anything new on that.

QUESTION: Richard, this is the same thing you guys did with Hekmatyar yesterday, right?

MR. BOUCHER: No. His status was slightly different. He's a specially or specifically designated individual.

QUESTION: Oh, this is with the group? It's not the guy himself?

MR. BOUCHER: This is the group. Yeah, the group Ansar al-Islam, of which this gentleman is the head, has been added to our financial controls list and we've recommended them to the United -- this group -- to the United Nations for listing on their sanctions list. But as far as this decision by the Government of Norway, we think on Mullah Krekar, we think it's the right decision and we support it.

Okay.

QUESTION: I don't know if you can answer this but, has the United States gotten any interrogation tape from people talk -- author -- various authorities, whether they be Dutch or Iranian or Norwegian or now Jordanian talking to Mr. Krekar? And would this be something the U.S. would be interested in -- is questioning this person about what he knows about al-Qaida links and sort of that sort of --

MR. BOUCHER: I wouldn't be able to talk about that in any way, shape or form.

QUESTION: Well, how about this. Do you have any --

MR. BOUCHER: Jonathan.

QUESTION: Richard --

QUESTION: Is this the same thing?

QUESTION: Yeah, just very briefly. Do you have any interest in where he goes from Norway?

MR. BOUCHER: Yes, we do. We have for some time. As you know, he's wanted on charges in Jordan. He's not subject to charges in the United States at this point, but we think that anybody who's wanted on criminal charges should be transferred accordingly.

Yeah. Okay. Where were we going?

Jonathan.

QUESTION: Yeah. I just wanted to go back to the North Korean plane incident. You didn't even confirm that it took place. Can you, in fact, confirm it when you talk about --

MR. BOUCHER: I don't, I don't do airplanes, radars and other things. I'll leave it to the Pentagon to talk about it. I said I'd refer you to the Pentagon for any specifics.

All right? Okay.

Yeah, sir.

QUESTION: On the Quartet statement that came out (inaudible) --

MR. BOUCHER: Yeah.

QUESTION: It talks about a formal adoption period then the period of time when it will be presented to the parties -- as soon as possible, I think it says. I think in the past there's always been the question of the parties' acceptance. Do you see any barriers in the process of getting the parties to accept the roadmap? Do you see any barriers or problems in gaining their acceptance?

I know that it lists the Prime Minister suggestion by the Palestinians as a suggestion.

MR. BOUCHER: We all know that the various parties have had different views about the roadmap. The roadmap is the effort of the Quartet to put in concrete terms what the parties can do, indeed, need to do to achieve the goal that the President laid on June 24th of last year.

So the decision by the Quartet to propose these steps and to try to see that they are followed is one that will be put forward to the parties and then we'll work with the parties on the implementation of them.

QUESTION: Has -- did this come up with -- during Armitage's meeting today at any point with--

MR. BOUCHER: I don't know if it came up there or not. It was extensively discussed just in London by the Quartet representatives.

Okay. Ma'am.

QUESTION: Thank you. One more on Colombia, if I may.

MR. BOUCHER: Yeah.

QUESTION: Is the administration planning to send more special forces and other U.S. troops to Colombia?

MR. BOUCHER: I -- you asked me that about money. I don't have anything new at this point on anything more recent down there.

Okay. Nicholas.

QUESTION: Back to North Korea. You've been saying for some time now that you were linked to engage in multilateral talks with North Korea. At this point, what is the kind of forum that you envisage and/or you going to be more willing to talk about specific issues with them or do you want that to be a broader discussion with all the countries engaged in the issue?

MR. BOUCHER: I think I discussed this as much as we can yesterday. I really don't have anything to add to that. Sorry.

Okay, were we here? There, there.

QUESTION: Back to (inaudible) for a second. The -- and I don't know what you'll be able to say about this, but -- Mr. Sharon's Chief -- Prime Minister Sharon's Chief of Staff outside said he had some indication that he thought that today, at least the outlines or the parameters of the -- of what the Israeli request for new aid would be finalized.

Is he off the mark on that kind of thing or is that some -- obviously congressional approval still awaits but he was under the impression that after his conversations yesterday with the National Security Advisor today, with the Deputy Secretary, and then again meeting at the White House again later today, that there would be an outline of some --

MR. BOUCHER: My understanding is that we have discussed this again today with Dov Weissglas, who came from Israel. We look -- you know, we've had an active discussion with the Israelis about possible assistance to Israel, but at this point it's still under consideration inside the U.S. Government and I wouldn't be able to specify how it'll come out or predict how it'll come out at this point.

Okay. Where were we?

QUESTION: Ari Fleischer from the White House said this morning Dr. Blix next report date is to be determined. Isn't that supposed to be on the first of March or are you working to advance that date?

MR. BOUCHER: I don't think it's been actually fixed by the Security Council, but you'd have to check up in New York and see if it's fixed. I don't think it is that I know of. It's expected around that time, but whether it will be precisely that date or not I don't know.

QUESTION: Then the resolution comes, the new resolution comes before or after that report?

MR. BOUCHER: Yes.

(Laughter.)

QUESTION: Before or after?

MR. BOUCHER: I don't have anything particular for you on timing. We do believe that time is running out, that the Council needs to face this question and make its judgment, but precisely what the timing will be we'll leave for a later date.

Okay. We have one or two more. Sorry.

QUESTION: I'm sorry, Richard. In regards to this terrorist group, I understand that actually Secretary -- the Secretary of Justice said that these people were trying to set up some sort of a terrorist cell in the University of Florida. Do you know the legal status of these people and considering all this major --

MR. BOUCHER: No, I don't handle any angle on that. That's Justice Department and Immigration Service for people who are in the United States. You'll have to ask over there.

QUESTION: I remember you saying there was unrest in Bolivia. I know you put out a travel warning about --

MR. BOUCHER: I think we put out a number of statements on the subject and --

QUESTION: Recently? Oh, maybe I missed it.

MR. BOUCHER: Is there another one today?

MS. CASSEL: No.

QUESTION: During the snow?

MR. BOUCHER: No. There wasn't another one today.

QUESTION: Oh. I guess I missed it.

MR. BOUCHER: Okay? Thank you.


Released on February 20, 2003

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