THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Lyon, France) ________________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release June 27, 1996
PRESS BRIEFING BY PRESS SECRETARY MIKE MCCURRY, ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE FOR EAST ASIAN AND PACIFIC AFFAIRS WINSTON LORD, NATIONAL ECONOMIC ADVISOR, DR. LAURA TYSON, AND SENIOR DIRECTOR FOR EUROPE AT NSC SANDY VERSHBOW
The Sofitel Hotel Lyon, France
7:09 P.M. (L)
MR. MCCURRY: Good evening, everyone. We've got a triple-header briefer coming up for the three bilateral sessions that the President had today with President Chirac, Prime Minister Major, and Prime Minister Hashimoto. Each of these three sessions ran somewhat longer than expected -- in the case of the bilateral with President Chirac, almost twice as long as expected -- because all three of these leaders expressed their own condolences to the President on behalf of the people of their nations for the terrorist incident in Saudi Arabia.
In the words of President Chirac, who noted that he had expressed publicly solidarity and condolences, he said that he wanted the President to know that that is not just diplomatic language, that that was a statement from the heart on behalf of the French people.
Each of the three sessions I think had some measure of discussion about how the leaders of the industrialized nations here at the summit can address the issue of terrorism. President Chirac very quickly agreed with President Clinton's assessment that they should alter the agenda so that this issue could be immediately considered at the working dinner they have this evening. And I suspect it's likely that in some formal way the leaders, at the conclusion of the dinner, will want to say something that expresses the outrage that the world community feels about this attack, about terrorism generally, and stresses the way in which nations can work together to thwart terrorist incidents in the future. And more on that, I'm sure, at the conclusion of the dinner tonight.
What I'd like to do -- the dinner is expected to go until roughly 10:30 p.m., according to the schedule.
What I'd like to do is work backwards --
Q Will you come back and give us a readout?
MR. MCCURRY: That will be done over at the location of the dinner, and at the very least, Dan Tarullo, who is the United States sherpa at the summit, will be available for the pool over there. So you'll get something from that.
Q Do you expect a communique or something in writing?
Q Everybody isn't represented at the pool.
MR. MCCURRY: I expect there will be some formal readout.
Q Well, there's some endorsement expected of 40 recommendations. Can we at least like learn now what they are?
MR. MCCURRY: That's a subject -- the specific ways in which we take the measures that have been designed to combat crime and use them specifically to combat terrorism, and then additional steps that the leaders might recommend beyond those measures will be part of our discussion Saturday, and there will be more specifically on that on Saturday.
Q So how would you describe what to expect this evening? The word "communique" is too strong a word to use?
MR. MCCURRY: I'll allow President Chirac to characterize that. As Chair of the summit it would be appropriate for him to do so. The description -- the notion of somehow or other a third communique to accompany the Chairman's Statement in the summit's declaration on economics that we expect tomorrow has been discussed, and we'll wait and see what happens.
Q Mike, you said the 40 would be taken up on Saturday; I thought it was to be Friday afternoon. Is it Saturday?
MR. MCCURRY: I think there will be considerable discussion throughout the weekend about that. Clearly, we want to involve Prime Minister Chernomyrdin in some of those discussions, as well.
Q Mike, I'm more confused now about these 40 -- I'm confused now about these 40 measures. Originally, they were --
MR. MCCURRY: There will be a lot of discussion of that the next two days. My purpose here is to do the read-out of the three bilateral meetings. So let's get on with that and I'll come back at the end and see if there's more than that I can help you with on that.
What I'd like to do is start -- work backwards, starting with the bilateral meeting that the President's just concluded with Prime Minister Hashimoto. That meeting took place in two parts -- first, a private meeting between the Prime Minister and the President that lasted about a half an hour; and then a meeting between the two delegations that lasted about a half an hour.
And you'll see very quickly why I've asked first Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, Winston Lord, to start. Then the President's National Economic Adviser and Chair of the National Economic Council, Laura Tyson, will join him to talk about some of the economic aspects of the discussion of the two.
Winston, thank you.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: As Mike said, there were two parts. And I'll let Laura Tyson cover the economic aspects. I think that session, plus the general mood in the meeting show this developing personal relationship between Bill and Ryu, if you will.
In the larger meeting, the second half, basically terrorism, Korea, China, Russia were covered. The Prime Minister also paid tribute to U.S. efforts in Bosnia. I'll essentially very briefly give you the President's presentations -- details on the Japanese side, of course, ought to come from them. But the meeting began with the Prime Minister expressing his condolences over the Saudi Arabian terrorist incident and reiterating Japan's strong support for any antiterrorist measures that the President and others would wish to put forward.
On Korea the President thanked the Japanese for their food aid, which we've closely coordinated with South Korea, the three of us, as well as their support for the four-party talks and our hope that the North Koreans -- the joint hope of both the Prime Minister and the President the North Koreans would respond positively to that proposal.
Both leaders underlined the importance of supporting KEDO not only politically, but also financially. And Japan, for example, has contributed generously to the Bosnia efforts. And I think there's a shared view here that we would hope the Europeans, who have already made some contributions, by the way, which we appreciate, would step up with their contributions on KEDO, as well as other countries. And that will be a subject over the next couple of days.
The President, in turn, detailed for the Prime Minister our very vigorous efforts with the Congress to get our share of KEDO funding up to where it should be.
With respect to China and Russia, the President underlined his strong view that it was in both our countries' interest to see these countries move toward reform and to engage both countries and encourage positive trends there. The President noted some recent improvements in our relations with China -- obviously, difficulties remain -- and the Prime Minister welcomed these. These include the resolution of the ring magnets nonproliferation issue and the resolution of the intellectual property rights issue.
The Prime Minister welcomed the President's strong support for extending MFN. There was similar talk with respect to Russia in which the Prime Minister, in a sentiment undoubtedly shared by the President, welcomed the free and fair elections that are being conducted so far, and the need for continued reform in that country.
The Prime Minister briefly summarized his very successful bilateral meeting with President Kim Yong-sam of Korea. And he welcomed, as I said, recent developments in U.S.-Chinese relations.
Finally, as I said, the Prime Minister paid tribute to the U.S. efforts on Bosnia. I might just add as a footnote, then I'll turn this over to Laura Tyson, that during the one-on-one meeting between the leaders, Secretary Christopher and Foreign Minister Ikeda also had a very good substantive discussion and covered several issues. But I won't take any more time up now.
DR. TYSON: I'll talk about the conversation that the Prime Minister and the President had -- the private conversation. Now, it was a private conversation; I wasn't there. So I'm going to give you essentially a readout based on what the Prime Minster and the President said to us when they joined the larger group. The conversation was primarily about trade issues and economic issues. It was obviously a long conversation; it lasted about 30 minutes -- therefore, a conversation that went beyond platitudes and got into real issues.
The President expressed his concern in the conversation that there has been very little progress on the outstanding trade issues between the U.S. and Japan since the summit in Tokyo. They had a discussion which they characterized as frank and detailed. They focused particularly on the issues of semiconductors and insurance, and on the need to resolve issues in those two areas. And they committed to work together to reach an acceptable resolution of these two issues, insurance and semiconductors, by the end of July.
So that is basically a very positive development. It suggests seriousness of effort to reach agreement in both of these issues by the end of July.
Q What is the issue on insurance?
DR. TYSON: Well, as you know, there is an outstanding agreement which the U.S. and Japan signed as part of the framework agreement, and it has to do with the extend of deregulation in the third sector of the Japanese insurance market and the primary sector of the Japanese insurance market.
Q But did the Prime Minister talk at all about a potential multilateral agreement on semiconductors?
DR. TYSON: We did not go into the details of their discussion at this point. They did not go through those details.
Q Dr. Tyson, did they discuss the aviation --
DR. TYSON: They did discuss that. As you know, there are discussions scheduled on the aviation issue tomorrow and Friday. I think their view was that there's an ongoing discussion process and those issues will take longer to resolve, because we have made it clear that until we come to some resolution of our differences on existing rights under the existing treaty, we are not going to be able to negotiate any new civilian routes.
Q Is there any suggestion by the President that failure to reach agreement by the end of July may result in some U.S. sanctions?
DR. TYSON: Well, once again, this was a conversation that was a private conversation between the President and the Prime Minister. I will say for certain that the President expressed his concern about the fact that there had been very little progress on these issues and the fact that they committed to resolving the issues, to work together to resolve the issues by July 31st, which is the time, of course, that the semiconductor trade agreement that we currently have expires. I think that's a very significant sign of the seriousness of purpose here.
Q What did he say?
Q Did the President talk anything about Japan's economy?
DR. TYSON: About Japan's economy. I do not know that. This is lovely giving a briefing about a private conversation. I can only tell you parts of what I heard, and it's based basically on what the leaders themselves spoke about when they came to the room and joined us.
Q How about the exchange rate? Did they discuss --
DR. TYSON: I have no idea.
Q Laura, at any point did the President indicate or was he prepared to indicate to Prime Minister Hashimoto that this agreement on semiconductors would be the last one and that if sufficient progress was made on it we were willing to, as a country, drop having in the agreement --
DR. TYSON: Well, again, I cannot say for certain exactly what the President said. I can say, however, that we have made it clear in our negotiations with the Japanese on this issue so far that we really are looking for a transitional agreement leading into a full-fledged, competitive, dynamic marketplace; and that this is not to be understood as an extension of the existing agreement, this is a transitional mechanism on the route to a fully competitive marketplace.
Q Excuse me. I'm having a little trouble understanding -- like, a couple of months ago we were sort of declaring victory on trade in Japan, saying that we had all these agreements that had made this great progress, the Japanese surplus is coming down. The whole atmospherics have changed this time, it seems, and we're sort of saying, you know, they're back-sliding, they're not living up to their agreements.
DR. TYSON: I would not say that. I would say that we said in Tokyo what we said here -- we have had a very successful period of negotiation with Japan and we have had a very successful set of agreements with Japan. However, we do have some outstanding issues and those outstanding issues were identified in Tokyo and they are with us today. And we have always said that the health of the Japanese-U.S. relationship depends upon the health of the trading relationship, and that this is an area where we believe strongly both on economic grounds and on the grounds of preserving the strength of our relationship our outstanding trade issues need resolution.
And so I would again emphasize the very positive note on which this conversation ended today, which was a commitment to resolve cooperatively, working together, the outstanding issues of insurance and semiconductors by the end of July.
Q Was there any talk about the secondary --
ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: Let me just add a comment, if I could. In addition to the positive way the trade issues were discussed, the rest of this conversation reflected, again, the wide areas of agreement and cooperation and partnership that was reflected at the summit and which continued. And I went over some of those issues. So this is a building on the summit, building on the progress there, very successful, obviously concerned that we keep moving ahead on the trade issue as Laura Tyson has said. But your characterization would be inaccurate in terms of the mood or the direction.
Q Was it any different than what the mood was last year or the year before?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: Again, I'll let Laura Tyson say, but the fact is, yes, we have -- we have serious concerns. I don't want to walk away from that. But the fact is we've also reached 21 agreements, the trade figures are moving in the right direction. We just want to make sure we continue to work on these important issues, even as we have this broad array of positive agenda items elsewhere in the world.
DR. TYSON: Can I emphasize a couple of points on insurance and semiconductors, just to suggest why the focus on these was, I think, very important. On insurance we're talking about an agreement which was reached in the context of the framework discussions. It is one of the 21 agreements. And it is important to the success of that overarching framework effort that those agreements be honored, be carried through. So clearly that's a very important issue in terms of the continuity of our trading relationship with Japan.
On semiconductors, we were talking about the expiration of an agreement which has essentially a 10-year history. and to have a transitional mechanism whereby industry cooperation is maintained with some sort of government-to- government involvement, at least in terms of monitoring, seems a sensible transitional mechanism.
I want to make one other clarifying point because I almost never, as most of you know in this room, talk about the exchange rate. But I do want to emphasize, there's no reason to think, and I certainly do not think, that the Prime Minister and the President had a discussion about exchange rates. I just wanted to clarify that.
Q Laura, was there any discussion of Japanese monetary policy --
DR. TYSON: I do not know if that were the case. That is possible, but I do not know.
Q Any talk on secondary boycotts -- Libya, Iran?
DR. TYSON: I'm afraid that what I've told you pretty much exhausts the knowledge that I have about this private conversation. We will, as I understand it, be getting some additional notes on it, so perhaps we can clarify at a later point in time some of the details. I guess I just want to end by emphasizing again that this was a positive -- this was characterized by the leaders as a positive discussion and one with an outcome, which was an agreement to work together.
Q Could you or Win clarify what is the Japanese position on secondary boycotts?
MR. MCCURRY: The Japanese government has expressed to the United States government many of the same concerns that we've heard from our European allies, specifically with respect to extraterritoriality and the effect of measures like the Helms-Burton Act and the measures under consideration for Libya and Iran, a subject which the President himself raised with President Chirac and also with Prime Minister Major because he is aware of those concerns.
Q Did the Japanese do that today, Mike? Today, or are you just giving the position?
MR. MCCURRY: It did not come up in the delegation meetings. And we had no indication from the President that it came up privately.
Q Ambassador Barshefsky indicated that there might be some flexibility in including the EU in the semiconductor agreement. Was that something that was discussed between the two leaders?
DR. TYSON: As I said, I do not know if that was discussed. It may have been discussed. I think that what was discussed was the need to work together to resolve them. That clearly has been indicated by Ambassador Barshevsky as one possible way.
But I want to emphasize that there are a series of issues between the U.S. and Japan that need to be resolved. And if we cooperate in the resolution of those issues, then having the involvement of other parts of the world is something which we can consider. But it's important that we get a resolution of the outstanding issues between the U.S. and Japan.
Q If we don't get resolution of those two issues by the end of July, what happens then?
MR. MCCURRY: All right moving on to the other -- (laughter.) Well, you all are aware of our -- we take our U.S. trade law seriously, and that we have to enforce U.S. trade law.
Is that good enough?
All right, now turning to, in that reverse order, the other bilateral meeting held here at the hotel was with Prime Minister Major -- a very warm and friendly discussion in which the two leaders began by complaining they had not seen enough of Lyon. So the President ordered that the blinds on the eighth floor restaurant room in which they were meeting be opened so they could at least see the view of the river. After some pleasantries in which they talked about how nice it is to be away from their respective parliaments, the two leaders got into a range of issues that Sandy Vershbow will now tell you about. You all know Sandy is the Senior Director for Europe at the National Security Council.
And then, why don't you then go ahead and do the President's bilateral meeting with President Chirac at the Prefecture as well.
MR. VERSHBOW: I'll try to go through both Chirac and Major where they covered similar ground simultaneously rather than repeating myself.
As Mike said, both meetings started off with a discussion of terrorism and the Dhahran tragedy. And President Chirac stressed he was going to put the spotlight on the issue tonight at the dinner. In both conversations, there was a review of the results of the Russian elections and what's likely to happen next, some speculation about the implications of a high versus a low turnout on the results, but wait and see how the Russian voters come down.
In the meeting with Chirac, the President reaffirmed -- raised a number of NATO issues. He reaffirmed our strong support for this process of internal adaptation of the Alliance, very satisfied with the decisions taken in Berlin earlier this month, stressed the importance of moving ahead in a way that married the political goal of strengthening the European role and responsibility within the Alliance, and the need for a sound military approach that preserves the strength of the transatlantic relationship.
Chirac expressed very strong appreciation for the President's personal role in helping bringing about the agreement in Berlin and the strong impetus to moving forward and working out the details over the next six months.
The President and President Chirac agreed we needed to maintain a steady course on NATO enlargement. Both underscored the importance of continued active engagements with the Russians, try to build on the IFOR experience in order to achieve a stronger NATO-Russia partnership.
In the meetings with both Chirac and Major there was a considerable discussion of the situation in Bosnia. Everyone agreed on the importance of moving ahead with the elections. The President was particularly emphatic that we need to keep the heat on the parties to live up to their obligations, not escape their responsibilities. He also stressed the need for accelerating the process of reconstruction and our hope that the summit here will give impetus to a more rapid implementation of the reconstruction efforts.
He noted that in the decision yesterday to certify Bosnian compliance with the foreign forces requirements of the Dayton Agreement, he had freed up an additional $70 million in U.S. assistance. So we're doing our part and we want the overall international donor community to focus its efforts over the next few months.
There was agreement also that long-term engagement in the political and civilian areas is going to be essential to keep the process on track, but that the onus ultimately falls on the parties themselves to choose whether they're going to take advantage of the Dayton framework to build a single Bosnian state, or whether they're going to drift apart.
In the meeting with Chirac there was a considerable discussion of the Middle East peace process. The President stressed that we need to urge both the Israelis and the Arabs to keep all the doors open; that we have to stress to the Arabs not to prejudge where the Netanyahu government is going to be going and the importance of maintaining direct contacts between them.
The President and Chirac had a brief discussion of a couple of African issues. The President thanked President Chirac for the French assistance in evacuating our personnel from the Central African Republic and for their support for our diplomatic efforts on Burundi.
Chirac raised concern that he had raised in the first meeting with the President a year ago, after his election, regarding the decline in U.S. foreign assistance -- said that from the French point of view this was undercutting the U.S. leadership in the world. The President said he fully agreed with this, was working with the Congress to try to overcome the problem of the U.N. arrears and our contribution to IDA,* but it was a continuing effort.
Helms-Burton came up in both conversations. Chirac stressed his concern about the danger if we get into a cycle in which the Europeans have to undertake reprisals. The President stressed that we needed to take decisive action after the shootdown of the planes by the Cubans, and that we were working with the Congress to come up with an approach which maximized the pressure for an opening up of the Cuban regime, while seeking to minimize potential frictions with our allies. But he underscored that the more that European countries can put more pressure on Castro to open up will help achieve our common goals.
In the Major meeting, a couple other subjects were discussed. Of course, Northern Ireland was a topic of lengthy conversation; general concern about both the Manchester bombing and the recent discovery of the bomb factory in Ireland by the Irish security forces, that this cast further doubt on whether we will be able to restore a meaningful cease-fire, but in the meantime, we need to keep the process going. The talks in Belfast have begun without Sinn Fein. Sinn Fein cannot join, we fully agree, until there is an unequivocal cease-fire reestablished.
Finally, the President Prime Minister Major touched on Cyprus. They compared the conversations they had with President Clerides over the last weeks and agreed we needed to coordinate our efforts, not to undertake separate initiatives but try to combine our efforts in seeking to secure a settlement over the next year or so, noting that the prospect of Cyprus beginning accession talks with the European Union created a window of opportunity that we needed to seize. And the President said we're going to continue to try to focus initially on the issue of security as a way to move forward towards a Cyprus settlement.
Q Test ban troubles, did that come up? Boutros-Ghali's future, did that come up? Did Chirac take on a special role in the Middle East like trying to get Syria in negotiations?
MR. VERSHBOW: The Boutros-Ghali issue didn't come up in either meeting. On CTB, there was a brief exchange with Major. The President underscored our hope that we can work together to bring the talks to a conclusion in the coming days.
Q No ideas on how to get --
MR. VERSHBOW: No, they didn't get into the details. And there wasn't too much on the Middle East with respect to the French role.
Q As you describe the Middle East it sounds like Clinton describing what he thinks Netanyahu's position is. But the French showed a big interest in the Middle East while Christopher was there the last time before this one. Nothing special to offer from the French?
MR. VERSHBOW: No, the French really didn't talk so much about the operation. They just gave their kind of slightly pessimistic assessment of the overall situation, but didn't get into follow-up.
Q You mentioned that President Chirac has some objections expressed to the Cuba legislation, but did he also raise the legislation about Iran and Libya?
MR. VERSHBOW: Yes, he did. The discussion focused on Helms-Burton, but he did say that the D'Amato legislation, if enacted, could also get us into, from the European point of view, a dangerous cycle of action-reaction.
Q In other words, he stated that there would be reprisals on the part of the EU if the bills were implemented, is that correct?
MR. VERSHBOW: He didn't specifically say there would, but he was concerned that Europe could get into a situation where it had no choice but to do that.
Q What did the President say? Did the President come back with, well, we have to look at Dhahran as an example of an area that we have to -- that you need more solidarity behind fighting these terrorist countries?
MR. VERSHBOW: He didn't specifically equate it to Dhahran, but he did say that the more the Europeans can work with us in the case of Cuba in putting more pressure on the Castro regime to liberalize, the easier it would be for us at home to come up with a better solution with Congress.
Q Did Chirac offer anything that would be considered a door opening?
MR. VERSHBOW: No.
Q One clarification. You may have seen Le Figaro, the lead article said the French President wanted the G-7 to deal with American monopolism and hegemonism, and wanted to bring the international institutions in to counter this. So I was wondering, in view of your brief briefing on the meeting how you interpret that article.
MR. VERSHBOW: I didn't hear anything in the meeting that squared with that article. I think there was much more a spirit of wanting to work together to deal with the common problems, particularly terrorism, at the outset of the meeting; but even on these more contentious issues, an effort to find common ground.
MR. MCCURRY: There is one area in which President Chirac made a specific point about the U.S. role in global affairs, and that was on assistance to developing countries and the International Development Association, in particular. And he did make the correct point that as a proportion of our gross domestic product the contribution the United States makes to that very important lending institution for developing countries is much smaller than other industrialized nations. I think it's about one-tenth of one percent and the French can correctly say they give as a proportion of their economy probably about five times that amount.
And he made that point that in the long-term, because of America's global leadership position, it will reflect poorly upon the United States if we do not engage in more direct assistance to the developing world. The President pointed out that he has been trying to get in Congress sufficient amounts of funding to restore the amounts that we pledged in the Bush administration to the lending window at the World Bank for the IDA, but that that was very tough going, given the disposition of the Republican Congress.
Q Was the role of the multinational solution to the question --
MR. MCCURRY: One thing I would make generally about all three of these conversations, that I think is an important one, President Clinton is here at Lyon now as something of a veteran when it comes to these summits, and he has developed with each of these leaders -- including Prime Minister Hashimoto, who he has dealt with less than the other two -- very personal relationships. And each of these conversations in its own way was personal and warm, but when they were disagreements, the disagreements were addressed very candidly and very openly, but certainly not acrimoniously.
Q Will the declaration tonight on terrorism move the subject away from the summit, which is now dominating -- and I understanding there is some grumbling over there among some countries that the Economic Summit is suddenly becoming a terrorist --
MR. MCCURRY: From President Chirac, Prime Minister Major and Prime Minister Hashimoto, President Clinton today only heard a great deal of concern about the specific incident in Dhahran, but also on the need for nations to work together to fight terrorism. That has been a part of the G-7 deliberations now dating back to Halifax at least, and it is a subject that the leaders had intended to address. Indeed, the need to fight international crime, drug trafficking, organized international crime and certainly support for terrorism has been something the leaders had planned to address.
I think the incident in Saudi Arabia raised the importance of those issues, and they want to deal with that promptly and immediately tonight and then move on to the rest of their agenda. So we had not heard anything other than genuine heartfelt concern from other nations.
Just one point on the Middle East, if you don't mind. On the -- and one more on Bosnia. In the discussion with President Chirac, they did compare notes on their view of the process in the aftermath of the Israeli election. There was a great deal of agreement between President Clinton and President Chirac on their assessment of the peace process itself, about the recently concluded Arab summit. And, of course, the President reported on Secretary Christopher's just completed trip to the region and some of the assessments of what they can do.
They were both in agreement that it was important not to prejudge the direction of the peace process based either on the statements emanating from the summit or from the statements of the new Israeli government as it begins to articulate its policies.
Q I thought they had a pessimistic assessment.
Q What makes Chirac pessimistic then? Netanyahu's election is the only new thing, right?
MR. MCCURRY: I wouldn't suggest to you he was necessarily pessimistic. He has a realistic view of some of the tensions that exist in the region.
Q Well, what focused his realism? What is the new factor that causes him to be realistic?
MR. MCCURRY: We have, among other things, one example of the way terror is used in the region for presumably political objectives. And that's going to remain as a very real concern in that region for sometime to come, underscoring the important of dealing with it.
Let me -- you want to do a Bosnia point.
MR. VERSHBOW: Yes, I just wanted to add -- I forgot in going through the Bosnia discussion that in both conversations there was a discussion of the Karadzic-Mladic problem, and general agreement that Karadzic's continued presence on the political scene as so-called President of the Republic of Serbia is both a violation of the Dayton Agreement and a serious threat to the elections to be held on September the 14th. And all agreed that Karadzic needed to be out of power and out of any influence and ultimately brought to The Hague to stand trial. And the steps that have been reported that he may have decided not to run were a small step in the right direction, but clearly not enough to eliminate him from influence as is required by the Dayton Agreement.
Q Were any courses of action discussed?
MR. VERSHBOW: They discussed both keeping the heat on Milosevic. John Kornblum, as you know, was in Belgrade yesterday and made very clear to Milosevic that while Karadzic not running would be a step in the right direction, it was far from enough. And at the same time, we continue to maintain the intensified IFOR patrols, particularly around Pale, to severely restrict Karadzic's freedom of movement, and that increases the possibility that IFOR may encounter him and will be prepared to detain him.
So nothing new on that score, but keeping the pressure on Milosevic in the IFOR patrols.
Q Back on Helms-Burton for a second. Did Chirac press the President about whether he intended to use his authority to weigh the implementation of Helms-Burton? Or did the President in any way indicate what his decision would be?
MR. VERSHBOW: As I recall, Chirac didn't specifically push on the waiver issue. He more generally urged that we find a way to deescalate the situation and avoid a confrontational situation.
MR. MCCURRY: Alexis, the President, in the conversation with President Chirac, raised Helms-Burton, said, I'm aware of your concern about this, let me tell you where we are in the process. He explained that the Article III waiver is something that will not be decided and that, indeed, he had not made any decision on whether or not to invoke that waiver. He said that they were attempting to work to bring additional pressure to bear on the regime in Cuba and that what was the surest way to ameliorate the effects of the Helms-Burton Act would be to see positive political change in Cuba towards democracy and greater freedom for the people of Cuba.
Q Mike, in pushing for stronger action on terrorists, did the President in his discussions with any or all three of these leaders specifically mention his strategy, vis-a-vis Iran and ask them to move more toward his position on that? And, if so, what were the reactions?
MR. MCCURRY: That did not specifically come up. There was some discussion about people were -- all three of the leaders were interested in what we knew about the incident in Saudi Arabia and if we were aware at this point of any linkage to state sponsors of terrorism or to other nations.
The President, in one conversation, called upon Secretary Christopher to address that question, since the Secretary had just been there. And the Secretary cautioned everyone to remember that the investigative work on this incident is at its early stage and they have not established motive, sponsorship or connections to any known terrorist groups or state sponsors of terrorism. So it was too early to make that judgment.
But the specific point, does this incident underscore the need to isolate those rogue regimes that sponsor terrorism, it was not made because, frankly, that would be -- well, that would presume a motive or more knowledge about the specific incident in Saudi Arabia than the U.S. government has at this point.
Q Mike, is it fair to see that the leaders agreed to disagree with the President on Helms-Burton and the D'Amato amendment, that's the sum total of it?
MR. MCCURRY: It's fair to say -- and I'll ask Sandy to characterize it, too, -- that they understand that there's a different point of view here. It is in the context of relations in which there is broad agreement on so many areas as was reflected in each of these conversations today. But there is clearly a difference in point of view here on both how you isolate and moderate the behavior of rogue regimes, and then also how you bring about important political change with respect to Cuba.
And the importance of working through these issues in a way that does not cause any damage to the very close alliance we have with the nations we dealt with today was something the President underscored in the first two conversations.
MR. VERSHBOW: There was nothing beyond that in the Major conversation.
MR. MCCURRY: Yes, nothing beyond that in the Major conversation. It was raised, by the way -- the Helms-Burton was raised at the very end of the discussion with Prime Minister Major and he said, I know that you'll hear more about this, but it is something that we are obviously concerned about.
Q Mike, did the President get any other briefings or updates today on the situation in Dhahran on anything, any information from the investigation? Has he had any time to look at that at all today?
MR. MCCURRY: No. He, of course, got a more complete report from Secretary Christopher who was on the scene yesterday. The Secretary described in very vivid detail some of the things that he saw, described the very extensive law enforcement effort underway, the availability of a lot evidence for any investigators on the ground to now pursue, and the likelihood that it will take some time to sift through all that evidence. He has just heard initial -- just reports about how the recovery effort is going from time to time during the day by Tony Lake who's been getting updated as needed by the folks following the work in Dhahran.
Q And how important is it that the President think for a group like the G-7 to say something quickly and definitive about terrorism on the heels of this --
MR. MCCURRY: As President Chirac made clear to President Clinton, there is, certainly in this group, universal condemnation of this cowardly act. And I expect in some formal way tonight the leaders will very quickly say that they condemn this act. They understand that terrorism is a major challenge that faces nations today, that we need to work together to thwart acts of terrorism, and we need to find ways to reduce and impede the channels that terrorists use to support their heinous crimes. I think they will also call upon nations to work together as a matter of priority and say that it was important for this summit to address it as a matter of priority.
Q If they do that tonight, how are we going to get the text of that document?
MR. MCCURRY: We're going to follow that during the evening. If there is a formal statement of any nature that's issued in written form, we'll get it here as quickly as possible from the dinner location. And we plan to get updated during the evening on what it looks like is the mechanism for delivering that statement.
Q This is a housekeeping matter. Do we expect Chirac to make his statement on camera?
MR. MCCURRY: We don't know at this point, and we certainly will be working with the French government to get an answer to that.
Q But this is the only place to get any response from you, not over at the G-7 site?
MR. MCCURRY: Yes. We're not -- we're going to be using the filing center over at the G-7 site tomorrow, but most of the President's activities, of course, were here in the hotel today. That's why we're here today. And we will be tonight as we get updates from the dinner site. But you should also check in with what's coming back from your pool that's with the President at the dinner in case any of the leaders make any statements to the cameras over there.
Q And you would know if there's not going to be a declaration?
MR. MCCURRY: We'll find out if for some reason they decide they're not going to make any formal statement tonight and delay it until tomorrow. We'll try to post that or advise you on that as quickly as we can.
Q He talked about the 35-yard buffer in Dhahran turning out not to be a big enough buffer. Is he prepared to do anything immediately to expand the buffers in front of buildings like that?
MR. MCCURRY: We'll that's something that the President will rely on the judgment and security decisions of senior military commanders that are looking at those facilities. The Pentagon has already at great length talked about both the enhanced security procedures they had in place and then anything that is suggested as a result of this incident that they need to implement. And the President will rely on the good judgment of the military commanders who are responsible for the security and protection at those bases to take any steps that they feel are warranted; and indeed, as the Pentagon has briefed you all, they're already doing extensive reviews of those procedures.
Just one program note, we are, as I said, moving back over -- we'll move over to the other facility for tomorrow. I'm hoping that sometime late afternoon -- about 4:00 p.m.? We're trying to arrange for two of our Cabinet Secretaries present to be available around 4:00 p.m. tomorrow afternoon to kind of do a readout of the discussions.
Trick question -- who would that be? Helen is trying to figure that out. (Laughter.) Secretary Rubin and Secretary Christopher we've asked to do that. And if we can coordinate with their schedules, for planning purposes only, not for transmission, we'll try to do something around 4:00 p.m. with them tomorrow.
Q Can you put on the record his weekend plans now?
MR. MCCURRY: Mary Ellen is working on that. Are you prepared to do that now?
MS. GLYNN: We can go on the record and say the President is going to --
MR. MCCURRY: Come -- it's all yours. Take it away.
MS. GLYNN: The President plans to proceed with his schedule in Paris. He's going to have dinner with President Chirac and his wife on Saturday night and then depart from Paris at around 11:00 p.m. for Florida -- Eglin Air Force Base. As you know, the press plane will leave here from Lyon at around 8:15 p.m. And as soon as I have -- and we should get in at about midnight. As soon as I have a schedule for Florida for Sunday, I'll give it to you folks.
THE PRESS: Thank you.
END 7:55 P.M. (L)