THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Lyon, France) ________________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release June 29, 1996
PRESS BRIEFING BY MIKE MCCURRY
1:18 P.M. (L)
MR. MCCURRY: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, friends, fellow travelers. I'm just going to take a brief minute and go through the morning discussion. All of it's reflected in the Chairman's Statement and the separate declaration you've received on Bosnia. But just to highlight this morning's discussions, the leaders began the discussion of Bosnia that's now reflected in the separate statement that you've seen.
There was some discussion on the sanctions question, on how to use the Dayton language to reinforce the leaders' call on those with influence on the Republic of Herzegovina to bring pressure to bear on both Karadzic and Mladic to step aside and present themselves for justice at The Hague.
A lengthy discussion about Korea, about the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization; the President calling upon the European Union to assist in the financing of activities of KEDO. A discussion of where we are on the comprehensive test ban treaty in light of the discussions in Geneva over the past several days -- again, the outcome of that discussion reflected in the Chairman's Statement.
A long discussion of land mines because of an initiative put forward by Prime Minister Hashimoto, who very effectively presented the case for further action by the world community to limit the destructive power of antipersonnel land mines. The President in his intervention on that subject noted the initiative that he himself has put forward that you're all familiar with.
More discussion of the environment, Chancellor Kohl continuing his discussion of that issue from last night. I've checked with people here and there's some consensus this is probably the longest and most vibrant discussion of environmental protection that the leaders at the G-7 have ever engaged in -- or at the 8. And the that the President, of course, welcomed and thought was very significant.
The afternoon discussion just concluded -- or the midday discussion with the leaders of international organizations, was very useful in the President's view. Secretary General Boutros-Ghali discussed United Nations reform. The question of his tenure did not arise in that discussion. They also heard, of course, from representatives of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Trade Organization -- all very good discussions. Some of it reflected a great deal of the discussion with the economic institutions about the economic communique released by the seven leaders yesterday.
The President is in a short while planning to meet, as you know, with Prime Minister Chernomyrdin. He will, of course, inquire about President Yeltsin's health and express the concern of the American people and just inquire how he's doing. We have not heard anything new on that subject today.
They will review the process and the environment for the run-off election July 3rd. The President will focus a great deal of attention on the work of the Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission and inquire about some of the issues that are in that channel for discussion. And then, after that, you will all have an opportunity to ask the President how successful he thinks this summit meeting has been, and the answer I can predict will be predictable.
Q Mike, can you illuminate a couple of points on the Bosnia statement? Number one, on the first page in regard to the elections, there would seem to be some mission creep for IFOR with the G-7 or 8 calling for IFOR troops to guarantee a safe environment on the day of the election. And the other thing in regard to the ultimatum to Karadzic, is that to be interpreted that if that doesn't happen, sanctions will be reimposed on Serbia?
MR. MCCURRY: Well, let's -- let me take each of those separately. Recall that earlier this month in Brussels the permanent representatives of the North Atlantic Council met to review the status of the implementation force and its mission. There were considerable discussions with NATO military commanders as well and with SACEUR about the taskings that can go to IFOR troops as resources are freed up and the mission objectives that were outlined in the Dayton Accords and the military annex to the Dayton Accords are met.
You'll recall that at that time in early June both the military commanders of NATO and the political representatives announced that they were doing things like stepping up patrols that would allow for the greater access and freedom of movement in Bosnia-Herzegovina; that they were taking steps to secure movement of international personnel involved in humanitarian activities.
The design of this element of the declaration by the United States -- and this was, indeed, a U.S. initiative put forward here in Lyon -- was to suggest that at the election time in September, or whenever the election is scheduled -- September most likely -- the safe and secure environment that is required for those elections can be assisted by IFOR. The exact same things that they have been tasked to do by the military commanders in connection with freedom of movement could equally apply to election monitors, to those who will actually conduct the election. And there was a sense here that the international community -- the world leaders here -- should speak in support of the election process by indicating that that specific task would be within the mission as it's currently outlines.
So, in short, no change in the mission. In fact, the mission objectives, as they've been outlined since Dayton, have included the creation of a safe and secure environment that will allow for the transformation that must take place in Bosnia.
Q What about the --
MR. MCCURRY: And then on the second point, clearly, from the presentation that we heard from Carl Bildt, there is desire to encourage Milosevic to encourage Serbia to bring greater pressure to bear on Mr. Karadzic. And the very pointed statement about Mr. Karadzic in the declaration -- the reference to assistance that's available once he is removed from the political life of that country and the suggestion that there can be economic consequences if these procedures don't move forward is clear.
Now, Mr. Bildt has indicated publicly that he is considering the question of sanctions. I am not aware, as it has been reported, that he has set some kind of deadline. But the leaders here had a consensus that they would be supportive of Mr. Bildt. Mr. Bildt has the authority to request further sanctions or a replacement of sanctions on Serbia if the goals and timetables of the Dayton Accords are not met.
Q -- the American mediator Kornblum has indeed suggested to Milosevic that there is a date by which time Karadzic should be gone?
MR. MCCURRY: Barry's question was whether or not Assistant Secretary Kornblum in his meetings with Melosevic in Belgrade suggested there is some kind of timetable. Not to my knowledge, Barry, although he did suggest that we are ever more urgent about the need to move ahead with the stipulations of the Dayton Accords as they relate to indicted war criminals; that they ought to be removed from the political life of Bosnia, as the declaration suggests; that they're removed from any public or governmental decision-making role; and that they should be presented forthwith to The Hague for prosecution.
Q How would new sanctions be triggered? Is it just the recommendation of Carl Bildt, and would these leaders have to meet again, or would others have to?
MR. MCCURRY: Anne, under the Dayton Accords, and Barry will probably remember this better than I do, but under the Dayton Accords and the implementing decisions of the U.N. Security Council, there is an outer wall of sanctions that can be retriggered if there is unsatisfactory progress towards implementing the goals of Dayton. And so this would be a request by Mr. Bildt back to the U.N. Security Council. But the U.N. Security Council has continued to be seized of this issue, and he indicated its willingness to consider a reimposition of sanctions if there's any backsliding on implementations of the Dayton Accord.
Q Was there any discussion in this large meeting of the Russian election, the run-off? And can you talk a little about the dynamic with Chernomrydin?
MR. MCCURRY: There was, my understanding is, more of a discussion about the current dynamic in Russia during yesterday and last evening's discussions. Mr. Chernomyrdin, as he often is, is very well briefed, very well rehearsed in the intricacies of the issues being dealt with here in Lyon. He made considerable contributions in the Bosnia discussion this morning. In all the subjects related to -- the conversations related to Iran and others, he's quite knowledgeable. And we know from our own bilateral sessions with him, he's been a very active and effective participant in these discussions.
He usually does not go beyond his brief. That has been his practice, and it is accurate to say that's essentially what he did here. We look forward to, of course, exploring the bilateral issues that we always address with the Russian Federation when the President meets with him in a short while.
Q Just to follow up, did the other leaders give him any message they want him to carry back to Moscow for Russian progress after this election is over?
MR. MCCURRY: The references in the documents you've already seen towards the Russian Federation, towards the importance of progress towards democracy, the importance of this election on July 3rd, I think was made much more personal by the interventions of many leaders, including the President. And this is a historic moment for the Russian Federation. It's an important election. The importance of the Russian people going to the polls and making this choice is one sign of the progress Russia is making towards democracy. And that point was reinforced several times by several of the leaders here.
Q Mike, you talked about the amount of time the leaders were engaged in talking about the environment. And Dan sort of indicated that that was not part of the script and the expectation. Other than the general language, what can you say about their interest that was leading toward the future or initiatives or -- where does it go?
MR. MCCURRY: Well, the President made clear in his discussion -- and you'll recall yesterday I outlined some of the general issues of globalization that he addressed in his second intervention yesterday -- but one was that all these industrialized nations are grappling with the question of how can we simultaneously encourage economic growth, how can we encouraged sustainable development in the less-developed world, how can we take emerging economies that are transforming themselves and do so in a way that continues to protect the global environment. That was a very rich discussion.
I'd say Chancellor Kohl contributed most significantly to that discussion, because it's an issue that he has dealt with very directly and very personally. But it's clear from that discussion and from the concentration on that issue that this will be a key focus of the G-7 summit in Denver. And the President fully expects a greater degree of attention by each government as it works on the walk-up to the Denver summit on that question.
I can say almost the same thing on the issue of terrorism. It's clear that the interest in that subject by the leaders here, certainly the tragic events that we've witnessed around the world would require greater focus on that issue in Denver. And, indeed, the President's already indicated that will be a key focus in Denver.
Q -- how different was this summit in the absence of Boris Yeltsin?
MR. MCCURRY: Well, President Yeltsin is always a very energetic and vibrant participant in the discussions, so it had a somewhat different flavor. But, again, there were some new faces here. Prime Minister Prodi, of course, was attending his first. Even though Prime Minister Hashimoto, this is his first G-7 summit as a leader, he had participated in the past as trade minister or a finance minister. But he was, of course, attending his very first, so it's a different combination of personalities.
What I say about the President's role is that he is no longer the new kid on the block. In fact, he, in terms of seniority, I think, ranks third in the leaders. So he is now something of a veteran when it comes to these discussions. And it makes it possible for him to have more shorthand formulas, particularly when he is engaged with people around the table that he knows quite well -- Chancellor Kohl, President Chirac, Prime Minister Major especially.
So the flavor of this conversation is -- it always changes given the different mix of personalities there, but certainly the discussion with respect to the Russian Federation or market reforms in Russia or international lending to Russia did not suffer any by the absence of President Yeltsin, given the worthiness of Prime Minister Chernomyrdin as an interlocutor.
Q Speaking of the mix of personalities, what was the atmosphere when President Clinton was meeting with Boutros-Ghali? Was it frosty, was it cordial?
MR. MCCURRY: I am told that it was matter of fact and straightforward.
Q Mike, getting back to September 14th --
MR. MCCURRY: -- straightforward may have sounded frosty. (Laughter.) And it shouldn't have. It should have been -- it was correct and dignified. How about that? Does that pass muster in your place of employment? Okay. (Laughter.)
Q In regard to the IFOR role on election day, you mentioned that they've stepped up roles for freedom of movement. On election day, if you have a group of, let's say, Croats wanting to go vote in an area controlled by Serbs, and the Serbs stop them, is that a mission on election day where these voters can go to an IFOR unit and say, escort me to the polling station?
MR. MCCURRY: Leo, I'm not going to speculate on the environment that will exist on election day. I don't think that's wise to do. But the right of citizens to vote in their place of original residence, which is a feature of the Dayton Accord, and the freedom of movement aspects of the Dayton Accords themselves, which are being enforced by IFOR, would allow for people to get to the polling places, would allow for election monitors to be where they need to be, would allow for those who are going to be conducting the election to carry out their work. That is all within the framework of the Dayton Accord, and certainly is all suggested by the phrase "safe and secure environment." And the United States, of course, hopes that and has reason to expect that this election can be conducted in a peaceful environment.
Q Did the President ask to be updated on any of the information coming out of Saudi Arabia now on the investigation on the wreckage of this truck and possible ID --
MR. MCCURRY: The President is obviously following those issues very closely. As you know, Secretary of Defense Perry is now in Dhahran and we'll be in a position to report back to him. I'm sure that the President will want to have all the latest information before he meets with the families of the victims tomorrow.
Q And the size of the FBI team that's there?
MR. MCCURRY: There are, I understand, 80 FBI investigators on the ground. They are enjoying good cooperation from Saudi authorities and they are continuing a very extensive forensic analysis of the site and continuing their investigation.
Q Mike, was President Chirac's comment that the 9.7 million jobs wouldn't fit in a European model taken as a slap in the face? And more importantly, do you still stand by Mr. Stiglitz's statistics which claim that the majority of these jobs are, in fact, high wages positions?
MR. MCCURRY: Yes, and they are. The question was really about President Chirac's concern about the nature of job creation in the United States. The jobs, as you know, two-thirds of the 9.7 million jobs, or roughly two-thirds of those jobs, have been created in the last three years, pay above average minimum wage -- I mean, excuse me, above average hourly wage rates. And, in general, they have been concentrated in sectors of the economy that are showing growth and can kind of provide higher wages as we look ahead to the future.
President Chirac is certainly correct that some of these -- some -- of these jobs have been in lower income paying categories or sectors. But on balance, the performance of the U.S. economy is strong. On balance, the income wage rate increase that we just recently experienced is an encouraging sign.
And certainly, the President took no offense at President Chirac's point that in the European labor markets there is a concentration on a need for jobs that are paying higher wage rates. And that reflects the unique nature of labor markets across Europe -- a different pattern of unionization, a different pattern of public versus private sector employment in Europe. And there has to be a distinctly European model for employment growth just as U.S. job growth reflects the particular aspects of our own economy.
Q On the Middle East portion of the communique today, is this essentially an invitation for Netanyahu to follow the policies of his predecessor?
MR. MCCURRY: Well, there's an acknowledgement in the Chairman's Statement about the recent election, about the importance of security as an issue on the minds of the people of Israel. So I think that there's certainly an acknowledgement in this statement that the people of Israel spoke when they made their recent choice in their election.
At the same time, the reaffirmation of the leader's support for a just comprehensive and lasting peace in the region and the exhortations to continue to progress on the various tracks of the peace process ought to be clearly a signal to the world that these leaders remain firmly committed to the general broad outlines of the process that's now been underway for some time.
Q Was Secretary General Boutros-Ghali's decision to seek another term raised in any of the sessions? Has it ever been a subject for discussion this week?
MR. MCCURRY: I have been told, Anne, that it did not come up in the session that they had at midday today. Whether it has come up in any of his bilateral meetings with some of the people he's encountered here I cannot say.
Q It hasn't come up with President --
MR. MCCURRY: In the discussion that the leaders had today on the subject of the United Nations and on United Nations reform.
Q Mike, if the President in a position to -- for next year, would he find the inclusion this year of the four -- organizations valuable enough that he would work to invite any or all of them back?
MR. MCCURRY: I haven't had an opportunity to ask him that. That might be a question you want to pose to him later.
In general, those that were in the U.S. delegation found this discussion very helpful. And it was -- it is true that when you look at institutions like the IMF, the World Bank, certain aspects of the U.N. certainly as they relate to development and assistance to emerging democracies, there needs to be greater harmonization. In fact, James Wolfensohn of the World Bank in the session this morning actually spent some time on the issue of harmonization of international institutions particularly the IFIs. And I think that it was certainly a useful discussion. I just don't know the President's reaction to that. I can't point ahead towards Denver to see, if he is in the position to host that summit, whether that's something he'd like to do.
Certainly, the importance of the work that these international institutions do is underscored by the presence of these respective leaders of these organizations here. And certainly, the President agrees that those are subjects that ought properly be addressed by the eight leaders.
That was a good waffle answer.
MR. MCCURRY: How about that?
All right, anything else? As you know, the President is departing almost immediately after his press conference. So we will not have a lot of folks around afterwards. I'm trying to clear the decks before we go.
Q Excuse me, one more quick one on Bosnia. If I remember the Dayton, it all speaks in terms of Karadzic shouldn't have political office or seek elective office. What happened or is there support for the President's position as Christopher gave it to us that these suspected war criminals not be able to have influence? Because, after all, he has puppets who he gets elected.
MR. MCCURRY: Well, as you know, we maintain that they should be out of power, out of influence and out of town, specifically in The Hague. The Chairman's Statement, which suggests that they should step down immediately and permanently from all public functions and take no part in governmental decisions, is significant in the view of the United States because it does suggest that any public role they would play as, for example, party leaders, is not consistent with the Dayton process.
Q That's not as far as you would like it to go, is it?
MR. MCCURRY: My understanding is the President was more than satisfied with this element of the Chairman's Statement. In general, as you know, we had worked hard to put forward an initiative here on Bosnia. The President was delighted that that was addressed in this separate statement. There was a feeling by the leaders that they ought to detail the specific decisions they had taken with respect to Bosnia, given the importance of that subject. And certainly the President was satisfied, more than satisfied, with that outcome.
Q Mike, are you aware or have you discussed, did the leaders discuss whether Mladic had a stroke?
MR. MCCURRY: I'm aware that there was that story yesterday, but I saw him running around on CNN earlier today, so I think that tends to discount that story.
Q Mike, was there any more substantive or detailed discussion and development of aid among the IFIs, the heads? Did they flesh out any particular way they'd cooperate, coordinate and pool resources?
MR. MCCURRY: I'll have to check on that. I know it was discussed. I don't know how -- in what detail. It was hard for me to tell from the briefing I got on the discussion how much they went into that. And part of that now may continue in the informal discussions they have over lunch. I'll just have to check and see how much they got into that. It might be a good follow-up question for the President.
Q Is there a consensus within the G-7 that Serbia should not be admitted to IMF until Karadzic and Mladic have been --
MR. McCURRY: I'm not certain that that specifically is addressed, but certainly the phrase in the Chairman's Statement detailing the need for Karadzic to step down, for new leader to be provided, consistent with the constitution of the Republika Serbska -- the leaders suggest that those steps would then enable the assistance available under the terms of the Dayton Accords to be made available to the Serbian Republic. That is a significant statement. That certainly includes both direct lending that would come from international institutions, and then forms of assistance that are being provided to Bosnia for reconstruction.
You know, the United States has already announced its package. The World Bank has been considering some additional lending authority. That cannot flow to the Serbian Republic until there is adherence to the formula set forth in the Dayton Accords.
Okay. Say again?
Q Are you going to Florida?
MR. McCURRY: No. Ms. Glynn will be going to Florida. Mr. Johnson will be on Air Force One. Mr. McCurry will be taking care of kids with chicken pox back home, but not until very late tonight.
What else? Okay. See you all -- we'll be at -- you've got a brief pool spray, I guess, with Chernomrydin and then you've got the President in the park holding forth.
THE PRESS: Thank you.
END 1:45 P.M. (L)