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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release March 31, 1999
                           PRESS BRIEFING BY 
                             JOE LOCKHART 

The Briefing Room

1:20 P.M. EST

MR. LOCKHART: Let me start with a brief statement and announcement. The President is today authorizing an additional $50 million to address the urgent humanitarian needs of refugees who fled Kosovo; $25 million of this money will come from the Emergency Refugee and Migration Account -- ERMA -- established under the Refugee and Migration Assistance Act. The other $25 million will be comprised of supplies and services from the Department of Defense and is authorized under Section 552 of the Foreign Assistance Act.

Among other things, the ERMA funds will be dispersed to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees and other international entities involved in the relief effort. The $25 million of DOD supplies and services will include the provision of needed relief material, shelter, and food, as well as the transport of those materials and personnel into the region.

In addition, AID is today sending a second disaster assistance relief team to Albania to assess on an urgent basis the growing refugee needs there. The team is expected to arrive in Albania tomorrow. There is already a DART team in Macedonia carrying out a needs assessment.

Q This is in addition to the other $25 million that we're talking about?

MR. LOCKHART: Yes, it's two separate $25 million commitments, one out of Defense, one out of the so-called ERMA funds.

Q -- in addition to the $25 million we were talking about?


Q And it's going to Albania and Macedonia?

MR. LOCKHART: Yes, it's going into the region based on the assessments that will be made through NATO, through AID, on where the funds and the supplies are needed the most.

Q What's the President's view, having been briefed today by his security team, of the bombing? Is it working? Is it doing what it is supposed to do?

MR. LOCKHART: I think, Sam, as you mentioned, the President did receive a briefing from his military team. I think the President believes, as does his foreign policy team, that this is a sustained, phased air campaign. It will continue. We are -- the objectives remain the same, as either to change the calculation of Mr. Milosevic as he pays a higher and higher price, or to systematically, whether it be day by day and week by week, take apart his ability to impose his will on Kosovo.

I will tell you, and repeat what the President believes, is that this is not easy, nor is it painless. And we must be prepared to meet this challenge with a determination. There's no one in NATO, that has unprecedented and unparalleled unity in this situation, believes that we can just turn a key here and make this happen. I think the goals remain the same and we will continue in a systematic and methodical way go after his ability to impose his will on Kosovo.

Q When you say week by week, it's open-ended then. I mean, month by month?

MR. LOCKHART: There are military objectives here, and this mission will be defined by reaching those objectives, not the calendar.

Q -- a meeting with some White House officials at this hour, I guess, but are you listening to what they have to say? Because many of them, they were very much in support of NATO, but they were over there saying that they want ground troops. They were hollering, ground troops, ground troops.

MR. LOCKHART: Well, we believe and understand that they are supportive of the NATO allied action, but our position on ground troops remains the same.

Q No intention then to send --

MR. LOCKHART: No intention.

Q This morning, though, you said that you didn't see the utility or that it would really work to send in a force of, say, 100,000 that would have to go in. Does that leave the door open to some more limited ground troops --

MR. LOCKHART: No. There is no plans, no intention to send in ground troops at this point.

Q Is the White House feeling the heat of criticism? Because your statement is very defensive.

MR. LOCKHART: No, I don't think it is. But I think it's -- you know, we all wake up and read the papers in the morning and watch the news, and there's some sense or desire for this to find some magic bullet for this to end, and that's just not the way it works. And I think it's important for people to understand, as the President stated when he spoke to the nation, that this is an operation that entails risk, risk to American pilots, servicemen, to the allies. And it's an operation that will take time.

Q May I follow up? Did the President know that in advance? Because it seems to me that there is some element of surprise of the ability of the Serbs to hold out.

MR. LOCKHART: I think the President spoke very clearly when he was here, when he spoke to the American public. We certainly would have preferred if President Milosevic had changed his calculation before he has -- but he has not. And that means that we have to continue with this campaign. As you know from reports, the campaign -- the targets for this campaign have broadened and deepened, and we are, again, going to systematically go after his ability now through the weapons that he loves the most, his military, his special forces, and which he uses to impose his will.

Q -- that this is a sustained, phased air campaign. Which phase of it are you in and how many phases are there?

MR. LOCKHART: I'm not going to get into trying to put numbers on things; only to say that we had a systematic -- NATO had a systematic campaign laid out and we have followed that, and we have broadened, deepened the targets and will continue to deliver this punishment on a daily basis to President Milosevic and his military, with increasing and broadened targets as we pursue the policy to get to the point where our military objectives are obtained.

Q Why have you broadened and deepened the objectives now on --

MR. LOCKHART: It's not the objectives, it's just -- as I think NATO was very clear in talking about from the beginning, there were things that needed to be done early as far as the particulars of air defense and other issues, and we had every intention if President Milosevic's calculation did not change, and he did not embrace a peace that allowed for autonomy in Kosovo and people to live free of repression, that we would continue on. And we're continuing on.

Q The assessment yesterday was that actually knocking out the air defense system hadn't been all that effective.

MR. LOCKHART: Well, again, I'll leave to the Pentagon to get into the details, but I think the important point is, as NATO has told you, is unanimous support for moving forward with this systematic phased air campaign. And that's what they're doing.

Q -- go back to Helen's question about supplies. Were you surprised by the scale of the offensive against the Kosovars? Last week administration officials were using the word "alarmed" by it. If so, does that mean that perhaps there could have been more efforts taken to safeguard them, in fact, --

MR. LOCKHART: No, I can't say that anyone is surprised. When you go into this you don't know whether the -- at one point the calculation changes. And what we found is that it has not changed. But I can't say that I know of anyone who's been surprised.

Q What was the President's reaction to Boris Yeltsin's decision to send seven war ships to the Mediterranean to be closer to Kosovo?

MR. LOCKHART: Well, I'd say that the Russian government at all levels that I'm aware of have made very clear that they have no intention of becoming involved in this conflict. I think having said that, we are concerned about these statements because of the signal that may be received in Belgrade. And that concern has been communicated to the Russians.

Q Have we reached a point of no return on Kosovo now, so that after what's happened over the last week Kosovo could never go back to being a province of Yugoslavia?

MR. LOCKHART: No, I don't think we have. I think we continue on where we believe we can pursue this military campaign, reach our objectives and to a point where Kosovo can remain as an autonomous region in Serbia and people can live free of repression.

But I think as the President and others said yesterday, keeping Kosovo as part of Serbia is what Milosevic needs the most. And he is putting that by his actions at risk both from further radicalization of the population there and the international support. I mean, there is NATO support under Rambouillet for keeping Kosovo part of Serbia. But as far as our policy is concerned, that hasn't changed. But his continued actions may change the actual facts on the ground.

Q Joe, if I could just follow up on that, if I may -- would the United States accept partition if it would stop the war and allow the refugees to return?

MR. LOCKHART: The United States' position, as is NATO's position, is President Milosevic needs to stop the offensive operations, withdraw his troops and embrace a political settlement that is within the framework of what was negotiated at Rambouillet.

Q -- explained the Russian fleet enough. You say you are concerned now? Because earlier --

MR. LOCKHART: There have been a series of mixed statements and messages about what they're doing, what they may be doing, what they're not doing. I think the Defense Minister has said that he has no intention of actually deploying, that they've only asked for permission. We take at face value the states that the Russian government has made that they have no intention of getting involved in this conflict. Our concern is what messages might be read in Belgrade by this. And we have communicated that concern.

Q What message do you think will be communicated?

MR. LOCKHART: I think it would not be illogical for some in Belgrade to think that their statements that they have no intention of becoming involved in this are not rock-solid.

Q -- tensions between the United States and Russia, the sending of the war ships?

MR. LOCKHART: I think we have a relationship with Russia where we express our concerns to them from time to time, but we have important issues that we continue to work on that are in both countries' national interest.

Q -- concern to them, what was their reply?

MR. LOCKHART: We've heard a series of things, some slightly mixed message. But we -- again, as I said, we take seriously the Russian government's statement that they have no intention of becoming involved.

Q Why are they there, then?

Q -- information for why they're moving the ships? What do they tell you the reason is they're moving the ships?

MR. LOCKHART: I'm going to leave to them to explain what the purpose of the ships. But, again --

Q What did they tell you?

MR. LOCKHART: I'm going to leave to them to explain the purpose of any deployment, should it happen, because it's not entirely clear that such a deployment will happen. But, again, our concern is about what potential message could be sent to Belgrade.

Q Did they at least give you an explanation?

MR. LOCKHART: I'm not going to get into the details of the conversation.

Q -- I'm just saying did they give you one?

MR. LOCKHART: I'm just not going to get into that.

Q Joe, a number of experts said that the bombing campaign will probably take a long time. But considering how rapidly Kosovo is being destroyed on the ground, including the fact that the Serbs are destroying records of who is in Kosovo, does Kosovo have that time?

MR. LOCKHART: Well, we are going to continue. I mean, on the issue of any kind of records, we are taking very seriously reports of atrocities and will use all methods of our national technical means to gather evidence and it will be related to the appropriate authority.

To the other question, we are systematically pursing a military campaign. And as we've said, this is going to take some time, but we will continue to, again, day by day and week by week if necessary, take away his ability to impose his will.

Q Just to follow up that, I mean, the question is what is the use of continuing to bomb him after he has largely cleared the area of Kosovars and burned many cities? Would it just be punishment --

MR. LOCKHART: No, it's certainly not -- it's to debilitate and degrade his ability, through his special police and through his military force, to impose his will, which he's attempting to do now.

Q Joe, one of our listeners recalls that the President out of respect for Ramadan postponed bombing runs, and wants to know whether the President has the same respect for Passover, Good Friday and Easter?

MR. LOCKHART: I think your viewer is mistaken --

Q There was no postponement for Ramadan? I seem to recall that there was -- there was. He's nodding his head and said he was. Now, Passover is tomorrow. Does the President have less respect for that?

MR. LOCKHART: I would -- let me answer the question, but I remain in dispute with the assertion of your viewer. The listener -- I'm sorry. Thank you, Connie.

Q -- senior electronic media --

MR. LOCKHART: We have a -- as I've said, a phased systematic military campaign that's ongoing. And I'm not aware of any plans for that to be interrupted.

Q You'll ask the President, and can we get back to you?

MR. LOCKHART: My answer is my answer.

Q -- situation, Bob Dole is calling for Slobodan Milosevic to be tried in The Hague for war crimes. Do you think that's feasible? Does the White House think that's feasible?

MR. LOCKHART: I think evidence that anyone is guilty of war crimes should be forwarded to the appropriate authority and it should be litigated there.

Q Joe, if Milosevic at this point were to stop he killing and pull back his forces, is that enough for the U.S. and NATO to look at a settlement or talk to him?

MR. LOCKHART: No, I think we've been very clear. NATO has been very clear that he needs to embrace beyond pulling back his forces and stopping the atrocities, that he needs to embrace a just peace in Kosovo that acknowledges their autonomy and right to self-government and their right to live free of repression, which means that there will be some need for an international force to enforce any agreement.

Q -- U.S. government who don't think that that particular peace accord is even viable anymore. You're certainly not going --

MR. LOCKHART: Others can have an opinion on that, but as far as the essence of what we need to bring this military campaign to a halt, that hasn't changed.

Q Joe, has the President approved the dispatch of the Theodore Roosevelt that General Clark has requested?

MR. LOCKHART: I would direct you to the Pentagon on that question.

Q Has the President approved it? I mean --

MR. LOCKHART: I heard the question.

Q Joe, given the request for the Russian ships and the nature of their last telephone call, why hasn't President Clinton spoken with President Yeltsin?

MR. LOCKHART: We have had a series of conversations on an ongoing basis with various members of the Russian government. We believe that we understand their position in this case. We understand their thinking, and I'm certain they understand ours.

Q Joe, just to follow up on that, when you said there were mixed messages coming from Russia, did you mean mixed messages in terms of what they're telling our government is the intention of their movement, or mixed messages in that what Belgrade might read in it --

MR. LOCKHART: No, I think there's been some mixed messages just in public statements about the purpose of this and the intent on deployment.

Q With so many refugees, Joe, on the move, and with the cities in Kosovo aflame, is it not reasonable to say that the allies have lost Kosovo already?

MR. LOCKHART: No, it isn't. And I would say that it's that kind of short-sighted thinking that simplifies the complicated and difficult task in front of us. I think the President was very clear when he spoke to the American people about the risks that were involved and about the need to allow the military campaign to meet its objectives. This is not easy business. President Milosevic has proved to be quite adamant in his campaign of atrocities in Yugoslavia and in his willingness to pay a price. We have to be stronger. We have to be more determined, and NATO is, to make that price unbearable for him.

Q To follow up just briefly, if I may, so you can -- Kosovo can be made whole again?

MR. LOCKHART: We believe that the military operation that's ongoing in Kosovo and Serbia now can meet the objectives of bringing a just peace, based on the framework of what was discussed at Rambouillet.

Q Does the President constantly re-evaluate his policy -- that is to say, no intention of sending ground troops? Is this something that he keeps looking at? Or is there a point down the line where he'll say, now, let's take a look again at where we are?

MR. LOCKHART: I think the President in moving forward with this operation in consultation with our military leaders and with the NATO Alliance, made decisions that this was the best way to reach the military objectives that we're trying to reach, to bring about the peace that we're talking about. And that does not include the use of ground troops.

Q -- NATO about NATO -- about our allies potentially introducing ground troops, you said that's a question for them.


Q The U.S. has no position on whether or not our allies --

MR. LOCKHART: Right now we are pursuing a campaign based on the NATO air strikes that we believe we can reach our military objectives. And I don't have information that leads me in another direction.

Q Maybe that's the answer to my follow-up question. But I really was asking about a re-evaluation of policy, rather than what the policy is. You've said, no intention of using ground troops -- I'm not questioning that. At the moment I'm saying at some point does he look at the policy again --

MR. LOCKHART: Let me take another stab at this. It was not me standing here, but there were others standing here some years ago, as we had a more limited operation in Bosnia. That operation took almost three weeks. We have just completed the first week of this. And I understand that you feel the need to report to your readers and your listeners and your viewers what the conclusion of this is going to be. But it is impossible at this point to provide that and reassessing the policy every day or every two hours is not what is going on here.

We have a sustained, systematic, phased air campaign that we believe, over time, can methodically and systematically take away the weapons that Milosevic uses, the military assets, special police, his ability to pose his will on Kosovo.

Q Aren't you saying that, in effect, this is going to take a lot longer than you originally anticipated?

MR. LOCKHART: No, because, again, I think the President and others have made the point that there was no way to put a calendar timetable on this. It's about military objectives. And, again, your desire to conclude this story is one thing, but we have never said that this would be something that would take three days, seven days, ten days -- and I'd urge you to go back and look at the Bosnia operation to see that these things take time.

Q -- U.S. wanted to broaden the targets more than some of the other NATO allies, that it wanted to take a little more aggressive --

MR. LOCKHART: Listen, I'm not going to get into the operational part of this, but I think what you can see is that we have done this in a phased way. NATO has moved forward and broadened and deepened the targets. And that is something that the United States government supports completely.

Q One other question. NATO seemed remarkably optimistic today about the impact that some of the attacks were having, and it seems one person suggesting that Milosevic was now running short of gasoline and other critical things. Is the President receiving equally optimistic --

MR. LOCKHART: As I've tried to do from the beginning, the President is receiving full briefings, but I'm going to leave it to the Pentagon to try to do whatever assessments are available on each day of the success of the operation.

Q -- sense that progress is being made?

MR. LOCKHART: There is certainly a sense as we have moved that we wouldn't be moving between -- we wouldn't be, as I've said, broadening and deepening if we weren't accomplishing what the -- given the various targets -- if we weren't hitting targets we meant to hit.

Q Joe, -- point about how at the end of each day it's oversimplifying to try to declare who is the victor, who is the loser. Is it fair to ask the question this way: One week into this military operation, are we so far winning or losing?

MR. LOCKHART: I think it's impossible to answer that question. And I don't see that there's a utility. What I can tell you is we got into this for the right reason -- because as the President said at his press conference, the price of inaction here is much higher than any price we'd pay for action. We will -- this will be judged at the end of the military campaign. And I've run out of ways to try to caution and urge this group to try to rush to judgment. You all will need to do what you need to do.

Q Joe, that said, is the White House confident that the President did enough to prepare the American people for how long this is likely to take, to prepare the American people for ambiguous it's likely to look at the beginning and --

MR. LOCKHART: Let me answer that two ways. I'm not sure that you can ever do enough, short of a conflict breaking out or a military action. But the President has spoken to this repeatedly. This was the subject of several of his radio addresses, the subject of a major speech in San Francisco some months ago. He's being completely frank and honest. I can tell you that I was somewhat disappointed in some of the coverage of that, but I think he has spoken and he'll continue to speak. This is not a question of did you do enough. We will continue to speak to this in a variety of forums.

Q That said, are you confident that you can sustain public support for this mission as long as it's going to take?

MR. LOCKHART: Yes, I'm confident because of what the stakes are and what the message that we're sending here about what is the right thing to do, what is the price of inaction here, what is the price of turning a blind eye, what it is at the end of this 20th century to be seeing these sort of atrocities in Europe in the bloodiest century that the world has known.

Q But, Joe, the atrocities in Kosovo, Secretary General Solana said last night, we may not have the means to stop it, but we have shown we have the will to try. Was he suggesting that the means are not there or cannot be --

MR. LOCKHART: I think he's suggesting, as others have, the that it is difficult, given the mind-set of some of these people, to be everywhere and to stop every act of atrocity. But we have demonstrated our will to do what we can to take away the tools of these atrocities.

Q But if it isn't enough, though? Is demonstrating the will the end in itself?

MR. LOCKHART: Well, we're doing a whole lot more than demonstrating the will right now and it's happening every day.

Q Joe, what do you say to reports that moderate Serbs that were very much against Milosevic as a result of this allied campaign now are more or less supporting him? Do you have anything to say --

MR. LOCKHART: I think we went through this the other day. I'd suggest that it's very hard, given the limited information that these people, whoever they are, have access to, given the state control of television, radio and all levels of information, to spend too much time worrying about that.

Q Joe, the Yugoslavians have expelled reporters from the Washington Post, the LA Times, and Knight-Ridder, and I wonder, are there any Yugoslavian correspondents in the United States, and if so, will they be expelled? And I have one follow-up.

MR. LOCKHART: I'm not sure if there are here, but I can't imagine that at this point we are considering that. We have -- take a certain and quite different view of the value of information and a free press.

Q The President's fellow Democrat, Mayor Willie Brown of San Francisco, has just requested a group of actors who mock nuns and the Catholic sacraments to cancel their plans to do this on Easter. Does the President agree, and will he ask Mr. Hormel, his nominee to ambassador to Luxembourg, to join Mayor Brown in asking these people who Hormel saluted not to do this on Easter?

MR. LOCKHART: It would take 10 minutes for me to unravel all of the deception that is in that question, so we'll do it another time. That sort of ad hominem attack on Mr. Hormel has come from various sources over the last year. It has no basis in fact --

Q No, he saluted these people --

MR. LOCKHART: It has no basis in fact --

Q It does, Joe.

MR. LOCKHART: Well, having spoken to Mr. Hormel directly on this subject, it has no basis in fact.

Q Given that we would have to probably provide logistical support and that NATO generally acts in unity, why can't you say whether or not we would oppose the introduction of ground troops by one of our NATO allies?

MR. LOCKHART: Because I can tell you as far as the United States government is concerned, we have no intention or plans to introduce ground forces. If other countries take a decision on their own that they think the introduction -- we will consider that and that will be debated within the context of the NATO Alliance at the time. But that hasn't happened. This is a hypothetical and you could ask me almost any question based on anything.

Q -- the German Defense Minister says that there are serious reports of concentration camps in Kosovo. A Kosovo Albanian negotiator reports that one camp has 100,000 interned in the main stadium in Pristina. I'm wondering if there is any aerial reconnaissance or any intelligence to confirm that, number one. And number two, what can air strikes do to help those 100,000 people if they are --

MR. LOCKHART: I cannot confirm because I don't have information to confirm that report of 100,000 people being held. But there are certainly a number of other disturbing and troubling reports that come from -- that are quite credible based on the people coming out, independent -- that are being independently verified, of a list of atrocities -- of towns being systematically cleansed, people being summarily executed in various parts of the country. So without being able to confirm that particular incident, that doesn't mean we don't believe that these sorts of atrocities are going on around the country.

Q And what do air strikes do to help those people if they are 100,000 people being held?

MR. LOCKHART: Well, again, I don't have any evidence that that is indeed the case.

Q Joe, what's the purpose of the President's trip to --

Q You say that Bosnia is a precedent -- Bosnia operation is a precedent that we should look at, but is there not a fundamental difference between Bosnia and --

MR. LOCKHART: Sure there is. There absolutely is, and I'm --

Q -- not that difference very critical in that Bosnia was never critical to Milosevic's power base or power in general, whereas Kosovo is absolutely basic --

MR. LOCKHART: Well, I would take what you've said there and turn it -- here was an area -- as you say, using your judgment, that it was not something critical to Milosevic and still the operation took some three weeks. I use that as an example to say that I understand the instinct to try to rush to judgment on this, but my point is that this is not something you can rush to judgment on.

Q The other critical distinction with Bosnia was that the U.S. was surreptitiously arming the other side and there were Croat ground troops to fight on the ground. I mean, how does --

MR. LOCKHART: Again, the example is not meant to compare one to the other as in these are two situations that are alike. I'm trying to make a point about the time in which these sorts of military operations need to be effective and to meet their objectives.

Q Joe, the Vice President has said flatly that there will be no ground troops. Is he a little off the reservation there?

MR. LOCKHART: No, I think the Vice President is articulating administration policy.

Q But he didn't use the word "intend" or "no plans" or anything like that.

MR. LOCKHART: The Vice President articulates the administration's policy.

Q Joe, would U.S. troops be used to distribute the relief aid, like they have in Central America?

MR. LOCKHART: Well, there certainly will be, under a EUCOM -- I think if you can wait until the Pentagon briefing today, I know Mr. Bacon will be going into some of the details there. But as far as the logistical help and movement of supplies, tents, the basics that will be needed to address this humanitarian crisis, NATO forces will be used in that capacity.

Q Joe, what's the purpose of the President's trip tomorrow to Norfolk?

MR. LOCKHART: Let me tell you. The President will visit Norfolk Naval Air Station tomorrow. He'll arrive at approximately 10:40 a.m. The President will meet privately with a group of military families to convey our nation's thanks for the sacrifices they make and recognize the hardships they endure at a time like this. He will also then speak at a public event on the importance of the NATO operation in Kosovo.

One additional thing that I'd like to point out is that there is a NATO component to the Norfolk visit and base. NATO Supreme Allied Commander of the Atlantic is headquartered in Norfolk, and the U.S. base in Norfolk coordinates closely with NATO operations across the Atlantic. So I think he wants to recognize the work they do there, the sacrifices they make, particularly the hardships that the families go through.

Q Who is he?

MR. LOCKHART: The Commander is Admiral Gehman.

Q I've heard a couple of military analysts in recent days say that while President Clinton may have had the best of intentions, he seems to have only planned for a best case scenario outcome, and not a worst case -- which you have to plan for when you do a military operation. Is that a fair criticism? And did he plan for a worst case scenario?

MR. LOCKHART: I think if you listen carefully to what the President said, he talked about what the purposes of this were and he talked about, if necessary, doing a systematic campaign to take away Milosevic's and the Serb's ability to impose their will on Kosovo. That is something that was certainly planned for and the campaign is ongoing.

Q Joe, the Foreign Minister from Italy said that given the gulf that's now between the Kosovars and the Serbs, that Rambouillet is, in effect, dead and that you cannot expect the Kosovars to ever live in a sovereign territory under Serbian control. Has he conveyed that to you or to the White House? And is this notion that Rambouillet has to be renegotiated widespread --

MR. LOCKHART: Well, I believe that the Secretary of State had spoken to him this morning, so they've had -- the Secretary of State spoke to a series of NATO foreign ministers. We believe that the concept of a just peace where you have an autonomous Kosovo where the Kosovar Albanians have self-government, self-rule, the freedom to live free of fear, free of repression, is a concept that's not dead. And that is what this military campaign is all about.

Q Joe, has the President made calls to foreign leaders in the last -- today or yesterday?

MR. LOCKHART: He spoke to Prime Minister Blair last evening. The subject of that was both the latest in Kosovo and the President got an update from Prime Minister Blair on the peace -- the talks in Northern Ireland. I believe -- I'm sorry, yes, the shorter call that we reported on at the non-briefing.

Q How high are the contacts between the U.S. and Russian officials on the war ships?

MR. LOCKHART: I know that there were people here at the White House who spoke to their Russian counterparts. I'd have to check at the State Department on whether the Secretary of State has had a conversation --

Q Primakov hasn't been contacted?

MR. LOCKHART: Not that I'm aware of.

THE PRESS: Thank you.

END 1:58 P.M. EST