State Department Daily Briefing

 

Friday  March 21, 2003  0900PST

Richard Boucher, Spokesman
Washington, DC
March 21, 2003

Mr. Boucher: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. If I can, I'd like to talk about two things off the top. First is the Afghan Spring, the Afghan New Year, and the second is to update you on humanitarian supplies for Iraq.

Secretary Powell congratulates the people of Afghanistan on the occasion of the New Year and the start of Afghan Spring. This has been a good year for Afghanistan and the credit goes to the strong leadership of President Karzai and his team, the resilience of the Afghan spirit, and the generous support of the American people and our friends in the international community.

The Afghan people are enjoying newfound freedoms and, for the first time in decades, the country is largely at peace. As evidence of the new spirit of hope in Afghanistan, over 2.5 million refugees and internally displaced persons have returned to their homes over the past year. The historic Loya Jirga last June, which selected President Karzai to lead Afghanistan, demonstrated that Afghan leaders are committed to building a democratic constitutional government.

Last fall, the Afghan Government successfully introduced a new currency. Education and health services have improved with the repair of more than 250 schools and 70 hospitals and clinics. Over 4 million children were vaccinated against measles and over 3 million boys and girls attended school.

New economic opportunities have also opened up. The World Bank estimates that the Afghan economy grew by 10 percent last year. The streets and markets of Afghanistan are bustling with new commercial activities and foreign investors are making the first inroads with the signing of an agreement to build a Hyatt Hotel.

There is much to build on, but there is much that remains to be done. As we look to the new year in Afghanistan, the United States pledges its continued support. At a recent donors conference in Brussels, the United States indicated that we intend to provide $820 million in assistance in the current fiscal year, up from $569 million last year. President Bush has made clear that no matter what obligations the United States must fulfill elsewhere, we will stay the course in Afghanistan.

I'll take questions on that. Why don't I take questions on that and we'll move to Iraq. Terri.

Question: Funny you should say that, just as yesterday an interview was released with the head of U.S. forces in Afghanistan criticizing the pace of reform and recon -- sorry, reconstruction there, and saying the U.S. should look at that example and how slowly it's going when they think about reconstructing in Iraq.

Mr. Boucher: First of all, we think that there are many difficulties in Afghanistan that don't exist in Iraq. What the Taliban had done in terms of the devastation to the whole society and the economy of Afghanistan was horrible, but in a different way than the horrors of Saddam Hussein. And so in Afghanistan we have a unique situation and a lot of work to do to really rebuild from scratch. You all remember the stories. When the ministers got into their ministries, they not only didn't find any computers, but they found no paper, no pencils, they opened up the safes and found no money. So it was really rebuilding almost everything, amidst a drought as well.

And so I think we think that what's been done in Afghanistan is very good, a lot to show for the effort that's been made, you know, the roads underway, the schools are open, the economy is starting to revive, but there's an awful lot of work to be done and we'll be there to stay and do it.

And as we approach the issue of Iraq and the reconstruction and rebuilding or whatever needs to go on in Iraq, we're quite aware of the fact that there are systems in place, there are engineers and bureaucracies in place, there are infrastructure in place and there's oil revenue the Iraqis themselves have that they can spend on their own needs in rebuilding. So it will be a different sort of situation.

I think you heard the Secretary again today say he doesn't quite like the word "reconstruction." It's not appropriate because it's not -- or certainly our intention is not to destroy Iraq and not to cause damage to the civilian infrastructure. What you've seen so far in the fighting is that the, unfortunately, the Iraqi regime has some made some attempt to destroy oil wells and the United States is trying to make sure that those wells can be secured and used for the Iraqi people.

Question: Richard, I mean, you're going back to those same countries asking for money to help in this process. They are the same countries that aren't paying up their share in Afghanistan, right?

Mr. Boucher: I have to say that we have announced this 44 percent increase. I think you know that we already, last year, came through with about twice as much as we even pledged at the pledging conference in Tokyo two years ago. But, so we've been increasing our contributions and this new increase is a 44 percent increase. Japan, Norway, the European Union have also made substantial pledges at the recent conference in Brussels, so we think they are starting to come through in bigger ways. We all are so that we can continue to meet the needs of Afghanistan.

Yeah.

Question: Richard, this isn't meant to be snide, I'm just curious as to why you chose to mention the signing of an agreement for a Hyatt Hotel. I mean, is this, you know, this is a luxury -- the construction of a luxury hotel in Kabul doesn't seem to me to be the priority. Is this a symbol?

Mr. Boucher: I don't know if it's a luxury hotel. It's a symbol. People put hotels where they expect travelers to come. People put hotels where they expect investors to come, business people to come. The fact is hotels create an awful lot of jobs. They buy an awful lot from the local economy in terms of food and vegetables and employ a lot of people. So they're good investments in themselves, but they're also indicators, I think, of the prospects, at least in some investors' minds, of more business to come.

Sir.

Question: Richard, this is an economic report you gave on Afghanistan. How about when President Karzai was here, he met with the President and also the Secretary, asking the United States help fighting this terrorism. How is the report on the other side as far as terrorism is concerned in Afghanistan today?

Mr. Boucher: Well, the report of the country in general is that it's much more peaceful than it's been for many years. The report, as I think the Pentagon will tell you from certain parts of the country where we have U.S. forces in action or that have been in action recently -- I don't know if they still are -- is that they are still pockets of al-Qaida, there are still pockets of difficulty that need to be pursued. And we continue to work with the Afghan Government to make sure that, first of all, that we can help them pursue those problems where they exist.

But I would say you also have to remember the Afghan National Army because as security now is much better than it's been for many decades, we expect that over time the Afghan National Army is going to assume responsibility for maintaining stability, and we, along with the French and the British, have already trained 3,000 recruits for that army. So that process of transition is also underway.

Yes, sir.

Question: The Tokyo conference was 14 months ago. Two years ago, the Taliban was still in power.

Mr. Boucher: I knew it was something like that. More than a year, but less than two. Fourteen months. Thank you, George. January. And if I remember correctly, we pledged something on the order of 300-and-some million. And as I said, last year we ended up giving 569 and this year we're going up to 842. So we're doing more than we promised.

Let me just give you a brief update on the emergency aid to Iraq. The total of committed and prepositioning assistance for the United States now is up to $105 million that we have contributed to the United Nations or other international organizations. That includes $60 million to the World Food Program for planning and logistical support costs and some food prepositioning.

I have to note there is additional assistance in the pipeline, but this is already $45 or so million more than I talked about yesterday, and that those additional confirmed contributions, it's a $20 million increase for the World Food Program, is $10 million for the International Committee of the Red Cross, and about a $14 million increase to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the International Organization for Migration.

So the breakdown of the 105 million that's been committed so far in that manner is a total of $60 million to the World Food Program, $21 million to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, $10 million to the International Committee of the Red Cross, $8.6 million to the International Organization for Migration, $3 million to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, $2 million to UNICEF, and $1.2 million to the UN's Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

I would note as well that yesterday the U.S. Agency for International Development and the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the release of 200,000 metric tons of wheat and another 400,000 tons to be made available as need for the people of Iraq. The part of this 100,000 -- 200,000 tons of wheat will be converted -- exchanged for rice -- and it will come to 500,000 tons, half a million tons, total, of food. I know that's complicated, but that's the way some of these things work.

But this brings the amount of food that we're providing to 610,000 metric tons, worth $300 million, in addition to the $60 million cash that we've given to the World Food Program, so that comes to a total contribution of $360 million on the food side.

Okay. I will take questions about this, that or the other.

Question: Well, I was going to -- I -- this may not be -- this may be too technical, but how do you measure the value of food? The price tag on food, I imagine a lot of this food is surplus food.

Mr. Boucher: I think you measure food at market rates.

Question: Okay. Fine.

Mr. Boucher: You look in the newspaper or the equivalent --

Question: No, that gives us a handle.

Mr. Boucher: Yeah.

Question: But I don't think it cost the government $300 million to get that food.

Question: Three hundred thousand.

Question: Three hundred thousand. Whatever. Anyhow, among --

Mr. Boucher: No, it's $300 million worth of food, 610,000 metric tons of food that you can look in the newspaper and see what the price is.

Question: Yeah, if one went out and bought it. All right. But can I ask you about --

Question: Well, can I ask a follow-up on that? Does that include transportation costs?

Question: That's pre-positioning.

Mr. Boucher: There's the -- Phil's got the right answer on that. I don't know. The first shipment is expected to begin moving this week. More wheat and rice will follow in the next several weeks. I don't know. I will have to check whether some of the transportation might come out of the cash. Okay?

Question: The Secretary spoke this morning of various channels to Iraq's leaders and he also spoke to commanders through us saying, you know, they ought to realize it's all over and pack it in. Does this amount to -- or can you say whether the U.S. is literally in negotiations through channels to try to separate Saddam's commanders, you know, from the government? And, you know, I know that the Pentagon is the place to ask if that's why we're holding up using full force, but are there active negotiations going on to try to engineer a surrender?

Mr. Boucher: I don't think that's something I would be able to get into. I do believe, though, that Secretary Rumsfeld has spoken on that subject before. I would leave it to what he's said already.

Question: All right.

Question: The Secretary said this morning that he hoped to talk to Turkish officials within an hour. That was, I think, a couple of hours ago, now. Did he have that? It was about 10:45 --

Mr. Boucher: I don't think so. Not yet. He talked to Prime Minister Erdogan yesterday, but I don't think he's spoken to him again today, yet.

Elise.

Question: There were some conflicting reports that the Turkish -- that Turkish troops have already crossed the border into Northern Iraq. Is there anything you'd like to say about that? And is the U.S. currently using Turkish airspace?

Mr. Boucher: First of all, the question of whether or not we're using Turkish airspace would be a military operational question that you would have to ask at the Pentagon. And the question of Turkish troops crossing into Iraq, I don't have any information like that, but I think our view has been well expressed on that. The Secretary expressed it again this morning.

Question: Yeah, but could I follow that?

Mr. Boucher: Can we let the gentleman behind?

Question: About this Northern Iraq/Turkish troop business, don't you think this is the problem for the both sides' assurance and the confidence each other?

Mr. Boucher: What sides are you talking about?

Question: Turkish side is not -- U.S. side.

Mr. Boucher: Well, I think the United States and Turkey have had a lot of discussions of the situation on the border between Iraq and Turkey. We have made clear and the Secretary has made clear many times that we do want to work with Turkey to minimize any possibility of disturbances along that border, to make sure the humanitarian needs of people in Iraq are taken care of.

We've reached agreement with the Government of Turkey and many of the opposition groups, eight of the opposition groups in Northern Iraq, on the fundamentals of what we all want to see in region, including representative government, a place for all the people of Iraq to participate in their future and maintain the territorial integrity of a peaceful state in Iraq.

So we do have common goals, we do have a lot of discussion and we continue our discussions with the Government of Turkey. But as far as that specific question -- how we achieve that -- I think we've made quite clear we don't think that separate and uncoordinated moves into Northern Iraq are helpful.

Question: But somehow this Turkish side does not satisfy your assurance.

Mr. Boucher: I don't think I could make a generalization like that. I think we and the Government of Turkey have agreed quite clearly on the future of that area, on the future of Iraq. Exactly how we help with the humanitarian needs of the people in that area is still a matter under discussion.

Elise.

Question: Richard, the Turkish officials are saying that their motives for going into Iraq are not at cross-purposes of the U.S. and don't understand your resistance to allowing them to go in in some coordinated way.

Mr. Boucher: Again, as I said, we had made a position clear on any uncoordinated moves. As far as what might happen in a coordinated way on the humanitarian side, that, as the Secretary indicated, is a separate matter that has been under discussion.

Question: Can you say why you don't think that uncoordinated moves are helpful and what you're afraid that this may spark?

Mr. Boucher: Because they lead to misunderstanding. We made clear that we don't support unilateral or uncoordinated moves by any party. Let's remember, Iraq is a war zone now and you don't want misunderstanding to occur in a war zone.

Question: I mean, it sounds like what you're saying is that Turkish -- that Turks would, in a coordinated fashion, be able to bring some troops a little bit inside Northern Iraq if it were as part of some sort of coordinated humanitarian effort, but you draw the line at tanks or heavy military equipment.

Mr. Boucher: Now, that sounds like what you're saying. What I'm saying is these matters are all under discussion with the Turkish Government.

Question: Would that be an accurate way to --

Mr. Boucher: No, that would be an accurate way to describe what you're saying. What I'm saying accurately is that these matters are all under discussion with the Turkish Government.

Eli.

Question: I'm still on this, but --

Question: You introduced the word "humanitarian" so could you clarify?

Mr. Boucher: The Secretary did. No, I --

Question: Well, it went by me when he did it.

Mr. Boucher: I did before and he did and I did again. The fact is that we are concerned about the humanitarian situation in Northern Iraq.

Question: Wait a minute. I thought you meant Turkish troops have some humanitarian role.

Mr. Boucher: That's what your colleague said. That's not what I said. I said that how to deal with the humanitarian situation is a matter under discussion. And whether it turns out the way your friend predicted or some other way, I wouldn't want to say at this point because it's impossible to say how it will turn out.

Question: Richard, you can't say how, and broadly even, the Turkish military would in any way -- how that -- how do we square the Turkish military, then the phrase "humanitarian" or the word "humanitarian"? What do they do -- what could they do that is humanitarian coordinating with the U.S., what you're talking about?

Mr. Boucher: I'm not here to try to square the notions that you may have. The goal is to say what we have said before, that the Secretary said today: Military incursions into Northern Iraq we don't think are helpful.

As far as how to do planning with respect to humanitarian needs along the border, that is something that we're discussing with the Turks. But where we're going to end up in terms of making sure that our common concern about humanitarian needs along the border, that those concerns are met, we'll just have to see.

Question: I think the Secretary -- the Secretary said he wants -- they were talking about ways to coordinate activity for humanitarian and you're talking about the Turkish military, so I'm asking what is the Turkish -- what can the Turkish military do in a humanitarian situation? Why wouldn't you send the UN there or something?

Mr. Boucher: I wasn't talking about the Turkish military necessarily.

Question: Okay, okay.

Mr. Boucher: You were talking, Barry was talking, Glenn was talking about it. I was the one that wasn't talking about the Turkish military.

Question: Richard, that leads to the question -- I think maybe this will clear it up -- would you oppose the Turkish military going in even if there was, even if they did coordinate with the coalition?

Mr. Boucher: I think that's --

Question: Well, I'm trying to figure out if you're opposed to simply them going in on their own or if you're just opposed to them completely going in.

Mr. Boucher: We are opposed to any uncoordinated or unilateral actions. If it was something that was coordinated that we agreed to, then, by definition, we wouldn't oppose it. But I'd say it's hypothetical at this point. These things are under discussion. How to take care of the humanitarian situation in the Northern part of Iraq and what the U.S. and Turkey might do and might not do together to do that is being discussed and coordinated at this point. Where it comes out, we shall see.

Question: Can you say -- I mean, the Turks have put this to you right now so, as you say, it's under discussion right now. But are you prepared to say yes if they say okay, we'd like to send our guys in under -- well, in coordination with the coalition? What's your answer?

Mr. Boucher: I'm not -- I'm not --

Question: No, you can't go in? No Turkish troops at all? Or what?

Mr. Boucher: Matt, if one says, "If they say this, what would you say? If they say that, what would you say," the fact is, they are saying things to us and we're saying things to them and we're discussing it right now. I'm not going to presuppose what they may or may not be saying in those discussions. I'll tell you that what we're talking about, which is how to take care of the humanitarian situation. I'll tell you the status, that it's still under discussion. But I'm not going to try to do a little shadow play up here to say they said this and we said that.

Elise.

Question: Without going into the discussions, the way you see the situation now, is the Turkish military or government holding up the overflight rights until you meet its demands of getting troops there? Is this affecting your ability to secure the Northern part of Iraq? And if so, what the diplomatic implications of this?

Mr. Boucher: The Secretary noted for you earlier, I believe, that there were certain steps that had to be done in terms of the overflights, that we looked forward to those steps being taken; if not, we'll still have to find -- we'll have to find alternate arrangements. But he did say he was still hopeful that we would be able to resolve those issues.

We do see the issues of overflights and Northern Iraq as separate issues and we think the overflight issue needs to be dealt with on its own.

Question: Can I follow up? Would you say that these certain steps, these -- that have to be done as far as the administration of overflight, are taking a lot longer than you would have expected or that you would like?

Mr. Boucher: I would just characterize it the way the Secretary did. We're having some difficulty seeing that process completed.

Terri.

Question: How long was the Secretary's phone call? I think he said it was lengthy. I was just curious how much time was spent on it.

Mr. Boucher: Yesterday with the Prime Minister? I have to double-check exactly. It was 20, 30 minutes, something like that.

Terri.

Question: What are some of the steps? I mean, what's the hang-up? You haven't explained exactly what you're --

Mr. Boucher: I'm not going to be able to explain the entire series of procedures inside the Turkish parliament --

Question: Well, just summarize.

Mr. Boucher: -- but it involves publication in some sort of executive -- in some sort of bulletin.

Question: But what -- why was that so difficult?

Mr. Boucher: I don't know. You'd have to ask them.

Question: Well, are you satisfied with the publication frequency of the Turkish Federal Register?

Mr. Boucher: I don't know the publication frequency of the Turkish Federal Register. I just know that these steps, whatever they are, have not yet been completed.

Sir.

Question: Yes, you did talk about the humanitarian assistance, but in the 1991 I was in the journalists again and I remember 500 Kurds crossed the border into Turkey and they moved all up the road, they left alone the Turkey in the last ten years, and the Turkey has a problem. United Nations, United States and several other Western countries, they help a little bit, then after they left alone. And do you have any other assurances to giving to Turkish Government, no, we are not -- maybe we can't promise to you -- we don't want to have left alone on the subject again?

Mr. Boucher: Let's not take this backwards. The policy of the United States, the policy of the Turkish Government, what we have worked together on for these many years, is to prevent a recurrence of the situation that happened in 1991 where people were forced up against the border by the fighting and the regime in Baghdad, and where they were suffering on the border and weren't being taken care of in Iraq, and at that point, were stuck. And as you say, some of them came over into Turkey.

But the issue, the goal that we and the Turkish Government have always had in working on these things, is take care of these people inside Iraq, take care of these people near their homes. The United States, whether it's working with the Oil-for-Food program or in terms of our own relationships, has done a lot to take care of these people inside Iraq; and conditions for the people who have been living in that Northern part of Iraq have been good enough that they want to stay there and good enough -- much better than in other parts of the country.

So that remains the goal, is not to take care of people once they spill over in Turkey but to prevent them from spilling over into Turkey to begin with. And that's a goal that we always have worked for and will continue to work for.

Question: Richard, I'm sorry to just go back to this. I just want to make sure. Are you talking to the Turkish Government about coordinating their military to move into Northern Iraq?

Mr. Boucher: We are talking to the Turkish Government about coordinating to ensure that tensions don't arise on the border between Turkey and Northern Iraq and to ensure that humanitarian needs and people in Northern Iraq are taken care of.

I'm not prepared at this point to say whether or not the military might prove part of that plan, part of that effort, but at this point I would just tell you that we are talking about the general topic of how to do this and that those discussions continue.

Question: Can I ask a follow-up to the --

Mr. Boucher: Arshad had one and then we'll come back.

Question: You engaged in very lengthy negotiations that led to the $6 million package that was ultimately not approved by the Turkish parliament. Then again, negotiations over the overflights and the Turkish parliament approves it but hasn't -- the government hasn't taken the steps to actually have that come to fruition. Are you starting to lose patience with the Turks, with the Turkish Government while U.S. forces are engaged in the field?

Mr. Boucher: I wouldn't make any sweeping characterizations like that. The Secretary said to you just a little while ago he's still hopeful that the overflight issue would be resolved. We certainly do maintain our hope and belief that it should be resolved and can be resolved very quickly. The Secretary also made clear, as we've made clear all along, that if these arrangements don't come through we also have alternate arrangements.

Question: Could I follow up on that, because in terms of overflights, it's very hard for me to figure out who else you might fly over? I can't imagine that you'd negotiate with the Syrians, for example, to fly over Syria to get access to Northern Iraq --

Mr. Boucher: I think that question is best not answered at the Pentagon rather than here.

(Laughter.)

Question: Speaking of coordinating -- you're coordinating how Turkish troops might get into Iraq. Would their departure also be something that ought to be coordinated? Once they get in, do they leave?

Mr. Boucher: I think we would expect that any military movements in this sensitive area would be coordinated and not done in an uncoordinated or unilateral fashion.

Question: And departures, as well?

Mr. Boucher: Any military movements: up, down, right, left, sideways.

Question: Mr. Boucher --

Mr. Boucher: Yes, we'll get back to you in a sec.

Question: Richard, after having been the stick in the mud at NATO over the defense of Turkey, the French have stepped up and said that they were -- they are prepared to send an NBC unit to the Turks. Do you have any reaction to that? And if you do, does that mean that France can now be included in your coalition?

(Laughter.)

Mr. Boucher: I hadn't heard about their sending an NBC unit, and certainly, any help with any aspect of this is welcome. As far as to whether they want to be on the list on the White House website, they can always ask if they feel like it.

Question: Mr. Boucher, in the same discussion, did you ask the radicals not to move from Northern Iraq to the areas of Kirkuk and Mosul in order not to provoke the authorities?

Mr. Boucher: I'm sorry. The Iraqi who?

Question: Did you ask the radicals not to move from Northern Iraq to the Mosul and Kirkuk area in order to avoid any conflict with the authorities?

Mr. Boucher: As I've said, we have always asked all the parties in this area, be they governments in the region or parties in the area, not to carry out uncoordinated movements of military forces, particularly at this most sensitive time. We've made clear our view on that to all the parties and -- no matter where they might be.

Let's see. We had Sonni? Or -- Sonni.

Question: At this point, is the inability to get over Turkish airspace to Northern Iraq hampering you ability to secure surrenders of Iraqi prisoners?

Mr. Boucher: I will give you the same answer I gave Arshad.

Question: A different question on Turkey. Can you comment, Richard, on the list of 60 countries? I understand State Department has asked nations to expel their diplomats or forfeit the finances of the (inaudible). How many countries from South Asia and includes -- does that includes India? And also, when the last time Secretary spoke to his counterpart in India?

Mr. Boucher: Can we finish on Turkey first? Okay.

Question: Out of the list of the 60 countries --

Mr. Boucher: How about we finish on Turkey first and then I will come back --

Question: It's on Turkey.

Mr. Boucher: I will come back to you.

Terri.

Question: Although the original package is off the table -- the one for full cooperation -- are there still negotiations going on between the financial guys at this point about what might be offered if Turkey does this? I mean, a few hypothetical packages that can move very quickly if Turkey comes through with some of these --

Mr. Boucher: I wouldn't describe it that way. There are still discussions going on about what kind of permissions or facilities we might be interested in or what the Turkish parliament might approve, but at this point there's no new -- no particular negotiation going on.

Question: About the money?

Mr. Boucher: No particular negotiation going on on those matters. Yeah.

Okay.

Question: New subject?

Question: Iraq?

Mr. Boucher: All right. I'm not going to give you the list. We haven't put out the list. There are some who have taken steps with regard to Iraqi diplomats and overseas -- let me see if I've got my rundown here.

Question: How about India or any country South Asia?

Mr. Boucher: I'm not going to name any particular country in South Asia or elsewhere. And --

Question: Richard, what about the countries that --

Mr. Boucher: No. Slow down. Slow down. Slow down. Let me tell you what I can tell you about this.

First, you know, I think, is we put out yesterday, or Wednesday afternoon, yesterday, or day before yesterday afternoon, we informed the Iraqi Interests Section in Washington through their protecting power, the Algerian Embassy, that we had declared the personnel at the Iraqi Interests Sections persona non grata. We instructed them to depart the United States within 48 hours, so we would expect them to leave by tomorrow. We understand --

Question: I thought you did that Wednesday and it was supposed to be by today.

Mr. Boucher: Yeah, to leave -- well, leave today, before tomorrow. It's that same thing.

We understand that this message was subsequently conveyed to the personnel of the Iraqi Interests Section and that steps are being taken to ensure compliance with this instruction. We'll continue to follow this issue throughout the day.

We continue to wait for formal responses from the vast majority of nations to whom we've made the same request. I am pleased to report that both Australia and Romania have indicated their concurrence with our recommendations and either have or are about to take steps to temporarily suspend the operations of the Iraqi diplomatic missions in their countries. We deeply appreciate the Australian and Romanian responses, continue to look forward to any assistance from other countries in this regard.

I know we've see some other statements by governments in public. I don't think we've seen any formal responses. But the Secretary, I think, did mention when he spoke to you that these will be decisions that each government has to make.

Okay. Charlie.

Question: Yes. You say you've seen some statements in public, but you're not sure you've had formal answers. Would the answers or statements from France and Jordan, which at least publicly have turned down, fall in a category of you haven't seen yet something formal?

Mr. Boucher: Yeah, that, you know, we've seen the public statements that a number of governments have made. Some have said they don't intend to do this. One can always wonder whether they will send us a little note back saying formally that they won't, but we don't necessarily doubt that that's their decision.

Question: Does it include the Turkey in these countries?

Mr. Boucher: I'm not talking about any particular country in South Asia, or in Europe either.

Question: Richard --

Mr. Boucher: Ma'am, over there.

Question: I am asking whether there will be any consequences on their refusal to expel them on bilateral relations.

Mr. Boucher: As the Secretary said, these are decisions each country will have to make and we'll see if they choose to do that. That's their choice.

Question: What part India is playing in the war against terror -- against -- on Iraq? And when the last time Secretary spoke to his counterpart in India?

Mr. Boucher: You'll have to ask India what part they may or may not be playing in the war against Iraq, and the Secretary talked to Minister Sinha two, three days ago. We announced it at the time. You'll find it --

Question: -- on Iraq?

Mr. Boucher: You'll find it in the record of our briefings. I don't remember exactly now.

Eli.

Question: Have any countries, or do you expect that countries will sort of wait and see what happens to the Iraqi regime to make these decisions regarding suspending the diplomatic missions?

Mr. Boucher: I suppose some of them will. We think --

Question: Have they said that to you at all?

Mr. Boucher: I said we haven't gotten formal responses, so I'm not going to try to characterize other countries' views at this point. We think it's time to take this step. We think that it's obvious that this regime can no longer fairly represent the people of Iraq given their many failures to abide by UN resolutions and the way they've treated the people of Iraq. So we definitely think time has come to take this step. We are taking it ourselves. Other governments are taking it, as well. At what time other governments finally decide to take this step is up to them.

Terri.

Question: You asked these governments also to secure the assets of the buildings and freeze the accounts and make sure none of the papers were stolen. How did the U.S. do this in the case of the Interests Section?

Mr. Boucher: I don't know at this point. People are still -- we presume that we will do this perhaps upon departure of the people there, but I'll try to get you that later.

Question: I promise not to ask this every day, but there was a little uncertainty yesterday about embassies scaling down --

Question: Can we stay on this?

Question: Can we stay on the --

Question: This is about Iraq.

Question: Yeah, but it's -- can we stay on the expulsions?

Question: Okay, go ahead.

Question: I withdraw it.

Mr. Boucher: Suspension of operations.

Question: I'm just asking for an updated number in the interest of evenhandedness. I'm asking if India, the embassy and the consulates in India, in the interest -- because Pakistan is --

Mr. Boucher: You mean our embassies?

Question: Yeah, you're out of business in Pakistan and the explanation doesn't seem to be Iraq related, but seems to be maybe tensions between India and Pakistan will rise again.

Mr. Boucher: Well, first of all, Barry, we don't close an embassy here because we closed an embassy there.

Question: And it was closed in the first place. I know that. And it isn't closed in either. We're talking about reducing services. Are you reducing services in India and what's the current total?

Mr. Boucher: We're not reducing services in India because of anything going on in Pakistan with our missions. Embassies, missions, respond to the local security situation. It's not a matter if you're doing something here you have to do something over there, whatever it is. There is no parallel. They respond to the local security situation.

At this point, the status of our missions in India, I don't think I have any particular change.

Question: Okay. And is the total --

Mr. Boucher: No, I don't see anything new. Well, the total, frankly, I tried to give a number today but there are so many embassies in the Middle East that are closed on Friday/Saturdays, their weekend, that I couldn't get people to sort out which ones were closed for security reasons, which are closed for the weekend. But we've seen some demonstrations around the world. There has been some violence and demonstrations in Quito, and I think Sanaa in Yemen. That in Yemen, I think, has subsided now. And so we are keeping in mind the security situation of all our facilities, providing emergency services, maybe not in person, to Americans, and in some places we have reduced operations because of the security situation.

Okay, back to wherever it was we were.

Question: Can you say when you first spoke to other countries about suspending the diplomatic operations? When was this first raised? Did you give anyone a heads up that this was going to be coming?

Mr. Boucher: As I think I said yesterday, we sent the cable out overnight the night before last.

Question: Right, I understand. But were there any discussions in terms of the bilateral relationships, "Hey, look for a cable, it doesn't look like we're going to get the resolution, this is what we want you to do eventually." Did you do anything to prepare capitals before that cable was sent out, is my question.

Mr. Boucher: The only circumstance -- this was not part of getting or not getting a UN resolution. This was part of the beginning of hostilities. And as you know, there are a number of steps we took at the beginning of hostilities. We had taken steps before to tell certain countries that we thought they ought to expel some Iraqi intelligence officers because those constituted a threat to our missions, and I'd say that's generally going pretty well.

But on the issue of suspending the operations of Iraqi missions, that was one of the things that we had planned to do timed to the beginning of fighting and that when the beginning of fighting came we released the Worldwide Caution, we released the special advisory for the Middle East and North Africa, and we went out with our cable to people saying time has come to suspend operations at their missions. Whether we coordinated that a little bit with coalition partners in advance, I frankly don't know, but in terms of a mass heads up, I don't think we did that.

Question: Can I just two logistical questions? One is you said that you haven't gotten any formal responses yet, but you did mention Australia and Romania. Have you gotten formal responses from them or are you just saying what you've seen in public?

Mr. Boucher: I don't know if I -- I'd say we hadn't gotten many formal responses. I don't know if those came formally or informally. But we've seen those two nations indicate that they would suspend the operation of the Iraqi Embassy. I think the Australians have been in public already on it.

Question: Can I also ask you, technically I don't know if you'll be able to answer this, but one of the -- the person who was listed in the diplomatic book as being the head of the Iraqi Interests Section happens, I believe, is the UN Ambassador doubly accredited, both in New York and here. And I presume that you haven't yet made -- decided what you're going to do about the UN accreditation issue. But does this expulsion that you guys did yesterday affect Ambassador al-Duri?

Mr. Boucher: I'll have to double-check and see. I don't think I have with me exactly which -- who are the people that we asked to leave by the end of the day today. I'll double-check.

Question: Okay. Can you also find out, if it did, does that mean that he is actually expelled from the country or was he just basically told he has to stay in New York and not leave the UN?

Mr. Boucher: That may be the case, as well. I'll have to check.

Question: HUMINT-related.

Question: Can you just stay one more on the diplomats?

Question: Stay five more.

Question: Are you making any effort either on your own or through these countries to talk to these diplomats before they are expelled?

Mr. Boucher: I'm not quite sure what the question is. Are we trying to talk to them before they are expelled? We've conveyed a message to them that they ought to leave.

Question: Have you conveyed messages to them that before they actually depart or consider departing that you might be willing to talk --

Mr. Boucher: Oh, I know what you're trying to get me to say. No, I'm not going to get into any questions of whether or not they might be interested in something.

Question: But you said yesterday --

Question: Yesterday you did get into it. You spoke of --

Mr. Boucher: No, I didn't. I said we're always interested in information and people can apply for asylum if they want to. That's as far as I went on this question.

Question: Yesterday you were asked how would they --

Mr. Boucher: I'm not going into whether we're trying to recruit people who might be leaving, if that's the question.

Question: That's the question.

Question: Yesterday, yesterday you were asked, "Where would these Iraqi diplomats you're trying to have expelled go?" And you suggested maybe they could find their way back to Iraq. And as this discourse continued, you raised the possibility of asylum. You didn't make a point of it --

Mr. Boucher: No I didn't. She did. But anyway, Barry, I'm not trying to raise some new possibilities. All we've done is ask these people to go.

Question: I'm just wondering if these three (inaudible) expecting them to go home.

Mr. Boucher: All we've done is ask these people to leave. Okay? We've told them to leave. Okay.

Question: I've got you. Now, I understand.

Mr. Boucher: That's as far as we go in this matter. Whatever they decide to do, where they decide to go, what they decide to apply for here, there or somewhere else is a separate matter that I'm not -- that we can't get into. It's speculative at this point.

Sonni.

Question: Yeah, let me raise a couple of UN issues. In light of President Chirac's comments this morning, and -- could you give us an update, please on where we're going on the Oil-for-Food program, the issue of the Secretary General administering that? Could you also give us a sense, is the U.S. thinking about what will be the status of the resolution asking for authority for U.S. and Britain to administer Iraq? Will you plan to even bring that for a vote? Can you give us an update on all those issues even?

Mr. Boucher: Maybe. Yeah.

Okay. There's been a meeting going on in New York, I think you know. We have welcomed the UN Secretary General's letter recommending how the Oil-for-Food program would need to be modified in light of the UN's withdrawal of its program staff from Iraq and the changes that are taking place there. We've had detailed discussions with the Secretary General; we welcome his contribution.

We have given considerable thought to how to adapt the Oil-for-Food program to new circumstances so that food and medicine already funded under the program could reach needy Iraqis. We think action is needed quickly to ensure that goods now in the pipeline are available for delivery to the people of Iraq when circumstances permit.

We share the Secretary General's goal of gaining quick Security Council consensus for a resolution that opens the way for continuation of Oil-for-Food humanitarian deliveries. And the Security Council, as I said, is still -- is discussing this. They had a meeting that started this morning, may be continuing to now, may have just broken up.

The key points that we think need to be included in the humanitarian resolution are as follows, and these track with the things that the Secretary General suggested in his letter: first is to give the Secretary General authority to run the program throughout Iraq on an interim basis, as the Azores summit statement indicated; second, to let the Secretary General use un-obligated funds currently in the UN Oil-for-Food escrow account for Iraq to pay for food, medicine and other costs to implement the program in Iraq; to let the Secretary General prioritize existing contracts to get the most needed items to Iraq quickly; to authorize additional delivery points inside and outside Iraq where the UN can certify receipt of the goods so contractors can be paid promptly and keep the program running smoothly; and to authorize the Secretary General to use Oil-for-Food funds and stocks to feed Iraqi refugees who may flee or have fled the country.

We are in discussions with other Council members as well as the Secretariat on our ideas and on the Secretary General's recommendations. We hope the Council can reach consensus on this important issue. We think there's a priority to adopt this new resolution quickly. That's where we are.

Question: What about the issue of -- President Chirac was speaking about a resolution that would give the U.S. and Britain authority to run -- is there such an animal out there?

Mr. Boucher: There are many other issues that the United Nations needs to deal with in terms of its -- the future of Iraq and the contribution that the United Nations can make. The first and most pressing issue, we think, is to authorize the continuation of this program so that we can make sure that we can help the needy people of Iraq. That's certainly where our focus is right now and that's what we're looking for the Security Council to do.

Question: Well, do you think that you need to have -- there would need to be an express mandate given by the UN for a post-war, interim authority -- sorry, not interim authority, post-war --

Mr. Boucher: Need to be? No, I don't think there needs to be. If there is -- certainly we think there should be a United Nations humanitarian role and that's why we have put so much money, ourselves, in work for the UN agencies to take care of the Iraqi people in the aftermath of conflict. And there will be other things that we think the United Nations can and should do to help the people of Iraq. That remains our interest and the first and most pressing of those issues is to get the Oil-for-Food program adjusted in a way that allows the UN to do that.

Question: I understand that. But is it -- would it be desirable for you, do you -- you know, would you find it desirable to have a --

Mr. Boucher: We have not proposed nor have we discussed any resolution that would be described as giving the United States authority to run Iraq.

Question: United States and Britain. Well, anybody, but what --

Mr. Boucher: The United States and anybody.

Question: So is President Chirac kind of putting the -- is he getting ahead of himself here?

Mr. Boucher: I don't know. Maybe he's opposed to something that we haven't proposed.

Terri.

Question: There is also some talk about convening a special session of the GA to criticize the United States. What do you think of that? Do you think it's very likely?

Mr. Boucher: With the United States and Britain?

Question: The General Assembly. Yeah, there's --

Mr. Boucher: Oh, the GA. General Assembly.

Question: Oh, I'm sorry. The General Assembly.

Mr. Boucher: There was, I think, some talk floating around New York. I think we have made quite clear, as I said to you a couple days ago, that we think the matter of Iraq is a matter for the Security Council to deal with, it's a matter the Security Council should have dealt with, a matter that the Security Council has dealt with over the years, perhaps not effectively. But this is a matter that affects international peace and security in a way that means its logical place for discussion and action is in the Security Council.

Question: But do you think the General -- do you think there's enough momentum for the General Assembly to actually call this special session?

Mr. Boucher: I don't think we -- certainly we're not in favor of such a session. We don't think it's necessary to deal with the issue and that the issue should be and can be dealt with in the UN Security Council if the members are willing.

Elise.

Question: Richard, I know you say that the humanitarian needs and the Oil-for-Food regarding the UN are the most pressing and that's what you're focusing on, but have you formulated your vision for UN involvement in the post-Saddam civil reconstruction, or do you know exactly what you want the UN to do yet?

Mr. Boucher: A lot of what needs to be done in the post-war Iraq will be defined by the events on the ground and how we get to that moment. But there is an awful lot of planning that's gone into the humanitarian situation, the reconstruction effort, the kinds of contracts that the U.S. Agency for International Development has been looking at. And we have had discussions with UN agencies about the kind of involvement they could have. We've had discussions with Europeans and the European Union about the kind of involvement they could have. We're already seen people like the Japanese step forward and say that they would be willing to be involved in the reconstruction. So as we move down this road, as we move from the immediate post-war into civilian administration and towards Iraqi administration, we would certainly hope that UN agencies and other governments would have a role in putting Iraq back in the hands of the Iraqis.

Question: What about a political role?

Mr. Boucher: Again, I don't think I can go into any more detail on that at this point than I just have.

Question: Can you share with us those offices in the UN you've met with? You've met with UNDP, you talked to --

Mr. Boucher: I don't have a comprehensive list. I told you the ones we're funding already that we've provided money to in terms of some of their planning. Much of that is immediate humanitarian needs. But we've met with others as well. I don't have a whole list.

Ma'am.

Question: Can I ask you a question not on Iraq?

Mr. Boucher: About what?

Question: Not on Iraq?

Question: Yes.

Question: Glad to.

Mr. Boucher: I might enjoy it.

Question: Can I just quickly follow up on this?

Mr. Boucher: Okay, let's follow up on this and finish off with this. Arshad.

Question: On USAID, has USAID yet awarded any of the contracts for Iraqi reconstruction? If not, can you make sure that when you get them --

Mr. Boucher: They have awarded one contract that I think you're aware of, $7.something million. And there may be a couple more coming up and we'll make sure you hear about those.

Question: Just for clarity's sake, the Secretary has spoken out and the U.S. at least suggested subsequently for a brief period taking over, administering what goes in Iraq after the war, and then a handoff to the Iraqi people as quickly as possible. Now, I just want to be clear. Is it the U.S.'s position that the U.S. and Britain, or whoever, has the authority to do this? Does it need UN approval?

Mr. Boucher: If you remember what the Secretary said, he said under international law and the rules of war that the military force that goes into a place has a responsibility for the welfare and the administration of the people who live there, and so that responsibility would immediately fall upon the shoulders of the American commander or the coalition commander who entered that area.

But we have also, I think, talked quite extensively about the plans now to move very rapidly from that sort of military administration to -- into civilian administration, and you have a variety of people, U.S. civilians, at this point who are being -- who will be available to help get things back up and running in civilian hands. We have also talked to you about the need -- our desire to create an Iraqi interim -- interim Iraqi administration so that Iraqis, from inside and outside Iraq, are brought into this process as quickly as possible, and there will be a transition from military administration to civilian administration to Iraqi administration.

What role other coalition partners or -- certainly we'd work with the coalition partners who are there now, and what role other nations or agencies would have in that is not something I can define too deeply at this point.

Question: But the military administration, if I can call it that for shorthand, would have authority over things besides making sure there's clean water and food and et cetera. It would run the country wouldn't it, for a while?

Mr. Boucher: I -- again, the goal is to move out of that kind of situation as quickly as possible.

Question: So was MacArthur's goal to move out as quickly as possible, but there was a period of military -- of U.S. military rule.

Mr. Boucher: No. I'm not -- I think that's a wrong analogy and not something useful to try to compare and contrast, frankly.

Question: Okay.

Mr. Boucher: Glen.

Question: Yeah. Can you explain why Angola seems to have fallen off the list of the coalition of the willing? They were on it yesterday but they are not on it today.

Mr. Boucher: I don't think they were on the public list yesterday.

Question: I thought they were on the U.S. -- the White House website list last night.

Mr. Boucher: You'd have to ask the White House about their website.

Question: But isn't State kind of putting together this list or how's the --

Mr. Boucher: You'd have to ask the White House about their website.

Terri.

Question: Today the Nigerian Government said that -- they called in the U.S. Ambassador and they are saying that they've been, that they've had their military assistance cut because they don't support your war on Iraq.

Mr. Boucher: I just heard about that before I came in. We can get you a more detailed answer but this has been a matter going on for some time since a massacre that took place, what, a couple of years ago. 2001. It's a matter of U.S. law. It's a matter of long-standing U.S. policy. It's not something that developed because of somebody's attitude toward Iraq. It's something that has existed as a problem for a long time because of a serious situation that occurred there.

Question: So the timing that it actually was effective is coincidental?

Mr. Boucher: I don't even know that the timing was coincidental. It's been a matter of legislation already. It's been a matter underway for some time.

Question: What does a member of the coalition have to do to qualify? The reason I ask is that there's a report today that says that only three of the 35, or whatever it is, have actually offered, you know, substantive assistance to the U.S.-led effort.

Mr. Boucher: Well, I think first of all, that's not accurate. Second of all, as I made clear I think yesterday, that this is a very broad enterprise. It's an effort to deal with not only the immediate military situation and the weapons of mass destruction, but it's an effort, as well, to make sure that areas around Iraq are properly defended. It's an effort -- a military effort -- that involves an opponent who has and has used chemical weapons in the past and therefore you have the kind of protection, the kind of units you need; often require a certain number of very specialized nuclear-biological-chemical units. And indeed, many of the coalition partners, several of the coalition partners have provided those sorts of units to various places around the area.

It's also an effort that will continue beyond the immediate conflict. We're going to need partners in the reconstruction process. We're going to need partners who can help stabilize Iraq after the fighting has died down. We're going to need partners who can help on the governance issues, as well. And so these contributions are as important as any. You know, a tank right now and a, you know, the fire trucks in the future are probably both just as valuable. And depending on the specialization, some of these particular items, even though they might not be large or involve large quantities of people can be very important to this effort.

I've talked to countries that are providing nuclear-biological-chemical units. I've talked to countries that are providing, or intend to provide de-mining equipment. All of these things are necessary given the circumstances out there.

Question: Richard, is it still the case that some of the countries that are on the list are only providing moral support just basically by signing up to it? For instance, I would (inaudible) guess that Micronesia and The Marshall Islands and The Solomon Islands --

Mr. Boucher: I don't know what -- you can ask them if they have a specific material contribution they would intend to make at this time or in the future, but certainly we're not turning people away. But, on the other hand, some of the countries may want to be listed -- right now for political reasons -- because of their intentions to develop such plans for material contributions in the future.

Question: Yeah, I mean it is striking that as far as I can tell now, that Angola does not appear to be on the list. Did no other member of the Security Council, with the exception of the three co-sponsors and Bulgaria -- have actually joined this coalition? And at the time of the negotiations there was a lot of talk that the U.S. was close to nine, or getting close to a, what was called a "moral victory." And what does it say when no other members of the Security Council, except for those three and Bulgaria, have actually agreed to be part of this coalition?

Mr. Boucher: It signifies absolutely nothing.

Question: Well, they are -- you said this was a matter to the Security Council, so it --

Mr. Boucher: I stand by everything we said about the Security Council. I stand by the list and I stand by the fact that there are other partners in this effort who are not named.

Question: Richard, did you invite ambassadors from the coalition of the willing to the State Department this morning?

Mr. Boucher: We had a meeting this morning with a large number of countries who are interested in the effort in Iraq, who are interested in the aftermath and what we can all do to contribute to the better for the people of Iraq, who are interested in eliminating Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. It was not a formal meeting of the coalition, per se. It was meeting with ambassadors from interested governments who are here in Washington. So it was something we've done periodically. I think this is the fourth meeting like this.

Question: How many ambassadors?

Mr. Boucher: A whole roomful.

Question: Oh, come on.

Mr. Boucher: I don't have the exact list; probably 50-some.

Question: Okay. So can we get that list? Because would that --

Mr. Boucher: No.

Question: -- in some way, I mean I realize that the White House has a list and everything, but if you're trying to count --

Mr. Boucher: No. There is no substitute list. The White House list is something that we agree is the list of the publicly named members of the coalition. The list of people who came to a particular meeting that was not a particularly coalition meeting is not germane to this subject and is not something we would regularly release.

There were members of the coalition who were there. Certainly a lot of countries who were there are contributing these discussions. I mentioned earlier, I think, it was the Slovak Ambassador, the Czech Ambassador who came up to me at the meeting and talked about their contributions, so there are certainly identifiable people who are making contributions that way. But this was not called as a meeting. Not everybody who came would have called themselves a coalition member.

Question: Who were the State Department officials updating?

Mr. Boucher: Generally, the Bureau of Political/Military Affairs runs the meeting. I was there. Economic people were there. The International Organizations people were there. It was a discussion of the whole situation from what's gone on on the ground to the aftermath and the economics of reconstruction.

Question: How high up, though, on the desks?

Mr. Boucher: A number of Assistant Secretaries were there. I don't know why we can't --

Question: So are you reluctant to talk about the people that went there considering that attendance at one of the last meetings almost caused the downfall of the Finnish Government?

Mr. Boucher: I didn't meet the Finnish Ambassador today. I don't know if he was there or not but --

Question: Is that the reason you're reluctant to --

Mr. Boucher: We don't publish lists of every meeting we have and we don't publish lists -- we've already published a list of the people who want to be publicly named as coalition members. That is the coalition and that's all there is to it.

Question: Did you introduce anyone who might be having a role in the civilian administration of Iraq afterwards?

Mr. Boucher: No, I didn't.

Charlie.

Question: Did anybody at the building --

Mr. Boucher: Nobody else did, either.

Charlie.

Question: You've put in that there were a number coalition members there. Were there people there who are not in the coalition?

Mr. Boucher: There were people there who are not in the public list of the coalition members, yeah.

Question: No, that's not what I asked.

Mr. Boucher: This was not a coalition meeting, okay?

Question: I know. I'm not saying it was.

Mr. Boucher: The list of people there was not coterminous with the set of people who are publicly named, nor the sum of the sets of those who are publicly named and those who are not publicly named.

Question: The protests that were today in the Arab countries and Muslim countries against war, are they a source of concern for the administration? And don't you think these are indications that maybe you will have some difficulties in applying your plans in Iraq for the future since apparently --

Mr. Boucher: I wouldn't draw any particular conclusion over the fact that there are some demonstrations that are being held now around the world. Certainly, we recognize these demonstrations. We, you know, listen to them. We are always dismayed and concerned when they turn violent.

There was a demonstration in Sanaa, as I said, that turned violent, that subsided. We are investigating reports that there might have been casualties among the demonstrators and the Yemeni security forces and we regret, obviously, the violence and any injuries that may have resulted. Our Embassy there has sent out a Warden message.

In Cairo there were some demonstrations, but at no time was our Embassy threatened.

In Bahrain, same thing. Demonstrations, 75 to 150 demonstrators near the Embassy, but at no time was the Embassy threatened.

I think there were some reports of demonstrations in Kuwait. Those turned out to be false.

So our embassies have appropriate emergency action plans and they work with local officials to try to make sure the people are protected. But we recognize there are certain views and feelings around the world. People will demonstrate and express those views. That doesn't change our goals. That doesn't change the need to disarm Iraq and the need to provide a better life for the Iraqi people, and we'll continue to pursue those goals along with a very large and strong coalition that wants -- that thinks it's time to do that.

Sir.

Question: Any reaction to the Greek Prime Minister Kostas Simitis' remarks under his capacity in the EU presidency expressing regrets for the military conflict in Iraq, as well as the remarks by EU president (inaudible) to the same effect?

Mr. Boucher: I don't have any particular reaction to those remarks. I think the European summit has issued a statement and we certainly support some of the things in there about working with the United Nations and providing a better life for the people of Iraq. That's what this is all about.

Question: Richard, this is not on that subject at all. The Secretary downstairs made a vague reference, talking to the President of Cameroon about aid and assistance, and I'm just wondering if there was anything new that's being proposed right now or if this is a continuation of existing -- whatever programs you have that are existing.

Mr. Boucher: I don't know. I'll have to check on that.

Question: Thank you.

Mr. Boucher: One more here.

Question: Yesterday, U.S. citizen Charles Lee was sentenced to three years of prison in China for allegedly sabotaging broadcast networks. There seem to be conflicting reports as to whether he is going to be deported before he serves a three-year sentence or afterwards. And what is the U.S. Government doing, if anything, to continue to try to get him released?

Mr. Boucher: Well, as you say, he was sentenced on March 21st to three years in prison. We had a consular official from our Consulate in Shanghai present at the trial, and, as you know, I think we've met with him from time to time.

We've seen these reports that he may be deported, but we're not yet -- we haven't yet received any official confirmation of such an intent by the Chinese Government. Our Embassy in Beijing and our Consulate General in Shanghai will be in contact with Chinese authorities regarding those reports.

Question: Can I just follow up on that? Wouldn't this be great fodder for the U.S. on the UN resolution on China at the Geneva meeting? Have you made any decisions about that?

Mr. Boucher: Great fodder?

Question: Yeah, I mean --

Mr. Boucher: No, I don't have any questions on -- I don't have any decisions on either fodder or resolutions.

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