State Department Briefing


Tuesday  July 1, 2003
(Iraq, International Criminal Court, European Union, North Korea,
Liberia, Hong Kong, Israel/Palestinians, Kazakhstan) (6330)

State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher briefed.

Following is the State Department transcript:

(begin transcript)

U.S. Department of State
Daily Press Briefing Index
Washington DC
Tuesday, July 1, 2003

BRIEFER:  Richard Boucher, Spokesman

-- Status of Reconstruction Efforts

-- Suspension of Military Aid to Colombia
-- States Subject to Military Aid Restrictions
-- Status of Aid Currently Allocated
-- Waivers for Specific Programs

-- EU-U.S. Summit Discussions

-- Nuclear Developments in North Korea
-- Chinese Foreign Minister to Attend Meetings

-- UN War Crimes Charges Against Charles Taylor
-- Departure of Charles Taylor
-- U.S. Options for Support/Joint Verification Team

-- Citizens Protest Article 23

-- Status of Aid to the Palestinian Authority

-- Read-out of Secretary Powell's Meeting with the Foreign Minister



MR. BOUCHER: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. A pleasure to be
here. Don't have any statements or announcements, so I'd be glad to
take your questions.

QUESTION: I wondered if the continuing violent resistance in Iraq has
upset, impeded, or whatever, U.S. hopes for stability and for
reconstruction in the country.

MR. BOUCHER: I think it's obviously an issue that we have to take into
account. And everybody we talk to, including in our discussions with
Ambassador Bremer, makes clear that security is the number one issue
for Iraqis right now. And it's something that the United States
Government as a whole is looking at very intensely and taking steps to
try to bring more security there.

At the same time, by and large, there is a lot of parts of the country
where operations, particularly assistance programs, reconstruction
programs, are going forward. There are a lot of good things happening.
We've got 30,000, I think it is, policemen out on the streets already.
They are starting to recruit for a new army. We've done a lot in terms
of restoration of power, although we continue to face the problems of
sabotage and people stealing the copper out of transmission lines and
things like that.

So these reconstruction efforts are underway. The humanitarian
assistance programs have been either unneeded or successful in
averting any major humanitarian crisis. But as we plan for the
reconstruction and proceed with the reconstruction, we need to take
the security situation into account.


QUESTION: Could you respond to an Amnesty International report that
the United States has tortured Iraqi prisoners?

MR. BOUCHER: I don't have anything on that. The people who we do have
in custody would be under the custody of the Defense Department at
this point, so I don't have anything on that.


QUESTION: Is the U.S. going to suspend the military aid to Colombia
due to the fact that they didn't sign the immunity?

MR. BOUCHER: The President made his decisions yesterday, signed the
package for transmission to Capitol Hill, on the American
Servicemembers' Protection Act, and that includes some waivers for
countries that have signed Article 98 agreements with us but not
ratified them. There is a four-month waiver for countries who signed
before May 1st and haven't yet ratified, a six-month waiver for
countries who signed after May 1st and haven't yet ratified. In many
cases, ratification means working things through parliament, which
takes some time in some places.

There are other countries, some 35 of them, that have not signed
Article 98 agreements and therefore don't qualify for a waiver, and so
Colombia is one of those countries. But as I think I said yesterday,
this is an ongoing issue that we're going to have to deal with, and
we're going to keep pressing countries to sign Article 98 agreements
with us.

Much of our assistance to Colombia, the great bulk of our assistance
to Colombia, is, indeed, counter-drug money and therefore not
affected. It's not military assistance, among the military assistance
programs that are affected by this law.

In addition, I think of some over a hundred million, a hundred million
or more, in military financing that we have for Colombia, I think all
but about 5 million has been expended. So there is probably about 5
million of our assistance to Colombia that's been suspended because of
the Act right now.

But as we proceed with this, we'll look at individual programs, as
well, and decide whether they need waivers. But our hope is to
continue to work with governments to secure and ratify Article 98
agreements that protect American servicemembers from arbitrary or
political prosecution by the International Court.


QUESTION: The 35 countries, you have a list of those that I presume
you'll be making available to us?

MR. BOUCHER: It's in the package. I don't have it here right now. I'll
see if I can get that for you.

QUESTION: And is it exactly 35? You said "some 35." Is it exactly?

MR. BOUCHER: I counted, I got 36. But three other counted and got 35,
so --

QUESTION: When I counted, I got 31. But that was, of course, because
we didn't have this package that you guys obviously did. And we had to
actually go through and compare the number of countries getting -- the
exact countries getting U.S. military assistance with the number of
countries who have signed Article 98 agreements, and then the number
of countries who have actually ratified the Rome Treaty, which was
extremely time-consuming, I'm sure, as you can imagine.

MR. BOUCHER: I can't give you the package before the President signs
it. Now that the President has signed it and it has been transmitted
to Congress, I will be glad to try to provide it to you. But I'm not
going to give it to you before the Congress gets it.

QUESTION:  All right, okay.  That's fine.

MR. BOUCHER: Okay. We have calculated that a total of 35 states would
be subject to these restrictions; that is, there are recipients of
U.S. military assistance, they are parties to the International
Criminal Court, and they have not been exempted as a NATO member or
major non-NATO ally, or signed an Article 98 agreement.

QUESTION: Now, what about countries that do receive U.S. assistance,
are parties that had signed and ratified the Rome Treaty, and have
signed Article 98 agreements and still don't get an exemption? I mean,
what does poor old Cambodia have to do here to get back in the good
graces of the United States?

MR. BOUCHER: Cambodia doesn't have any military assistance from us
this year.

QUESTION: Yes, it does. Well, it was requested. It was in the budget.

MR. BOUCHER: No, it was requested. And if you read the budget
documents carefully, you'll see that it said that we would provide
this program if the political conditions allowed and other
restrictions were removed. Because that situation hasn't occurred,
they have -- there is no money in a program this year.

QUESTION:  Okay, but --

MR. BOUCHER: There is actual program of military assistance to
Cambodia this year, is the bottom line, so it doesn't need a waiver.

QUESTION: And is that -- can you say that that's the only country that
meets all of the criteria that has not received a waiver?

MR. BOUCHER: It doesn't meet all of the criteria because there is no
military assistance program.

QUESTION: All right. Can you say it's the only country that has signed
an Article 98 agreement that has also signed and ratified the ICC that

MR. BOUCHER: I don't know how many countries there are who are members
of the court and have signed Article 98 agreements, but don't have a
military assistance program from the United States. That may -- I
don't -- I just didn't try to calculate that.

QUESTION:  Richard.

MR. BOUCHER:  Nicholas.

QUESTION: Richard, the six countries that are supposed to be joining
NATO next year, you said yesterday that for this fiscal year there are
no consequences. Right?

MR. BOUCHER:  No, I didn't say that.

QUESTION: No, I mean, the programs that have already been started,
that they'll go on before today. Right?

MR. BOUCHER: I said that money that has been spent, money that's been
allocated, remains allocated. Money that has not been allocated is not
going to be allocated. So it depends on the individual country and how
much of the money has been expended. We were asked a moment ago about
Colombia, and out of $100 million or more in military financing for
Colombia, there's $5 million left this year that's not been allocated.
That money is caught.

Each government, each country will be, may be slightly different.
There may be different percentages or amounts that have been spent
already and different amounts left that have not.

QUESTION: Well, my question was, if these six countries, as it is
expected, become NATO members next year, they will be automatically
getting the waiver. Is that correct?


QUESTION: So, basically, the impact on them will be minimal. Is that
safe to --

MR. BOUCHER: Again, it depends on the country. There may be places
where, you know, most of the money has been spent. There may be places
where most of the money has not been spent.


QUESTION: I walked in a little late. Did you address the question of
which countries are being penalized?

MR. BOUCHER: I said there were 35 of them that are subject to some
restrictions under this Act, that the list was in the documents that
have been sent up to the Hill, and one of your colleagues asked me and
I promised I would try to get the -- make the documents available to

QUESTION: In that document it also explains how much money is affected
here for the rest of this fiscal year?

MR. BOUCHER: The -- no, it doesn't. But I will be glad to do that now.


MR. BOUCHER: In terms of Fiscal Year 2003 dollar amounts in various
military programs subject to assistance -- subject to restrictions, in
the Foreign Military Financing program there's approximately $47
million that's not been allocated and in the International Military
Education and Training program there's approximately $613,000.

I think we had larger numbers yesterday, but since those numbers were
compiled several countries have signed Article 98 agreements. So what
you'll find is these numbers are subject to change, hopefully in the
downward direction as we sign agreements.

QUESTION: Well, following up on -- I think what Nicholas is trying to
ask -- the NATO aspirants basically don't really have to do much of
anything, do they? I mean, they lose a little bit this year, but as
long as they join on schedule, they'll be given an automatic
exemption, correct? Unless you guys are going to make signing an
Article 98 with them a requirement for them to get into NATO, which
you've always said in the past --

QUESTION:  It's rati -- the Congress ratified already.

MR. BOUCHER:  The Congress has ratified the members.

I think the point, the point of all this, is not the technicalities of
it. It's the effort that's underway by the United States to secure
these agreements. It's not a matter of today, tomorrow, this program,
that program. This is merely one of the tools that Congress has given
us, has asked us to implement, in order to secure these kinds of

It remains an important part of national policy. It's something -- the
Article 98 agreements, I would say, is something that comes up in
virtually every meeting the Secretary has with countries that it's
relevant for. And in not just the last week or two or the last month
or two, but consistently for months and months and months we have made
this an issue. It's an important issue to the United States, will
continue to be an important issue.

So as we work with other governments, whether they're NATO aspirants
or friends or coalition friends, people we've worked with in Iraq and
Afghanistan, it's an issue that we consistently raise and it's an area
where we are going to implement the law, and that's what we're doing.

QUESTION:  Can we turn to Liberia?

QUESTION:  Wait a second.  I've got some more on this one.


QUESTION: Since the EU-U.S. summit that you guys had last week, which
this was the former EU president said this was an issue on which you
had agreed to disagree, have the Europeans changed their tune at all
or are they still being obstructionist?

MR. BOUCHER: I think you'd have to ask them if they've changed their
tune. I mean, from our point of view, we have made very, very clear
that we're not attempting to undermine the Rome statute, we're not
attempting to infringe upon the rights of countries that have decided
to sign and implement the treaty involving the International Criminal
Court; and we ask that our right and our decision, our sovereignty in
deciding not to be a party to that treaty, is similarly respected. We
think it's important that we have the ability to choose not to become
a party and that we not be subject to jurisdiction by a treaty for
which we have not become a party.

QUESTION:  Yeah, that's -- I know that.  But --

MR. BOUCHER: I know. But have they changed their -- have they begun to
agree with us on that? I don't know that there is any particular
progress to report at this point. We have had discussions, legal
discussions in particular, in the past with the European Union. We've
had a lot of discussions with individual governments of European Union
members or countries that are seeking to get in. But at this point I
don't think they've changed their tune that I have seen, but you can
ask them if they have.

QUESTION: Yes, I'm still confused about Colombia, first of all,
because, you know, it receives lots of help from the United States. So
you're saying that for this fiscal year, still, I mean, there are $5
million that they won't receive that? What's going to happen for next
year? Then the Colombian president is saying that they have already a
treaty of 1962 which is kind of the same thing that the United States
wants, so that that should work. Does that work?

MR. BOUCHER: It's an issue that we have been discussing with the
Government of Colombia. The Secretary has talked to Foreign Minister
Barco about it very recently -- oh, in Santiago, Chile, which was not
even a month ago now. So it's something that we have discussed
repeatedly and will continue to discuss with the Government of
Colombia to try to work things out. The Colombians and the United
States do have an existing agreement that has some relationship to
this, but we need to provide the kind of exemption that an Article 98
agreement would provide. That's our view.

But what's going to happen next year, that depends on the state of
affairs, whether we can conclude agreements with Colombia and other
governments. It depends on the kind of assistance programs we might be
contemplating. As always, much of the U.S. assistance for Colombia has
been in the form of anti-narcotics efforts, and those are not covered
by these restrictions. So it will depend on the kind of program that
we design for Colombia next year, as well as where we are in terms of
Article 98 agreements.

QUESTION: But they would have to sign that if they want to receive
military help? I mean, there's no other option? There's no getting
away from it?

MR. BOUCHER: There are limited possibilities for waivers in the law,
but how the President should decide to exercise those I just can't
tell you at this point.

QUESTION: Richard, may I see if I understand it? Because I also don't
understand what would happen next year. Does the President's act today
mean it is impossible for Colombia to receive additional military
assistance from the United States, point blank? In other words, if
Congress --

MR. BOUCHER:  Unless -- well --

QUESTION:  Unless?

MR. BOUCHER: Unless -- see, that the -- again, there are still some
authorities in this law to exercise specific waivers for specific
programs. So, you know, speculating on what kind of program we'll have
next year, how much of that money might be affected, if there are
aspects of the program we might want to waive, I think it's a little
too early to do that now, particularly given that we continue to
pursue with Colombia and others agreements under Article 98.

So if we succeed in getting the non-surrender agreements with various
governments, we may not face that question come October 1st. If we do
get to October 1st, it will depend on the kind of program that we're
implementing in that year.

QUESTION: But I'm trying to understand it. It may be that I am just
confused about this. Is it conceivable that Congress could appropriate
additional military assistance for Colombia, and that that would go
forward absent, you know, an Article 98 agreement, or absent a waiver,
or, no, that's simply impossible?

MR. BOUCHER: It's not simply impossible but the authority, because
there is some additional waiver authority, it could be applied to a
particular program. But that hasn't been done at this point.

QUESTION: The 1st of October, what is that deadline? Could you explain

MR. BOUCHER: That's the start of our new fiscal year. So there is
another pot of money that has to be analyzed according to these

QUESTION:  Oh, okay.

QUESTION: I just want to ask about one country that did get a waiver,
Botswana. What's the date that they signed their Article 98?

MR. BOUCHER:  I don't know.  I have to check.

QUESTION: Can you explain why it doesn't appear on the list that the
Press Office put out last night? Are they perhaps one of these
countries that has signed an Article 98 in secret?

MR. BOUCHER: Perhaps. It's not so secret. We said -- we said they had
just not publicly advertised it. We weren't going to do that either.
But I don't know if Botswana was one of those are not.


QUESTION: Yeah, what just happened in Croatia, what was U.S. military

MR. BOUCHER: Again, I'll have to get the documents for you, and you
can check there exactly where Croatia stands on that list.


QUESTION: How do you access on the recent EU-U.S. Summit here in
Washington under the Greek presidency, since a part of it was held
here at the State Department with the participation of businessmen
representing big companies?

MR. BOUCHER: It was a very good summit. I don't have much more for
you. There was an extensive briefing, a lot of documents released. I
think we all feel we made a lot of progress with the European Union in
the areas of anti-terrorism cooperation, law enforcement cooperation,
nonproliferation efforts. There was a fairly substantial statement
released on nonproliferation, in addition to cooperation on
development issues.

So it was a very positive outcome. It was a very substantive summit, a
very important aspect of our cooperation with the European Union. We
worked closed with Greece throughout the Greek presidency. And we now
look forward to working closely with the Italians

The Secretary talked this morning to Italian Foreign Minister
Frattini. He did call Foreign Minister Papandreou -- was it yesterday
or the day before? -- in the last couple of days to say thanks for all
of the help during the presidency, thanks, appreciate working
together. And, obviously, we'll continue.

Monday, yesterday, he talked to Foreign Minister Papandreou and
thanked him for close cooperation during the Greek presidency.

Okay?  Ma'am.

QUESTION:  I have a question on North Korea.


QUESTION: On North Korea developing small nuclear warheads for
ballistic missiles, I remember several weeks ago a Japanese newspaper
reported a similar story saying that the United States had told Japan
of such a report, and then today there are stories, similar stories,
coming out. Is this the same report that the U.S. read?

MR. BOUCHER: I think you'll find that we don't comment on reports like
this that are sourced -- allegedly sourced -- to intelligence
information. I am not in a position to compare and contrast press
reports based on intelligence matters, so I am just not able to deal
with the specifics of that report or the previous report in any way,
shape or form.

QUESTION: Have you heard of it, though? Because I remember when Mr.
Reeker said --

MR. BOUCHER: Again, whether I've heard or not heard of it is not
something I could comment on. I can't stand up here and start
commenting on intelligence and comparing and contrasting various
reports of what may or not be in our intelligence. I'm sorry.

We, I think, have made clear from a policy point of view that we are
-- we've been very concerned about nuclear developments in North
Korea. We've been working with other countries to ensure that North
Korea visibly and verifiably dismantles its programs. We've been
following peaceful and diplomatic means to achieve that. That's the
basic policy, but I can't get into the details of what we may know or
not know about their programs.

Yeah.  Adi.

QUESTION: One of Charles Taylor's senior officials was in London today
at a roundtable discussion and he said that Mr. Taylor might be
willing to step down if some sort of agreement could be reached on
dropping these UN war crime charges.

What's the State Department's position on this? Do you view it as a
positive development, and sort of moving in the right direction? And
generally speaking, if you know, how many, sort of, U.S. personnel,
American citizens and otherwise, are still in that country?

MR. BOUCHER: That's about three things. I think the first is that the
charges by the court stand. We support the court. We support its
efforts to get justice. And I don't -- you can ask the court, but I
don't think their charges are subject to negotiation.

Second of all, the issue of Charles Taylor's departure is one that has
been dealt with. There were agreements in Ghana at the Accra talks
that a transitional government would be worked out within 30 days and
that Taylor would not participate in that plan, in that transition,
however it works. But that plan was supposed to have been worked out
within 30 days.

We continue to call on all the parties to abide by and to work
according to the agreements in Ghana. And we have made clear from our
point of view that we don't believe Charles Taylor has any place in a
future government of Liberia. I think that answers --

Oh, how many U.S. citizens there? I don't have an estimate for you.
We've drawn down our embassy considerably. I'm sure a number of U.S.
citizens have taken the opportunities that we provided to depart, but
I don't have a number for you. I'm sorry.


QUESTION: Also on Liberia. Can you talk about the -- if you're any
closer to making a decision on where to go in terms of a multinational
force? And could you talk about the range of options perhaps being

MR. BOUCHER: No, I can't, as in any situation, talk about the range of
options being considered. I would say that we are considering the
options of how we can best support international efforts to help
Liberia return to peace and to implement the agreements that the
parties have made.

We're working actively and intensively with others on that subject.
There have been meetings and discussions within the administration,
but also with other parties. The Secretary spoke this morning with
Secretary General Annan about the issue, about Liberia and our
consideration of how we might help in that situation. So at this
point, it's something we're working on.

Now, what is going on? Monrovia, for the moment, is calm. Most of the
insurgents appear to have withdrawn to their previous positions. The
parties have been cooperating with the Joint Verification Team and
they've all now provided their combatants general locations and
written assurance of safe passage that was required under the

So the team will depart from Ghana tomorrow to go to Liberia and begin
implementing the ceasefire. We continue to urge all the parties to
cooperate with the Joint Verification Team, and the United States will
participate in that team. So that's some development.

QUESTION: Do you know how big the team is and which countries are

MR. BOUCHER: The bulk of the team and the leadership is provided by
the Economic Community of West African States. They are providing
seven military officers and heading it with a Ghanaian colonel. Each
of the three groups provided two representatives to it. There is one,
I think, American, a retired military officer who's been working with
ECOWAS who is participating in that effort, as well.

I guess I don't have the total number, but that gives you an
approximate sense of magnitude.

QUESTION: On the issue -- are we going to move on to the issue of
helping --

QUESTION:  No.  I want to stay on Liberia.


QUESTION: And I apologize if this has been asked and answered while
I've been away. But does the United States feel any kind of special
responsibility or special relationship with the people of Liberia
given their past, or do you basically treat it as another west --
simply another country in west Africa?

MR. BOUCHER: I thought I answered that question fairly well yesterday.


MR. BOUCHER:  I think I will stick with that.  Yeah.

QUESTION:  Did he answer it fairly well?

MR. BOUCHER: You can comment on whether it was fairly well or not, but
I -- in my mind, I answered the question yesterday. I will stick with
what I've said.


MR. BOUCHER:  Okay. We were going to head back.


QUESTION:  Can we go back to North Korea for a minute?


QUESTION: Okay. So there are reports that the Chinese Deputy Foreign
Minister is on his way to the United States for talks this week, and I
just wanted to know, is China going to be included in the talks so it
could be more than just the three parties or is there any other --

MR. BOUCHER: Well, those reports are wrong. He's already here,
actually. Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wang Yi arrived in Washington
yesterday. He'll be in Washington through July 3rd.

As I think many of you know, he handles Asian issues and policy
planning in the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He'll be seeing
Deputy Secretary Armitage, Assistant Secretary James Kelly today.
Tomorrow he'll meet with Assistant Secretary for South Asia Christina
Rocca and our Under Secretary for Arms Control and International
Secretary John Bolton. And I understand he also plans to meet with
officials at the National Security Council and the Pentagon.

He came last year, June 2002, for similar meetings. He's one of our
regular interlocutors on subjects of regional and bilateral issues,
including North Korea, so we expect to be talking to him about those
issues this time, as well.

As for, you know, whether he meets with the other delegations who are
in town, I don't know. That would be up to them. We are having some
meetings this week, as well, with the Japanese and the South Korean

QUESTION: The State Department's schedule today lists, as it almost
always does, no public appointments. Mr. Armitage -- is this a private
business he's conducting? I mean, I wonder why we couldn't be informed
of such an important meeting through the normal way of just checking
-- we check the schedule every morning to see if anybody's in town,
calling at the State Department, and Armitage is always listed as "No
Public" -- almost always listed as "No Public Appointments," unless
it's a ceremony.

MR. BOUCHER: Well, let me double-check on this one, when the news
came, when the word came that this meeting was on for today.

QUESTION:  Can you spell his last name.

MR. BOUCHER:  Last name is Wang, W-a-n-g.  First name Yi, Y-i.


MR. BOUCHER:  No.  Yi.


MR. BOUCHER:  Pronounced Yi.

QUESTION: Can I ask you a couple of leftover questions on assisting
the Palestinians? I've been at the at the White House, so I've heard a
lot of it today.

MR. BOUCHER:  Okay.  And then we'll get back to the back.  Patience.

QUESTION:  Oh, okay.

MR. BOUCHER:  Go ahead.

QUESTION: Yesterday was reports one million Hong Kong people went on
strike to voice their very concern over the proposed legislation under
Article 23. And, however, the TV network in the neighboring city, in
the mainland, (inaudible) was cut off to make sure nobody inside China
can watch this parade. And also, the Foreign Affairs Department
spokesperson, when he was asked about other governments' concern over
this Article 23, he, as you know, said that's interference of internal

What would be the State Department's comments on these issues?

MR. BOUCHER: As far as the question of TV broadcasts, I think our
general view is that information is good and more information is
better, and therefore we have always supported availability of
information to people, whether it's in China or elsewhere.

In terms of the Article 23 protests in Hong Kong, our understanding is
there were a quarter million Hong Kong citizens who took part in a
peaceful protest.

It's an open expression of concern about the pending legislation that
speaks to the importance of freedom of speech and strong civil
liberties to the people of Hong Kong. A large turnout underscores how
important it is for the Hong Kong Government not to rush Article 23
legislation to enactment before the Legislative Council can discuss
concerns raised by Hong Kong citizenry through the most transparent
means possible.

We have stated on numerous occasions that the United States remains
committed to the preservation of Hong Kong's autonomy and fundamental
freedoms. We strongly encourage the Hong Kong Government to consider
additional proposals for clarification and for safeguards, as the
Article 23 bill is considered in the Legislative Council.

All right, Barry.

QUESTION: I have some leftover questions the White House dealt at some
length with the issue of aiding the Palestinians. These talks are
going on. Are they -- can you help and say where, who? Is it Burns
talking to Palestinians or what -- about possibly changing the
structure, so the aid goes directly to the Authority, and possibly
increasing it, for one thing, for security improvements?

MR. BOUCHER: I know the White House addressed it and I addressed it
yesterday, too. I don't think we said, "These talks are going on." But
the issue does arise and it's under consideration. The United States
has always provided its assistance through the United Nations and
through nongovernmental organizations. And that's the way we have
given aid, and we give aid at this present point. Let me take back the
always. I haven't done the thorough search going back in history.

We have had various concerns about the Palestinian Authority
leadership, which we have expressed, also questions of financial
transparency, corruptions, things like that. Circumstances are
changing, that reform efforts have been underway in the Palestinian

There is a new Palestinian Prime Minister with whom we are working.
The finances are now under the stewardship of a new finance minister
and now largely transparent and therefore accountable to the
Palestinian people. So, at this point, we haven't made any decision
about direct aid to the Palestinian Authority. But they have -- the
Palestinian Authority has requested such assistance, and it's under

If we decided to go forward with this, we'd also have to consult first
with our Congress, which --

QUESTION:  And on the second question?

MR. BOUCHER: So where does it arise? It arises in various discussions.
You know in the roadmap it says that we and others will help rebuild
the Palestinian Security Forces. So as we start to contemplate how we
might do that and what we might contribute, some of these issues may
come up. And there may be other kinds of assistance that we might want
to provide in the future that would also raise the question.

And so, at this point, it's a matter that's -- how could I say -- it's
on the horizon, it's in the air. There have been no decisions, no
direct programs at this point. But it's something that we have to
consider and it is under consideration.

QUESTION: Is the CIA being consulted? Are they taking any assessments?

MR. BOUCHER: I'm sure all U.S. Government agencies are looking at
this. There is a law that restricts our assistance somewhat. In any
case, we would expect to first consult with the Congress before going
ahead with anything like this.

QUESTION: And it's the Congress -- that was the second thing I wanted
to ask you about. Do you need congressional approval to change the way
the aid is distributed, or -- and do you need it to increase it? I
assume you need approval to assist the Palestinians, period. But I
don't understand what the congressional input is.

MR. BOUCHER: The congressional input is, in part, because there is
legislation that affects assistance to Palestinians. There is always
Congressional consultation where it involves spending of money that
they allocate, that they pass, legislate.

And, finally, there is a lot of interest in Congress on this issues
and we certainly want to work with then as move forward on something
like this. But, as I said, at this point, there is no direct
assistance provided. There is not any specifics that I can say that
we're consulting on. But the issue is starting to arise as we consider
what we might do, and therefore it's under consideration.


QUESTION: Richard, we took note last night of the answer to the
question about the Iranian-Japanese oil deal. But now that the
Japanese have decided not to conclude this deal for the time being, do
you have anything more to say about it?

MR. BOUCHER: No, I don't. I think we expressed our general views
yesterday, and I'll just stick with that.


QUESTION: And what about the $1 billion for the Palestinian -- where
this number came in the media?

MR. BOUCHER: I don't know. You'd have to ask the person who wrote the

QUESTION:  I know.  But, I mean, you don't have anything about that?

MR. BOUCHER:  No, I don't have any numbers, at this point.

QUESTION: The White House has to know something. That's ridiculous.

MR. BOUCHER: Well, that's fine. I don't have any numbers for you
today. Because, as I said, the issue is sort of in the air, but it's
not -- we don't have any specific programs or dollar amounts or things
to talk about.

QUESTION: Richard, the Secretary had a courtesy call today with the
Kazakh Foreign Minister. Can you give us a brief readout on that? And,
particularly, can you tell us if the U.S. Government raised the issue
of human rights either in that meeting or in other meetings that the
Foreign Minister had today?

MR. BOUCHER: The United States always raises issues involving human
rights, rule of law, when it comes to meetings like this. The
discussion today, I think, covered a wide range of issues with
Kazakhstan, many areas of our cooperation, the war against terrorism,

The Secretary and the Foreign Minister discussed, to some extent,
trafficking in persons and the steps that Kazakhstan is taking to
improve its legislation and to implement the new laws that they are
looking at, and discussed energy issues briefly. Obviously, those
arise when we talk to Kazakhstan, and, generally, the subject of human
rights and the rule of law, yes, always comes up.

QUESTION:  Freedom of the press?

MR. BOUCHER: I don't remember specific examples of press freedom, but
the issues of human rights and trafficking in persons were discussed.

QUESTION: I mean, is it fair to say that you made the case for them to
display a greater respect for human rights and freedom of the press?

MR. BOUCHER: I think I'd better do it in my words and not yours. So
the Secretary raised with the Foreign Minister issues involving human
rights, trafficking in persons in Kazakhstan, has made clear that
progress in those areas is an important part of our relationship. The
Kazakh Foreign Minister expressed, once again, their commitment to
moving forward along those fronts, and they discussed in some specific
detail legislation that's working its way through the process
regarding trafficking in persons.

QUESTION: Freedom of the press is a human right if you're a
journalist, right?

MR. BOUCHER: Yeah, and we believe in it. We agree with it. It's


QUESTION: Can you say what Alan Greenspan was doing here today? Did he
have a meeting with the Secretary?

MR. BOUCHER:  I think they were having lunch.


QUESTION: Richard, talk about freedom of press, Iran is locking
websites, some of which, obviously, they say is just utter filth,
meaning pornography, but they are also blocking opposition websites
and also radio broadcasts. Is there anything that you'd like to say?

MR. BOUCHER: I don't know if there's anything new to say on that. We
have always supported access to information and freedom of expression,
so I think I will just leave it at that.

QUESTION:  Can you confirm --

MR. BOUCHER:  No, I can't confirm it.  I don't have any details.

Okay, thanks.

(The briefing was concluded at 1:50 p.m.)

(end transcript)


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