The following is an archived copy of a message sent to a Discussion List run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
Views expressed in this archived message are those of the author, not of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq.
[Main archive index/search] [List information] [Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq Homepage]
>From: "U.S. State Department" <stategov@UIC.EDU> >Reply-To: "U.S. State Department" <stategov@UIC.EDU> >To: DOSBRIEF@LISTSERV.UIC.EDU >Subject: 000229 U.S. State Dept. Daily Press Briefing >Date: Tue, 29 Feb 2000 17:58:54 -0600 > >U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE >Daily Press Briefing Index >Tuesday, February 29, 2000 > >Briefer: James P. Rubin > >IRAQ >1-13 Report on Palace Building and Oil Smuggling / >Construction of Pipeline / Illegal Export of Gas Oil / Oil >for Food Program / Importation of Luxury Goods (alcohol and >cigarettes) / Noncompliance of UNSC Resolutions / No-Fly >Zones / Lifting of Sanctions / Post-Sanctioned World > >STATEMENT >14 Yugoslav Army Checkpoint Near Montenegro-Albania >Border > >RUSSIA (CHECHNYA) > >14-15 Killing of Journalist / Freedom of the Press / >Release of Andrei Babitskiy > >NORTH KOREA >15 US / North Korea Talks > >SYRIA/ISRAEL >15-16 Resumption of Israel / Syria Talks > >AUSTRIA >16-17 Freedom Party Entry into Austrian Government / >Haider Resignation / Readout of Ambassador Hall's Meeting >with Secretary Albright > >INDIA >16-17 Increase of Military Expenditures > >SUDAN >18 Visit of Special Envoy Harry Johnston Visit to >Khartoum > >ARMS CONTROL >18 U/S Holum's Meeting on Arms Control in Geneva / Start >III Agreement / ABM Treaty Modifications > >TURKEY >18 Release of Kurdish Mayors from Jail > >MOZAMBIQUE >18-19 US Assistance with Flood Relief Efforts > >NIGERIA >19 Communal Violence > >GERMANY >19-20 Arrest of American Citizen Teenagers > >U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE >DAILY PRESS BRIEFING >DPB # 16 >TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 29, 2000, 12:40 P.M. >(ON THE RECORD UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED) > >MR. RUBIN: Greetings. Welcome to the State Department >briefing on this here Tuesday. Before I left, I wanted to >make sure I got to do one more of these presentations. So >we do have a presentation today on Iraq, and the purpose of >this briefing is to present newly declassified satellite >imagery which once again documents the perfidy of the regime >of Saddam Hussein and the importance of international >efforts to prevent such violations and to help the Iraqi >people. > >The imagery that I will show you today proves two things. >First, since the Gulf War and until now, Saddam Hussein has >been building enormous palaces and VIP residences for >himself and his regime. These palaces cost billions of >dollars, money which the government of Iraq could and should >be spending on the needs of the Iraqi people. > >To pay for these palaces and these luxury goods for Saddam >Hussein's family, Saddam Hussein himself and his supporters, >the regime is selling oil outside of the Oil-for-Food >Program and in violation of UN sanctions. The people of >Iraq would be a lot better off if he would simply cooperate >with the UN, sell Iraq's oil under the Oil-for-Food Program >and use the money to buy what the Iraqi people need. > >We're releasing this information now because Baghdad is >again pushing the canard that sanctions rather than the >misrule and the cynical manipulation of his own people that >Saddam Hussein propagates are responsible for the suffering >of Iraqis. These photos tell a very different story. They >document the real reason that Iraqi people don't have what >they need, because Saddam Hussein refuses to use oil >revenues to order goods for his people or to cooperate with >the relief agencies providing them. Instead, he is building >palaces, smuggling oil in order to buy the loyalty of his >small coterie of guards and his small and significant >security apparatus so that he can prevent them from putting >a bullet in his head. > >These photos and accompanying text are available in English >and Arabic on the Web at usia.gov, and if you click on Near >East, the photos and a new report on this subject will be >available. We are also providing these photos on beta >videotape. So let's go to the palace construction map. > >What you see here is that there are nine palaces. Okay, >let's move it over there. There are nine palaces listed by >their names, five of whom are centered around Baghdad. >That's a blow-up of those five palaces and their location. >You'll notice that they're concentrated around Baghdad and >in the center of the country where Saddam is in greater >control. There is only one palace in the north -- over >there -- and none in the south because these are both areas >where popular resistance to Saddam Hussein is strong and his >security cannot be assured. > >Let's go to the Tikrit residential site, the largest and >most elaborate of Saddam's presidential sites. Construction >has been ongoing since 1991. The site itself covers four >square miles. This whole area right there is four square >miles. And then what you'll see is that there are numerous >palaces - this is a palace, this here is a palace, and these >are the VIP residences for his supporters. > >There are also to the west of this site where you can't see, >there are rural and extensive farm retreats also for use by >regime favorites. > >Now let's turn to the Al Salam Palace in Baghdad, the >interior palace photo. This is located on the site of the >former Republican Guard's headquarters in Baghdad which was >destroyed during Operation Desert Storm. Since then, Saddam >has been rebuilding the palace,and it was completed in early >1999. What you'll see here are - this is the main palace >here, this is a large conference center, these are special >waterways that have been created, and this is the whole >palace grounds there in the red and white. > >What we know about the interior of these palaces from >firsthand reports, these particular palaces, who have >traveled to Iraq and visited the palaces, that in these type >of palaces they feature marble floors, crystal chandeliers >and, according to eyewitnesses, gold-plated faucets and >other excesses. > >Now let's go to the Abu Ghurayb Palace. Construction at the >Abu Ghurayb Palace is ongoing. As these photos show - this >is before it was completed - you'll see all these areas >weren't filled in with water. These are the after sites. >So all of this area and down here was not filled in with >water as they were constructed. There are elaborate >fountains, waterfalls. We find the scale of this one >particularly excessive. > >The point here is that Iraq is suffering from a drought that >the government claims has caused widespread crop damage. >Think about this. They complain about a drought, and yet >Saddam doesn't hesitate to use scarce water resources to >ensure that the lakes of his palaces are filled and his >grounds are well cared for. > >Now let's go to the oil question starting with the Basrah >refinery. The question always arises where does money come >from to provide for these palaces and to provide for other >efforts to build their efforts to circumvent the sanctions. >What you see here is this particular refinery was destroyed >in Operation Desert Fox, and what these squares show you in >the little stacks are not inflamed, meaning they're not >operational after Desert Fox. So these were destroyed >during Desert Fox. And you can see from where these little >arrows are that they are not operating refineries. > >Now if you look at them, you can see the flares in January >2000 to show that these are operating. The point here is >that these are refineries. Iraq is not allowed to sell >refined oil products pursuant to the sanctions; they are >only allowed to sell oil. And what you discover is by >rebuilding this site is the beginning of the pipeline -- >pipeline metaphorically -- for the illegal gas oil sales >that I will show you in the subsequent slides. > >What they have now been able to do at Basrah is produce some >140,000 barrels per day; that is, illegal refined products >for sale abroad. Oil exports are only authorized through >the ports at Mina al Baqr; that is, the Oil-for-Food Program >in the Persian Gulf and via the oil pipeline through Turkey. >The oil smuggled at the Basrah refinery is illegally sold >and smuggled out of Iraq through a loading facility called >Abu Flus. > >So what you see here is that this is the Basrah refinery. >The ships are loaded and they are loaded at the Abu Flus >loading facility, which is down here, and then they proceed >down in the - I'm sorry, I should be over there - down this >waterway out into the Persian Gulf. This is an example of >the ships that pick up the illegal gas oil. These are - >each of these are different ships that pick up the illegal >gas oil in that waterway. > >What then happens is that these ships then hug the coastline >and come out here and hug the coastline along the Iranian >border until they reach international waters here, which is >the point at which the Multinational Interdiction Force can >then intercept them. That is how we intercept ships, and I >think we have intercepted a huge number of vessels over the >years. Since 1990, the Multinational Interception Force has >queried more than 28,000 vessels, boarded more than 12,000 >and diverted 700 for violation of sanctions. > >So the point of this presentation is to show you the >extensive effort Saddam Hussein is making to illegally >export gas oil outside the UN Oil-for-Food Program; take >that money, meanwhile crying poverty and blaming the rest of >the world for the effect of sanctions on its citizens; and >building these elaborate palaces that I've just shown you. > >So we think this is conclusive proof that, to the extent >there are problems in Iraq on the question of food and >medicine and concern about the people of Iraq, those >problems are the fault of Saddam Hussein. In general terms, >the level of smuggling has grown in recent months. It's >reached the unprecedented level of 100,000 barrels per day, >which puts more than $25 million into the hands of Saddam's >regime so then he can spend the money on these palaces. >Overall, we estimate since these palace constructions began, >that over $2 billion of scarce resources has been diverted >to the purpose of building these palaces. > >I'd like to make one final point before taking any of your >questions. We've heard a lot in recent days about the >regime complaining about the effect of sanctions. In >addition to using the illegal export of oil to provide funds >for building things like these palaces, they also import a >number of luxury goods, and we find it particularly ironic >that while he is not spending the money that the >Oil-for-Food Program permits him to spend for food and >medicine, the regime led by Saddam Hussein spends money the >regime controls on alcohol and cigarettes. > >In the past ten weeks, ten 20-foot containers of whiskey >have arrived in the Port of Aqabah bound for Iraq. This is, >according to experts, below average for the period. Each >20-foot container contains an average of 900 cases of >whiskey, or a total of 10,800 bottles of whiskey. In >addition, a further 20-foot container of wine and beer went >to Baghdad during the same period. That's 350,000 cans of >beer and 7,200 bottles of wine. The regime in Baghdad is >consuming more than 10,000 bottles of whiskey, 350,000 cans >of beer and 700 bottles of wine per week - and alcohol is >illegal in Iraq. Food is exempt from sanctions, and these >goods are classified as foods, so Baghdad is importing all >of this legally. > >The important point here is that the regime is getting drunk >while it claims that its people don't have enough to eat. >So we are a little tired of hearing that sanctions are >responsible for the problems of the people of Iraq. It's >the government of Iraq that spends its scarce resources on >these palaces, on items like beer and wine and liquor that's >illegal in Iraq, and then complains about the rest of the >world causing problems for the people of Iraq. > >The last point, and I'll turn to your question. You know, >we're often asked whether the sanctions regime is weakening, >that people are losing their support for it. I would advise >you all to take a look at the communique issued by the Saudi >and Syrian Governments last week which squarely places the >blame for the suffering of the people of Iraq on Saddam >Hussein's refusal to comply with UN resolutions. That's the >Syria and Saudi Arabian Governments communique as a result >of their high-level meetings last week. I can get you a >copy of the public version of that at the end of the >briefing. > >With that opening comment, let me turn to any of your >questions. > >QUESTION: Apparently, a lot of these ships are making it >past the monitors. How come it can't be more efficient than >it is? > >MR. RUBIN: Well, on the monitoring, obviously it is a >difficult process. As I said, we've intercepted or diverted >700 vessels and boarded more than 12,000 and queried more >than 28,000. With this increased level of smuggling that >we're seeing, we're looking at ways to beef up the assets >for the Multinational Interdiction Force in the region. The >government of the United Arab Emirates is working closely >with the UN and the Multinational Interception Force to >crack down on this smuggling activity. The UAE has accepted >far more vessels diverted by the MIF than any other country >in the region. > >Obviously, Iran plays an important role in the smuggling of >Iraqi oil by allowing the smugglers to avoid the MIF by >transiting through its territorial waters, as I showed you >earlier. We have raised this issue in the Security Council >Sanctions Committee and we plan to do so again. The >government of Iran has tended to respond positively when >this issue has been raised, and we do expect the government >of Iran to uphold its obligations as a UN member state and >to crack down on this illegal activity. > >QUESTION: I thought the refining capacity was 140,000 >barrels a day and the illegal export was about 100,00 >barrels a day. Does that mean that the other 40,000 is for >home consumption? > >MR. RUBIN: Well, there may be - that is what - those are >the numbers that I have. I will try to, after the briefing, >get you an explanation for whether that 40,000 stays inside >Iraq for domestic purposes. > >QUESTION: Jamie, it's not just Iraq that's complaining >about the effect of the sanctions. A significant number of >members of the US Congress have complained also about the >effect of the sanctions. What will you tell those in >Congress who are sending you letters and urging you to move >to ease the sanctions after nine years? > >MR. RUBIN: Well, what we would tell them is that the >sanctions are there for a very real purpose: to deny Saddam >Hussein access to the funds he needs to build up his >military machine; and that this is a repeat offender who >started a war with Iran for eight years, who started the war >with Kuwait that led to this situation; and that we're >prepared to err on the side of caution when it comes to >ensuring that Saddam Hussein can never again get the >capability to threaten his neighbors and the world. > >When it comes to the suffering of the Iraqi people, we would >tell these members of Congress and whoever made this point >that they are misinformed. It is the United States and >Argentina and the United Kingdom that created the >Oil-for-Food Program that forced Saddam Hussein to spend >over $10 billion on food and medicine that have now been >approved for the export to Iraq. > >And we would further add to those members of Congress that >even if sanctions were lifted, only wishful thinking could >make someone think that Saddam Hussein would spend more of >his money on food and medicine for his lower classes when >that is only being done because we force him to. Instead, >if he has his way, he would be using the money to spend on >the kind of palaces and luxury living that I've been >describing. > >QUESTION: First of all, I was wondering why you didn't >condemn or in some way repudiate Iran for its - what you >called an important role in the smuggling of oil. You only >said that Iran should live up to the UN regulations, but you >didn't have any sort of negative language about them. >That's my first question. > >My second question is the US has used deadly force in its >enforcement of the no-fly zones, and I wonder why - if this >is a problem why you're not doing what you've done before >which is to bomb, for example, the Basrah refinery. > >MR. RUBIN: Well, you shouldn't confuse, on the second >point, apples and oranges. With deadly force on the no-fly >zone, we're talking about a situation where Iraq is >threatening our pilots, and we believe that the use of force >is necessary to deter and to eliminate those threats. > >Secondly, the purpose of the no-fly zone is to prevent Iraq >from using its air space to kill and maim its own citizens >in the north and the south, as it has done in the past. >That is a different - both of those issues are different >than illegal oil smuggling. > >With respect to your first question, we do expect Iran to >live up to its obligations as a member state. We have had >some success in bringing to the attention of the Iranians >through the Sanctions Committee this activity, and they have >responded, and that is the accurate statement of the facts. > >QUESTION: To follow up on the question of force or not and >why it's apples and oranges, why not use something less than >deadly force and blockade the Shatt Al Arab? > >MR. RUBIN: Well, we have made the decision to intercept >ships and deter additional smuggling through this >interception of ships. We're looking at providing >additional assets. I'm not going to get into a tactical >discussion with you about what our other options are. > >QUESTION: Jamie, a couple of things. There seems to be >something - one thing missing. What's the destination of >all this illegal oil? Who's buying this stuff? > >MR. RUBIN: What happens is it gets on the oil market, and >then it gets mixed in with oil products that go anywhere. > >QUESTION: Well, it's got to go somewhere first where >someone knows that it's illegal. > >MR. RUBIN: Well, absolutely. What we try to do - well, if >we knew every place that it was, we would certainly try to >take action. It's not always possible once a ship leaves >this area where you know it's an illegal export to track it >so thoroughly that you can be sure that you know once it's >mixed in with other products. So we've tried to deal with >it at the source through this Multinational Interdiction >Force, and obviously when we have evidence of where the >illegal oil ends up, we act on that as well. > >QUESTION: Where has it ended up in the past? > >MR. RUBIN: I'll try to get you additional information after >the briefing as to some of the locations. > >QUESTION: And the other thing is that there is a lot of >smuggling of alcohol in other places --into a lot of >countries where it's illegal, and I'm just wondering why -- >you know the destination of these thousands of cases of >whiskey is Saddam and his -- > >MR. RUBIN: That's the information I've been provided, yes. > >QUESTION: We don't have any - I mean, you don't have any >photos of impounding Chivas here. How do we know -- > >MR. RUBIN: Well, if I get one of those, I'll be sure to >provide that to you directly. > >QUESTION: Jamie, the bottom line in your message is that >the sanctions is not responsible for the suffering of the >people of Iraq; the government is. However, the people in >the area, fair-minded people, are wondering why official >after official of the United Nations are disagreeing with >you. The head of the - Hans Von Sponeck, Denis Halliday >before him, the head of World Food Program, they all >disagree with your assumption. > >MR. RUBIN: Well, as I indicated, the Saudi Government and >the Syrian Government last week put out a very clear >statement placing the blame squarely on Saddam Hussein's >shoulders for the harm done to his citizens. So it's not >just our view; it's the view of the Syrian and Saudi >Governments in that statement. I'd be happy to provide you >a copy of that. > >With respect to well-intentioned but misguided individuals >like Mr. Von Sponeck, I've heard his account of these >events. And he seems to think - in what I consider and what >this administration considers a matter of wishful thinking - >that if sanctions weren't on Iraq, somehow the people of >Iraq would be getting the benefits of sanctions relief when >all the indicators are the opposite. > >Let me give you a very clear example. In northern Iraq, the >UNICEF did a study and they looked at infant mortality in >northern Iraq during the period of the Oil-for-Food Program >where Saddam Hussein has no control over the distribution of >food and medicine. And what they discovered is the infant >mortality rate is lower in northern Iraq during the >sanctions under the Oil-for-Food Program than it was prior >to sanctions. > >Think about that. That means that before sanctions were >imposed, there were more people dying in northern Iraq, >infants, than there are now under the Oil-for-Food Program. >That's an indicator of what a post-sanctions world might be >like under Saddam Hussein where no effort is made to provide >food, medicine and necessary supplies to prevent problems >like infant mortality. > >So as well-intentioned as Mr. Von Sponeck is, we have >consciences too. He's not the only one with a conscience. >That's why we created the Oil-for-Food Program. That's why >we've allowed $10 billion worth of food and medicine to go >to the people of Iraq. And if we hadn't done so, it never >would have gotten there. So we find it unjustified for >people like Mr. Von Sponeck to point the finger at us rather >than pointing the finger at Saddam Hussein's regime which >hasn't implemented the Oil-for-Food Program. > >The problems Mr. Von Sponeck identifies in central and >southern Iraq, many of them could be resolved if Saddam >Hussein's regime would take the medicine and food and other >supplies out of the pipeline - out of the warehouses and >distribute them, if he would spend the money that he's >allowed to spend on food and medicine. > >The UN has to force him to buy food and medicine for his >people because he doesn't care about them. That should give >you an indicator of what the world would look like if >sanctions were lifted. So we think he's well-intentioned, >he has a conscience. So do we. We have a different >judgment as to what would happen in a post-sanctions world. > >QUESTION: Jamie, some of those on Capitol Hill are urging >the administration to delink sanctions and basically get rid >of the economic sanctions and keep military sanctions in >place. Is that something that seems reasonable? > >MR. RUBIN: No. We think that would be ill-advised in the >extreme. The problem here is making sure that Saddam >Hussein's access to hard currency is as limited as possible. >We have denied him something like $100 billion in hard >currency. That has prevented him over the period of >sanctions from spending that hard currency on weaponry, on >illegal goods that he could try to buy even if there were >sanctions around. Hard currency to Saddam is a prescription >for disaster, so we try to limit the amount of hard currency >through the oil embargo and through other steps and try to >keep it down to these small amounts of money that we track >as best as we can. > >And so we think it would be ill-advised in the extreme to >allow a dictator like him to get access to billions of >dollars of hard currency through some suspension of the >economic embargo unless and until he has shown a willingness >to comply with UN Security Council resolutions. > >QUESTION: What makes you think he isn't using some of that >money that he gets from selling oil illegally to buy the >very things that you're -- > >MR. RUBIN: We have no doubt that he's trying to do that. >What we're trying to do through sanctions is limit the >amount of money he could use, because the more you have the >more you're able to bribe people, do things illegally, get >dual use equipment. So what the sanctions - the primary tool >they serve is to limit his access to hard currency so we >limit his access to military hardware and military goods so >that he can never again be the threat that he was to the >rest of the world. > >QUESTION: First of all, is all of the money being spent? > >MR. RUBIN: No. We think that there are significant gaps in >what he is prepared to order, and I can go through a little >bit with you after the briefing. But certainly we believe >that UN reporting has shown that he is under-utilizing the >funds. They've under-funded the food sector by more than >$200 million. It is allocated to the health sector, >two-thirds less than what the Secretary General said was >minimally acceptable. And it continues to ignore calls - >that's the regime - by the UN to order critical medicines to >treat child leukemia. > >So those are some of the examples of ways in which he has >not ordered what he could using the funds available. We're >talking about a lot of money here. Over the coming year, >there may be as much as $20 billion in oil revenue that >could then be used for significant portions for food and >medicine, but if he doesn't use it and he won't spend it, >that's where Mr. Von Sponeck should have focused his energy >on the regime. Why isn't it using these enormous amounts of >money to ease the concerns that he has? > >QUESTION: Von Sponeck and others have said that the >requisition and the licensing procedure is unnecessarily >restrictive and cumbersome. Have you thought about >improving that system? > >MR. RUBIN: Well, we do not believe contract holds are the >problem. In December 1999, the UN's Office of the Iraq >Program issued a report on the impact of holds on the >program. The report concludes that contract holds have had >a minimal impact. This is the UN's own report. Mr. Von >Sponeck's own organization has said that holds have had a >minimal impact on most sectors. It also says that poor >ordering by Iraq and Iraqi delays in distribution are >hampering the program's effectiveness. > >About 90 percent of the contracts submitted to the UN are >approved. There are no contract holds on food. With minor >exceptions, there are no contract holds on medicines. The >most frequent reason for contract holds is the quality of >information that accompanies the contract. We currently >have 300 contracts on hold because the technical information >or the end use information in the contract was insufficient >to make a judgment. > >We want to be cautious. We do not want to let dual use >equipment sneak through this process. Let me give you an >example. Pesticides. Pesticides can be used for legitimate >purposes and illegitimate purposes. And unless we know the >information and understand who the end user is and whether >the supplier is someone who has violated sanctions in the >past, we want to be careful. But none of that interferes >with the bulk of the job of the Oil-for-Food Program, and >Saddam Hussein's refusal to order supplies, food and >medicine, far exceeds the very limited effect of these >holds. > >They constantly want to blame the holds, and we are troubled >when people fall into the trap of accepting that as the >reason when the reality is these tens of billions of dollars >that are available they don't want to spend on food and >medicine, and they have to be forced to. So our concern is >that we will obviously look to ensure that the contract >review process is speeded up, that there are pre-approved >goods that don't require committee approval pursuant to the >Resolution 1284. > >But if you look at the facts, a really good, hard look at >the numbers, the delays in distribution, regularly we have >situations where there is huge amounts of food and medicine >sitting in warehouses that they don't want to distribute. >And they only distribute them when we make so much noise >publicly that people running the program, like Mr. Von >Sponeck, finally feel compelled to approach the Iraqi >Government and ask them what happened to the food and >medicine that's in this warehouse. And then suddenly, >magically, there is an effort to distribute it. > >So the concern on holds is greatly exaggerated. It's a very >small percentage that are put on hold, but we obviously want >to improve the process. > >QUESTION: On the pesticides, the illegitimate use would be >possibly chemical weapons? > >MR. RUBIN: Correct, yes. > >QUESTION: Do you think the diesel fuel trade with Turkey >also contributes to Saddam's wealth and this decadence? > >MR. RUBIN: The Turkish Government estimates that Turkey has >suffered losses of tens of billions of dollars as a result >of enforcing Iraqi sanctions. Because of these losses, >Turkey asked the Sanctions Committee in 1996 to legalize its >diesel and gas oil trade with Iraq. The action was deferred >on this request. > >We have raised this issue with Turkey and are working to >find a way to strengthen sanctions enforcement without >causing further hardship on southeastern Turkey. But we >certainly believe that Turkey, like all countries, should >understand that these sanctions are important to the >security of the world because they deny hard currency to the >regime so that it can never again pose the same threat as it >has to its neighbors. > >QUESTION: Jamie, to go back to the question of the imports, >Mr. Eckhart, Kofi Annan's spokesman himself, said after he >resigned - Mr. Von Sponeck resigned -- that Mr. Annan shared >the views of Mr. Von Sponeck on how to improve the regime in >terms of getting (inaudible) with Iraqis. Are you saying >that he's just being diplomatic? Is he -- > >MR. RUBIN: Well, you know, if you look carefully - and I'll >be happy to get you the material, it's quite voluminous - >there are many reports by the UN. Most of the figures that >I'm giving you about the ways in which Saddam Hussein has >refused to sell - buy the food that he's able to buy, to >distribute the food that he has purchased or to buy the >medicine or distribute the medicine that he's allowed to do, >most of this data comes from the UN. And there are many >reports the UN has put out that include the demonstration >that the bulk of the problem is their refusal to order - >distribute pursuant to the UN's recommendation we agree >with. > >When it comes to the contract holds, I'm - we're being quite >candid, we tend to err on the side of caution when it's a >dual-use issue, and we do that for very good reasons. And >what I'm suggesting is that the UN itself acknowledges that >that's a very, very tiny percentage and bears almost no >effect on the problem. Minimal is the word they themselves >have used. > >QUESTION: Well, Jamie, getting back to the smuggling coming >through Aqabah you cited cases of alcohol which is illegal >in Iraq. Why is that allowed to be trans-shipped from >Aqabah out through -- > >MR. RUBIN: Well, it's under the food and -- > >QUESTION: Well, it's under food, but you apparently know >what's in it. And it would seem to me -- > >MR. RUBIN: They're classified as foods, these goods. I'm >just pointing out the hypocrisy of the regime, that they >spend their money on things like whiskey and then come to >people like Mr. Von Sponeck and others and they try to make >the case that they don't have the money to feed their >people. > >QUESTION: Just about the palaces that you showed before, >you showed a before and after. What were the time periods >-- > >MR. RUBIN: There were some dates on those, and we'll be >able to give you that. They're along the top. > >QUESTION: And you also mentioned that you all estimate >about $2 billion -- > >MR. RUBIN: Over $2 billion. > >QUESTION: Over $2 billion was diverted for the purpose of >building those palaces. > >MR. RUBIN: Yes. > >QUESTION: Again, what -- > >MR. RUBIN: That's an estimate. > >QUESTION: But over what period of time? > >MR. RUBIN: Say over the last decade roughly, okay? > >QUESTION: Children in Iraq are suffering from diseases >because of impurity of water, and Iraq has claimed they need >chlorine to purify the water which is dual function - one of >their dual - how do you deal with issues like pesticides >which they need to grow their food and their plants, >chlorine to purify the water? How do you deal with such >issues? > >MR. RUBIN: Well, obviously, there are complexities, but >what we deal with them in -- is because, based on caring >about what happens to the Iraqi people, unlike the regime, >which I think we've demonstrated conclusively doesn't care >and uses these arguments to try to divert attention from >what their real intent is. There are very technical issues. >I can try after the briefing to get you some information >about various contracts and what the concerns were. But by >and large, once the legitimacy of the product is certified >and once the legitimacy of the end user is certified, we >allow these things to go through. We're just not going to >do it willy nilly. And Iraq tends to use any contract hold >as an attempt to divert all of your all's attention from the >fact that their not spending the money that is in the >program. > >QUESTION: Nobody will argue about the focus of the system, >and you describe those who believe lifting the sanction may >end the suffering of the people, and you describe them as >wishful thinking. > >MR. RUBIN: Right. > >QUESTION: Do you still believe that sanctions or lifting >the sanctions or staying with the sanctions may put an end >to the system or to the regime, or this too is wishful >thinking? > >MR. RUBIN: No, that's not what we say sanctions are for. >The sanctions are for containment. We believe that to >protect the security of the region where he has gone to war >against Iran, gone to war against Kuwait, threatened the >whole Gulf with war and devastation and destruction - and >those of you who remember the Gulf War know the threat that >he poses where he's used weapons of mass destruction against >his own people - those are the dangers. We are containing >that danger through sanctions by denying him the hard >currency to rebuild the military machine that poses those >dangers. > >In the meanwhile, we are supporting a number of opposition >groups who understand that the only long-term solution to >the danger of Saddam Hussein's regime to the region and to >the world is to have that regime changed. But the sanctions >we've never said are going to change the regime. We think >they contain the danger he poses to the extent they put >pressure on him and cause other Iraqis to understand the >value of another way of running their country. Fine. But >the purpose of them is to contain the danger posed by hard >currency reserves. > >QUESTION: Jamie, besides buying whiskey and building >palaces, do you all have any idea where this money is going? > >MR. RUBIN: Well, that's obviously two important outputs. >There are other outputs. We certainly think they tried to >rebuild their hardware, cannibalized their system, used some >of their hard currency to try to improve their military >machine. They've been testing and seeking to deploy very >short-range missiles that are permitted below, I think, 150 >kilometers. That cost a lot of money. > >So they're spending their money on the things that have >nothing to do with the concerns about water and water >purification and infant mortality. They are focusing their >money on missiles, palaces and other outputs. > >QUESTION: You mentioned nine palaces. > >MR. RUBIN: Yes. > >QUESTION: Are these new palaces, or is that the sum total >since he started his palace construction program? > >MR. RUBIN: I think there are others. It depends on where - >these are the large style. There are smaller ones, and I >can get you some numbers of - there's dozens of others that >are in the small palace category. These are in the large >palace category that are particularly egregious examples of >excess and waste. > >QUESTION: So you don't dispute the statistics that say that >people, particularly children, are suffering from >malnutrition and dying in Iraq? You just dispute who's to >blame for it? > >MR. RUBIN: I think what I indicated from the UNICEF report >is that we do care about the children of Iraq, that's why we >created the Oil-for-Food Program, as a result of which the >children in northern Iraq, where the UN runs the program and >Iraq doesn't, have a lower infant mortality rate than the >children in that part of the region did before the Gulf War >when there were no sanctions. > >Is there suffering in Iraq? Of course there's suffering in >Iraq. Mostly the suffering is a result of the fact that >this mad dictator has launched his country into 10 years of >war against Iran and 10 years of war against the rest of the >world. After 20 years, it's not a surprise that their >economy is in shambles. What we're saying is that we care >about it and we're trying to do something about it, and that >people should not be misled from the propaganda that comes >from Baghdad. > >QUESTION: On Chechnya, Mr. Rubin -- > >MR. RUBIN: Are we done with Iraq? Iraq, yes. > >QUESTION: After all these violations and these numbers, do >you have any new - do you think you are going to revise or >review? > >MR. RUBIN: Sorry? > >QUESTION: After all these violations by the system - Iraqi >system -- and complaints all over the world, I mean are you >inclined, are you thinking about revising or reviewing >sanction policy? > >MR. RUBIN: No. On the contrary -- > >QUESTION: No modification or -- > >MR. RUBIN: No, no. We were going to implement Resolution >1284 in the way that I suggested in trying to make sure that >certain products are notified and approved in advance, that >the control hold process is limited. That's not changing >the sanctions policy. The sanctions are those measures that >deny hard currency to the regime and prevent the import of >weapons of mass destruction, military hardware and other >consumer goods that could be used for that purpose. There >is no consideration whatsoever being given to that, >headlines in major newspapers notwithstanding. > >QUESTION: How long is the United States going to wait? > >MR. RUBIN: Well, we are not in the waiting business; we are >in the protecting business. We are protecting our national >interests by containing the danger he poses. And so long as >there is a danger from Iraq to our national interests, we're >going to continue to act to defend those interests. > >Are we done? Good. Before we move to your question, I have >one statement to read on Yugoslavia. The United States is >concerned by the Yugoslav army setting up a checkpoint last >weekend and again today near the border crossing on >Montenegro's border with Albania. We are watching this >situation closely and remain in close contact with the >Montenegrin authorities. > >The governments of Montenegro and Albania opened on February >24th the Bozaj/Hani i Hotit border crossing which had been >closed since 1997 in order to foster economic development >and promote stability in the region. We welcome efforts by >both governments to build confidence and cooperation in a >region that has been crippled by mistrust and confrontation >for much of the last decade. > >We commend the Montenegrin officials for their show of >restraint and their efforts to prevent this situation from >escalating, and we call on Belgrade to dismantle the >Yugoslav army checkpoint and to join the Montenegrin and >Albanian governments in efforts to build peace and >prosperity in southeast Europe. > >Finally, we call on Serbia and Montenegro to renew efforts >to resolve peacefully their disagreements about respect for >the Republic of Montenegro's rights under the federal >constitution. > >QUESTION: On that same area there, do you have anything on >this UN official being shot on the Serb-Kosovo border this >morning? > >MR. RUBIN: I do not have that. I will check for you. > >QUESTION: Do you have any announcement to make -- > >MR. RUBIN: No, we don't. When I do I will, but I don't. > >QUESTION: On Chechnya, Russian foreign correspondent >Vladimir Yatsina was killed several days ago by Chechen >rebels. He was kidnapped, tortured, and then he was killed. >There is a lot of talking about freedom of press in Russia, >mistreatment with Russian journalists, not only for Russian >- mistreatment with journalists, in particular with Mr. >Babitskiy, and brutality of Russian forces also. > >How would you characterize this situation in this case? My >understanding is there was not any condemnation, any >reaction on this murder. > >MR. RUBIN: We're not aware - we're aware of reports. We >have no confirmation of this information. We're looking for >that. If it proved to be true, we'd obviously deplore that >in the strongest possible terms. > >In regard to your question, let me say that we were very >pleased to learn that Radio Liberty journalist Andrei >Babitskiy was released from detention today in Moscow. We >were extremely troubled by the circumstances by which a >journalist would be traded as a hostage like a criminal in >that circumstance, and that was a rather chilling >demonstration of one of the problems in that coverage of >that war. > >We understand Mr. Babitskiy has agreed to remain in Moscow >while an investigation is completed into charges that he was >carrying falsified documents. We continue to urge the >government of Russia to conduct a full investigation as well >into the alleged exchange of a civilian journalist to >Chechen separatists for Russian soldiers held prisoner. We >support freedom of the press in Russia for all journalists, >and urge the government of Russia to ensure that journalists >are able to do their work without unnecessary constraints. > >If indeed Chechen rebels were responsible for murdering a >journalist, that would be profoundly troubling indeed. We're >checking into reports that we've heard to that effect. > >QUESTION: You are aware but you have no confirmation on >this? > >MR. RUBIN: We don't have confirmation of the event, no. > >QUESTION: Have you taken up with the Russian officials all >these conflicting and sometimes confusing stories that they >kept putting onto you and others? > >MR. RUBIN: We believe there should - as I said, yes, we >have raised this with them at many, many, many occasions. >What we're urging the Russians to do, as I said, is to >conduct a full investigation into the exchange of Mr. >Babitskiy and what happened and what didn't happen so that >we can get to the bottom of that. > >QUESTION: Could you give us the latest about US-North Korea >talks? You said yesterday that the announcement would be >made very shortly. How shortly is shortly? > >MR. RUBIN: Well, I said that before I left this job I was >hoping to define shortly for you. Obviously, shortly does >not always mean within 24 hours. > >QUESTION: Or within 10 minutes since the question was first >asked. > >QUESTION: I would have been very angry if you had answered >his first. > >QUESTION: Can you go to the Middle East for a second? > >MR. RUBIN: Sure. > >QUESTION: There's a whole new spate of reports about >Syria-Israeli talks being resumed in March and also that the >ILMG that you guys and the French have managed to get a >meeting of this together. Any -- > >MR. RUBIN: Yes. On the Lebanon question, the co-chairmen >have been in Syria, are going to Lebanon and then will be in >Israel in capitals meeting to see that when a meeting of the >ILMG is held that it can be as effective and successful as >possible. So the co-chairmen have been in these capitals >starting in Syria, then Lebanon, then Israel on Sunday, I >believe, at which time we hope to be in a better position to >have such a meeting. Their job is to work in capitals >pending such a meeting happening. I'm not aware of any >imminent announcement of a meeting. > >On the first question, I see these reports from time to >time, and I think I'm as well briefed as one can be on the >Israel-Syria track. Let me say to you there is no truth to >these rumors, reports, suggestions that there is an imminent >announcement of a breakthrough on the Syria track. I wish >that were true. It's not true. What is true is that we are >working with the Syrians and the Israelis on a number of >levels to try to make that possible, but there is no >imminent announcement that I'm aware of. > >I think that hit both your questions hopefully out of the >park. > >QUESTION: And the Palestinian track? > >MR. RUBIN: Well, Ambassador Ross has just returned today. >He'll be briefing Secretary Albright, and maybe after that >we'll have more to say. > >QUESTION: Can I switch the subject again? On Austria, has >there been a review on the diplomatic steps that the US has >taken in the wake of Mr. Haider's announcement to step down >as leader of the Freedom Party? > >MR. RUBIN: If Mr. Haider's resignation leaves the Freedom >Party better able to work with Chancellor Schuessel in >meeting the standards the Austrian Government set for itself >in the preamble to the coalition agreement, we will see this >as a positive step. We remain deeply concerned about the >Freedom Party's entry into the Austrian Government and have >told the Chancellor that we will hold the new government to >the spirit and letter of the preamble which both parties >signed and which commits them to democracy, pluralism and >tolerance. We are following the actions of the new >government very closely, and we will react swiftly and >firmly to any statements or actions suggesting sympathy with >Nazi-era policies or that express racism, xenophobia or >anti-Semitism. > >The long and the short of it is we continue to monitor this. > He's still a member of the party. The Freedom Party is >still part of the coalition. We're going to continue to do >what we have been doing which is to be pleased with the >preamble of the coalition agreement but to be monitoring to >ensure that that preamble is indeed the guiding force for >the government. > >QUESTION: The Indian Government announced -- > >MR. RUBIN: On this, yes? > >QUESTION: I just want to know if you have a readout of >Ambassador Hall's meeting with the Secretary yesterday and >what the Ambassador thinks. Without mentioning Haider at >all, just what she thinks of what's going on. > >MR. RUBIN: Well, there was a number of meetings with >Secretary Albright and other administration officials. >Ambassador Hall is going to return to Washington in a few >weeks for further consultations. We have limited our >contacts with the new government, and we're constantly >reviewing the appropriate measures. We want to see how the >new government performs before considering other actions. > >With respect to her views, I think I've reflected the US >views on this subject, and I don't intend to be more >personal in saying what an Ambassador's views are as opposed >to the US Government's views. I think Ambassador Hall is >comfortable with what I just said. > >QUESTION: Have you told Austria exactly what it needs to do >to emerge from this cloud? > >MR. RUBIN: Yes. > >QUESTION: Like there's benchmarks? > >MR. RUBIN: We've told them that we need to monitor closely >their implementation of the preamble which we were >supportive of. > >QUESTION: There seems to be a note of skepticism. Your >statement begins with the word "if." Do you think that >Haider's resignation was perhaps a deceptive maneuver >designed to abort punitive actions by you and the European >Union? > >MR. RUBIN: Well, I don't know what the motivation was. I'd >prefer not to speculate. What I can tell you is what our >policy is, is to remain concerned about the presence of the >Freedom Party in the Austrian coalition and to judge them by >their actions and not the presence or absence of >personalities, although that obviously, if his absence means >they're more likely to go along with the kind of policies >that we have advocated, that would be great. > >QUESTION: Are you at all concerned by the Indian >Government's announcement that it's going to sharply >increase defense spending in the new budget? > >MR. RUBIN: On that subject, we have seen press reports the >Indian Government has submitted for parliament's approval a >substantial increase in military expenditures. They assert >that this is a result of heavy fighting in the Kargil sector >last year. We don't have any details at this point, and we >want to get a full readout on the budget proposals and the >Indian Government's justification before reacting. > >QUESTION: Did the government decide whether the President >will be going to Pakistan? > >MR. RUBIN: The President's schedule is normally not >announced here from the State Department. > >QUESTION: Apparently, there's been a flurry of activity >involving US diplomats in Khartoum of all places preparing >for a weekend visit by Mr. Johnston. I'm wondering if you >have anything on that? > >MR. RUBIN: Yes. On Sudan, what I can say about that is >that the visit of Special Envoy Harry Johnston along with >Special Envoy Tom Vraalsen met with the leadership last week >in Nairobi to offer direct US and other donor assistance. >With respect to visits to Khartoum, I'll have to see whether >there's anything more I could say. I know he was in Nairobi >meeting with Garang but I don't know what other meetings, >and I'll try to get that for you after the briefing. > >QUESTION: Mr. Rubin, if I'm not mistaken, Under Secretary >of State Mr. Holum is in Geneva now for talks on arms >control issue as a Russian counterpart. Could you update us >on this issue or the development? > >MR. RUBIN: Yes. I know he is - I don't know whether the >meeting started yet, but I know he's expected to travel for >that purpose, and we will work in those meetings to try to >move towards a combined agreement on START III and the ABM >Treaty modifications we've proposed to try to get into >greater detail so that Russia and the Russian side can >understand that these modifications can take place without >undermining the fundamental principles of the ABM Treaty and >help both we and they deal with this coming threat that we >see in the future. > >We certainly hope that START II is indeed ratified by the >Russian Duma as Mr. Putin has indicated he would like to see >- Acting President Putin see -- happen. And that will make >it easier to turn discussions on START III into negotiations >on START III which would then accelerate the prospects for >agreement. > >QUESTION: Do you have anything to say on the release from >prison of Kurdish mayors in Turkey? > >MR. RUBIN: On this subject let me say that the release was >a positive step. The release of the three mayors arrested >last week was a positive step. We learned yesterday the >order to remove the three from office has also been >rescinded. It is important that the mayors be accorded full >due process and treated in a manner conforming to >international human rights standards, and we're going to >continue to follow the case - monitor the case closely. > >QUESTION: Do you have anything else today on aid to >Mozambique? > >MR. RUBIN: No. I will try to check for you, but I don't >think I have anything. I do? I thought that I used this >yesterday. > >All right. The US has provided approximately $1.7 million >in response to the flooding in Mozambique. Additionally, >USAID is sending a seven-member disaster assistance response >team to Mozambique which will arrive later this week. This >will supplement a 14-member team which is already on the >ground. > >USAID has also activated its public donations hotline, >1-800-USAID-RELIEF, 1-800-872-4373. For people interested >in assisting the people of Mozambique can call this hotline >from 9:00 to 5:00 eastern standard time to receive a list of >non-governmental organizations who are assisting in >Mozambique. An Air Force C-17 loaded with humanitarian >supplies is expected to arrive in Maputo tomorrow. Supplies >include 6,000 5-gallon water containers, 6,000 wool >blankets, and 200 rolls of plastic sheeting. We're also >transporting 30,000 pounds of high energy biscuits on behalf >of the United States. > >QUESTION: It won't surprise you to learn that the measures >that you've just detailed are being criticized in the >African press already as paltry. There's some mocking that >President Clinton and Secretary Albright recently said that >Africa matters, yet it comes up with the measures that >you've just outlined. Could you respond to that, please? > >MR. RUBIN: Yes. We always wish we could do more, and we're >doing a substantial amount to try to ease humanitarian >relief, ease humanitarian crisis there. This is a flood >that has caused damage that we're responding to, and we >certainly hope that our friends and allies in Africa don't >have the views that you attributed to some critics. > >QUESTION: Do you have anything on Nigeria's suspension of >Sharia law in three northern states? I understand there's >been -- > >MR. RUBIN: I do. I'm aware that there was serious violence >that broke out yesterday in Aba, in southeastern Nigeria. >The return from Kaduna of the body of a local soccer star >sparked the violence. The soccer star was reportedly killed >during last week's violence in Kaduna. We understand that >police have set up roadblocks around Aba. Our embassy >reported that at least 30 people have been killed. > >We would like to take this opportunity to again call on all >Nigerians to respect each other and find peaceful ways to >resolve their differences. We support all Nigerians of good >will who are working together to resolve disputes, and we >condemn any exploitation of differences to pursue >short-sighted objectives that harm Nigerians and their >shared goals of democracy and prosperity. > >QUESTION: Is the US going to be able to provide choppers to >help in Mozambique? > >MR. RUBIN: I will check that for you. > >QUESTION: Do you have anything to say about these American >youths who have been arrested in Germany, possibly facing >murder charges? > >MR. RUBIN: Yes, I'm aware of this incident. The State >Department wishes to join Secretary Cohen in expressing >shock and sadness at the tragic incident that occurred >Sunday in Darmstadt resulting in the death of three German >citizens and injury of four more. Our thoughts and prayers >are with the families of the victims who have experienced >this terrible and senseless loss. The suspects, who are >military dependents, were arrested Monday evening near >Darmstadt, which is south of Frankfurt. We understand they >were arraigned earlier today in German court, and >prosecutors asked a magistrate for a warrant charging the >three suspects with murder and attempted murder. We will be >cooperating fully with German officials as this case >unfolds. > >QUESTION: Do you know if there's any kind of a treaty the >US has with Germany that might -- > >MR. RUBIN: It is my understanding that the German >authorities have jurisdiction in this case, but the >Department of Defense would have to be able to clarify the >rules more and the legalities more specifically. Thank you. > >(The briefing concluded at 1:35 p.m.) ______________________________________________________ Get Your Private, Free Email at http://www.hotmail.com -- ----------------------------------------------------------------------- This is a discussion list run by the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq For removal from list, email email@example.com Full archive and list instructions are available from the CASI website: http://welcome.to/casi