James P. Rubin, Assistant Secretary, Briefing at Chesapeake College, Briefing on Middle East Peace Talks and Kosovo, Wye Mills, Maryland, October 16, 1998

Briefing on Middle East Peace Talks and Kosovo

MR. RUBIN:  (In progress)--to create that intimate atmosphere we're
looking for here.

Let me start with a few comments on the activities today, and then move
to the subject of Kosovo for those of you who are interested in that.

With respect to today, Prime Minister Netanyahu and Chairman Arafat met
today and Secretary Albright joined them for lunch at River House--the
area where we're conducting this exercise.  What we expect to happen
during the rest of the day is that the interim committee and other
committees are going to meet during the course of the day, and have been
meeting over many hours, and will report to the three at about 4:00 p.m.
That will include the subjects of the Gaza airport, safe passage, other
economic issues and the question of security.

So these committees will be meeting, working together with and without
American participation, and then will report on how much progress, if
any, they have made to the three leaders at about 4:00 p.m.--at which
point Secretary Albright, I expect, is going to be reporting to the
President during the course of the day; probably at the end of that
report from the committee heads on those four issues.

If you want me to take some questions on that, I can.   I can also
report to you on some information on Kosovo.

Q  Will you come back this evening?

MR. RUBIN:  I haven't made that decision finally yet.  What I'd like to
be able to do is give you a heads-up in the mid-afternoon of whether
there's going to be another briefing in the early evening/late afternoon
time period.

Q  (Inaudible)--let me ask you about tomorrow.  Let me ask you about

MR. RUBIN:  Well, I'm trying to give you the schedule as it is
unfolding.  As far as tomorrow is concerned, you know the constraints
the Israeli delegation is under.  I would expect people to talk to each
other; but as far as formal work or note-taking or formal travel, I
wouldn't expect that.   But we'll have to see.  There is a dinner
planned for tonight with the Palestinian and American delegations that
Secretary Albright will host.  The Israelis, for their religious
reasons, will not be at that dinner.

Q  Did the President give the parties an ultimatum and say, essentially,
either come up with complete agreement--(inaudible)--by Tuesday or

MR. RUBIN:  I received pretty reasonable read-outs of the various
meetings, including the two hours or so the President and Secretary
Albright spent with Chairman Arafat and Prime Minister Netanyahu at
dinner last night, and I never heard anyone suggesting such a thing.

What we have said--and I will be happy to repeat--is that our goal is to
complete the work, if possible, by Sunday.  We don't want to speculate
what would happen after Sunday.

Q  A couple of weeks ago, the fact that Prime Minister Netanyahu and
Chairman Arafat would share a meal together was in and of itself
newsworthy; and you just sort of rattled that off at the beginning of
your statement there.  Is it becoming--are they becoming more relaxed
around one another?  Is there a rapport or a thaw that's developing?

MR. RUBIN:  Well, as we indicated yesterday, we did try to create a
setting here at Wye to maximize the chance for producing a constructive
and pragmatic atmosphere.  That means informal settings; it means the
possibility of taking walks. I believe the lunch is going to be
overlooking the river, people dressed rather informally.  So we are
also, as I indicated yesterday, the term of art, I guess, in this
business is cross-pollination.  I'm not sure what that means, but
certainly a lot of contact between the delegations over meals and
informally in this informal setting.

So it does appear that there is a better and more constructive
atmosphere and more pragmatic atmosphere to work on these problems than
there had been in the past.  Let's remember, prior to Secretary
Albright's meeting with the two leaders in New York and the President's
subsequent meeting the next day, there hadn't been a meeting between the
two leaders in 11 or so months.  And now we've not only increased the
frequency, but turned it into something that's more normal; something
that one hopes will make each leader understand the needs, constraints
and concerns of the other so that practical solutions can be found to
very real problems.

Q  But specifically between the two men, because the relationship
between them and the understanding is so important, have you seen
anything or has the Secretary seen anything to lead you to believe that
they're coming closer together in terms of their mindset?

MR. RUBIN:  I don't know about mindset, but I can tell you that the
informality of it all has increased and it isn't as stiff as it used to

Q  What are the other economic issues being dealt with by the interim
committee, and is there also a working group on release of Palestinian


Q  Release of Palestinian prisoners.

MR. RUBIN:  No, the four working groups that I'm aware of are the ones I
specified.  As far as other economic issues are concerned, I think
clearly the Palestinian Authority and the people living there have
suffered economically in recent years, and they have various ideas and
others have various ideas of how to improve the prospects for them
economically; and that is related to actions and policies of Israel.  So
we thought it would be a good idea to have people talking.

Q  Since you're a little constrained on substance --

MR. RUBIN:   More than a little.

Q  Can you give us more about color?  When you talk about dressed
informally, is Bibi in some kind of Metallica tee-shirt?  I mean, what
are they doing?

MR. RUBIN:   That's a very good question for which I am not prepared
because I don't know.  I wasn't there, but I can see if I can find out
how "informal" would be manifested in the clothing of the leaders.

Q  You mentioned Gaza airport, you mentioned the four committees.
Whatever happened to safe passage?  Whatever happened to the Gaza
Seaport?  What happened to the status of prisoners?

MR. RUBIN:   Yes.  I did mention the safe passage as one of the
committees that is meeting--it's airport, safe passage--

Q:  (Inaudible.)

MR. RUBIN:   The seaport is an issue that they have talked about that is
something that I think most people feel will take some time to work out
for a variety of technical reasons that I don't know.  With respect to
the prisoners, that is a confidence-building measure that obviously is
of concern to the Palestinians.

What I'm telling you is not the sum total of discussions that are going
on at Wye.  What I'm telling you is the committees that have been
organized to report back to the Secretary, to Chairman Arafat and to
Prime Minister Netanyahu at 4:00 p.m. today.  That doesn't mean that
before we leave there won't be other committees, but these are the ones
that have been specified.

Q  And third FRD?

MR. RUBIN:   And third FRD--think we've spoken to that issue, which is
obviously an issue of concern.  I think you are familiar with our
position that we expounded earlier in the week, and I don't really see
the need to expand on it.

Q  Do you have any comment today on  (inaudible)

MR. RUBIN:   I've been trying to get different information about that,
and I don't really have any new information.  Our standing position on
issues like that is that we don't want to see actions taken that create
an unhelpful atmosphere.  But the information about the specific
question you asked, I posed and people didn't have any specific
information on that.

There is the question of the reports of occupying a vacant house in a
neighborhood that have come out.  We have seen press reports of that.
As you know, we view such acts as provocations which do not serve the
cause of peace, especially at this sensitive time.  So we're calling for
restraint on all sides.

Q  While these groups are dealing with these four issues, what are the
leaders doing?  Are they dealing with the issues; are they dealing with
each other; or are they relaxing and waiting for the reports?

MR. RUBIN:  This morning I know Secretary Albright took a walk by
herself.  I wouldn't be surprised if others did what they do in the

As far as what they're doing substantively, they've been on the phone.
I know Secretary Albright was on the phone with Prime Minister
Netanyahu, Chairman Arafat and, I believe King Hussein also this
morning.  Then they prepared for and made their plan to get together at
11:00.--the two leaders--and then at 12:00 for lunch among the three.

Q:  So they are there, at this Wye plantation, talking to each other on
the phone?

MR. RUBIN:  Well, they--I was trying to--you asked a specific question
about what they were doing this morning.  If you want to draw some
elaborate conclusion from it, I don't think that would be a very good

Last night they had a dinner, the four of them; today they're going to
be having a lunch overlooking the river.  There is a certain informality
to the setting and to the way people are approaching the meetings.  In
order to plan meetings and to plan lunches, people sometimes call each
other on the phone to do that.  There's no other way, really, to do
that.  So I don't think you should be surprised that they called each
other on the phone to make a lunch date.

Q  (Inaudible.)

MR. RUBIN:  As I indicated, she intends to, and I expect her to report
to the President.  He's on the road today.  He's made very clear--and I
think Joe made clear on his behalf--his willingness to be available for
the weekend.  I don't think we made a final plan as to when the
President comes back.

Q  (Inaudible.)

MR. RUBIN:  I know there was some talk of that, but I don't believe so.
I don't think that's been finally decided, but I don' t believe so.

Q  Is there some sort of unwritten understanding that no agreements can
be finalized until Sharon arrives?


Q  (Inaudible.)

MR. RUBIN:  I really just don't want to get into that.

Q  When does the rest of the delegation arrive?

MR. RUBIN:  Well, as I indicated last night, there are at least 20 on
each of the Palestinian and Israeli side--experts, legal experts,
technical experts, all the people necessary to work through the issues.
There are some ministers who are not here from the Israeli side, who I
expect will come over the weekend.

Q  (Inaudible.)

MR. RUBIN:  I'll get you a transcript from earlier in the week.

Q  I believe it was President Clinton who had asked both men to come and
put in 100 percent effort.  Does the Secretary believe that that's
what's taking place?

MR. RUBIN:  We do believe that the pace of the work, the seriousness of
the work, the pragmatism that the delegations are bringing to bear,
their constructive approach is there.  Whether that will be enough is
still an open question.

Q  Jamie, is Minister Sharansky here?  If so, did he arrive this morning
or last night?

MR. RUBIN:  I don't know the answer to that.  I know he was in
Washington.  I haven't heard that he was going to be part of any
particular meeting today, but that doesn't mean he's not there; and we
can check that for you.

Q  (Inaudible.)

MR. RUBIN:  Some, yes.

Q  On security --

MR. RUBIN:  Ah, yes.

Q  The CIA plan?

MR. RUBIN:  You know I have no comment on that.

Q  (Inaudible.)

MR. RUBIN:  I think our position on settlements hasn't changed.

Q  (Inaudible.)

MR. RUBIN:  And I'll get it for you for the record.

Q  (Inaudible.)

MR. RUBIN:  I wouldn't want to quote the President directly, but I can
say that our objective here is to work through the interim issues by
Sunday in order to move directly to the final status, permanent status
talks.  That's our objective.

Q  If land is not on one of these four issues, can we assume that the
land issue has been sewed up?

MR. RUBIN:  You should not assume that because I listed the committees
and the topics of the committees that every other issue of concern to
both parties or either party or part and parcel of the American
initiative is not being discussed, will be discussed or has been so.
You should not make that assumption.

Q  (Inaudible)--France--ten days.  Could you tell us what the U.S.--

MR. RUBIN:  Yes, let me review the situation.  The NAC--the North
Atlantic Council--has been meeting all day.  I would expect them to soon
make a decision.  Our view of the decision they should make is that
there has not yet been full compliance by Milosevic with the
requirements of the international community.  Therefore, we believe
NATO's gun should remain cocked; NATO's military commander should remain
in a position to act.  That is why we've taken the view that the
authorization for force that now exists should be extended.  The exact
nature of that extension, I think, will be up to NATO authorities to
describe.  But generically speaking, what we're talking about is
continuing to provide General Clark the authority to use force by a
later date now, to extend the time frame if there is not compliance by
President Milosevic.

On the compliance question, it is our view that there is not yet full
compliance; and that is why we believe very strongly that NATO's
military commander must remain in a position to have all the authority
to act in the coming days.

Q  (Inaudible.)

MR. RUBIN:  I'm about to do that.

Q  (Inaudible.)

MR. RUBIN:  Yes, I'm about to do that, but let me first put it in
perspective and then give you a current report.  Prior to the agreement
that was struck between us and the Serbs on behalf of the Contact Group
and the international community, there was no compliance.  There was
only a cease-fire that had been going on a few days.  As a result of the
diplomacy backed by the reality of force, the following things have

First of all, President Milosevic has issued a statement on behalf of--
or I guess it was Milutinovic who did that--making clear their position
on the subject of Kosovo, which involved substantial concessions:
number one, self-government for Kosovo; number two, Kosovar Albanian
authority to have police; and number three, a willingness to complete
the process by early November.  That is an interim arrangement.

Secondly, he has now signed an air verification regime that will involve
NATO aircraft flying over their airspace in an elaborate way so that
NATO can operate in real time with aerial reconnaissance systems over
his territory.  Number three, he has agreed to 2,000 foreigners coming
on to his territory, pursuant to the OSCE agreement signed I guess this
morning.   So this involves the international community coming in and
placing itself on Serb territory in Serb airspace, which is pretty
dramatic and significant a change  considering that he had said that he
would never allow OSCE monitors in unless he could get back into the
OSCE, which he has not.

Thirdly, there are reliable reports from our monitors that a significant
number of internally displaced persons--the people up in the hills--are
returning to their homes.  That number has dropped substantially.
Fourthly, we've had reports that there are villages that are coming back
to life.  Now, that's anecdotal; that's based on the fact that the
monitors are able to visit certain villages.  The reason why they're
getting back to life is that the monitors are seeing less and less
police checkpoints in the countryside.

Finally, with respect to the question of forces--that is, Yugoslav
military forces and police units--our assessment is that about half of
those that were in Kosovo are no longer in the field, which means either
they're in barracks or they're out of Kosovo.  There are significant
signs of police units having moved; and clearly, as I indicated, the
police presence has diminished.

Specifically, our monitors have reported that a VJ--that is, a Yugoslav
military--armored brigade departed from its location where it was
deployed just a month ago.  Similarly, a military police--that is, not a
MUPP, a special police, it's military police, part of the Yugoslav
military--has also departed its recent location.  These two units were
part of a list that was made very clear to Milosevic yesterday were
examples of units that were not in Kosovo prior to the crisis and,
therefore, needed to leave.

That does not mean, however--that long list--that there is full
compliance.  That is why we feel so strongly that NATO must continue to
provide the political authority to General Clark for him to be able to
act on his own a the end of a further extension, which will be a number
of days.

Q  Would that be inconsistent with the 10-day reprieve, which France has
reportedly asked for?


Q  (Inaudible)--

MR. RUBIN:  I'd prefer to let the NATO authorities--I expect an
announcement very shortly--to give you the details of their decision.

But let me say that a multi-day extension is what we want in order to
ensure that Wes Clark still has the authority to act if there isn't full
compliance.  We want NATO's gun to remain cocked; we want Milosevic to
know that the threat of force still hangs over his head because there is
not full compliance.

Q  (Inaudible.)  And two,--(inaudible)--you said that NATO set a
deadline for Saturday--(inaudible)--

MR. RUBIN:  We did not set a deadline in which we said what would
happen.  We were very clear on this.  People reported it as a deadline.
What we said was that after Friday night, Wes Clark was in a position to
act ; he had all the political authority he needed.  We indicated after
this agreement was reached that what we were looking for was substantial
and serious compliance by Friday night in order to prevent the use of

What I'm saying to you is that there has been substantial, but not
sufficient, compliance.  It was necessary compliance to avoid an
immediate air strike tomorrow, bBut it is not sufficient to avoid the
strong possibility of air strikes in the coming days.  That is not NATO
blinking.  What I just showed you was Milosevic breaking every principle
that he said he had:  we won't have foreigners on our soil; we won't
have foreigners in the air; I'll never allow self-government for Kosovo;
I'll never allow there to be a police force by the Kosovar Albanians .
All of these steps, which I think most of those who know the area well
have regarded as substantial concessions came about because of the
credible threat to use force.

If there is a continued progress towards full compliance, NATO is in a
position to act.  That is what we want.  We want Wes Clark to remain in
a position to use military power on his authority if there's not

Q  (Inaudible)--and so far Milosevic--

MR. RUBIN:  Carol, I think that's a complete and utter misrepresentation
of the situation.  The verification system is designed to make it
irreversible or we will know about it.  Nobody can prevent it; in the
absence of ground troops, one can't build a wall around Kosovo and
prevent his forces from coming in.

When we said durable, we meant a situation where if he just moved forces
away and we stood our guard down, a week later he could move them back
in.  What we've done is put thousands of people in Kosovo and aircraft
in the air who will be in a position to know on a very real-time basis
if there is a reversal.

What we were seeking, as I indicated in my briefings earlier in the
week, was a strategic decision towards compliance.  We didn't expect it
to be all completed--each of the seven or eight elements of the Security
Council Resolution completed by tonight.  Because it' s not completed,
NATO's gun will remain cocked; General Clark will be in a position to
act in a number of days if there isn't compliance.

Q  Jamie, two questions, if I can.  Earlier in the week, American and
NATO officials said that before February there were 12,500 Yugoslav
troops in Kosovo and some 6,500 MUPP, or special police.  Currently
there were, again, just before this deal, 18,000 troops and 11,000
special police, right?  That's the representation of the excess.  Can
you say how much of those excess police and troops have left since the
deal?  That's the first question.  The second question:  what you seem
to be implying--and tell me if I'm wrong--is that NATO has to take
another political vote in order to extend this 96-hour warning
authorization of force so it could be used past tonight; is that right?

MR. RUBIN:  No, but it's close and it's fairly complex.  Let me take the
second one first because I may have more information on the second one
than the first one.

The situation in terms of authority to use military force is that
General Clark was authorized to act.  That authorization was suspended
for 96 hours, meaning he couldn't act prior to 96 hours.  If one wants
to extend that suspension for an additional number of days, a political
decision needs to be made--and we expect that at any moment to be
announced in NATO--that will extend the timeframe for Milosevic to
finish compliance and still keep--which is extremely important--the
authority to use force in Clark's hands unless NATO makes another
decision and it has to act by consensus.

Q  So, I mean, if I just understand that part, what you're really saying
is the vote is to extend the period in which Milosevic knows he cannot
be bombed?

MR. RUBIN:   Well, you can write it that way or you can write it that
Milosevic will know that the trigger remains cocked; the gun remains at
the Serbian head; and if there's not compliance, the trigger may well be

Q  And can you help on the troop and MUPP numbers?

MR. RUBIN:   I cannot give you specific numbers on the VJ--the Yugoslav
authority and the military police in this forum.  What I can say, and I
did say, was that half the military units we believe that were in Kosovo
that shouldn't have been in Kosovo are not now deployed in the field.
Now where they are is something that the verifiers are going to be
looking at.  But there's been a movement towards compliance in this all-
important question of military units.

Q  Jamie, earlier you made reference to the fact that he signed several

MR. RUBIN:   I believe he did, yes.

Q  Do you mean Milosevic?

MR. RUBIN:   Yes.

Q  You have Milosevic's signature?

MR. RUBIN:   Yes

Q  When -- Jamie, when NATO gave the activation order, was there ever a
cut-off point when that activation order would cease to be operational?
Was there a date when it would cease?

MR. RUBIN:   No.

Q  So there was never any precise date when the gun would not be cocked?

MR. RUBIN:   I don't understand.

Q  Well, you seem to be saying now that the gun is going to remain
cocked; that was always the situation.

MR. RUBIN:   Correct.

Q  And so the only thing--

MR. RUBIN:   I don't see what secret you think you've discovered.

Q  So the only thing that is happening today that is new is the fact
that the deadline for Milosevic to comply has been pushed back?

MR. RUBIN:   Right.  But let's bear in mind where we are here.  The
United States has very much wanted the NATO alliance to be prepared to
use military force.  Those of you who were with us on the trip know how
difficult it was to get that situation agreed by all 16 nations of NATO
because of various country-specific reasons.  So what we were able to do
is to create a situation where consensus was needed to remove the threat
of force--that is, that we can block the removal of the threat of force.

So we are pleased that NATO countries are continuing to support the
threat of force in the current situation and having that extended.  And
remember again, Mark, sometimes when we're responding to questions, we
get the impression that either all of you or all of the critics that you
talk to have the objective of using military power, and therefore if
military power is not used, somehow that's not what we wanted.  That was
not our objective, and I certainly hope it's not any person's objective.
The objective is compliance; the objective is to get the troops out, to
get the forces out, to get people returning to their homes so that they
don't die in this winter; so that they have shelter, et cetera.

So having changed fundamentally the circumstances with on-the-ground
verification, in-the-air verification, political concessions by
President Milosevic, with having significant troop movements out, with
having significant police movement out, what I'm saying to you is that's
sufficient--I'm sorry--that's necessary to remove the immediate threat
of military power being exercised tomorrow, but not sufficient to remove
the very real threat of military power being used in the coming days.

Q  Is there any consideration now to the idea that the original deadline
for Milosevic was too tight or the demands originally--(inaudible)--

MR. RUBIN:   I've heard nobody but you even mention that.

Q  The multi-day extension you spoke of  was for the activation order or
for the suspension of--

MR. RUBIN:   Suspension.

Q  Jamie, have any troops actually left Kosovo since Monday--troops or

MR. RUBIN:   Left the region?

Q  (Inaudible)--were from outside of Kosovo and who were brought in
since February--(inaudible)--

MR. RUBIN:   I think we've all seen on TV some evidence of that.  How
real that is is what verification systems are supposed to ensure.  What
I'm telling you is we're seeing significant changes on the ground in
terms of the deployment of police.  For those of you who've been there,
the question is not where police are, but whether they're marauding and
terrorizing the people of Kosovo; that's the question.

We now have a significant change in the number of police that are
operating in the countryside, marauding and terrorizing the people
there.  We are going to have a verification system in place far, far
superior to anecdotal monitors' report to make sure that doesn't happen
again and that we know if it does happen.

As I indicated, there are units that have left locations in Kosovo that
were threatening  locations, and we are trying to assess where they will
end up.  I cannot give you the order of battle of the Serb military
force or the Serb police force, where it is now and where it should be.
What I can give you are indicators that it's moving in the right
direction.  The combination of them moving in the right direction
militarily and with respect to police; the combination of the aerial
verification system; the on-the-ground verification system; what many of
your colleagues have called enormous political concessions on the part
of Milosevic on the political side, was a necessary condition to avoid
the immediate threat of air power.  It was not sufficient.  I cannot be
more specific on  specific units.

Q  (Inaudible)--very short, specific and very pointed question that's
been asked repeatedly.  It seems to me that there's a problem and the US
Government knows very well what the order of battle is.

MR. RUBIN:  That's incorrect.

Q  Well, you've certainly given it to us before.

MR. RUBIN:  That's incorrect.

Q  (Inaudible)--that you can tell us more specifically if they are
leaving.  It sounds like, from what you're not saying, that they are not

MR. RUBIN:  Roy, you know, you can have your theories, but I just hope
that you won't put into writing what is a theory and is not of reality.

Q  You've been mentioning anecdotal evidence about the police no longer
blocking the roads.  I've heard anecdotal evidence that it's true
they're not blocking the roads, but they've moved up into the hills
overlooking them.

MR. RUBIN:  Well, you're welcome to report that; but I haven't heard

Q  But the point is that your anecdotal evidence may not be leading us
accurately to a--

MR. RUBIN:  One finds that those whose anecdotal evidence is designed to
demonstrate non-compliance are usually those who want to see air strikes
conducted.  It has not been our objective to conduct air strikes; it has
been our objective to achieve compliance.  If we don't achieve
compliance, air strikes will ensue.  At this point, we are in a position
to report substantial, fundamental changes.  And it's interesting to me
that you don't mention any of the six substantially changed
circumstances that I described to you in your question; it's because,
perhaps, that you have a motivation in your question.

Q  First of all, I think that for you to start questioning the
motivations of people asking questions--(inaudible)--is out of bounds.
It's not necessary; it's not--

MR. RUBIN:  I'm just telling you that it seems--Roy, it seems to me that
the question can be answered as best as I can in terms of the
information I can provide in an unclassified forum.  If you want to
develop a theory why I can't provide classified information to you, that
strikes me as having an agenda.

Q  Let me be specific.  If you say that the gun is still aimed, the
trigger is cocked, next week by the time this latest extension carries
on, as you know very well, there will be thousands or hundreds more
people on the ground.  From previous experience, as you acknowledged the
other day, that means more potential hostages.  How likely is it that
NATO can use this threat, can carry through with this threat if you have
more hostages?

MR. RUBIN:  As I indicated to you then--and one gets the feeling the
debate is continued and that it's more a debate than an effort to elicit
information.  As I indicated to you then, we learned lessons from Bosnia
about the procedures and practices of people on the ground.  And as you
probably know, but repeatedly don't acknowledge, when air strikes were
conducted in Bosnia there were people on the ground--but they were in
safer locations.  So you are creating a black and white situation where
it doesn't exist.

One can use military power even while international aid workers and
international monitors and international observers were on the ground;
it happened in Bosnia.  The question is whether the practices and
procedures and operating procedures of the people on the ground is
linked up to the possibility of the use of force and a situation where
NATO would be in a position to help those people get out of there in

As I've indicated to you before, and I'm happy to repeat again, NATO is
in the process of preparing a rapid reaction force whose mission would
focus on that very problem.  So rather than it being a black and white
situation, where the presence of these people on the ground precludes or
makes less likely the use of force, we are specifically taking this
concern into account as we go about formulating our policies.

Q  Holbrooke reached a number of agreements with Milosevic, some of
which have now been published in the form of signed agreements with
Solana.  I'd like to know, what is the sum of the agreements?  What are
they all?  Can you just lay them out?

MR. RUBIN:  I think I've done that repeatedly.

Q  I beg to differ because I've been asking the question several days

MR. RUBIN:  I don't have any new information.

Q  And on Tuesday when I asked the question of you and of the White
House, what they said was, they're still being worked on.  So I was
wondering, has everything been worked on now?

MR. RUBIN:  I don't have any new information.  Barry.

Q  Could you tell us--(inaudible)--working Kosovo?  Is she on the phone
with some of the players?

MR. RUBIN:  I think she spoke to Foreign Minister Cook this morning.

Q  What about the agreement?

MR. RUBIN:  I don't know the answer to that question.

Q  Has any verification--(inaudible)--started; and if not, when?

MR. RUBIN:  My understanding is having signed the agreement yesterday,
the time frame is a couple of days for them to begin, maybe three or
four days, something like that.

Q  Do you have a head of the OSCE verifiers; and is he or she an

MR. RUBIN:  It's a possibility there will be an American.  That is a
decision that needs to be made by the OSCE, and I have no announcement
for it.

Q  If the suspension had not been, or if it is not voted on, would
General Clark have been forced to strike--

MR. RUBIN:  Forced is not the right word.  He would have been
authorized, and the presumption is that--

Q  But why not just keep that?

MR. RUBIN:  The presumption is that he would.  So what we've done is
extend the suspension.

Q  Is this going to be the last suspension that you foresee?

MR. RUBIN:  We'll see; it depends on compliance.

Q  Jamie, if there is a suspension, he doesn't--you said that you're
assuming that he would act right away.  But how long could he have?

MR. RUBIN:  That would be a tactical, operational consideration that he
would have to judge based on the presence of his forces, where they're
located, what would be the best configuration for him to act. And we
wouldn't have any involvement with that.

Q  Jamie, are you at all concerned--is the United States at all
concerned that this is not going to happen quickly enough to help the
refugees who, after all, need to get home soon?

MR. RUBIN:   My understanding is that the international relief workers
have returned in large numbers; that aid is now reaching people; that
the police interference with the provision of aid has changed.  And is
it fully open, the way we want it to be?  No, but relief workers have
gone back in, several organizations have returned and they're doing
their work.

As I indicated to you, of the 50,000 or so internally displaced persons
in the hills, a significant number of them have, we believe based on our
information, left the hills and returned to their homes.

Q  What do you make of the fact that Yeltsin apparently has decided not
to go to the APEC meeting in--

MR. RUBIN:   I have no information on that.

Q  Thank you.

MR. RUBIN:  Thank you.

Return to Vinnie's Home Page

Return to Kosovo Page

Return to Clinton Administration Page

Return to Israeli-Palestinian Page