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LATEST ON APEC MEETING
- Subject: LATEST ON APEC MEETING
- From: moe@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Sat, 14 Nov 1998 00:32:00
13 November 1998
TRANSCRIPT: ALBRIGHT 11/13 PRESS CONFERENCE ON APEC MEETINGS
(Secretary of State briefed on APEC at State Dept.) (3620)
Washington -- Meetings of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
forum give the region "a chance for the region to embrace policies
that are pro-growth, pro-prosperity and pro-people that will help
restore confidence and dynamism to the world economy," says Secretary
of State Madeleine Albright.
Albright made her remarks shortly before leaving Washington to attend
the APEC Ministerial Meeting to be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
November 14-15. President Bill Clinton is scheduled to attend the APEC
Economic Leaders Meeting November 17-18.
The Secretary noted that Asia's financial crisis of the past 18 months
"has underscored the need for financial sectors that are clean,
accountable and transparent; and for political systems that are
answerable to the people; for international financial institutions
that are better equipped to prevent and cope with crises; and for
stronger social safety nets to help vulnerable populations adjust to
She acknowledged that "these are not goals we can achieve in a
weekend, but we hope at APEC to affirm the need for steady progress
Albright said U.S. goals at this APEC meeting are "to renew the
region's commitment to open economic policies."
"We believe that the answer to the challenges posed by the global
economy is found not in retreat into the closed world of zero-sum,
no-growth protectionism," the Secretary said. "On the contrary, it
requires that we go forward on the basis of sound management, honest
government, economic inclusion and the rule of law."
Albright said that during her stay in Kuala Lumpur, she plans to meet
with the wife of Anwar Ibrahim, the former deputy to Malaysian Prime
Minister Mahathir Mohamad.
Anwar, a critic of Mahathir, has been jailed by the prime minister.
Albright said the United States is "very concerned about what is
happening to Anwar," describing him as someone "who has made very
clear his own dedication to democracy and a market economy."
The Secretary also plans to visit Thailand and Indonesia.
Following is the State Department transcript:
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
November 13, 1998
PRESS CONFERENCE BY SECRETARY OF STATE MADELEINE K. ALBRIGHT
ALBRIGHT: Good morning. There is no better way to prepare for a
19-hour non-stop flight to Kuala Lumpur than by meeting with the
press. So I am delighted to see you all here.
Before moving to questions, I want to make two points. First, the
United States attaches high importance to the upcoming meetings of the
forum for Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation. We see these sessions as
a chance for the region to embrace policies that are pro-growth,
pro-prosperity and pro-people that will help restore confidence and
dynamism to the world economy.
The crisis of the past 18 months has underscored the need for
financial sectors that are clean, accountable and transparent; and for
political systems that are answerable to the people; for international
financial institutions that are better equipped to prevent and cope
with crises; and for stronger social safety nets to help vulnerable
populations adjust to change.
These are not goals we can achieve in a weekend, but we hope at APEC
to affirm the need for steady progress towards each.
More broadly, our purpose at APEC will be to renew the region's
commitment to open economic policies. We believe that the answer to
the challenges posed by the global economy is found not in retreat
into the closed world of zero-sum, no-growth protectionism. On the
contrary, it requires that we go forward on the basis of sound
management, honest government, economic inclusion and the rule of law.
The second point I want to make concerns Iraq. The United States'
position was stated succinctly and eloquently by the President during
the Veterans' Day ceremony on Wednesday. America wants a peaceful
outcome that gets UNSCOM back on the job, but we are prepared to act
if that doesn't happen.
For months, we have said that every option was on the table.
Unfortunately, one by one, the diplomatic options have been rebuffed.
Iraq has a simple choice reverse course or face the consequences.
I have been asked in the past whether the United States has the right
to act in the face of Iraqi transgressions. The answer is that every
law-abiding nation has not only the right, but also the responsibility
to do what it can to see that Saddam Hussein does not again threaten
This is reflected in four unanimous Security Council actions taken
since last August. The Council has repeatedly offered to give Iraq
what it has requested -- which is a comprehensive review of its
obligations -- provided it first rescinds its decision publicly and
resumes full cooperation with UNSCOM. Members of the Security Council
have tried to persuade Saddam to reconsider his rash policies and to
understand the simplicity of what he is being asked to do. But still
he refuses to comply. In addition to Egypt, Syria and the six Arab
states that make up the Gulf Cooperation Council issued a statement
yesterday that explicitly holds Saddam responsible for his defiance of
the international will; and here, too, the vote was unanimous.
I've been in frequent contact with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. We
all want a peaceful outcome. But it was Saddam Hussein who forced the
UN inspectors to stop their work; and only he can put them back on the
job. It's up to him whether he chooses at long last to do what the
world has been asking Iraq to do. Any action the United States takes
will be motivated by our desire to counter threats to peace and by our
hopes for a future of stability, prosperity and respect for human
rights in Iraq.
In closing let me just say that I am looking forward to my trip,
including planned visits to Thailand and Indonesia, and I now would be
happy to respond to your questions.
Q: Madame Secretary, you say diplomatic options have been rebuffed.
But is there any remaining room for diplomacy before the bombs start
flying -- not necessarily by the US, of course, but by people like
ALBRIGHT: I think that the point here is that, as I said in my
statement, Saddam can publicly rescind his non-compliance -- his
decision to kick UNSCOM out or not allow it continue its work.
Frankly, I think Kofi Annan did a very important piece of diplomatic
work when he was there in February. He worked out an agreement, and
Saddam violated that agreement. I don't see that there is much that
can be done if, in fact, Saddam violates agreements that he makes. But
the essential point here is that he needs to rescind publicly his
Q: Can I ask you a quick follow-up? On the power of Congress, the
constitutional authority, the sole responsibility to make war, declare
war -- some of us are old enough to remember the Vietnam War -- wonder
why the Administration doesn't simply ask. I know about consulting,
but why doesn't the Administration ask Congress to join them. It's the
people who say you should do this, say they support you anyhow --
people like Senator Specter. Isn't it in the spirit of the
Constitution before Americans are sent into combat, not in an
emergency situation, that Congress have a say in it?
ALBRIGHT: The President has the inherent constitutional authority to
go forward; plus an earlier decision by Congress, which allows us to
make sure that Resolution 687 is implemented. So we have the authority
and we have been consulting extensively with members of Congress, who,
as you know, most of them are not here. So we are consulting them.
Q: Madame Secretary, what is the nature of the threat from Saddam
Hussein? What can you tell us about what kinds of weapons of mass
destruction he still may have and his ability to reconstitute them?
And to follow up, what do we know about reports out of London that the
Foreign Minister as well as Tariq Aziz are part of this committee of
concealment that has helped keep these weapons hidden from the UN?
ALBRIGHT: First of all, let me say that we have been concerned all
along about -- the files include what has happened in their nuclear
program, biological, chemical and their ability to deliver those via
missiles. So in all the areas, we continue to have questions. The area
that has been the closest to being completed has been in the nuclear
area, but questions have remained in that also on some technical
issues. Basically, there are questions in all those files.
That is why we agreed to a comprehensive review; so that Saddam
Hussein would understand what more needs to be done. That is what
Richard Butler went to Baghdad with in August, was a road map of how
he could resolve the remaining questions.
What bothers me is that in Tariq Aziz's press conference yesterday,
they are yet again denying the fact that they have ever been or are in
violation, when we know full well that they are and have been.
Therefore, blaming everybody else but themselves for concealing what
is going on or not allowing UNSCOM to do its work, I think is
completely disingenuous and dishonest and despicable.
So I think the point here is, it is Saddam Hussein's responsibility to
come clean and he needs to rescind his decision and then a
comprehensive review which would outline where he needs to take
additional action would permit him to know what steps to take in order
to get sanctions lifted.
The problem here is a very simple one, and President Clinton stated it
and I will restate it -- Saddam Hussein cannot have two incompatible
goals, which is to have sanctions lifted and retain his capability to
have weapons of mass destruction. Those are incompatible goals.
Q: What do we know about Tariq Aziz's possible involvement in this
concealment mechanism the committee that hides weapons?
ALBRIGHT: I don't know about that; I can't respond.
Q: Madame Secretary, you say that Saddam Hussein must publicly rescind
his policy of non-cooperation; but what guarantees beyond that would
the United States require before you begin to unwind yet another
ALBRIGHT: Part of the discussion about the comprehensive review is
that they have to allow UNSCOM to get in and begin to do its work. I
think that we would have to see it's not just saying that there is
compliance we would have to see some action that would indicate a
movement towards compliance.
Q: If I could ask you about another brewing crisis or what appears to
be a brewing crisis; it's been out of the limelight. That's the one in
North Korea. Will the United States really pull out of the framework
accord, as one of your senior aides said on a background basis the
other day? And what are the diplomatic and military ramifications of
that if you all are not given access to the site that you say is a new
nuclear weapons development site?
ALBRIGHT: First of all, let me say that we obviously are following
events in North Korea very closely. We are now seeking access to the
suspect site. We believe that the agreed framework is doing what it's
supposed to do, which is to freeze their nuclear materials program.
But if it is not, then we will have to we are examining this all the
As you know, we have asked Dr. Perry to come and help us review the
entire policy. But we are, at this time, satisfied that KEDO that the
agreed framework is doing what it is supposed to do. We are examining
this issue all the time and are seeking access, as I said, to the
Q: Just a follow-up and then I have my own question the fact, though,
that you've asked Perry to do a complete review of North Korea policy
suggests, though, that you have some doubts about whether the way
you're approaching Pyongyang is actually working.
ALBRIGHT: I wouldn't put it that way. I think that what has happened
is that clearly the issue of what is going on with North Korea is one
that is of great concern to us. We have felt that our approach is the
correct approach. But the situation has evolved considerably in terms
of what they have been doing. There clearly was concern about the
missile test and about the discovery of this suspect site.
I think that we think that because this is one of the major challenges
of it's a remnant of the Cold War, a very serious problem and one that
all of us that are members of the Principals Committee I, especially
have been very concerned about. So I thought it would be a very good
idea to ask someone who is very familiar with the subject and someone
that we have worked with all of us in the past to come in and give us
his views along with us. He is going to be very much a part of what
we're doing. Because we do consider this such a serious problem, we
want to keep assessing what we're doing.
Q: Are you planning to meet Anwar Ibrahim's wife on your trip; and if
so, what is your point in doing that?
ALBRIGHT: I am planning to meet her. The purpose of it is to signal
the fact that we are very concerned about what is happening to Anwar,
who is someone, I think, who has made very clear his own dedication to
democracy and a market economy. So I am planning to see her.
Q: Madame Secretary, I have another question on North Korea, if you'll
permit me. At one of these pre-trip briefings, we were told that the
President expects to discuss North Korea with the Japanese and with
the South Koreans, not only on the subject of the agreed framework but
on the subject of missile proliferation and the potential threats to
Japan. I wonder if you could sort of preview those talks for us,
especially with regard to the missile threat. Are we talking
reassurance or prevention or interdiction or what's the line of
ALBRIGHT: I think, generally, because we have had, all of us Secretary
Cohen and I in our meetings with the Japanese, for instance, when we
were meeting with them on our two-plus-two talks in New York, a
concern that no one should think that there's business as usual on
this. This was a test that is of concern to us, and we need to
consider it in a proper context and decide how it fits in generally
with our policy towards North Korea.
Both the Japanese and the South Koreans obviously have deep interests,
similar to ours, about what is going on there. So I don't want to go
into the kind of detail that you have in asking the question, but
basically the point of having these kinds of talks and it goes back to
what Carol was asking about is that clearly there have been a series
of actions by the North Koreans that are of concern to us. These two
countries are the ones that are as deeply concerned or involved as we
are. Therefore, it's very appropriate to have consultations with them
about what is going on.
Q: Madame Secretary, getting back to Iraq, can you discuss with us
some of the concerns the Principals Committee may have with the
possibility of civilian casualties, should military force be used?
ALBRIGHT: Well, let me say that we are obviously always very concerned
about civilian casualties. I am not going to go into any discussion of
targeting with you. But as we consider the possibility of the use of
force, the President wants to make sure that there are as few civilian
casualties as possible. I just want to assure everyone that that is
something that we are deeply concerned about. We have considered that
very carefully as we have looked at plans.
Q: Madame Secretary, there are reports out of Malaysia that President
Clinton has canceled his trip. Can you tell us for certain that the
President intends to meet up with you this weekend?
ALBRIGHT: The President is planning to meet up with me this weekend,
yes. Or I'm planning to meet up with him.
Q: Madame Secretary, do you expect that any American military attack
would weaken Saddam Hussein's regime politically? And is the United
States planning to step up its support for opposition groups?
ALBRIGHT: First of all, let me say that what we are if we do use force
also, let me just say our major concern here is the fact that he is
threatening his neighbors and the region, and therefore, peace and
security, with weapons of mass destruction. That, as I've said, is a
major concern here. So if we were to use force, it would be to degrade
his capacity to develop and deliver weapons of mass destruction and to
degrade his ability to threaten his neighbors.
I have said a number of times, as have others, that we would look
forward to working with a post-Saddam regime, and that we have been
and will even more actively work with opposition groups. Congress has
passed and the President has signed a law that allows more intensive
activity, and we will pursue that.
So the purpose, if we were to use force, as I've stated, is pretty
clear. At the same time, we would look forward to working with
Q: Madame Secretary, yesterday I think Senator Lugar was the one who
said that American policy had moved, in the course of the last few
months, from one of inspections and monitoring in Iraq to one of
containment. Now there seems to be a possibility of moving to
opposition to Saddam Hussein. Can you tell us, is this the policy now;
is it actually already opposition, or is this about to happen? And if
so, how much time is there before policy moves to the next phase?
ALBRIGHT: Well, first of all, I think I've made pretty clear what
we're doing now which is that we are concerned about his weapons of
mass destruction. That has been the purpose of the work of UNSCOM.
That has been what we have been he made an agreement at the end of the
Gulf War that he would get rid of his weapons of mass destruction.
That is what we have been working on. UNSCOM is no longer able to do
its job, and has not been able to for the last many months. Therefore,
we have to consider how to deal with the threat of the weapons of mass
destruction in some other way.
Our policy continues to be one where we are trying to deal with that
threat and at the same time, as we've now been saying for two years
and I just repeat it again that we look forward to working with a
post-Saddam regime, and will be working even more actively with the
opposition groups. That is our policy.
Q: A second part is that heavy bombing that goes on for days or weeks
that destroys the infrastructure may very well destroy the center in
Iraq. That has great implications for the north of Iraq and for the
south of Iraq, for the Kurds and for the Shia. How are you thinking
through what might happen after a military campaign, because there are
ALBRIGHT: Our policy is we are committed to the territorial integrity
of Iraq. Clearly, we will continue to pursue that particular goal.
Q: The Kremlin issued a statement that Russia is categorically against
the option of force. Could you comment on that? And just as a
follow-up, Jamie has told us that no further warning is needed. That
being said, is an ultimatum of any kind going to be issued before
military force is used, at least by the United States?
ALBRIGHT: I spoke with Foreign Minister Ivanov yesterday, and they
have said that they would prefer a diplomatic solution. We would
prefer a diplomatic solution. I think that what I have found
interesting is the extent to which they are also frustrated with how
the Iraqis are behaving and have been working with us in the Security
What I have found important in the last months is our ability -- what
we have managed to do through diplomacy. I think people have forgotten
when they say let's have another diplomatic option -- I hope you all
see that's what we've been doing diplomacy for the last year in some
form or another. Last October, the coalition in the Security Council
was frayed because we didn't get an unanimous vote on a resolution. We
are back to getting unanimous votes, and that is a very important
So our diplomacy, I believe, has worked; and we have been working very
hard at it to get support for the fact that Saddam Hussein has to
rescind his decision. So we are comfortable with the fact that the
Security Council has renewed its unanimity.
Actually, Jamie speaks for me, and when he said that no further
warnings are needed that is our position -- no further warnings are
Q: Thank you.