Department Spokeman Richard Boucher
September 24, 2001
MR. BOUCHER: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I'm not going to make any
statements or announcements, so I would be glad to take your questions.
QUESTION: Are there any steps being taken at embassies that you could tell us
about? I mean, any scaling down of personnel, any changes, and while we're at
it, any phone calls by the Secretary? The usual.
MR. BOUCHER: The usual daily rundown? Phone calls by the Secretary. He talked
to Foreign Minister Peres this morning. I don't know how much we have told you
about the weekend's phone calls; he talked to Prime Minister Sharon and British
Foreign Minister Jack Straw on Sunday, and Saturday I have to look up. Saturday,
he talked to Foreign Minister Peres and the President of Turkmenistan.
I think he is now up to 100 phone calls in the last two weeks to foreign ministers
and leaders of foreign governments. He is now up to 100 phone calls in the last
two weeks, all this devoted to trying to build the coalition, get the support,
as well as to work on very important issues like the Middle East peace process.
You know he has worked very hard to encourage a meeting between Foreign Minister
Peres and Chairman Arafat, and to see that the meeting could be made effective
and useful to both sides. We will continue to do that, to try to encourage them
to work together in that fashion.
As for your other question about embassies and consulates, all US embassies
and consulates are open. There are some posts in Pakistan which had been closed
that are open again. The majority of posts are providing full services, a. handful
providing limited service.
Obviously, all our posts continue to exercise a lot of caution. They are all
on high alert. They are all being very careful about their security and keeping
their security under continuous review. Posts have also kept in touch with the
local American communities and, in cases where there is security information
or where even the post had to close so that services wouldn't be available,
they have used warden messages to get out to the American communities about
where they stand.
In terms of authorized departure, that is where we allow families and non-emergency
personnel to leave post and the government pays their tickets, obviously, to
come back, we have several posts that are on that status. We have the posts
in Pakistan: Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar. We have Ashgabat in Turkmenistan,
Sanaa in Yemen, and Bishkek in the Kyrgyz Republic. We have issued travel warnings
for all these places to indicate to the American public that there is some reasonable
concern about security, that people need to be careful and should, like we have,
consider leaving if they don't absolutely need to be there.
So that is pretty much the daily rundown on those things, Barry.
QUESTION: Richard, I realize they say why they are being issued in each one.
But can you say from the podium that the warnings were being issued for two
reasons, one because of the threat from bin Laden-related terrorist acts, but
also because of any possible US retaliation?
MR. BOUCHER: I would say from the podium that each of these warnings explains
very clearly what it is about and why, and I am not going to try to generalize
or accept somebody else's words.
QUESTION: Can you elaborate on the Secretary's words of yesterday about this
white paper, or whatever you want to call it, that might be sent to countries
MR. BOUCHER: I am not going to -- I don't think there is much to elaborate at
this point. First of all, the Secretary didn't use the phrase "white paper."
He talked about a paper or a document in the near future. Dr. Rice yesterday
talked about laying out the evidence to friends, allies, the American people
and others. She talked about making the case and those sorts of things. So we
do intend to put out information.
I think the Secretary and the President both discussed this again this morning
and said that, first of all, we have an abundance of evidence from law enforcement
and intelligence that indicates very clearly to us who did this. Second of all,
we always remember that Usama bin Laden and his organization, al-Qaida, have
already been indicted for various crimes before, especially the bombings of
our embassies in East Africa. So there is no question that they are responsible
for those actions in our mind.
And third, we have a lot of intelligence and law enforcement cooperation with
foreign governments, so I think the case is becoming better known internationally
to other governments. We do want to make available information to the publics
and to other foreign governments, and that is what the Secretary and the President
talked about this morning, making that information available as we can, when
we can. But people should not conclude from what Dr. Rice or the Secretary said
yesterday, or he and the President said today, that we're on the verge of some
imminent release of a so-called "white paper."
QUESTION: Can you give us some sort of a timeline on when you think this information
might be released?
MR. BOUCHER: I can't give you a real timeline at this point. I think the Secretary
sort of said this morning that as we find information that is unclassified,
we'll try to make it available. There's no particular fixed date or target at
this point for doing that in a big show or anything.
QUESTION: My question relates to the Presidential Determination of 22 September,
Removal of Sanctions against India and Pakistan. Can you confirm that in the
case of Pakistan, sanctions under Glenn, which is 102, Symington, which is 101,
and Pressler, which is 620.E.E, have been waived?
MR. BOUCHER: Boy, you're more familiar with American law than I am. (Laughter.)
Let me go through this -- and the answer is, yes. First of all, we are continuing
to work very closely with Pakistan's Government on combating terrorism. What
the President waived were the nuclear-related sanctions on Pakistan and India.
As many of you know, we have been talking about this, considering this step
for months. We think it's an important step forward in being able to pursue
our goals with Pakistan, to be able to support Pakistan and to cooperate more
easily with Pakistan in the fight against terrorism.
The sanctions that were imposed after Pakistan's nuclear tests in 1998 under
the Glenn Amendment, those have been waived; the sanctions imposed under the
Pressler Amendment in 1990 have been waived; and the sanctions imposed under
the Symington Amendment in 1978 by President Carter, those have been waived
Pakistan remains subject to Section 508 of the Foreign Assistance Act because
of the military coup in October 1999, so that prohibits certain things with
Pakistan. And then there are also missile sanctions in place.
But what I would point out is that the lifting of these sanctions allows us
to do some things very quickly and very immediately to support Pakistan, and
we will continue to look at the other provisions of law and see what we might
do so that we have flexibility in working with Pakistan and India.
In terms of the specifics, there's an IMF standby arrangement that comes up
for a vote on Wednesday, September 26, two days from now. The IMF standby is
the third tranche arrangements for $136 million and we will be able to support
that and vote for that because we have waived these sanctions.
In addition, there are things like the provision of spare parts for military
goods that we will be able to look at now that we weren't before the waiver
of the sanctions. And, as I said, we will look at the other pieces of legislation
in place. We are talking to the Congress about how to get the ability to move
forward with Pakistan and with India.
QUESTION: Would you have been compelled to vote against this tranche if they
hadn't been waived?
MR. BOUCHER: The Glenn Amendment required US opposition to lending by international
financial institutions for purposes other than basic human needs. So that would
have required a vote against this.
QUESTION: What is India's role in all of this? What consideration is being given
India so far as sanctions and so far as a role in the campaign? And, you know,
should I call it the ugly notion that India and Israel can't be too prominent
in that if the US expects to have the support of Pakistan and other Moslem countries?
Could you address that?
MR. BOUCHER: I am not going to try to give you a particular specific description
of each government involved in this coalition. I think --
QUESTION: No -- Pakistan --
MR. BOUCHER: A lot of places are important.
First of all, we have waived these nuclear sanctions vis-à-vis India,
as well as vis-à-vis Pakistan; that we have for a long time had a growing
relationship with India, a very important relationship with India; and I think,
if I remember correctly, when Mr. Armitage was in India earlier this year, he
in fact said that we were looking at waiving these sanctions, vis-à-vis
India. We did it again with Pakistan as well.
We want to cooperate with every country. Every country will contribute probably
in a different way, as the President and Secretary said. In some cases it will
be information. In some cases it will be law enforcement. In some cases it will
be financial. We are moving forward today with the financial restrictions that
the President announced, and we're going out to foreign governments through
our embassies to work with them on that. So it will be different in different
India, obviously, is an important country, and we look forward to working with
QUESTION: When you said you were going to talk with Congress about the sanctions
on Pakistan, the remaining sanctions, are you talking about seeking some mechanism
to waive the 508 sanctions which, according to the texts, appear not to be waivable
in their present form?
MR. BOUCHER: That is one of the things we'll be looking at. We have consulted
with the Congress on the various sanctions and the various ways of going forward
to give the President the flexibility that he needs to be able to work with
India and Pakistan, and so that's obviously something we have to look at. I
don't have a decision on that yet, whether -- if we do decide to propose legislation,
because it would require legislation. We'll try to tell you when we do.
QUESTION: It would require legislation?
MR. BOUCHER: Yes.
QUESTION: Can I just have a quick follow-up? Those 508 sanctions, as I understand
it, cover all foreign assistance; is that right? Or is it all non-humanitarian
MR. BOUCHER: They prohibit both military and economic assistance to Pakistan.
I think there is a humanitarian clause, if I remember correctly. But I'd have
to double-check the law.
QUESTION: Richard, until a few weeks ago, the thought of having all of the sanctions
waived against Pakistan was considered to be highly unlikely. Is there a message
in this to other countries that currently have sanctions in place against them
-- similar sanctions
-- that as long as they cooperate with the US in this war against terrorism,
a similar outcome waits for them?
MR. BOUCHER: I think the problem is with the word "similar." I don't
know that any country has similar sanctions against them. I can't think of anybody
QUESTION: China. With China, and export control sanctions.
MR. BOUCHER: Nobody else is subject to these nuclear sanctions that we just
waived. I would have to go through my Rolodex and figure out what other countries
might be subject to the overthrow of the democratic government sanctions that
apply to Pakistan.
So in many cases this is different. And there are cases where there are, for
example, the missile export sanctions which applied to entities in both China
and Pakistan. Those have not been waived. So we have different relationships
with different governments.
I do think, though, that the fundamental question you're asking about is true,
that we intend to support those who support us. We intend to work with those
governments that work with us in this fight. And this has become, as the President
and the Secretary have said, very, very important to the United States, but
to all the civilized world. We will join together, and we will help each other
in this fight.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) national security advisor is here this week. Does he have
any meetings in this building?
MR. BOUCHER: I'll have to check. I don't know.
QUESTION: Can I follow-up on the sanctions? Two things. One is, what happens
to the entities list? And does the lifting of the non-nuclear sanctions mean
that the entitites list will be wiped off?
And secondly, there were some sanctions, even before the nuclear sanctions,
dual-use technology; what happens to those?
And I wonder whether it's possible to get somebody here to explain in detail
what exactly are the sanctions lifted and what sanctions remain?
MR. BOUCHER: Well, I think I just told you in detail what are the -- oh, on
India? You want the same kind of list on India?
QUESTION: On an entities list (inaudible)?
MR. BOUCHER: Okay. Some of this is Treasury business, and I'm going to have
to check and see if we can get from them that kind of information on the entities
list because I don't know what that list, as it's referred to, was actually
attached to, which set of regulations.
But I will check for you, and I will see if I can get you the same kind of list
for India on what sanctions are waived, and what restrictions might remain.
QUESTION: Secondly, what about the dual-use technology?
MR. BOUCHER: I will look at that as we go forward.
QUESTION: On the same subject, there was a report this morning that the administration
wants to lift a number of other restrictions on foreign aid and arms exports,
particularly human rights restrictions. Can you tell us whether that's true?
MR. BOUCHER: The President said this morning we weren't going to do that. That
is not where we are headed.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) we are told that Pressler, Symington and Glenn are also
lifted. At least that is what the Embassy is saying.
MR. BOUCHER: That is what I just said.
QUESTION: Okay, and I was a little late. The other thing is that when Pressler
was interpreted for F-16s, it was said that commercial sales are included as
part of assistance, because all these amendments are to the Foreign Assistance
Act. So I am slightly confused. What is the difference between 508 economic
and military aid? You know, because it is redundant because then Pakistan will
not be able to buy anything until Pressler has been lifted.
MR. BOUCHER: My understanding --
QUESTION: -- you call it aid. (Inaudible) you call it aid. So that's --
MR. BOUCHER: My understanding, which I just explained, was that the lifting
of these sanctions would allow us to authorize the commercial sale of spare
parts for the military, for example, so that commercial sales would become possible.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) the US helping states that support it, could that extend
to, for instance, Middle Eastern countries that are currently on the list of
states supporting terrorism?
MR. BOUCHER: I don't think you should build too many images out of this. There
are sanctions, there are restrictions in place that we would intend to follow.
We certainly do believe it's a moment at which states that have been on the
terrorism list can take the final steps and break their ties, and do what it
takes to fully terminate their support for terrorism or terrorist groups or
terrorists who might be living there. Were they to do that, then one would consider
taking them off. But at this point, don't imagine that we would be able to go
beyond that law.
QUESTION: Richard, can you describe the conversation between the Secretary and
Foreign Secretary Straw, particularly whether the visit to Tehran came up? And
also, are you getting any signs that Tehran, in addition to sending welcome
signals about support for the US campaign on terrorism, is coming through on
the other half of the equation, meaning changing at all its views and sponsorship
of the groups that worry the United States?
MR. BOUCHER: The Secretary talked to Foreign Secretary Straw on Sunday. They
discussed, I think, a number of issues including Straw's upcoming visit to Iran.
We did not ask him to take any particular message from us. But I think we look
forward to hearing what transpires in those discussions.
As far as some broader appreciation of where Iran stands on these issues right
now, I don't think I have anything new to say for you.
QUESTION: Back to Pakistan for a second. Can you tell us, give us an update
of the State Department wing of the interagency team that was supposed to go
to Pakistan and apparently now is not going to Pakistan? Does that team still
exist? Can you tell us a little bit more about what they are trying to do, in
lieu of going over there, how they are going to contact their counterparts?
MR. BOUCHER: The State Department is flying on one wing to Pakistan. The image
Let me try to explain this to you. The Secretary had talked about sending an
interagency delegation to Pakistan. At this point there is no set composition,
timing or delegation. In fact, it looks like we may not do that in the immediate
future. The goal of an interagency group was to make sure that each of our agencies
was working closely with its Pakistani counterpart, and frankly that seems to
be taking place without the need for an interagency delegation. So at this point
there's nothing set on that.
QUESTION: Is there still an informal grouping in the State Department that's
just working on this issue, that has other kinds of contacts with their Pakistani
MR. BOUCHER: Oh, throughout the US Government, we have contacts with our Pakistani
counterparts. I am sure the counter-terrorism people are talking to the counter-terrorism
people, the finance people are talking to the finance people, and on down the
line. And that is the point of getting a group together to go out there. It
doesn't seem that we need to make that trip in order to establish the kind of
cooperation across the board, up and down in these various sectors that we want
QUESTION: With respect to various terrorism bases that are supposedly in some
of the countries we're trying to work with, if a country says one thing and
actually keeps these terrorist bases open, are we giving -- meaning the State
Department diplomatically -- a prescribed length of time for those to close
down and to dismantle those networks? Or are we going to start implementing
MR. BOUCHER: I think the President and the Secretary have both made quite clear
we are looking for actions, not just words. We're looking for actions by countries
around the world, and we are very gratified to see the countries around the
world have been taking actions, actions either law enforcement effort, actions
to share information, actions to squash the financing of these groups -- I think
Japan and Switzerland have taken some steps in that regard -- actions such as
the one the UAE took to close down the Taliban representation.
So we are seeing a lot of action in a lot of places. We will look for action
by others as well. And in the circumstances you have described, if there are
states that appear to be tolerating the activities of these terrorist groups,
we would expect action from them as well.
At what point do we decide to start moving against them? I think that is not
going to be the same in each instance. But clearly the Secretary and the President
have made clear that we expect people to be with us and to take action.
QUESTION: Are you saying terrorist-sponsored -- that group, states that sponsor
terrorism, some of them have taken action that we find favorable? Since the
President said as of this moment, we will consider hostile countries -- we will
consider as hostile countries that support terrorism -- carried away with his
MR. BOUCHER: That continue to support --
QUESTION: -- it sounded like that night was the marker, that countries are either
for us or against us. And still I see the US soliciting countries that are listed
as sponsors of terrorism. So either they changed their habits overnight -- the
Secretary said we're looking for them to come to their senses. Has anybody come
to their senses lately in that prescribed list of seven countries? (Laughter.)
MR. BOUCHER: Do we have more?
QUESTION: This is a question that's got to be asked. We've been dancing around
-- not you, but you know, it's been danced around for -- since the speech.
MR. BOUCHER: Since which speech, Barry?
QUESTION: The President's.
MR. BOUCHER: Oh, okay. Since you want to quote the President, let's quote the
President accurately. The President said "against states that continue
to support terrorism", right?
QUESTION: We will consider hostile -- we will consider them hostile.
MR. BOUCHER: Yes. "Continue to support terrorism" was his quote.
MR. BOUCHER: I am not in a position to go through every country in specific
terms. We have taken the position all around the world that individual governments
would have to say what they're doing and would leave it to them to make their
announcements on their own behalf.
But I would say that we have seen action around the world from different countries.
We know of a great many actions taken by governments around the world, and many
of these are not visible in the public arena yet. But those include states of
all kinds, some of our closest allies and some of the countries that we have
not been so friendly with.
QUESTION: Does that include states that are designated as sponsors of terrorism?
MR. BOUCHER: I'm not going to go that far, because that gets to a small group
of countries, and then we only have to go through a list, which I am not prepared
QUESTION: Can I ask about the conversation with the President of Turkmenistan?
And then I have another question I'd like to move on to. Can you give us --
MR. BOUCHER: I don't think I have that much to say, other than that they spoke,
and obviously we're looking to encourage, and cooperation, and we hope to continue
QUESTION: Okay. Do you have any reaction to comments by President Putin not
long before we came into this room, in which he said Russia would not send troops
to Afghanistan, but it would open a humanitarian corridor should there be some
military activity there? Was the United States asking him to take any such action?
Do you feel you're getting as much cooperation as you want from them right now?
MR. BOUCHER: We're very pleased with the cooperation we've had with Russia.
I think we've worked quite closely with Russia, and you know that Foreign Minister
Ivanov was here last week. So we've been in very close contact with the Russians
on this. Both President Putin and Foreign Minister Ivanov have pledged their
support to the global coalition against terrorism, and we feel that we have
worked very well with them.
I know he was going to make this speech. I think he made it right as I was preparing
to come out, so I don't have any immediate reaction to the details of what he
might have announced.
QUESTION: As far as India is concerned, daily the cross-border terrorism is
continuing, and India kills about three or four people from across the border
and loses some two or three.
So when you say that in the anti-terrorist coalition, state-sponsored terrorism
must stop, it doesnt seem be happening in that part of the world.
MR. BOUCHER: I would just say that our views on Kashmir haven't changed. We
continue to have the same policy.
QUESTION: Due to the amount of scrutiny that is now being placed on these suspects
who had student visas, obtained abroad under false pretenses, is the State Department
planning to implement any new measures to maybe make the background checks stricter
or maybe more follow-up once they're inside the country, although I know that
gets into INS territory --
MR. BOUCHER: Inside the country gets into the Immigration and Naturalization
Service. What I would say is, we are obviously looking at this whole process
and how to make it safer, how to make it better. But that review, the look,
the process of reviewing is just beginning.
We do operate from information that we have from a variety of US Government
agencies, and we make sure that the equipment that we use, that all our embassies
use to issue visas, it is impossible to issue a visa without a cleared name
check. So if the information is in the database, then every visa we issue is
checked against the database. No visas are issued until the applicant has cleared
So we will probably concentrate on some of the other aspects rather than maybe
the issuance aspect. But we will be looking at all of this, and certainly all
of the agencies will be looking together at what we can do to get an improved
QUESTION: Can you tell me whether there is more scrutiny given to potential
students coming from the state sponsors of terrorism countries, or do they get
the same kind of check as anyone else?
MR. BOUCHER: Every person coming from a country where there is a state sponsorship
would be looked at very carefully. But I'm not aware that that has been an issue
in this particular situation, frankly.