[EXCERPTS] U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY PRESS BRIEFING
BRIEFER: NICHOLAS BURNS THURSDAY, APRIL 3, 1997
Q: Nick, some of us broke bagels this morning with a Mideast diplomat
who can't be identified further, and I wouldn't have brought this up
except your reference to Iraq. This was a rather quiet presentation he
made off the record, but he did speak of Saddam Hussein being stronger
than ever, and he also thought that some place along the line Iraq had
to be included in any comprehensive settlement in the Middle East. He
didn't give us an approach how to accomplish this goal, and I
wondered, could you go down the first point. What do you think of
Saddam Hussein's staying power? Isn't he pretty well entrenched,
though, despite all your efforts?
BURNS: He seems to be entrenched, but he's someone who is embattled,
certainly, inside his own country, and he's certainly embattled
internationally. The United Nations sanctions applied to Iraq in March
of 1991 will remain. They'll remain, because he has been in
fundamental violation of the sanctions and of U.N. resolutions for
I see that Mr. Hamdoon made an intemperate statement up at the United
Nations today, accusing Secretary Albright -- basically trying to
rebut some of the points that Secretary Albright made in her
Georgetown speech. I think Ambassador Hamdoon ought to look to the
letter of the United Nations agreement, resolutions and the sanctions
resolution. Iraq is in violation, because Iraq never answered for what
happened to the 600-700 Kuwaitis whom it took prisoner in the
beginning stages of the Gulf War. Those people disappeared. Iraq has
never answered for that.
Iraq is a state that is being contained by the international community
because of its perfidy and because of its aggression against its own
people as well as its neighbors, and that policy will not change, and
they don't have a hope, as Secretary Albright said, of having the
United States agree to lifting of sanctions until they comply with all
of the U.N. resolutions. I don't think we're going to see that day as
long as Saddam Hussein is in power.
The second point is most interesting to me. There's been dramatic,
historic progress in the Middle East peace negotiations between the
Palestinians and the Israelis since 1993 without the support of the
Government of Iraq. I think that we can certainly continue once we
resolve these very, very important and difficult problems on the
Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. Once we do move forward in the
future, we can resolve those problems without the help of the
Government of Iraq.
Q: Nick, are you saying that you think a comprehensive peace can be
reached in the Middle East without Iraq, and without Iran, for that
BURNS: We are concerned about a peace between Israel and the
Palestinians. We want those negotiations to resume at some point in
the future, and we're working to that, as you know. We want the
Israeli-Jordanian peace to be solidified, and at some point in the
future -- and perhaps it's not going to be soon -- but at some point
in the future we do look to the day when Syria and Israel and Lebanon
and Israel will be at peace. That will be a comprehensive peace.
The outlaw pariah states, Iran and Iraq, will have to then live in
bitter isolation, as they deserve to live, unless they change their
own policies or unless they change their own leaders.
Q: A question on KEDO. A KEDO delegation is going to North Korea in
the coming weeks, or what's the situation with KEDO?
BURNS: I will have to take that question and see. I'm just simply not
aware of all the delegations that KEDO is sending to North Korea, but
we fully support KEDO, and I'll be glad to take the question for you.