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[EXCERPT] DEPARTMENT OF STATE DAILY BRIEFING

BRIEFER: NICHOLAS BURNS THURSDAY, APRIL 24, 1997

BURNS: This morning the Secretary addressed the senior staff meeting, which included all our assistant secretaries in the building. She talked to them about the issue of reorganization of the foreign affairs agencies. She said that she believed that this is a huge and important step forward for the Executive Branch of our government. Certainly now, we will look towards integrating public diplomacy, arms control and security issues into one agency over the next three years. We will have a much tighter relationship, closer relationship with AID. She really appealed to all of us in the room to approach this creatively, flexibly and with a certain degree of hope that along with an internal reorganization of the State Department, we are going to have a leaner and more efficient State Department in the next two to three years. ............. Q: Nick, the North Koreans have made a food deal a precondition to four-party talks. They've added a few other preconditions. I'd like to ask you to comment on those. And the United States in the past have rejected food aid as a precondition for talks. Now, is this a non-starter on the part of the North Koreans? BURNS: Yes. We will not agree to any preconditions to start these talks. As we said yesterday -- and I'm going to be very brief about this, because we've gone over this every day this week. The central point is this, if there's a critical food shortage in North Korea, why in the world would we link food assistance to the slow-as-molasses political talks that have taken 44 years not to begin? The North Koreans have a direct interest in getting the food aid there. They surely can't want to tie it political talks that may or may not begin at any time during this year. That is our answer. David.