ACCESSION NUMBER:341507 FILE ID:POL406 DATE:04/28/94 TITLE:DEFENSE DEPARTMENT REPORT, THURSDAY, APRIL 28 (04/28/94) TEXT:*94042806.POL DEFENSE DEPARTMENT REPORT, THURSDAY, APRIL 28 (Bosnia, Korean peninsula, U.S.-Russian exercise, Gulf War illness) (620) NEWS BRIEFING -- Spokesman Kathleen deLaski discussed the following topics: NO EVIDENCE OF NEW BOSNIAN SERB OFFENSIVE DeLaski said there is no "evidence on the ground" that the Bosnian Serbs have launched a further military offensive in Bosnia. Now that the Bosnian Serbs have moved their heavy weapons out of the 20 kilometer exclusion zone and ceased shelling Gorazde, the spokesman said, there is not "any firm evidence" that those weapons have been moved to any of the other safe areas. Asked what the role of U.N. Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali's special representative Yasushi Akashi would be if future air strikes would 1e required in Gorazde, deLaski indicated Akashi would still have to approve the first use of air power there. The decision about follow-on air strikes, however, would be passed down to the level of U.N. and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) military commanders, she said. The spokesman also reported that a U.S. pilot was killed when he ejected from a U.S. Navy F/A-18 Hornet aircraft just before it crashed in the Adriatic Sea. The aircraft was flying off the aircraft carrier, USS Saratoga, in support of Operation Deny Flight. IAEA, NORTH KOREAN OFFICIALS DISCUSS ACCESS TO REACTOR DeLaski said North Korean and International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) officials are discussing the terms of access for IAEA inspectors to inspect a North Korean nuclear reactor facility. She said the United States views the North Korean letter inviting the IAEA to monitor the withdrawal process of spent reactor fuel as "a positive step." But deLaski said there are "other steps" that must occur before IAEA and U.S. objectives are fully met. The latest North Korean proposal on reactor inspections, the spokesman said, is not viewed "as moving a step closer to increased tensions." Asked about the status of the U.S. Patriot missiles in South Korea, deLaski said the anti-missile defense systems should be operational "about now." She also said there are U.S. plans underway to increase standard stockpiles of items such as munitions in South Korea. JOINT U.S.-RUSSIAN MILITARY EXERCISE HAS NOT BEEN CANCELED DeLaski said Russian President Boris Yeltsin has not ordered the cancellation of the planned U.S.-Russian peacekeeping exercise. The military exercise "is on track," the spokesman said, for July 8-12, despite an April 27 Washington Post article which reported that Yeltsin had told his Defense Ministry to reconsider the exercise. Logistical and transportation issues already have been worked out, she said, in the Volga Military District where the maneuvers are planned. DeLaski said a U.S.-Russian working group will meet next week and U.S. officials will express continued support for the exercise. PANEL INVESTIGATING GULF ILLNESSES WILL REPORT IN JUNE DeLaski said the Defense Department panel investigating the causes of the Persian Gulf war illnesses suffered by military personnel who served in the gulf will complete its report in June. She said the panelists have been looking at intelligence reports on chemical or biological weapons detection or exposure, scientific and medical evidence of possible exposure to low-level nerve agents and possible associated long-term effects of such exposure, and other possible health effects from exposure to low-level chemicals, environmental pollutants, and other health hazards. Military personnel from Saudi Arabia, the former Republic of Czechoslovakia and France also have been contacted, the spokesman said, for input on the cause of puzzling symptoms. The Pentagon, deLaski stressed, is willing to follow up on "any lead" which might shed some light on this issue. NNNN .