24 February 2000
Transcript: Albright Briefing on Presidential Decision Directive
(To open new office to coordinate U.S. peacekeeping activities) (3360)
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, in response to a directive by
President Clinton, is creating a new office in the Department of State
that will take the U.S. government lead on issues associated with U.S.
participation in the criminal justice components of peace operations.
At a State Department briefing February 24, Albright said she had
named Assistant Secretary Rand Beers to head that office. Also
attending the briefing were top officials from numerous other federal
"We are here today to announce President Clinton's decision to direct
a stronger response to maintaining order and establishing effective
judicial structures in societies recovering from conflict," Albright
The new office, she said, will develop policy, set priorities,
coordinate U.S. agency activities, and help the United States improve
its capacity to provide U.S. civilian police to overseas operations in
standby arrangements developed by the United Nations.
"We must recognize," Albright said, "that old models of peacekeeping
don't always meet current challenges. Peace operations today often
require skills that are neither strictly military nor strictly police
but, rather, a combination of the two. The international community
needs to identify and train units that are able to control crowds,
deter vigilante actions, prevent looting and disarm civilian agitators
while, at the same time, winning the trust of the communities in which
they are deployed."
Clinton's presidential directive "is aimed at two related goals," she
said. The first is to better coordinate U.S. peacekeeping efforts. The
second is to enhance the ability of other countries, the UN and
regional organizations to plan, mount and sustain operations in
support of the rule of law.
The recent slowness in deploying "desperately needed civilian police
to Kosovo provides only the latest evidence that present international
capabilities are not adequate," Albright said. "And the ongoing
deployment of CIVPOL (U.S. civilian police) teams to East Timor and
Sierra Leone show that the need will not soon diminish."
Following is the State Department transcript:
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
February 24, 2000
ON-THE-RECORD BRIEFING SECRETARY OF STATE MADELEINE K. ALBRIGHT
ON THE PRESIDENTIAL DECISION DIRECTIVE FOR STRENGTHENING CRIMINAL
JUSTICE SYSTEMS IN SUPPORT OF PEACE OPERATIONS AND OTHER COMPLEX
MR. RUBIN: Greetings. Let me tell you how we're going to proceed.
Secretary Albright is going to begin with some opening remarks on the
new Presidential Decision Directive on improving police capabilities
around the world. She is then prepared to take a few of your questions
on other subjects, after which we have a very distinguished group of
officials led by Rand Beers, our Assistant Secretary here, and
Ambassador James Pardew, who works with Ambassador Dobbins and has a
lot of experience in this area; Eric Schwartz, Senior Director from
the National Security Council; Jennifer Windsor, Deputy Assistant
Administrator of USAID; James McAtamney, the Counsel to the Deputy
Attorney General; and, Dr. Jim Schear, Deputy Assistant Secretary of
Defense. And they will be available to take any questions you might
have about how this works "interagency."
So with that, I offer you the Secretary.
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Good afternoon. I am very pleased to be here with
Assistant Secretary of State Rand Beers, and all those distinguished
colleagues that Jamie mentioned, from the Departments of Justice,
Defense, USAID and the NSC.
We are here today to announce President Clinton's decision to direct a
stronger response to maintaining order and establishing effective
judicial structures in societies recovering from conflict. This is a
job the international community has undertaken with mixed success over
the past decade, and where we face difficult tests today: especially
in the former Yugoslavia, East Timor and parts of Africa.
The President's decision is aimed at two related goals. The first is
to improve coordination of U.S. efforts. The second is to enhance the
ability of other countries, the UN and regional organizations to plan,
mount and sustain operations in support of the rule of law.
Specifically, the President has instructed the State Department to
create a lead office responsible for issues associated with our
participation in the criminal justice components of peace operations.
This step recognizes the foreign policy importance of preventing
security vacuums from arising in post-conflict situations. I am
directing Assistant Secretary Beers to establish the office which will
be responsible for developing policy, setting priorities and
coordinating US agency activities. Second, we will improve our
capacity to provide U.S. civilian police, or CIVPOL, to overseas
operations in standby arrangements developed by the United Nations.
The current process for recruiting, training and deploying such
personnel is not as consistent or rapid as today's circumstances
demand. Our new office will recommend and implement measures to assure
that well-qualified and prepared individuals are available for CIVPOL
Third, we will enhance our capacity to train foreign police forces
during peace operations. I will work jointly with Attorney General
Reno to prepare a plan by the summer for improving the effectiveness
of our training programs, while emphasizing due process,
accountability and respect for human rights.
Fourth, we will improve our ability when it's in our interest to
provide emergency training and other necessary help to nations that
have suffered a breakdown in their legal systems. This will require
the mobilization of USAID and the Justice Department and other
resources, so that we may provide the right kind of assistance in the
right places at the right time. Such help can be essential in enabling
people, who are emerging from a conflict, to feel that their rights
will be protected, and that neither combatants nor criminals will be
able to act with impunity. This, in turn, creates the sense of
security that permits societies to begin mending and to move forward
with steps required for economic recovery and political progress.
Finally, we will work hard to improve the capacities of other
countries, the UN and regional organizations to participate in CIVPOL
operations on a timely basis. We want to bolster U.S. capabilities,
and we will continue to do our share to assist operations that are in
our interests. But we expect others, obviously, to do their part as
The recent slowness in deploying desperately needed civilian police to
Kosovo provides only the latest evidence that present international
capabilities are not adequate. And the ongoing deployment of CIVPOL
teams to East Timor and Sierra Leone show that the need will not soon
In response, we must recognize that old models of peacekeeping don't
always meet current challenges. Peace operations today often require
skills that are neither strictly military nor strictly police but,
rather, a combination of the two. The international community needs to
identify and train units that are able to control crowds, deter
vigilante actions, prevent looting and disarm civilian agitators
while, at the same time, winning the trust of the communities in which
they are deployed.
The job of assisting criminal justice in peace operations is made
harder by the fact that most countries don't have extra police,
prosecutors and judicial personnel available, and we must develop this
capacity. The President's budget request for Fiscal Year 2001 includes
$10 million for this kind of institution building. We will be working
closely with Congress both to obtain the needed resources and to be
sure that our policy objectives are understood.
The President's decision today is embodied in a Presidential Decision
Directive which complements earlier initiatives to reform U.S. policy
towards international peace operations. Although the impact of this
Directive will not be immediate, I hope that it will lend momentum to
international support for current peace missions. And I hope further
that it will spur congressional approval of the President's request
for emergency supplemental funds to meet pressing requirements,
including added support for civilian police in Kosovo and East Timor.
And let me just say that Americans should feel proud of the more than
700 of their fellow citizens who are now participating in CIVPOL
operations. These are people from cities and towns across our land,
who are sacrificing time with families and friends to share their
skills and to help create for others a more just and stable society.
By so doing, they serve America's interests and promote values that we
In closing, I want to emphasize that I strongly welcome the
President's initiative and leadership on this issue. One of the great
gifts this administration can give to its successors is a
comprehensive and coordinated structure for responding to
opportunities to end conflicts and build peace. And today's action is
an important stride in that direction.
Thank you. And I'll take a few questions, as Jamie mentioned before.
Q: Madame Secretary, you referred to Kosovo twice. Today it seems to
be a little calmer. The French are sending in more peacekeepers and
the French are saying, you know, this isn't a one-nation problem.
They're suggesting that other nations - they may mean only Europeans,
I don't know - but that other nations have to or ought to make some
additional contributions as well. Evidently, the Pentagon has left
open the possibility of some troops.
Can you deal with this? Is this a European problem, a French problem,
or is it a trans-Atlantic problem?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, first of all, let me say that we're
obviously very pleased that the French have decided to augment their
forces. Their Secretary of Defense, Richard, -- Minister of Defense --
was here, and we had that discussion. And I think that, clearly, the
situation in Mitrovica poses a challenge for us. And it's very
important for KFOR to make clear that it is in charge, because it
deters violence and it sends a very strong message. And I think,
clearly, the additional French forces are very important.
We, at this stage -- the United States has the largest number of
troops in the area, so we do believe - or in Kosovo as a whole - that
we are definitely doing our part. But I don't exclude the fact that
there may have to be some Americans, but I think in the first instance
we are looking to others to "plus up" their forces.
Q: Madame Secretary, how would it work? What would this paramilitary
force, or whatever it's going to be called - would it have to be
invited in, or would it be imposed on something like Kosovo without
the local authorities?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: You mean the CIVPOL thing?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, it would be part of the overall process that
we use in terms of peacekeeping. I have felt, frankly, from the time
that I was UN Ambassador and went to visit all the peacekeeping
operations, that there was a missing piece here -- which I think I
described in my remarks -- of somewhere between those who go in with
full armor and those who are just cops on the beat. And this would be
an additional part of what we can do.
We obviously have to work out all - that wonderful diplomatic word -
modalities for this. But for me, as far as I'm concerned, I think this
is a big step forward in being able to deal with the kind of gray
situations where you don't need the full military, and where the
ordinary police is just outnumbered.
And the other part of the problem - and we see it a little bit now in
Kosovo - as I said, is that there are not ready people to do this kind
of work; that there are not a lot of volunteers that are just kind of
sitting there. And, for instance, when the Spanish King was here
yesterday, this is one of the discussions, whether their Guardia Civil
can help. This is a very important chunk of the work, and yet there
are not enough specifically trained people to do this kind of job.
Q: I would like to ask you about the recent parliamentary elections in
Iran. We're all well acquainted with the speech that you gave almost
two years ago about wanting to establish a road map to better
relations with Iran. Is the U.S. planning any kind of gestures to the
Iranian Government in response to those results?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, first of all, let me say I think we have all
commented, in one form or another, on the fact that these elections we
view as important, and that they are really encouraging in terms of
what it shows about the desire of the Iranian people for some change
in the way that their lives are directed.
I think that we have been prepared for direct dialogue. We say that
again. I think that there clearly are concerns in our relationship,
and those can best be dealt with through direct dialogue. And so we
reiterate that statement, and will continue to watch very carefully
how they respond themselves to this overwhelming turnout and the
message that it sends from the Iranian people: that they want some
Q: Madame Secretary, one of the four priority countries that you and
others in the administration have mentioned as top foreign policy
goals for this year, Nigeria, is in the throes of ethnic violence, and
has a very high death toll. I am wondering what your feelings are
about the situation in the northern part of Nigeria, and what
President Obasanjo should do, and what the U.S. is willing to do in
terms of encouraging that.
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: First of all, it is somewhat calmer today, though
I think we obviously continue to be very concerned about what is going
on, and believe that this kind of violence is counter to what
President Obasanjo needs to do, in order to be able to take his
country through this important transition. And we are talking to the
Nigerians, and hope very much that he is going to be able to get
control of it, because it is certainly the kind of conflict that
complicates his work.
We support his overall approach to how he is dealing with the very
serious problems in Nigeria. Obviously, this kind of ethnic conflict
is something that he and I talked about when I was there, and that was
the subject of discussion when he came to the United States. So I am
glad that it has quieted down some. There have been no American
citizens involved in what's happened there: no Americans that have
been injured. And we are just going to follow it very, very closely.
Q: Madame Secretary, getting back to the Presidential Decision
Directive, I know there are going to be experts here who will talk
afterwards off camera, but can you explain why, bureaucratically, you
need to set up a whole new office for this; why there aren't enough
structures, especially at a time when the Department is pleading for
money in many areas?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, I think that it's very important to focus
attention on this, and it requires - when you have an interagency
activity like this, I think it is very important to focus attention.
The resources are part of what we've asked for in the budget, and I
don't believe that it will be a resource drain. On the contrary, I
think it will be a way to focus attention. So I think this is a very
important initiative of the President's, and I think it should be
reflected in the way that we do business.
Q: Madame Secretary, the Cuban Government is remaining defiant today
on the question of pulling out their diplomat who has been PNG'd by
this government. What will the US do if he is not removed by Saturday
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, first of all, he will be PNG'd, and it is
kind of unprecedented, frankly, for a government not to withdraw a
diplomat that has been PNG'd. He will lose his immunities and
privileges, and then it is up to the INS -- who is in charge of the
removal of aliens -- to proceed. But really, you know, there are cases
in the past, obviously, where there have been allegations against
diplomats. They are then PNG'd, and their governments remove them. So
this is unprecedented if he is not removed by the Cuban government.
Q: If I may, Madame Secretary, the European Union has been considering
a report that claims that a cooperative arrangement between the
intelligence agencies of the U.S., UK and some other English-speaking
countries is conducting industrial espionage and giving trade secrets
to American firms. Yesterday, your Spokesman said that the
intelligence agencies aren't tasked to conduct industrial espionage,
but I wonder if you can tell us whether, just in the course of their
normal work, they do get industrial secrets that could be of value to
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: First of all, let me say, as you know, we don't
comment on actual or alleged intelligence activities, and you've
obviously taken note of this. But as our Spokesman said, the NSA is
not authorized to provide intelligence information to private firms,
and that agency acts in strict accordance with U.S. law. And I think
that that is all we have to say.
Q: Madame Secretary, the Human Rights Group yesterday came out with a
report that indicates there are still strong ties between the
Colombian Government, I guess specifically the Colombian military, and
guerrillas in Colombia that threaten the conduct, proper conduct, of
human rights there.
I was wondering what your response to that report is, given the fact
that the United States is, of course, seeking $1.6 billion over two
years to help combat the drug problem in Colombia.
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: First of all, obviously, this has been one of the
concerns that everybody has had and we have talked to President
Pastrana about. President Pastrana himself is very much aware of the
problems with previous aspects of the Colombian military, and has
taken a lot of strong actions, and has spoken about his dedication to
having a good human rights record. We have actually taken very
specific steps, in terms of the supplemental on this subject, which is
that the military that is involved in providing the security for the
police are new groups that, in fact, have been vetted, case by case,
so as to be very clear about the fact that each individual is clear of
any human rights abuses. And our assistance is -- the Leahy Amendment
makes that very clear, and we are following the law, because we think
And so the issue here is: President Pastrana is someone who has made
very clear that he wants to make sure that the military is not guilty
in any way in this, and that he is taking strong action himself. I
think you probably heard him when he was here, in terms of his very
strong dedication to getting a good human rights record for his
administration in Colombia.
Q: You are not concerned about this affecting the --
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: I think we have made very clear that our funding
is dependent on the fact that it goes to these portions of the
military that have been vetted. So, no, I think we'll probably have to
discuss this, and we're prepared to do that. But we are guarding
against having it be misused in any way by a military that's not
MR. RUBIN: Before we bring - if all of you could come up, maybe all
come up here.
One clarification on your question, Betsy. The Secretary was
responding both to what the State Department's role is, namely to make
clear that the diplomatic immunities and privileges are no longer
operative after Saturday. And then yesterday some of you asked about,
well, isn't it the State Department's job about visas. That would be
an INS task. There are other options, law enforcement options, that
she was not excluding in that comment.
(The briefing concluded at 12:30 p.m.) 32/24/00
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