State Department Noon Briefing, October 30, 2000


Q: There were reports that Yemen is indicating that it may want to
seek reparations for loss of use at the Port of Aden there. Is that
true, and is this something that the United States would consider?

MR. BOUCHER: Well, I don't have an answer because, at this point, the
Yemeni Government has not made any formal request of either financial
compensation or assistance to offset any loss of revenue at the Port
of Aden. Throughout this investigation, we and the Yemeni authorities
have focused on minimizing disruption to people who need to use the
port, to port activities as much as possible, consistent with the need
to conduct the investigation. So we have tried to minimize any
disruption, but we don't have any requests for compensation at this

Q: Have you seen the press reports on the Yemeni willingness to
cooperate with the investigation today?

MR. BOUCHER: I don't know how up to date you are from the White House
side, but let me tell you what we know. President Clinton wrote to
Yemeni President Salih last week, thanking him for the cooperation we
have received during the initial phase of the investigation and
encouraging this cooperation to continue as we enter a new phase. You
will remember that was the substance of the statement that we issued
Friday on behalf of Secretary Albright and FBI Director Freeh.

President Salih called President Clinton on Saturday, basically in
response to our President's letter to him. President Salih called to
assure our President that Yemen would continue to cooperate fully. We
have made clear that in the next phase of the investigation we will
need to have access to suspects and other more detailed and further

I think an investigation of this size and complexity has never before
been seen in Yemen. We are discussing with the Yemeni Government how
best to achieve the common objective of identifying the perpetrators
of the terrorist act and bringing them to justice. We have made clear
to the Yemeni authorities - and will continue to make clear to them
-- the importance that we attach to carrying out a thorough
investigation. President Salih assured President Clinton that Yemen
would continue to cooperate fully, and we are now in detailed
discussions with the Yemeni Government of the modalities of that

Q: You said that the Yemeni Government, or President Salih, said that
Yemen will continue to cooperate fully, but kind of officials were
indicating last week - and I know we spoke about this on Friday --
that the real cooperation would be - a test of the cooperation, full
cooperation, would be whether they have access to these suspects. So,
I mean, his definition of continuing to cooperate fully doesn't seem
to be in line with what you seem --

MR. BOUCHER: Well, I mean, you're trying to - we made clear last week
that complete further cooperation would be required and would include
access to the suspects. We have made that clear to you, made that
clear to the Yemeni Government. Subsequent to that, we got a phone
call from the president of Yemen saying that he intended to cooperate
fully with the investigation, and he talked to the President about
what that would involve. So we are still working out the details and
modalities, but I would take it as a good sign that after we made
clear what we needed, the guy called us and said we're going to
continue to cooperate fully; we want to work with you on this one.

Q: But if he says continue to cooperate fully, and you're still
working out the details, I take it he didn't say whether you would
have access to witnesses.

MR. BOUCHER: I don't know. I didn't get that detailed a readout of the
President's conversation. But we do take it as a positive sign the
fact that he called over the weekend to say that he did want to
continue to cooperate fully and that we have - in this process we
have also made quite clear to the Yemenis what we need in terms of the

(The briefing was concluded at 1:45 P.M.)