State Department Noon Briefing


THURSDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2000 - 1:30 P.M.

Q: On Yemen, Janet Reno said this morning that the State Department is
taking the lead on making arrangements for whether and how the US
would be involved in the trial next month of at least three, possibly
six, suspects. Can you tell us whether --

MR. REEKER: Well, I haven't seen any particular comments from the
Attorney General. I think Ambassador Boucher addressed yesterday some
of the reports we had seen. And as he said, the investigation into the
USS COLE attack is proceeding well, and Yemeni and US investigators,
including FBI investigators, are working together on all aspects of
the case.

I know what we are aware of is that Yemen intends to bring charges
against a number of suspects currently in custody, and we certainly
fully support Yemen's right and intention to do so. But I can't
confirm any trial dates or I'm not aware of the setting of any dates
for trials.

Q: What about any of the involvement of the US in - now that the MOU
is signed and cooperation is more well-structured --

MR. REEKER: Well, as you indicate, Terri - and we talked about, I
guess last week, that we had signed an agreement outlining the
modalities of our continued cooperation in the next phases of the
investigation. Because we think this is such an important
investigation, and we are seeing this through the end, working very
closely with our Yemeni counterparts, we haven't been in a position to
go into details of those arrangements because it is an ongoing

So I don't really have anything to add to that, except to say that we
are very pleased with the progress that we have had. And we are
working together with the Yemenis on all aspects of the case, and we
think it is proceeding very well.

Q: What about the possibility of extradition of suspects?

MR. REEKER: Again, I just think it may be premature to get into that,
George, right now. As I said, we are aware that Yemen intends to bring
some charges, but I don't have anything to confirm trial dates or some
of the stories that I have seen in the press that indicates something
more at this point. But we will try to keep you posted as much as we
can in terms of an investigation that is still ongoing.

Q: Is extradition a possibility? It seems to me I read that there is
no extradition agreement? Is that --

MR. REEKER: That is something I would have to check for you. I'm
sorry, I don't have that.

(The briefing was concluded at 2:35 P.M.)