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U.S. Department of State

Daily Press Briefing


12Conclusion of Talks between Deputy Secretary Talbott and Indian Minister for External Affairs Jaswant Singh
12-13Non-Proliferation Negotiations Progress and Sanctions Policy

DPB #13
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 1, 1999, 12:45 P.M.


QUESTION: Jamie, going back to the National Prayer Breakfast, I understand that the US Government has invited a number of NGOs from India. They have something to do with the violence going on now. Is there any reason that --

MR. RUBIN: I don't have any information on the invitation list of the Prayer Breakfast, but I can try to get that for you after the briefing.

QUESTION: And number two, the eighth round of talks between the United States and India have already ended with no outcome. So what is the future? Why the world's largest two democracies cannot get together or solve their problems?

MR. RUBIN: There was a joint statement issued, and I think the negotiators would greatly contest your "no outcome" conclusion. Let me say that there were a number of discussions about the various issues of non-proliferation in the US-Indian relationship.

The dialogue was productive, and generated new momentum. There is some encouragement on the part of our negotiators. Deputy Secretary Talbott has discussed this with the Secretary, and there are some indications that the Indians are going to move in a direction that will allow us to respond with moves of our own. So on the contrary, I think there were some indications that this was a very good session.

QUESTION: Can you say something on the conditions underlying India's conditional offer to sign the CTBT? And also, Pakistan's Foreign Secretary has said that we're not aiming at any agreements; none are required, he says. Could you give your comments on that?

MR. RUBIN: Well, I will leave India and Pakistan to describe their own positions to you. That's not really appropriate for me to say.

We have said all along that our sanctions policy will be adjusted, based on progress in non-proliferation negotiations. Progress has been made in these most recent negotiations, and we are consulting with Congress and other members of the international community, on how to respond to movement in the right direction, in terms of the Comprehensive Test Ban. So we've seen some indication of movement in the right direction, and we have always said we would respond to movements in the right direction by India and Pakistan with easing of some of the steps by the United States.

So Secretary Albright has been apprised of the progress in these discussions, and we are considering next steps in that regard.

QUESTION: What is this movement in the right direction that you're talking about?

MR. RUBIN: With respect to the signing of the Comprehensive Test Ban, the timing.

QUESTION: Have they given you a date-certain?

MR. RUBIN: We've received some encouraging indications on the timing that we are considering how to respond to; but I can't be more specific than that.

QUESTION: All right, so, in response to this, then, the United States would lift its hold on international financial institutional lending?

MR. RUBIN: That is much too broad a response to that.

QUESTION: World Bank loans.

MR. RUBIN: We are considering the appropriate response, and we've always said that we would respond to progress by India and Pakistan on non-proliferation with easing steps of our own. But I'm not prepared to describe specifically, in this particular forum, what we're prepared to do.

QUESTION: When do you expect to make a decision on that?

MR. RUBIN: Soon.

QUESTION: Jamie, can you say whether these steps will include having to consult with Congress, and for Congress to take certain actions?

MR. RUBIN: No, that's not required. We consult with Congress because of the subject matter, but we're not envisaging steps that would require new laws or anything like that.


(The briefing concluded at 1:35 P.M.)

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