(Sees negotiators at "beginning" of solution)  (530)

By Wendy Lubetkin

USIA European Correspondent

1eneva -- U.N. Secretary General Boutros-Ghali says he is more optimistic

about the situation in the former Yugoslavia than he was two days ago, and

he believes negotiators have arrived "at the beginning of a solution to the


"I believe that there is progress, and at least this is the feeling of my

special representative, Mr. Stoltenberg, that there is progress in the

whole peace process in the region," the secretary general said at a July 1

news briefing in Geneva.

He did not elaborate about reasons for his optimism, but he had talked

earlier with members of the Steering Committee of the International

Conference on the Former Yugoslavia, which was meeting in Geneva.

"My position is that we must find a solution and that the solution will not

be found unless all the protagonists in the conflict are in agreement.  So

what we must look for is a common denominator which would allow the

construction of a sustainable solution for the former Yugoslavia," he said.

Boutros-Ghali insisted that a negotiated settlement would have no impact on

U.N. plans for a war crimes tribunal.

"Crimes have been committed in the ex-Yugoslavia...and those crimes must be

punished by the tribunal," he said.

Asked about his Geneva meeting last week with Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq

Aziz, Boutros-Ghali said they had discussed all the disputes between the

United Nations and Iraq.

"We agreed that it was necessary to begin by implementing (U.N.) Security

Council resolutions 706 and 712," he said, referring to the 1991

resolutions which would allow Iraq to sell $1,600 million worth of oil to

obtain funds for humanitarian purposes.

Up to the present Iraq has protested that the U.N. monitoring of the sale

required in the resolutions would constitute a violation of its national


Boutros-Ghali said he and Aziz had agreed that finding a way to implement

the two resolutions might "allow us to create a new political atmosphere

which would help us to find solutions" to the other disputes between Iraq

and the United Nations.  He added that high-level negotiations are

scheduled to begin in New York July 7.

Asked when Iraqi oil might reach the world market, Boutros-Ghali said he did

not know because the negotiations "might be successful, or they might


In response to questions on the recent U.S. missile strike against Iraq's

intelligence service, Boutros-Ghali refused comment other than to say that

he was informed about the strike by President Clinton and that he had also

been informed of the U.S. decision to submit the action to the Security

Council for discussion.

At the briefing, the secretary general also announced the creation of a

"high-level advisory board on sustainable development" as part of the

follow up to last year's "Earth Summit" in Rio De Janeiro.

He said he had appointed 21 individuals, including business leaders,

diplomats, academicians and scientists, to serve on the board.