Great Seal

U.S. Department of State

Daily Press Briefing


9-10Discrepancies in Chaudry's Story/Status of Asylum Request
10Update on Talbott-Kahn meetings/Talbott Itinerary
10-11Regional Nonproliferation

DPB # 82
TUESDAY, JULY 7, 1998, 12:45 P.M.

................... MR. RUBIN: Greetings. Welcome to the State Department briefing. Today is Tuesday, that would make tomorrow Wednesday.


QUESTION: Did you see the story about the Pakistani deserter this morning - additional doubt was cast about his story? Are you prepared to call him a fraud?

MR. RUBIN: Well, I certainly hope he'll get the same attention that he got before, as people are raising increasing doubts about him. But that's not for me to judge, other than to express my opinion.

We have stated before that we note significant discrepancies in his story as reported in the press. After his arrival here, US officials interviewed him and reviewed his story. Apparently others have come to the same or similar conclusions as we have.

QUESTION: (Inaudible) - asylum request?

MR. RUBIN: Well, that's really up to INS officials to make a judgment on what basis to allow him in. I'm just saying that based on our interviews and our knowledge, we noted significant discrepancies in his story and we noted that we had no information to support it; and apparently, others have reached similar conclusions.

QUESTION: Would you say that if he wasn't in danger before, if he went back, he certainly has achieved his goal of --

MR. RUBIN: Well, it's up to the INS to make a judgment of what the relevant immigration regulations would provide in different circumstances. I suspect he would be in danger, in his view, in either way. So it's not a question of how he defines that danger; it's a question of what the regulations are.

QUESTION: I'm interested in the discussion that was taking place between Secretary Talbott and Mr. Kahn from Pakistan yesterday.

MR. RUBIN: Well, they did have extensive meetings. They discussed the situation in South Asia, following India and Pakistan's nuclear tests. They had positive and constructive meetings and set the stage for further talks with the Pakistanis. They discussed non-proliferation, obviously, and exchanged views on how best to ease tensions in the region. We intend to continue our senior-level dialogues with Pakistan and India to meet our non-proliferation objectives.

As you know, the Deputy Secretary will meet Mr. Jaswant Singh in Frankfurt on July 9, and we intend to continue to take advantage of appropriate opportunities in this area.

With regard to reports about what Indian officials are suggesting their intentions are, we strongly believe - this is with respect to minimum deterrent and other matters that I think you asked me about - we strongly believe that the deployment of nuclear weapons in South Asia would be a dangerous development - one that would seriously undermine the security of both India and Pakistan.

Many multilateral bodies and individual countries have called upon India and Pakistan to take clear and meaningful steps in non-proliferation, including refraining from nuclear tests; refraining from deployment of nuclear weapons; refraining from deployment of ballistic missiles; and signing the Comprehensive Test Ban immediately and without conditions; and finally, refraining from further production of fissile material for nuclear weapons. So obviously, all that is inconsistent with some desire to maintain some minimum nuclear deterrent posture, which we think would be a grave mistake.

We also want to see both parties seriously engage in negotiations on a fissile material cut-off. We want to work with both India and Pakistan to bring them into compliance with these international norms. That is one of the goals of Deputy Secretary Talbott's discussions and the continuing goal of the Administration.

QUESTION: Did he indicate or show some willingness to sign the CTBT?

MR. RUBIN: I think we'd prefer to let the other countries describe their own positions for themselves. What I can tell you is that we don't believe we're on the verge of a major breakthrough in this area. We think that it's up to India and Pakistan to make some important decisions, and we're hopeful that some of the dialogue in India now is a signal that they maybe have realized the wisdom of going forward with the Comprehensive Test Ban. But we are not on the verge of achieving that at this point; we're in the process of discussing it.

QUESTION: Jamie, one newspaper says today that Strobe told them that in addition to meeting Mr. Singh in Frankfurt this week, he's also going to actually go to India later in the month; is that correct?

MR. RUBIN: I think that there is always discussion about possible travel. But for now, the only meetings that are determined are the ones in Frankfurt and here. With respect to the President's trip, that is on hold pending further discussion. So I'm not ruling out a visit of some officials to the region, but the President's trip is on hold, and we have made no decision on further travel at this time.

(The briefing concluded at 1:30 P.M.)

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