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48–242 CC






MARCH 10, 1998

Printed for the use of the Committee on International Relations

BENJAMIN A. GILMAN, New York, Chairman
HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois
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CASS BALLENGER, North Carolina
EDWARD R. ROYCE, California
JAY KIM, California
TOM CAMPBELL, California
JON FOX, Pennsylvania
LINDSEY GRAHAM, South Carolina
ROY BLUNT, Missouri
SAM GEJDENSON, Connecticut
TOM LANTOS, California
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PAT DANNER, Missouri
BRAD SHERMAN, California
BOB CLEMENT, Tennessee
BILL LUTHER, Minnesota
JIM DAVIS, Florida
RICHARD J. GARON, Chief of Staff
MICHAEL H. VAN DUSEN, Democratic Chief of Staff
DEBORAH E. BODLANDER, Professional Staff Member
ALLISON K. KIERNAN, Staff Associate


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    Ambassador Martin Indyk, Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs, Department of State
Prepared statements:
The Honorable Benjamin A. Gilman, a Representative in Congress from New York, and Chairman, Committee on International Relations
Ambassador Martin Indyk
The Honorable Robert Menendez, a Representative in Congress from New Jersey
Additional material submitted for the record:
Responses to additional questions submitted by Chairman Gilman and Representative Hamilton

House of Representatives,
Committee on International Relations,
Washington, DC.
    The Committee met, pursuant to notice, at 2:07 p.m., in room 2172, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Benjamin A. Gilman (chairman of the Committee) presiding.
    Chairman GILMAN. [presiding] The Committee will come to order.
    Today our Committee on International Relations is convening a hearing on developments in the Middle East. This around-the-region hearing is an opportunity to learn the Administration's policies and activities throughout the Middle East on any issue or any country.
    We're pleased that Assistant Secretary for Near East Affairs, Ambassador Martin Indyk, is with us for the first time in his new capacity. We welcome you, Martin.
    The Committee had hoped to conduct this hearing last fall, soon after the Ambassador was confirmed, but events in the region precluded him from joining us until today, as well as some of our recesses.
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    I hope that in the future the Committee will be able to host you for this and other related hearings, Mr. Secretary. There are many critical issues facing us, of course, in the region at this time and the State Department's cooperation in making you available is so necessary if Congress is to carry out its duties in reviewing all of these issues.
    That having been said, I want to welcome Assistant Secretary of State Martin Indyk to our hearing room this afternoon. Prior to his appointment to this post, Ambassador Indyk served as our ambassador to Israel. He came to that assignment from the National Security Council where he was the architect of the Clinton Administration's dual containment policy and before that served at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a distinguished research institute specializing in Arab-Israeli relations.
    Although the Committee covers a lot of ground during these hearings, invariably three issues always dominate the discussion, depending on the headlines. We all know they are Iran, Iraq, and the Middle East peace process. And none of these are simple issues, they are very complex, nor will we be able to review them exhaustively today.
    However, I hope that Assistant Secretary Indyk will be available to the Committee, both publicly and privately at regular intervals, so that we will not be without sufficient consultation for yet another year.
    Mr. Secretary, on behalf of our Committee's Members, I welcome you this afternoon. You may read your statement in full or summarize, whichever you may deem appropriate. It will be made part of the record of the hearing and we expect to send you additional questions to be answered for the record in the event that we do not have time to cover everything that we had hoped today.
    I do not see any of our colleagues yet. I know they will be joining us soon and they may have some opening remarks to make.
    Please proceed, Mr. Secretary.
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    Mr. INDYK. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. It is a pleasure and honor for me to appear before you in my new capacity. We have worked together before and I must say that I look forward very much to working with you and your staff on the areas within my responsibility in the Middle East.
    However, I know that you have an intense interest and have made a significant contribution. I know that it has been nearly 18 months since an Assistant Secretary for the Near East has appeared before you. I regret that that has been so long and I commit to you, and to your staff, and to your colleagues that I and my staff will be available to you whenever you need us for whatever consultations are appropriate and you have my commitment to working as closely as possible with you and the Committee.
    We have, you and I together, vital interests at stake in the Middle East and I wanted to just summarize my statement by speaking in particular about those three issues that you referred to in your opening statement, that is Iran, Iraq, and the Middle East peace process.
    Let me, first of all, emphasize the central elements of U.S. policy in the region. We seek to achieve a just, lasting, secure, and comprehensive peace between Israel and all of its Arab neighbors based on U.N. resolutions 242 and 338.
    We seek to maintain and strengthen our long-standing ironclad commitment to Israel's security and well being. We seek to nurture close relations and to promote common interests with our Arab allies. And, in the process, to ensure Western access to the area's vital petroleum reserves at market prices.
    We seek to combat terrorism and counter the spread of weapons of mass destruction, a scourge of a particular force in the Middle East. We seek to ensure that Iraq complies fully with all relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions and, in that process, we seek to prevent Iraq from ever again threatening its neighbors and our interests in the region.
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    We seek to encourage change in Iranian policies which threaten our interests, we seek to promote respect for democracy and human rights and the rule of law in this region, and, finally, we seek, especially through our embassies to enhance opportunities for American business in the Middle East.
    As you know, Mr. Chairman, in the 6 months since I've been Assistant Secretary, we have faced some very difficult issues, the foremost, of course, is Iraq's attempt to defy the will of the international community and its refusal to implement its obligations under the Security Council's resolutions.
    In addition, during this period, the President and Secretary of State, Ambassador Ross and myself have also expended considerable effort to try to rescue a stalemated peace process. During these 6 months, a potentially positive development has been the desire for change in Iran as manifested in the election last May of a new Iranian President, President Khatami.
    We are watching closely to see whether the positive rhetoric that has followed his election will be matched by positive deeds. I have to say, Mr. Chairman, that for the moment the record is still mixed in this regard.
    I would like to spend a few minutes laying out where we are now and how we intend to proceed on these three issues.
    On the Middle East peace process, since August 1997, we have been engaged in a vigorous effort to put the peace process back on track. This has been an ongoing effort, its dynamics determined solely by the need to overcome the prolonged stalemate on the Israeli-Palestinian track which has managed to stop all progress in the peace process for more than 1 year since the signing of the Hebron accord in January 1997.
    Our approach is aimed at creating the conditions necessary for fast-track permanent status negotiations. In order to do that, the parties need to address the following elements:
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    First, there needs to be enhanced security cooperation and an intensified effort, and a verifiable effort on the part of the Palestinian authority to fight terror and the terrorist infrastructure in territories under its control.
    Second, further redeployments in according with the existing agreements need to be implemented by Israel.
    Third, there should be a time out in regard to unilateral steps which undermine confidence in the negotiating process and this is, we believe, an obligation of both sides.
    And, finally, we believe there should be the resumption of permanent status negotiations and the conduct of those negotiations on an accelerated basis with a mutually agreed target date.
    These four points are designed to create an environment for these fast-track direct permanent status negotiations. I have to say after 7 months of effort, there has been some narrowing of the gaps on the four points. But not enough to get the parties to an agreement. Because it became apparent to us in this process that the parties lacked the trust to respond to each other, the President, in January meetings with Prime Minister Netanyahu and Chairman Arafat, provided some of his own ideas on ways to advance the process in these four areas in the hope that if they could not respond to each other, they would respond to us.
    I want to emphasize here that we have no intention of imposing a U.S. plan on the parties. What we are doing is what the parties have asked us to do, provide ideas and facilitate the process.
    There will be no American surprises in this process. The parties know in detail what our ideas are and we have discussed them with both sides on numerous occasions. I want to underscore, though, that it is important to remember we have been engaged in this particular exercise since last August. The President and Secretary of State have spent hours upon hours in direct discussions with the two leaders. We do not believe that more time, by itself, is going to break the current deadlock. What is needed now are the hard decisions by both sides that would allow an agreement to emerge, obligations to be implemented, and the final status negotiations to be resumed.
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    We are in the process now of assessing what more we can do to get the parties to do just that: deal with the hard issues that divide them.
    Why are we so keen to act? It is because of our sense that the strategic window for peacemaking is now closing. Where once there was hope, there is now disillusion. Where once there was a process of confidence building, there is now growing mistrust. Where once a regional coalition for peace was emerging, there is now a retreat toward the dangerous limbo of no war, no peace.
    When there is no progress toward peace, Mr. Chairman, we have seen in the past that a political vacuum develops and it is rapidly filled by extremism and violence.
    It is for these reasons that we believe that time is not on the side of the peacemakers and that it is essential that both sides, with our help, find a way to move forward, now.
    If I could turn to Iraq for a moment, we have been focused over the last few months, since October, with the challenge Iraq has posed to the will of the international community. In response to its blocking of UNSCOM and invention of bogus claims about American spies and areas that should be off limits, the United States has pursued a dual strategy of active diplomacy backed by the credible threat of force.
    That threat was made real by the deployment of a multinational coalition in the Gulf, including some 35,000 U.S. military personnel, two carrier battle groups, and over 350 American aircraft.
    So far, this strategy has proven successful. In the past week an UNSCOM inspection team, led by Scott Ritter, has been granted access to a series of so-called sensitive sites, including Ministry of Defense buildings that Iraq previously declared off limits. In fact, I believe Tariq Aziz declared that entry into the Ministry of Defense would be treated as an act of war.
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    Of course, Presidential site inspections are still to be undertaken. Nevertheless, the Iraqis have committed themselves before the world to full compliance with their obligations to immediate, unconditional, and unrestricted access to all sites as has been required by the many Security Council resolutions over the last 7 years.
    This crisis was created by Iraq's prevention of UNSCOM from carrying out its mission. The test of the success of the agreements is whether UNSCOM can now carry out its mission. The agreement negotiated by Secretary General Kofi Annan preserves UNSCOM's authority and integrity. But the value of the agreement will depend on whether Iraq is now prepared to cooperate in the complete destruction of its weapons of mass destruction capability, and the establishment of measures to verify that destruction and to ensure that it never reconstitutes those weapons again.
    That is a difficult task which we expect will take a long time to complete because of Iraq's record of obfuscation, obstruction, and deceit.
    If Saddam once again returns to those tactics, the United States is prepared, with her coalition partners, to take the actions necessary to reduce the threat of Saddam's weapons of mass destruction programs.
    Our quarrel is not, and has never been, with the Iraqi people. They are the victims of rulers imposed upon them by force. We have, from the very beginning, made sure that there was no prohibition on the import of food and medical equipment and drugs.
    We sponsored resolution 986 and more recently resolution 1153 which greatly expanded the oil-for-food program so as to ensure that the basic needs of the Iraqi people would be met despite the fact that Saddam Hussein was not prepared to meet them himself.
    And now, sir, there should be no complaint as over $11 billion of Iraqi oil revenues will be made available to provide for the basic needs of the Iraqi people. That will be done under a program, a U.N. program, that ensures the scrutiny of every contract signed, and the monitoring of the distribution in Iraq of the food and medical supplies purchased with these revenues.
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    Mr. Chairman, the latest crisis with Iraq has reminded us how much better off the Iraqi people, the Middle East region, and, indeed, the world would be if a new regime emerged in Iraq with a very different set of priorities.
    As Secretary of State Albright stated a year ago, we look forward to the day when we can work with a different government in Iraq, one which does not pursue weapons of mass destruction, threaten its neighbors, and oppress its people. We will look forward to the day when Iraq, under a different leadership, can again resume its rightful place among the community of peace-loving nations.
    And in that context we are therefore closely examining ways to reinvigorate our efforts to work with and support those Iraqis who advocate a democratic, pluralistic future for their country, one in which Iraq's resources are spent for the benefit of the people and not to maintain in power a regime that engages in brutal oppression at home and military aggression abroad.
    Mr. Chairman, while Saddam's rule of Iraq remains an unfortunately familiar problem, we have begun to hear demands for change inside Iran. It is unclear yet whether those voices, represented by the overwhelming mandate given to President Khatami in the Presidential elections, will prevail. But we are watching carefully the signs of change.
    While our focus continues to be on deeds, not just words, we have sought to respond to President Khatami's calls for a civilizational dialog and to encourage the change in policies that we seek.
    Recent unofficial contacts in such contrasting realms as sports and academia has demonstrated that our two peoples have no quarrels with each other. The warm welcome which Americans received in Iran recently is something that we welcome. And we are prepared to take steps to encourage those exchanges which can help to overcome the mistrust in our relations. But we continue to believe that official contacts are the best way to resolve the serious issues of policy between us.
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    In the meantime, as I know you are concerned, Mr. Chairman, and other Members of the Committee, we will continue our efforts as the Vice President is doing today with Premier Chernomyrdin to ensure that Iran does not acquire weapons of mass destructions that can threaten the region.
    Mr. Chairman, we face daunting challenges in the Middle East region as we head toward the 21st century. I am struck in my conversations with colleagues in the State Department how the Middle East, unlike just about any other region in the world, seems to be stuck in its past and we, because of our vital interest there, have a special responsibility to work with those in the region who seek peace, security and prosperity to try to ensure a better future for the people of that region.
    Thank you very much.
    [The prepared statement of Mr. Indyk appears in the appendix.]
    Chairman GILMAN. Before we proceed with questioning, do any of our Members wish to make any opening comments?
    If not, Secretary Indyk, how have the events of the past year changed the Administration's policies toward Iraq and Iran? Is the dual containment policy still in force? Or has it been suspended?
    Mr. INDYK. Yes. Indeed, there has been no change in our policy. The policy of dual containment has evolved over a number of years since it was first articulated, but it was a policy designed to meet the different threats posed by Iran and Iraq.
    In the case of Iraq, as I have already outlined, we face a regime fundamentally hostile to our interests, whose track record of aggression against its neighbors and its own people had rendered it an international pariah with Security Council resolutions mandated and sanctions alongside that to ensure that it was unable, again, to threaten its neighbors.
    And we have acted with our coalition partners to contain the threat posed by Saddam Hussein's regime. And we have made it very clear that we will continue that effort.
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    In the case of Iran, our containment policy was not aimed at the regime, it was aimed at specific policies of the regime, in particular, its efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction, its promotion of violent opposition to the Middle East peace process and its sponsorship of terrorism on a global scale, but particularly in terms of its efforts to subvert its neighbors and our friends in the region.
    The policy was designed to try to encourage change in those specific areas. We had no argument with the regime itself and have made clear, from the very beginning, that we were prepared for a dialog with the government of Iran. That continues to be the case today.
    What we are making clear, Mr. Chairman, is that as the Iranian Government, through President Khatami, expresses a desire for change, a desire for engagement with the United States, that is something that we are prepared to encourage. We will watch very closely to see whether the welcome words that have been spoken by President Khatami result in changes of policy in the areas that we are concerned about. And if they do result in those changes, we will respond appropriately.
    Chairman GILMAN. Thank you. Mr. Secretary, recently a number of us in the Congress have said that our nation needs to modify its policies toward Iraq for the immediate and long term. Among the suggestions that some of us have made, are to declare Saddam Hussein an international war criminal, to establish a Radio Free Iraq, to lift sanctions in the liberated portions of Iraq, to impose countrywide no-fly and no-drive zones, to recognize and assist a coalition of Iraqi opposition groups, and to release portions of frozen Iraqi assets to those groups.
    Can you tell me what the Administration's view would be of those proposals and which of those would you be willing to incorporate into some sort of a long-term strategy for dealing with Iraq?
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    Mr. INDYK. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. In terms, if I can take them one by one, we have in the past done what we could to support the effort to investigate Saddam Hussein's actions and to document them, particularly those actions against his own people and the gassing of the Kurds in Halabja, in northern Iraq.
    And that was an ongoing effort. We have a large amount of documentation in the Pentagon archives in that regard. That issue of pursuing a war crimes indictment against Saddam Hussein and some of the other issues that you mentioned, such as funding the opposition and funding for Radio Free Iraq are issues which we are looking at actively at the moment and I hope that we will be in a position to respond officially to the suggestions in the near future.
    As far as some of the other issues. Releasing of assets is something that we have looked at in the past. There are some strong legal objections, unless a government in exile was established and then it might be possible to do that. Lifting of sanctions in areas not under Saddam Hussein's control is a problem because of the leakage issue. If sanctions were lifted against northern Iraq and it were possible for goods to flow easily into there, it would be very hard, in fact impossible, to seal that border off from the rest of Iraq and therefore we would have a real problem.
    Indeed, Mr. Chairman, I think in that regard, we have to look at more active measures to strengthen the sanctions regime and tighten its enforcement and that is something we also are doing at the moment.
    Chairman GILMAN. Thank you. And one last question, Mr. Secretary. Is there any consideration by the Administration at this time of rescinding the May 1995 trade and investment ban on Iran? Are there any changes to U.S. sanctions on Iran being considered?
    Mr. INDYK. Mr. Chairman, as I said before, if there are real changes in Iranian policy, we would be prepared to respond appropriately. But we have not seen those changes and therefore we are not considering those kinds of actions.
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    Chairman GILMAN. Thank you. Mr. Lantos.
    Mr. LANTOS. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to welcome our distinguished Secretary. Let me congratulate him on the outstanding job he did in his earlier position and the equally outstanding job he is doing as Assistant Secretary for the region.
    I have a number of items, Secretary Indyk, that I would like to ask you to comment on. But I would like to run through these rapidly because we have very limited time. First, the agreement negotiated by Kofi Annan in Iraq. When we resumed our work here in Congress, I advised all of my colleagues that I am nominating Kofi Annan for the Nobel Peace Prize, which he so richly deserves.
    I want to make a comment about that nomination because I am as skeptical about the likelihood of the agreement lasting as many others are, but this has very little to do with the extraordinary diplomatic achievement of the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
    It is in the hands of Saddam Hussein to determine whether he will live up to the agreement or not, not in the hands of Kofi Annan, and I very much hope that the Secretary-General will be honored with the Nobel Peace Prize which he so fully earned.
    I would like to spend a moment on the peace process. It seems to me that one of the most significant obstacles to the peace process is the vicious and vitriolic anti-Israel propaganda in the media and the educational institutions currently under the control of the Palestinian authority. And I would like to ask you what, if any steps we are taking, to advise Arafat that as long as his media and educational system are preaching hate, the notion of a peace process becomes an oxymoron. We have placed a great deal of emphasis on Arafat making maximum effort to terminate terrorism and I think that was a correct emphasis, but I believe it is equally critical that Arafat terminate, in schools and educational institutions under his control and the media under his control, the absolutely mind-boggling vituperation and hatred and venom which is spewed at Israel every single day.
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    And I would like to ask whether the Administration could devote as much attention to this issue as it is properly devoting to the issue of terrorism.
    I would also like to ask you to comment on the reluctance of some of the Arab countries in the region in providing us with the degree of support that we should have received from them in the days and weeks leading up to confrontation with Saddam Hussein.
    These are the countries that we have saved from extinction. Kuwait and Saudi Arabia wouldn't exist had we not landed a half a million troops in the Gulf with appropriate naval and air presence, and I find it appalling that the very people whose existence we guaranteed have been so reluctant in expressing even minimal support for our actions.
    I would like to ask you, Mr. Secretary, to comment on the plans of the Administration to maintain substantial forces in the Gulf for an indefinite period of time. It seems to me that we have maintained in NATO in Europe, for two generations, a vast armada and we kept the peace. And I earnestly hope that we will not make the mistake that we made with respect to Bosnia by announcing early deadlines for withdrawal of the major portion of our forces.
    It is extremely inexpensive insurance to maintain a very sizable military force in the Gulf, which as we all know, and the Secretary-General of the United Nations clearly stated, is the fundamental back-up guarantee of Saddam Hussein keeping the agreement.
    Finally, two brief items. Are the Saudis still blocking cooperation in investigating the bombing of Khobar Towers? This outrageous incident costing American lives has now been pending for an inordinate and unconscionable amount of time. My understanding is the Saudis are not giving us full cooperation in getting to the bottom of this issue. I would like to ask you to comment.
    And finally, on the question of Russia, there have been reliable media reports that Russia continues to provide assistance to Iran to develop nuclear capabilities and I would be grateful if you could comment on the veracity of these reports.
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    Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Mr. INDYK. Thank you very much, Congressman Lantos, and it is a pleasure for me to have an opportunity to respond to your questions in this formal setting.
    I agree with you that the issue in the case of Kofi Annan's negotiated agreement is Saddam Hussein's decision on whether he will live up to his word and over how long a period of time in this regard.
    We had, as you know, some concerns about the agreement because of some ambiguities which have since been clarified, both in statements made by the Secretary-General, but more importantly, I think, in terms of the arrangements that have been made for the inspection of the Presidential sites where it has become very clear that the diplomats will only be observers, that the participants in the inspections will be UNSCOM technical experts under the authority of Chairman Butler. He will have operational control, together with, where appropriate, the head of the International Atomic Energy Commission.
    And, he, Chairman Butler, will report to the Security Council on these inspections. In addition, the Secretary-General has appointed a distinguished arms control expert, Ambassador Dhanapala who has an excellent reputation for the work that he did in the nonproliferation treaty review conference.
    And Chairman Butler has expressed publicly his delight at that appointment.
    The modalities have now been worked out. I believe they were presented to the Security Council yesterday for those inspections and we are generally satisfied that they will ensure that UNSCOM will retain control of this inspection process and its authority and integrity will be maintained.
    In addition, the agreement provides for inspections anywhere by any method at any time by UNSCOM throughout the rest of Iraq. As you know, Mr. Congressman, Saddam Hussein was blocking access by UNSCOM teams to sensitive sites and now an inspection has been undertaken, led by an American, Scott Ritter, of some very sensitive sites in the last few days and those inspections have gone ahead and Scott Ritter has expressed himself as satisfied with the cooperation he got from the Iraqi Government.
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    So that means that already UNSCOM has access to places that it did not have before, including some very sensitive sites.
    That is important, but of course we still have to test the Presidential site arrangements and we still have to see how long this cooperation will last. Given the track record, we have reasons to be skeptical about Saddam Hussein's willingness to actually cooperate in the destruction of his weapons of mass destruction.
    Second, on the issue of anti-Israel propaganda in Palestinian schools and Palestinian media. Again we agree with you. It is an issue we have taken up with the Palestinian authority. It is an issue that needs to be addressed in a serious and ongoing way. It is something that we feel should be addressed as part of this four-part agenda that we are trying to reach agreement on and we have some ideas that we have put to the parties as a way of helping to deal with this problem, but you are right. It is a high priority and I think it is very important if we are to rebuild the trust of both sides in this process, that there be no place for this kind of hostile and inciteful rhetoric.
    On the question of Arab support during the Iraq crisis, here, if you will allow me, I would like to express some disagreement with your assessment.
    We did receive the support we needed from our Gulf Arab allies and from others in the Arab world, especially Egypt. This is not something that they trumpeted because of the uneasy situation they themselves faced given the opposition in the Arab street to our determination to threaten the use of force and to use it if necessary to force Saddam Hussein to comply with U.N. Security Council resolutions.
    As far as maintaining the forces in the Gulf, as you know the President has committed to do that until we are satisfied that a pattern of compliance is established, but I would like to point out that the way that the forces have been structured, as well as the arrangements that we have negotiated for bases and access in the Gulf, including with every member of the Gulf cooperation council, we have the ability to move forces out and move them back rapidly. We are not in the same position as we were on the eve of the Gulf War when it took us a long time to build up our forces.
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    With the structure of our forces and the access agreements we now have negotiated since the Gulf War, we have the ability to move forces in there very rapidly and I think that is important to bear in mind. So nobody should be under the illusion that just because we draw down forces, that there is any reduction in our ability to build them up quickly and use them if necessary.
    On the question of the Khobar investigation, we are getting cooperation from the Saudi Government. There are difficult and sensitive issues involved in terms of their legal procedures and our legal procedures, but we are working closely with them and especially the FBI, which has responsibility for this investigation.
    Finally, in terms of Russian assistance to Iran and the nuclear field, you may have seen recent reports of the signing of agreements for construction of two new nuclear reactors. This is an issue of concern to us. We, I think, were successful in persuading the Russians to change the nature of their assistance for the nature of the Bushehr reactor so as to deal with some of our proliferation concerns. But with the signing of two new agreements those concerns come back again and it is something that we will be taking up with the Russians again to ensure that our efforts to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability are successful.
    Mr. LANTOS. Do you know if Vice President Gore is dealing with this issue at the moment since Mr. Chernomyrdin is here for his semiannual meeting?
    Mr. INDYK. I believe that it is an issue that he will be taking up with him.
    Chairman GILMAN. Mr. Bereuter. Thank you Mr. Lantos.
    Mr. BEREUTER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Secretary, you have the geographic area of the world that seems to have the largest number of security controversies, issues, and dramatic problems. It would be tempting to comment upon and pursue questions on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
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    I would just like to say—and the subject is brought up—that I believe the Administration is drawing the wrong conclusions from the intelligence reports about Russian-Iranian cooperation. There is nothing wrong with the intelligence. I believe you are drawing the wrong conclusions from those, and I suggest that the Israelis have a very different set of conclusions from basically the same intelligence. I think your interpretations are very dangerous to our national interests.
    I would like to focus mostly on Iraq, however. As you know, all of us in the Congress, as well as other officers, take an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States and focus on our national interest.
    There has been considerable concern over a period of time about the loss of sovereignty to the United Nations. I have dismissed most of those concerns as exaggeration and paranoia, but I would say that—as a result of recent comments by other members of the Security Council, by interpretation within this country, not from the Administration but from editorialists and others who regard themselves as experts—that I think there is a legitimate concern now about the potential loss of sovereignty, having to seek U.N. approval before we take action against Iraq, if or when, they violate the recent agreement about the ability of our U.N. inspectors to search for and destroy weapons of mass destruction and the delivery mechanisms for them.
    I don't think we have to stick our thumb in the eye of our friends at the United Nations, but I think that less ambiguity is called for in that respect. I would hope that it is very clear to the Administration that the majority of Members of Congress do not think there are any hoops that one has to go through before we would take action, even unilateral action if, in fact, we do not have a sufficient coalition of support among our allies. I think you are right to say you are skeptical about Saddam Hussein's compliance with the new agreement that the Secretary-General negotiated, based on the track record that we see before us.
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    I also wanted to say that I think most Americans who follow this issue and most Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, have skepticism, even little confidence, that these agreements will be kept by Saddam Hussein.
    I think it is your responsibility as Administration to begin planning to remove Saddam Hussein from power. I think, in fact, that if you do not do that, you are derelict in your responsibilities to the American people.
    So, I am hoping and expecting that that kind of planning is under way and that we are not going to be caught short. That does not mean we necessarily move in with a ground force to do that; there are other means, and you ought to be fully exploring them as an Administration because most Americans believe that, ultimately, that is the solution.
    We have a question before us that staff suggested which is, Mr. Secretary, what procedures will the United States have to go through before we may begin a military strike against Iraq? I think that is an inappropriate question. I hope it is. I don't think there are any. I think that is a national, sovereign decision on the part of the United States, and we ought not subject ourselves to any requirement or sanction or approval of some body that some would see as a supergovernmental body.
    Now, I do have a couple of specific questions, having delivered a few comments.
    Does the Administration have a timetable for Iraq compliance? I am not asking you what it is; that would be inappropriate for you to respond and bad tactics. Do we have one—even in general terms? And are our allies, particularly those that are supportive on the Security Council, in agreement with a timetable?
    Finally, I would ask you one more question with respect to Iraq. Is the Administration willing to use force unilaterally, if necessary, if in fact the agreement to permit U.N. inspectors to inspect all areas within Iraq is violated?
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    Mr. INDYK. Thank you very much, Congressman Bereuter. As far as your first point about our drawing the wrong conclusions from our intelligence reports about Russian cooperation with Iran, and that the Israelis have the right conclusions, I would just say to you that we are engaged in a very intensive exchange on these issues, as no doubt your Israeli interlocutories would have told you.
    And I think that we come up with, for the most part, very similar conclusions. I think that there is a general feeling that we have been making progress in getting Russia to take steps to terminate or restrict or limit its activities in missile cooperation. Our purpose is to ensure a full termination of that cooperation. We are not yet satisfied, but, as I said, we are making progress and I believe that that is the assessment of the government of Israel as well.
    On the second issue of your concern about loss of sovereignty to the Security Council, I would just make very clear, as President Clinton has made very clear, that we believe we have all the authority that we need, under the cease-fire resolutions, to take all necessary means to bring Iraq into compliance with Security Council resolutions, especially should it violate this agreement.
    There is no abrogation of our sovereign decision in that regard. We are prepared to use force unilaterally if necessary, but I don't think the word unilateral is appropriate in these circumstances because, although it is not generally credited in the public arena, we have at least 16 coalition partners, if it comes to the use of force.
    Mr. BEREUTER. Mr. Secretary, I hope it is not unilateral, indeed, but I am asking if you are prepared to do that if it comes down to unilateral action.
    Mr. INDYK. The answer is a clear and unequivocal yes.
    Mr. BEREUTER. Thank you.
    Mr. INDYK. Just sticking on Iraq for a moment, the question of timetable, the timetable for Iraq's compliance. We have no timetable in our minds. What is necessary is full compliance with all of the U.N. Security Council resolutions, and so there is no timetable. Just as long as it takes. There was an expectation that it wasn't going to take very long at all at the end of the Gulf War.
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    Mr. BEREUTER. Mr. Secretary, on the front end, if I may interrupt, the timetable. Do you have a timetable about how long we will permit noncompliance and stalling at the initial stages? How long are we going to be patient before, in fact, we get to the crucial facilities that we think we need to be inspecting?
    Mr. INDYK. Well, let me try to answer it this way, that we have been very patient in this regard. We made it clear that we were prepared to exhaust diplomacy and we did that. As a result an agreement was struck, but also as a result of our efforts to give diplomacy a chance, the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution which warned Iraq of the severest consequences should there be any violation of this agreement or its commitments.
    So I think that it should be very clear that if there is a clear violation, our response will be swift and decisive.
    Finally you asked about whether we are planning to remove Saddam Hussein.
    Mr. BEREUTER. No, I didn't. I'm just giving you my opinion that you need to be undertaking planning now for that.
    Mr. INDYK. OK. I'll take that on board.
    Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Bereuter. Mr. Menendez.
    Mr. MENENDEZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman, I have an opening statement for the record. I would ask unanimous consent to have it included.
    Chairman GILMAN. Without objection.
    [The prepared statement of Mr. Menendez appears in the appendix.]
    Mr. MENENDEZ. Mr. Secretary, the core bargain of the Oslo peace accord was that one side would cede land and political authority and the other would renounce terrorism and violence and commence to fighting those who continue to perpetuate such acts.
    Since the start of the process, one side, in my view, has ceded land and political authority, that is Israel. And yet 27 percent of the West Bank, most of Gaza, under Palestinian authority, on the other side, on the Palestinian side, violence and terrorism seem to continue as political tools.
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    And so I would ask you, first, would you characterize the Palestinian effort against terrorism and violence as meeting the standards that we expect under the Oslo accords and how would you describe the current state of Israeli-Palestinian security cooperation?
    Second, on a different matter. On Iran, I have increasingly voiced my concerns about U.S. voluntary contributions to the IAEA, which are in turn provided to Iran through the technical cooperation program.
    Last week, as you noted, Russia agreed on the construction of two more reactors at the Bushehr nuclear power station. There are two GAO reports, one commissioned by myself which talks about IAEA support for programs in rogue States and what I am concerned about, we have clear objections to the construction of these plants. When Secretary Albright was here, I asked her do we want to see this plant built and she said no.
    Yet we provide a very significant amount of money in voluntary contribution to this technical assistance program. That in fact provides technical assistance to Iran to go ahead and help them complete this Bushehr nuclear facility.
    It doesn't make sense to me. Should we be providing voluntary contributions when it doesn't coincide with our own nuclear nonproliferation goals?
    And, last, several Members of the House have been seeking a meeting with you, Mr. Secretary, including myself, as it relates to some claims of some of our U.S. companies with the Saudis and who are incredibly intransigent in this process. And I know that one of my views that I think is shared by some of my colleagues, is that we need to be advocates as other countries are for U.S. businesses, not only in opening up markets but in making sure that when we finally are engaged that we get paid when we do the work.
    And I find it increasingly difficult as we support countries throughout the region to find that they, in fact, do not meet the standards and the transparency that we expect. And I would hope we can get a meeting with you to at least discuss this process. I would like to hear your answers to my questions.
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    Mr. INDYK. Thank you very much, Congressman. In terms of your first question about how do we rate the Palestinian effort against terrorism and violence and security cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian security services, we are not satisfied with their performance and with the fulfillment of their obligations under the Oslo accords.
    As the Secretary of State has said repeatedly, what we expect and what we feel Israel has the right to expect under the agreement, is 100 percent effort in the area of security cooperation and the war against terrorism.
    There has been some improvement. We have worked very closely with the Palestinian security services and the Israeli security services, both to try to step up the cooperation and, more importantly, I think, to step up the enforcement against terrorists.
    The Palestinian authority and its security services have taken actions in recent months to shut down bomb-making factories and Hamas cells in territories under their control in the West Bank, acting on information provided by the Israeli security services, and I think that was a good example of the kind of cooperation that is necessary and needs to be stepped up.
    It is not cooperation across the board yet. Some Palestinian security services are working very effectively with their Israeli counterparts. Others are not. And that is an issue that we have taken up with Chairman Arafat and he is very well aware of the need to do something about that. And we hope that that will be taken care of in the near future.
    The effort needs to be pursued as a full-time effort, that is the message that we have made abundantly clear to Chairman Arafat. We have seen some improvement, but there is still a ways to go and we will continue to work that until we see the full effort that is necessary.
    On the technical cooperation with Iran, if you will allow me, this is not a subject that I am familiar with and something that I would like to look into and get back to you with an answer on that question.
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    [The information below was supplied following the hearing.]

    The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has not contributed to the construction of the nuclear power plant at Bushehr. Currently, the IAEA is funding only safety-related projects for the Bushehr reactor under its Technical Cooperation program.
    We have actively worked to limit the scope of IAEA technical cooperation with Iran to ensure that it will not support construction of the Bushehr reactor or provide any assistance in sensitive areas. We have succeeded in limiting the Agency's projects to areas that have no relevance to a weapons program.
    While we have successfully persuaded most nuclear suppliers—including recently China and Ukraine—to terminate their nuclear cooperation with Iran, we believe that seeking to terminate all IAEA-sponsored TC with Iran could undermine our overall approach to nonproliferation worldwide and even our efforts to ensure effective safeguards in Iran.
    That is because international political and financial support for the Agency's safeguards depends on adequate support for its TC program. Efforts to stop all TC to countries not found to have violated their international obligations could jeopardize support for strengthening safeguards worldwide and especially for getting Iran to accept the Agency's strengthened safeguards system, which we believe will give us the best chance of detecting any undeclared nuclear activities.

    Mr. MENENDEZ. But it is my understanding that we seek to have the nuclear plants——
    Mr. INDYK. Absolutely.
    Mr. MENENDEZ. So it would make common sense that we shouldn't be assisting that which would ultimately create the possibility of its accomplishment?
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    Mr. INDYK. I understand the question and I just am not aware of how the funds are going in the way that you suggest they are.
    As far as promoting American business abroad, and particularly in the case of Saudi Arabia, this is a high priority for the Secretary, for the bureau, and especially for our embassy in Riyadh. It is an issue which I personally took up while I was over there on my first trip. And the question of settlement of outstanding claims is an issue that we have been working on for a long period of time. Many of the cases have been resolved satisfactorily, others have not. I would welcome the opportunity to sit with you and your colleagues and go over these issues, but please be assured that it is something that we place a high priority on.
    Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Menendez. Mr. Davis.
    Mr. DAVIS OF FLORIDA. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Ambassador, I would like to ask you further about the U.N. Security Council resolution 1154 which represents several members of the Security Council apparently endorsing the severest consequences for Iraq under appropriate circumstances and my question to you is, in the, hopefully, unnecessary event that we forced to reconsider the need to take military action with respect to Iraq, can we expect to have greater support from some of these members of the Security Council, now having voted in support of this resolution, than we previously had and, if so, what form do you think that would take?
    Mr. INDYK. As you point out, Congressman Davis, the resolution 1154 warned Iraq of the severest consequences. That was a resolution that was passed unanimously by the Security Council. However, many of the members of the Security Council felt it necessary to explain that this was not an automatic approval for the use of force.
    As I explained to Congressman Bereuter, we believe that we have all the authority necessary under previous resolutions and resolution 1154 was not an effort to secure authority. I think it was misunderstood in that regard because we weren't seeking to secure authority, we were seeking to warn Iraq that if it violated these agreements, then it would face the severest consequences, as provided for under the previous resolutions.
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    As to how many of them would be with us in these circumstances, I think the answer is it depends on how outrageous the violation and the calculations of their other interests. In the case of Russia, and to a less extent, France, they have made very clear that they are opposed to the use of force and I would not be surprised, certainly in the case of Russia, if we saw that opposition again.
    But the way that we have handled Iraq's recalcitrance in this crisis is to show over a period of months that we were prepared to give diplomacy a chance. We have given diplomacy a chance, it has reached an agreement. If the agreement is violated, we have also made clear we are not going to go through this again and again and again every 3 months when Saddam Hussein decides he is not going to cooperate any more. And that is why the warning is there but the action will come as the result of our own decision.
    Mr. DAVIS OF FLORIDA. Apparently, since the February 23 agreement, the Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq, Mr. Tariq Aziz has made some statements that would appear to represent an interpretation of that agreement that is contrary to some of the expectations we have about the agreement.
    I'd be happy to share some of the specifics if you need that.
    What is our reaction to the interpretation of that agreement that he has put forward?
    Mr. INDYK. I think you may be referring in particular to the question of timing, of how long the inspections can last. From our point of view, it is very clear in the Security Council resolutions that there can be no time limitation on the work of UNSCOM. That repeat inspections are necessary, even with the transitioning from verification to long-term monitoring as allowed for in the Security Council resolutions.
    Even then there will still be inspections, surprise inspections, as a way of ensuring that the weapons of mass destruction are not being reconstituted.
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    So, the resolutions are very clear in that regard and nothing in the agreement supersedes those resolutions.
    Mr. DAVIS OF FLORIDA. Have his comments given rise to some concern on our part as to the level of good faith we can expect from the Iraqis as we go forward with this agreement?
    Mr. INDYK. Well, we don't place much store on the word of Saddam Hussein, but what we want to see is whether in this case the government of Iraq is going to live up to those commitments that it made to the Secretary-General.
    But that is precisely why in this resolution, because we don't place a great deal of store on it, the Security Council warned of the severest consequences if there was a violation because he's been violating oftentimes in the past.
    So I think our whole approach is to welcome the agreement, to make sure that UNSCOM's ability to do its job is preserved, and we believe it is, and to test the agreement for as long as it takes to achieve the full compliance with the Security Council resolutions.
    Mr. DAVIS OF FLORIDA. Thank you, Mr. Ambassador. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Chairman GILMAN. Thank you, Mr. Davis. Mr. Berman.
    Mr. BERMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Secretary it's good to have you here and, as of this time, 3:15 on whatever date this is, has the Administration made a decision on whether the announced investment by Total and Gazprom and the Malaysian Petronas Company constitutes a sanctionable act within the meaning of the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act?
    Mr. INDYK. I believe the answer, Congressman Berman, is no, but of course I've been here since 2 o'clock.
    But as of 2 o'clock, the answer is no.
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    Mr. BERMAN. I am intrigued by a paragraph in your testimony and I would like to get your answer to that, but having learned how this game is played, I would like to make a couple of other points too while the green light is on and then you can respond.
    The sentence I am intrigued by is ''We are watching to see whether this positive rhetoric'' vis-a-vis Iran, and I agree, there has been some positive rhetoric, ''will be matched by positive deeds. The record or the Iranian Government since Khatami's inauguration last August is still mixed.''
    Now that to me implies that the deeds are mixed. That there are some positive ones as well as continuations of what which we know is continuing. I am curious to hear a little bit about the positive deeds that allow us to say the Iranian Government has a mixed record.
    And ''recent unofficial contacts between America and Iranians have gone well.'' Does this go beyond the wrestlers? I am curious about that because I think Iran is a very important country, and I think it is important for us to know if things are happening there.
    With respect to the sanctions issue, I am not going to ask you about that now, but I do think there is a real issue of our credibility involved in the passage and signing of a law and then a decision which seeks to flout our actions and sort of dares us to move the way our law might require us to do.
    Mr. Bereuter and I had a chance to go to Israel in mid-February and to Jordan. Well, I went to Jordan, and we met with the usual folks one meets with on that kind of a trip. I left somewhat skeptical about just what the Israeli Government's feeling was in terms of moving the peace process forward. There had been a great deal of rhetoric. I came back actually seeing the cup as much more half full than half empty, which is not the usual reaction to taking this trip.
    I saw a leader of the Likud Government in a narrow coalition leading the party to a proposal which involves a level of concessions in terms of control of land on the West Bank and Gaza that no Likud leader had ever suggested before and a person who seems very intent if he can get agreements and get this process going in selling this initially to his coalition and, if not, to the Israeli people through the process of new elections.
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    I also developed a certain sympathy for the position. Without regard to where you end up in the withdrawal process, and putting aside all the other issues of security cooperation for a moment, to go into final status talks, where you've essentially already withdrawn from 75 to 90 or 100 percent (or at least in terms of your initial negotiating position you are prepared to withdraw), is asking quite a bit.
    So I just throw that out as a comment, my own reaction to that particular issue.
    I would like your reaction to this notion of the dispute about things like the airport and the port and industrial park area.
    We met with Chairman Arafat. He said he is not withholding his support for closure on those issues in order to make it appear that the peace process is not working and we were hopeful over there that there was some movement on it, but it still doesn't seem to close, and I wonder to what extent the Palestinian authority is keeping those things from happening in order to say that the peace process is stalemated and stagnant and I'd like your reaction to that. That's enough for now.
    Mr. INDYK. Thank you. I understand now the game, Congressman Berman. You get the green light and I get the red light.
    The Iranian record is mixed for a number of reasons. For example, I pointed out the areas of most concern to us. The issue of terrorism. President Khatami did make it clear in what I thought was an unequivocal statement in his CNN interview about the condemnation of killing of civilians, innocent people, including women and children, in Israel.
    And, although some of his other references to Israel were outrageous, that was an important declaration and one that he has followed up, more or less, in different places continuing in that realm.
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    He has also reached out to his Gulf Arab neighbors who have in the past been victims of Iranian-sponsored subversive activities that we also subsume under the rubric of terrorism because the activities have been terrorist in nature.
    And, although those Gulf Arabs are also cautious as we are in assessing what is happening there, they are engaging with the Iranians in testing this and see some progress in that regard in terms of less threatening Iranian behavior.
    President Khatami called on the Iranian pilgrims just recently, that will be going on the hajj this month, not to demonstrate. As you recall several years back those Iranian Government-inspired demonstrations caused a considerable amount of violence and disturbance and I think that is another indication.
    On the other hand, it is mixed because we continue to see support for terrorist organizations, particularly those opposed to the peace process. Again, there the rhetoric on the peace process has begun to change; in the Islamic conference declarations which the Iranians hosted, and other indicators that we have received of a suggestion of a change in Iranian approach. Also, the way they have hosted and treated Chairman Arafat who was effectively enemy No. One because he had entered into the Oslo accords with Israel and there has been a change in their approach to him.
    As far as the guest wrestlers are concerned, there are others. American academics, former policymakers, have been to Iran recently and were received well and were engaged in useful discussions there. That's the other thing I was referring to.
    And it is something that we do want to encourage. President Khatami has suggested that the best way to overcome mistrust is through a civilizational dialog, that is something that we are prepared to facilitate. But we really believe that the best way to overcome mistrust is to deal with the issues that are of concern to both sides. And we think that the only effective way to do that is through a government dialog.
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    I agree with you, Congressman Berman, and indeed it is my responsibility and those of other officials in the State Department to uphold the law in regard to ISLA and that is what we will do. I would say, though, that part of the intent of the law is to not only deter investment in Iran's oil sector, but also to encourage other countries to take action against Iran's efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction and its sponsorship of terrorism.
    And we have been using the law to some effect and that is an ongoing process to try to get Europeans and the Russians to take stronger steps in these two areas.
    As far as Israel, I would just make the point in terms of your observation about the cup being half full, that the Secretary of State has spent a lot of time publicly making clear that she believes that Prime Minister Netanyahu was serious about advancing the peace process. The problem is that, although a decision has been made by the Israeli Cabinet in principle to undertake a further redeployment in the West Bank, that agreement in principle, decision in principle, has not been implemented.
    And just as we are working full time on the Palestinians to get them to implement their obligations, we also think it is important that the Israeli Government move from a decision in principle to a decision to implement and that is what we are trying to do through this four-point package of ideas that we are putting forward.
    As far as the airport safe passage, seaport, and Gaza industrial State negotiations, again that is something that we are heavily involved with. Ambassador Walker, our ambassador to Israel, just hosted another session last night at his residence of Israeli and Palestinian negotiators, I think that it is true to say that the airport and the Gaza industrial state are close to conclusion. But they are not there yet and, as we have seen in the past in these negotiations, the last 5 percent or what the Prime Minister describes as one centimeter can often prove to be the most difficult.
    I don't think that will be the case. I don't think there are serious obstacles here. But I think it would be wrong to characterize the position of either side as foot dragging in this process. When the Secretary of State was last in Israel and also saw Chairman Arafat in Ramala, she dealt with this concern the Prime Minister had that Chairman Arafat was dragging his feet and Chairman Arafat said no, he wanted agreements and if they could reach agreements he would implement them and subsequently he made that commitment in writing.
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    And subsequently the negotiations have moved toward closure in these two areas, the airport and Gaza industrial state.
    But I think that until we can get the larger issues of implementation of obligations when it comes to security on the one side and further redeployment on the other, until we get those obligations implemented, it really is going to be very hard to get the process back on track.
    The airport, the industrial estate can help to create a better environment for those negotiations, but the fact of the matter is it's been more than a year since we've had an agreement in any area.
    And that has had a very negative impact on the whole peace process and the hearts of the people and that is why we feel it is very important to try to move these issues now.
    Mr. BEREUTER. [Presiding] Mr. Secretary, Ambassador Walker and his staff, I think, have been playing a very important role recently in this respect. They have been asked to do that by both sides. I think both sides can find the final 5 percent necessary to come to agreement on the airport and probably the port as well, and I would hope they would, based on what Mr. Berman and I heard.
    Your time has expired and I call the gentleman from New York, Mr. Ackerman, for 5 minutes.
    Mr. ACKERMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Good to see you again, Mr. Ambassador.
    In Fiscal Year 1998 Israel and Egypt each gave $50 million from their respective budgets to assist Jordan and, therefore, we didn't have to break through any of the caps that we had.
    Is there any plan for this to happen again in Fiscal Year 1999?
    Mr. INDYK. Yes, indeed. In order to stay inside the cap established by the Congress, we will need to find a way to take some of the aid from Israel and Egypt to make it possible to meet the other earmarks that the Congress made, particularly in the case of Jordan.
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    Mr. ACKERMAN. Did you say, to take the money from Egypt and Israel or to suggest to them that—as I understand it, we didn't take it from the account but they——
    Mr. INDYK. Ponied up.
    Mr. ACKERMAN. They ponied, yes, they bellied up to the bar and gave $50 million where they got it from, money being fungible.
    Mr. INDYK. In the case of Fiscal Year 1999, we have a different situation and that is that the government of Israel has come in, as you are probably aware, and suggested that it is prepared to agree to a phasing out of its economic assistance over a period of some 10 to 12 years.
    Mr. ACKERMAN. Beginning when, Mr. Ambassador?
    Mr. INDYK. Well, that is something that we will have to work with the Congress about that, but we would hope that it could begin in Fiscal Year 1999. And in that context, we have also been engaged in discussions with the Egyptian Government about phasing down their economic assistance.
    Actually as a matter of fact, the Egyptian Government had suggested this to us before the government of Israel had come in with its proposal. So we are already engaged in consultations on that with both governments and with Congress and I hope that we will be able to come up with an approach that is acceptable to all of you that would both initiate the phase-out in case of Israel and the phase-down in case of Egypt and provide for the other earmarks as Congress decides them.
    Mr. ACKERMAN. Thank you. My colleague, Mr. Berman, cited an intriguing sentence, I think he called it, in your statement about the mixed bag of positive and negative things done by Iran.
    I too was waiting to hear some of the positive or concrete things that they have done outside of granting an interview with Barbara Walters. And I know listening to Mr. Khatami is very interesting, but to cite statements that he makes as positive advances is somewhat curious; especially when we listen to the leadership of other nations around the world that are less than democratic when they say positive, things and their governments and regimes do things that are less than positive, to kind of put the statements aside and say we want to see action.
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    I don't know of any real positive actions, I do know of many negative things that the Khatami regime, if indeed it is his regime, has done and maybe you could, if there is something positive that they have done, share that with us.
    Another point I would like you to address is with respect to Iraq. My good friend, Chairman Bereuter had stated before, he did not invite your response, but he said that he believed you would be derelict in your duty if you were not planning for the removal of Saddam Hussein and I would like to hear what your response is to that. I don't think you are derelict in your duty if you have a policy disagreement with me, but perhaps on the issue itself, I don't know how one removes Saddam Hussein absent the use of force or violence or war, which I believe is clearly illegal to advocate under U.S. law.
    Is that in the works or do we have a plan to field a candidate against him in his next election and try to persuade the 99.9 percent of the people who vote against him to vote for some U.S.-sponsored write-in person or whatever, or is there some plan that the Administration has, and, in addition to that, with regard to discussing and sharing this with our allies, I think we've demonstrated that we also have a difficult time getting on the table in this legislature or in the Senate a resolution fully supporting the Administration to take unilateral acts.
    I think it would be difficult to line up some of our allies.
    And perhaps you can address that and if you have time, on your time, just to discuss the spread of political Islam in the region and what countries are faced with the greatest threats from that.
    Mr. BEREUTER Would the gentleman yield, just for clarification?
    Mr. ACKERMAN. Surely.
    Mr. BEREUTER. I thank the gentleman for yielding. Just so there is no misunderstanding, I do not mean to imply that assassination is the only way of removing Saddam Hussein from power. I do not want that to come across as my suggestion.
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    Mr. ACKERMAN. No, no. I knew that wasn't your suggestion because you would never suggest anything contrary to law, but I've run out of other alternatives as to how to get the guy out of there.
    Mr. BEREUTER. Thank you, Mr. Ackerman.
    Mr. ACKERMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Mr. INDYK. Thank you Congressman Ackerman. I think that I outlined to Congressman Berman the kinds of mixed signals that we have seen. There is one other that I could mention to you, that may fit your category of a concrete act, which is quite interesting.
    There's been a public report of smugglers of Iraqi gas oil complaining that the Iranians will no longer allow their waters to be used for that process. Now that doesn't fit exactly into the three categories of concern that we have outlined, but it does indicate a concrete act on the part of Iran which is, I believe, designed to enforce the Security Council resolutions against Iraq. And, therefore, it is something that we would welcome.
    But I would just say in general that we watch this very closely. In the case of terrorism, it is something that we have to watch all the time and we can't make a snap judgment about that.
    And the same goes for the other areas of concern. And we will continue to monitor it closely and we will report to you when we see those kinds of changes. But I wouldn't dismiss rhetoric completely. I have said in my statement repeatedly on the record that what matters is deeds, not words, but the words can also have an impact and this goes to your third question about the spread of political Islam or I'll redefine it as the spread of Islamic extremism which is threatening to our friends and threatening to our interests in the region.
    And here, President Khatami's words in terms of the condemnation of terrorism and extremism, not just in the case of killing innocent Israelis but also his opposition to the extremism that is occurring in Algeria, coming from the President of the country that led the Islamic revolution and promoted the export of the revolution and therefore promoted Islamic extremism across the region, all indicate a shift in approach. There were the clear references, I should say, in an interview with Christiana Ammanpour, not Barbara Walters, I just want to correct the record for both of them. Khatami made a clear expression about the need for civilizational dialog with the United States, the country that Iran routinely used to refer to as the great satan, and this does have an impact and so I don't want to exaggerate it but I think that it also is important that we acknowledge it and welcome it as I know you do.
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    In the case of Iraq, let me pick up on what you said about the effect on our allies. As you know, we depend on Security Council resolutions and the sanctions that accompany them to contain the threat from Iraq and to reduce its ability to retain or reconstitute weapons of mass destruction.
    And that depends on an international consensus. There is no U.N. resolution that calls for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, so I think it is an important point to bear in mind that, in terms of maintaining international support for the sanctions regime as a primary means of containing the threat from Iraq——
    Mr. ACKERMAN. I'm sorry. You are saying we would not consider either in the case of Saddam Hussein or any other leader the destabilization of their government without the concurrence of the United Nations?
    Mr. INDYK. No, on the contrary. What I am saying is, there would be a cost to declaring such an objective, because it could undermine the international support that we have for maintaining the sanctions regime.
    But, in terms of the options, we like to call it the overthrow option, I think both you and Congressman Bereuter and others, while making clear your support for it, have acknowledged the difficulties in achieving it. And there is really a question of how it can be done. It is not simply achieved.
    The Secretary of State made clear almost exactly a year ago that we would welcome the day when we could work with a new government in Iraq and when Iraq could resume its rightful place among the community of nations.
    We have supported in the past opposition groups to provide an alternative to Saddam Hussein and that is something we are looking actively at at the moment.
    Mr. BEREUTER. Thank you, Mr. Secretary. Mr. Hamilton is recognized for 5 minutes.
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    Mr. HAMILTON. Mr. Chairman, thank you very much. I apologize, Mr. Secretary, for being late. I want to commend you. I don't think you have yet been before our Committee in a public briefing. We are delighted to have you and I hope we have the opportunity to talk with you more. We certainly wish you well in your important responsibilities.
    I don't think the topic of Lebanon has come up, I may have missed it, but I don't think it has come up.
    Israel has been saying that they would withdraw unilaterally if the Lebanese armed forces had an effective authority in the southern zone there. Do we support the unilateral Israeli withdrawal under that circumstance?
    Mr. INDYK. Thank you, Congressman Hamilton. It is a pleasure for me to appear before you in this capacity.
    The United States is on record as supporting the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Lebanon. The government of Israel recently made clear that it is prepared to withdraw under U.N. resolution 425. We also support that resolution. And we would like to see negotiations, and not just between Israel and Lebanon, but on all tracks of the peace process, including negotiations between Israel and Syria.
    Mr. HAMILTON. Now the French are involved in this. Are they offering to supply peacekeepers if Israel withdraws?
    Mr. INDYK. I don't believe so, but I am not sure what the latest development is on that front. Defense Minister Mordecai was in Paris over the weekend, we don't have a readout yet of what happened there. I know the Israelis have suggested that the French might consider providing some support to the Lebanese army.
    Mr. HAMILTON. Do you think the Lebanese army is capable of securing the south? Or will they need some help?
    Mr. INDYK. I think that the Lebanese army, with some assistance from us, has become much more capable in recent years. It has demonstrated its ability to assert the authority of Lebanon in the Bakaa Valley against Mr. Tufali in recent months and so we have increasing confidence that it would be able to ensure security in the south but I think that the support of others, particularly the Syrians, will be quite critical in the fulfillment of its responsibility.
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    Mr. HAMILTON. Now, the peace process is at a low ebb, according to most observers, I think. We've had a stalemate there going on for quite a while.
    What are we going to do about that? And how serious is this stalemate? Let's reverse those questions. How serious is this stalemate?
    Mr. INDYK. We think it is very serious.
    Mr. HAMILTON. Is there a likelihood of violence breaking out because of the peace process not going forward?
    Mr. INDYK. Well, we certainly hope not, but we fear it. We have seen in the past when a vacuum is left, as a result of the peace process not moving forward, sooner or later violence breaks out and also in the past we have seen how wars have broken out when you have a prolonged period of no peace, no war.
    In this case it is dangerous because agreements were entered into by the PLO and the government of Israel and if those agreements are not fulfilled by both sides, then the disillusionment is compounded by the fact that an agreement has not been implemented.
    Mr. HAMILTON. Now, are we considering going public with our proposals?
    Mr. INDYK. Well, as I said in my written presentation, Congressman Hamilton, we are assessing our options at the moment. We have repeatedly discussed our ideas with both sides, we are working with both sides and we will continue to do that. I think it is important to stress that we have tried here to get behind an Israeli proposal for accelerated final status talks and make that work.
    Mr. HAMILTON. Let me ask one other question before my time expires. On the lifting of sanctions against Iraq, it is not clear to me under what circumstances we will do that.
    Now, let me tell you why it is not clear to me. There have been statements about tying those sanctions to Iraq's performance on destroying their weapons of mass destruction.
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    There have been statements indicating that the sanctions might be lifted when Saddam Hussein displays peaceful intentions. And there have been sanctions indicating that the sanctions would be lifted when all resolutions have been complied with.
    What is American policy now on the question of when we are prepared to lift sanctions against Iraq?
    Mr. INDYK. Well, I am tempted to answer all of the above because that is what is spelled out in the Security Council resolutions. And our position is that sanctions will be lifted in accordance with the Security Council resolutions when Saddam Hussein has complied with those resolutions.
    Mr. HAMILTON. All of them.
    Mr. INDYK. All the relevant resolutions.
    Mr. HAMILTON. In practical terms, what does that mean? What must Iraq do to have the sanctions lifted?
    Mr. INDYK. Well, there are a number of requirements in the Security Council resolutions to have all the sanctions lifted that include not only Iraq giving up its weapons of mass destruction, and allowing for a full declaration of how it acquired its weapons of mass destruction, but the implementation of a verification process and a long-term monitoring process. In addition to that, there are a number of other provisions that relate to Kuwaiti property and accounting for Kuwaiti POWs.
    Mr. HAMILTON. You can understand that it is one thing to say there is a list of conditions here that Iraq must meet in order for the sanctions to be lifted. And that is spelled out one, two, three, four, five in the resolutions.
    It is quite another thing to come along and say that we must have peaceful intentions from Saddam Hussein and that, I think, as high officials have said within the government, is just not likely to occur.
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    And that gives the impression that we are not going to lift the sanctions until Saddam Hussein is gone.
    Now in your response, you have never indicated at any point that the lifting of the sanctions is tied to the reign of Saddam Hussein.
    Mr. INDYK. No, I think that the Secretary of State has tried to clarify this and I will just keep my answer to what she has said is that if Saddam Hussein complies with all of the requirements of the resolutions, then we will go along with what the resolutions say, but that there is an if there, there is a big if, and given his past record we are very doubtful that, in fact he would go along.
    Mr. HAMILTON. My time has expired. I would like for you to submit for the record, if you would, a precise answer to my question. And if the answer is that he must comply with all resolutions, then I would like to see that spelled out specifically as to what he must do in terms of actions to comply with all resolutions.
    Mr. INDYK. I will be glad to do that.
    Mr. HAMILTON. I know it is a difficult question and I appreciate your response to it. I also think it is a key question in terms of our future policy there.
    [The information below was supplied following the hearing.]

    It is our long-standing policy that Iraq must demonstrate its peaceful intentions—in word and deed—before there can be any consideration of lifting sanctions. This position is consistent with the letter and spirit of UNSCR 687, which established the cease-fire at the end of Desert Storm, and was articulated clearly by Ambassador Pickering (then U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations) in his explanation of the U.S. vote in favor of the resolution.
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    Iraq could best demonstrate its peaceful intentions by complying fully and unconditionally with the terms of all the relevant U.N. resolutions dealing with Iraq's invasion of Kuwait and its aftermath (there are now over 40 such resolutions). It has consistently failed to do so. These resolutions do not refer only to Iraq's obligations to declare and destroy under international supervision all its WMD and long-range missile systems, but also stipulate that the government of Iraq must, among other things:
    1. Account for all missing Kuwaiti POWs/MIAs;
    2. Return all property (including military hardware, cultural artifacts, and archives) stolen from Kuwait during the occupation;
    3. Cease the oppression of Iraqi citizens (including ethnic minorities in the north and south of the country);
    4. End support for terrorist organizations and cease carrying out acts of terrorism.
    In accordance with UNSCR 687, the Security Council has met 37 times to determine, based on the policies and practices of the government of Iraq, whether to reduce or lift sanctions. To date, the Council has never determined that the policies and practices of the government of Iraq provide a sufficient basis to consider lifting sanctions.
    The experience of the last 7 years makes us highly skeptical that the current government of Iraq will ever take the steps necessary to have sanctions lifted. As Secretary Albright stated last March, the evidence is ''overwhelming'' that Saddam Hussein's intentions will never be peaceful. The record of Iraqi intransigence and defiance of the Security Council over the past 7 years underscores the importance of weighing Iraq's intentions carefully in any consideration of lifting sanctions.

    Mr. BEREUTER. Thank you, Mr. Hamilton. That will be helpful to all of us.
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    Mr. Sherman, do you have questions? The gentleman from California is recognized for 5 minutes.
    Mr. SHERMAN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It is said that politics should stop at the water's edge and traditionally this means Democrats and Republicans should get together. There is another conflict in Washington that occasionally flares up and that is the executive branch versus the legislative branch.
    And I think we all agree that politics should stop at the water's edge in that occasional area of discord as well.
    I know that later this afternoon we are going to be taking up the War Powers Act and behind closed doors representatives of the State Department have had rather harsh things to say about my colleague.
    Yes, they have, Mr. Campbell.
    And the thinking seems to be that my good friend, and co-Californian is unnecessarily bringing conflict between the executive and the legislative branches of government into the international sphere. It occurs to me in some of the conversation that I've had with people at the State Department that they believe that both branches can get along on what they describe as the basis of complete congressional capitulation. Cooperation through capitulation.
    The wiser people that I have talked to at the State Department recognize that you are going to be in the best position to defeat Mr. Campbell's well-considered, but perhaps, untimely position, if the State Department, when there is a statute that isn't clearly constitutional, uses its best efforts to implement both the spirit and the letter of the law.
    In other words, when we pass a statute that is clearly constitutional, you folks ought to try to implement it. When we pass a statute that you have constitutional questions about, perhaps, sometimes we should not go straight on a collision course.
    I wonder whether the Administration questions the constitutionality of the Jerusalem Embassy Relocation Act and, if not, is it your intention to comply with this constitutional statute or to defy it?
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    Mr. INDYK. Thank you, Congressman Sherman. I really wasn't sure there for a while where you were headed, but now I understand.
    I am not a lawyer.
    Mr. SHERMAN. Quit bragging.
    Mr. INDYK. I know that there are some constitutional concerns in regards to this legislation. The President allowed the legislation to pass into law but did not sign it and made clear at the time that he was committed to doing whatever he could to preserve and promote the peace process and he was not going to allow actions to be taken that would undermine the peace process.
    And, in that context, he referred to the waiver authority that was allowed him in the legislation.
    Mr. SHERMAN. But that waiver authority is only another 6 months, then you are required to either defy the legislation or comply with it. Is that correct?
    Mr. INDYK. No. I don't think that is correct. The legislation requires the establishment of an embassy in Jerusalem by May 1999. And therefore it is my responsibility to uphold the law and I will do so.
    Mr. SHERMAN. Do you have logistical plans or does the State Department have logistical plans to open that embassy on time in May 1999?
    Mr. INDYK. I think, as we've made clear, we are not going to take actions that would cause problems for the peace process. However——
    Mr. SHERMAN. So you would defy the laws that are constitutionally passed by this Congress if you thought that necessary to advance and to preserve the peace process?
    Mr. INDYK. I don't believe that we are faced here with two irreconcilable requirements. That is, I believe that No. 1, in terms of the language of the law, my responsibility is to give the President the options to be able to implement the law as it requires to establish an embassy in Jerusalem as we have outlined in various reports to the Congress. There are different ways of achieving that objective. We could not achieve that objective by building an embassy because it could not be completed by May 1999. But in the end, the President will have to make a decision as to whether he is going to go ahead with that and establish an embassy or whether he is going to use the waiver authority given to him under the legislation.
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    Mr. BEREUTER. The gentleman's time has expired. The gentleman from California, Mr. Campbell, is recognized for 5 minutes.
    Mr. CAMPBELL. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Ambassador Indyk, I have a question about the distribution of the proceeds of the permitted petroleum sales for children's food and for medicine and I am probably not referring to it precisely enough, but I think you know what I mean, the notion whereby some of the petroleum would be allowed, and the United Nations just recently allowed that number to be increased.
    A constituent asked a question to which I did not have the answer and perhaps you do. Why don't we set up some sort of an escrow or some sort of a third-party entity that sells the petroleum and then takes the proceeds and makes sure it just goes to food and children's care because I think our position has been that, at least up until the recent increase, we were worried Saddam Hussein would use the proceeds for his armament.
    Would you take a moment, kindly, and explain to me what the present situation is and why that third-party escrow idea has not been implemented if it has not.
    Mr. INDYK. Certainly Congressman Campbell, let me just take the opportunity, since Congressman Sherman seemed to be implying that somebody had something negative to say about you that to my knowledge nobody in the State Department has said anything negative about you and I wanted to reassure you.
    Mr. CAMPBELL. Thank you.
    Mr. INDYK. As far as this idea of an escrow account, the fact of the matter is that all of that money is now escrowed into a U.N. account and the money is only paid out of that escrow account when the 661 committee in the United Nations approves contracts for the importation of goods, particularly food and medical supplies for Iraq.
    Now, with the expansion of the oil for food program and the Secretary-General's recommendation that the revenues from the sale of oil also be used for rebuilding infrastructure, we are faced with a new challenge. In fact the Security Council hasn't acted on that recommendation yet and has instead asked for a report from the Secretary-General on what, in fact, would be involved there.
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    If it is a matter of money going to rebuilding schools and health clinics that provide for the basic needs of the Iraqi people, we would support that.
    But we would want to make sure that the same procedures are applied. That is escrowing the money, scrutinizing the contracts, and then monitoring in Iraq, through U.N. monitors, how the money is actually used so that we ensure that the Iraqi people, rather than the Iraqi regime, benefit from this process.
    Mr. CAMPBELL. One followup, if I may. During the time before this recent increase, the Administration and many in Congress argued that America is not responsible for the pictures that Saddam Hussein shows to the world of starved people. And we argue that that is because he has used money which could go to help them instead for his weapons.
    What you just described to me, though, makes that a logical difficulty insofar as the money in question is the petroleum money. Or another way of putting it is we could solve the problem of those starving children if we had more money in that escrow given that we are supervising how it goes. Could you clarify that for me?
    Mr. INDYK. Yes, that is precisely what has been arranged here. Iraq will be allowed to export more oil to increase the amount of money in the escrow account that could be used for those purposes and I think it is an important point to underscore, that is that he has made a great deal of propaganda out of his own failure to meet the basic needs of his people, claiming that it was the sanctions that were doing it. And it is, of course, a big lie because of course the sanctions never restricted the importation of food or medical supplies.
    But it clearly had an impact, particularly in the Arab world, especially when it was CNN, the American television station that was showing these things.
    Mr. CAMPBELL. I apologize for interrupting, but it is just a minute left of time, or less. So the argument was he was not using his own money adequately to take care of his own people. But that could have been rebutted had we increased the amount earlier, we just decided to increase it. What's wrong with that logic, that we were late in increasing the amount of petroleum he could sell for this escrow purpose.
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    Mr. INDYK. Well, I think the belief in the international community, it wasn't just our belief, that the amount of money, $2 billion every 6 months would be enough to meet the requirements of the Iraqi people. There was some slowness in implementing that probably out of concern to make sure it was going to the right places and, I think, there was a feeling, certainly on the part of President Clinton, that we needed to make absolutely clear that as far as the basic needs of the Iraqi people were concerned, the international community was not the problem with Saddam Hussein. That's the logic of expanding the amount.
    Now, so I will be very clear, with $11 billion in revenues available, no one should believe that somehow the basic needs of the Iraqi people are not being met.
    Mr. CAMPBELL. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
    Mr. BEREUTER. The gentleman from Tennessee, Mr. Clement, is recognized.
    Mr. CLEMENT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Secretary, congratulations to you. The Israeli prime minister, or finance minister came to Washington recently with a proposal to reduce Israel's substantial annual economic assistance levels $100 million a year each year over the next decade with the goal of eliminating economic aid and to supplement Israel's military assistance with a $50 million increase for every $100 million decrease in economic assistance.
    Does the United States support this proposal?
    Mr. INDYK. In general terms, Congressman Clement, we do support it, we welcome it. We think it is an important move by the government of Israel that will reduce its dependence on our economic assistance. I think that it can do so without affecting Israel's general economic performance, an economy that now has a GNP of $100 billion.
    And so, it is capable of absorbing that kind of change. I would say in terms of the details this is something that we want to work out with the Congress and with the government of Israel and we are working with both you and them now to try to come up with a plan in the general area that you have described, so that there can be a phasing out of economic assistance and at the same time, that we can provide for our shared commitment, that is the Congress' and the Administration's commitment to maintaining Israel's security and its qualitative edge.
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    And I think that the principle of providing some increase in its military assistance is also logical in this context.
    Mr. CLEMENT. The travel ban on Americans going to Lebanon was lifted last year. How has it worked? What problems have occurred and why are ticketing restrictions on travel to Lebanon still enforced and when will the Department of Transportation and the NSC enable ticketing restrictions to be removed?
    Mr. INDYK. I think that the lifting of the travel ban has been very positively received, both in Lebanon and, of course, here within the Lebanese-American community.
    As you point out, there is still a problem of ticketing that has to do with the Department of Transportation's requirements and that is something that we are working on with them because we would like to see that problem resolved.
    Mr. CLEMENT. Mr. Secretary, following up on what Mr. Hamilton asked you earlier about Saddam Hussein and about lifting economic sanctions and with the statements being made by the Administration about Saddam being a madman and dictator, all of which I agree with, how in the world are we going to ever lift those economic sanctions as long as Saddam Hussein is in power with the amount of statements and what has transpired over this period of time?
    Mr. INDYK. Well, as I mentioned to Congressman Hamilton, given his record, we find it hard to believe that he will comply with the requirements of the Security Council resolution so that the issue is a hypothetical one. And that is the way that we are treating it, but the Security Council resolutions spell out in detail under what circumstances the sanctions and different sanctions would be lifted and we insist that he comply with all of the security council resolutions and we would uphold them too.
    Mr. CLEMENT. Thank you.
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    Chairman GILMAN. [presiding] Thank you, Mr. Clement. Mr. Gejdenson.
    Mr. GEJDENSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I just have a couple of quick questions. Nice to see you again. Congratulations. Let me first ask, in this latest confrontation and I think the Administration did a masterful job in using diplomacy and the threat of force, and I commend you frankly, as many have condemned you, but I commend you for using the United Nations because it is much more effective to act as a world body. I would ask, my first question, how are the Egyptians in all of this, as America looked around for stations to base operations out of or to fly over territory, were the Egyptians helpful?
    Mr. INDYK. Yes, they were, Congressman Gejdenson. They were very helpful.
    Mr. GEJDENSON. So the Egyptians were helpful. How were the Saudi Arabians?
    Mr. INDYK. Also helpful.
    Mr. GEJDENSON. The Saudi Arabians were helpful?
    Mr. INDYK. Yes, indeed.
    Mr. GEJDENSON. And they offered the use of their bases if necessary for American forces.
    Mr. INDYK. Well, oh.
    Mr. GEJDENSON. So how were they helpful?
    Mr. INDYK. Let me make clear, Congressman Gejdenson, that in the case of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Jordan, I may have missed some, we received the support that we needed and we received the support that we requested.
    In terms of going into details on this, it is a little sensitive in public forum and if you will allow me to explain why, if you want to hear why, but I think it is important to understand that in this crisis, our Arab allies were with us but they were not prepared to advertise their support for our efforts.
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    Mr. GEJDENSON. I understand. I frankly had different information, that frankly the Saudis were not helpful, that they, and it seems to me, not just in this instance, but in the peace process and elsewhere, I think the Saudi Arabians have come to a stage of maturity where they should be playing a greater role in helping develop stability in the Middle East and I am frankly frustrated that America's foreign policy, although we spend a lot of time talking about Israel and the Middle East and others, we've expended a significant amount of effort on behalf of the Saudis, there is apparently some frustration with the review of the incident where Americans died in Saudi Arabia, their failure to be cooperative with our investigative authorities.
    And I'll take you at your word, but my understanding was the Saudi Arabians were not ready to be as helpful as others in the region, even though a big piece of what happened under President Bush was for the protection of the Saudi Arabians.
    I frankly have not seen the Saudi Arabians fulfil the commitments they made to this Member and other Members of Congress during the Gulf War about playing a new and more supportive role in the peace process and as much blame as we can put on the two main participants for that process, not moving forward, I think we'd be in a much stronger position if a country like Saudi Arabia helped energize the peace process and not be considered helpful by simply standing on the sidelines.
    So, I am going to look forward to talking to you in private and, hopefully, some of my opinions might be changed, but I frankly am getting very frustrated with the Saudi Arabia that is happy to be a secret friend. And secretly in support of the peace process but doesn't take the actions that other countries that are oftentimes less capable are willing to take in favor of the peace process.
    Great to see you and I look forward to chatting with your.
    Thank you Mr. Chairman.
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    Chairman GILMAN. Thank you Mr. Gejdenson.
    Before winding up, I just have a few short questions and then we have to go on to our markup.
    What light, Mr. Secretary, can you shed on Hagath's report in the Israeli newspaper, H'Arte's today? That report said that on the orders of the State Department, our government refused to approve a contract between the U.S. and Israel Aircraft Industries that would have allowed IAI to launch the Shavit missile from U.S. territory, on the grounds that Israel is not a signatory to the NPT.
    Is this report true?
    Mr. INDYK. I haven't seen that article, Mr. Chairman. This relates to some rather complicated legislation. I am not sure it is related to the NPT issue, but rather the MTCR issue, but it is something that I will gladly look into and get you an answer.
    [The information below was supplied following the hearing.]

    In January, the State Department received a request from the U.S. firm, Coleman Aerospace, for approval of a Technical Assistance Agreement that would allow it to form a partnership with Israel Aircraft Industries to bid on a NASA contract for a small space launch vehicle. Coleman Aerospace proposes to build a 51% U.S. content space launch vehicle based on IAI specifications. The rest of the vehicle's content would be imported from Israel to the United States.
    The U.S. Government is still evaluating the proposed cooperative effort between IAI and Coleman. Per our nonproliferation policy, the United States generally does not support Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) Category I development efforts with countries that are not MTCR partners. However, we are examining ways to allow the companies to bid on the project with appropriate safeguards that would ensure there would be no transfer of MTCR-controlled technology from the United States to Israel. This application is under active consideration and we hope to come to a decision soon.
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    Chairman GILMAN. I'd welcome it. Just a few days ago the Kuwaiti National Assembly legislative committee voted down a bill that would give women the right to vote and run as candidates to that body, and its unanimous vote was based on a religious decree by the Ministry of Islamic Affairs.
    Knowing the priority that Secretary Albright places on women's issues, what has she said is the U.S. position about suffrage for women in Kuwait and throughout the region?
    Mr. INDYK. I am sorry, Mr. Chairman, I just missed the last part of what she said about?
    Chairman GILMAN. What is Secretary Albright saying on the U.S. position about suffrage for women in Kuwait and throughout the region?
    Mr. INDYK. You are quite right that this is an issue that the Secretary takes seriously and it is a subject which she has raised in her meetings with leaders throughout the region. She even once suggested at a meeting of the GCC that she expected to see some women meeting with her in the future.
    And this is something that she will continue to press and we will continue to press. Kuwait has made significant strides in terms of progress toward democracy and its elections process. It has a vibrant parliament, but we would, certainly, want to see universal suffrage there and that is a point we have made to the Kuwaitis and we will continue to make to them.
    Chairman GILMAN. Thank you. What is the outlook, Mr. Secretary, for conclusion of a sale of F–16s to the United Arab Emirates? What factors have contributed toward the lengthy delay in a decision by the UAE on which aircraft to buy?
    Mr. INDYK. I believe that in the case of the sale of F–16s to the UAE that that sale will go forward. There have been a number of complicated negotiations as is the case with every very large purchase of military equipment and that has taken some time to deal with. There was some pretty intense competition from other countries as well.
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    But, as I said, I believe that sale will go forward and I hope it will be consummated in the near future.
    Chairman GILMAN. One other question. Although our AID office in Saana, Yemen has been closed, it is important for our nation to maintain a presence in Yemen and to help that country develop. Since Yemen is the poorest country on the Arabian peninsula, do we support continued U.S. funding for a maternal/child health care program in Yemen?
    Mr. INDYK. Thank you for that question. It gives me a chance to say on the record that, yes, we do support that. We welcome the interest in Congress in the program. I think it is important in terms of developing our relations in the Middle East that we do look to find ways to cultivate our relations with the have-not countries and not just the countries that are well-endowed with oil or geo-strategic position.
    Yemen is a country that is interested in developing its relations with the United States. It is a very poor country and I think there are some things that we can do there to help nurture that relationship.
    Chairman GILMAN. Mr. Secretary, a final question. Israel and Egypt have been formally at peace for more than 20 years now. Yet, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak said yesterday, and I quote, ''Ever since the Netanyahu Government came to power, the world is turned upside down.'' Such a broad statement seems to be yet another example of blaming everything in the world on Israel. This is particularly troubling since our ambassador to Egypt, Dan Kurtzer, complained today in a newspaper article about a government-run weekly magazine, Rose-el Youssef, which carried an article headlined: ''Jewish purification of the American ambassador's kitchen'' alongside a photo montage depicting the Ambassador with ringlets and the hat of a Hasidic Jew.
    The magazine accused Kurtzer of presenting himself as a Jewish rabbi disguised as a diplomat.
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    What formal steps will Secretary Albright take to respond to this upsetting article?
    Mr. INDYK. First of all, in terms of your first point, we do not believe that Israel is solely responsible for the stalemate in the peace process. We have repeatedly made clear that it is important for both sides to implement their obligations under the agreement to get the negotiations back on track.
    As far as this disturbing article in Rose-el Youssef, I agree with you that this is unacceptable and an outrageous attack on our very fine ambassador in Cairo. He has had many years of service in the State Department and in the region and is one of our most distinguished ambassadors.
    Rosel Yousef is an opposition paper in Egypt, but that makes it no more acceptable.
    I would just quote you what Ambassador Kurtzer wrote in a letter to the magazine protesting this article.
    He said, ''This is no way to treat a friend, a guest in your country, a foreign ambassador and one who has devoted his entire life to improving U.S.-Egyptian relations.
    ''It is also no way to treat a human being who tries to observe his faith with the same dignity and respect that Muslims and Christians observe in practicing their religion.''
    I think, Mr. Chairman, that is an eloquent statement of opposition.
    Chairman GILMAN. It certainly is and I hope there will be an eloquent response.
    Thank you for appearing. Thank you for your patience. I reserve the opportunity for the Committee to submit any further questions, and I hope the Department will respond in a reasonable manner.
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    The Committee will stand adjourned for a few minutes while we prepare for our markup.
    [Whereupon, at 4:17 p.m., the Committee adjourned subject to the call of the Chair.]


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