USIS Washington 

18 September 1998


(Berger says US bombing of Sudan factory justified) (890)

By Wendy S. Ross

USIA White House Correspondent

Washington -- President Clinton will discuss terrorism and the
obligation of the international community to fight it in his September
21 speech before the United Nations General Assembly.

He will "speak to the international community about why the fight
against terrorism has become one that has to be at or near the top of
our world agenda," National Security Advisor Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger
said in a September 18 White House briefing on the President's
appearance at the opening of the 53rd annual UN General Assembly
meeting in New York.

Clinton "will point out that with the spread of information technology
and the potential spread of weapons of mass destruction, the
technology of terror has become more lethal and more available, and
therefore there is a greater degree of common responsibility to deal
with this issue together," Berger said.

"He wants to make it clear to the international community that the
fight against terrorism is not a clash of civilizations or cultures.
The dividing line is between those who practice, support, and tolerate
terror, and those who understand that terrorism is plain and simple
murder. And he wants to press his case that the only way to succeed in
the combat against terrorism is working together and understanding our
common obligations to deal with this increasingly serious problem,"
Berger said.

While in New York, the President will hold three bilateral meetings.

The first will be September 20 with Italy's Prime Minister Romano
Prodi, and will "focus especially on the problems in Kosovo and in
Albania, where the Italians obviously are critical partners to us in
seeking to restore some peace and stability," Berger said. Prodi and
Clinton also are expected to discuss the world economic situation and
the situation in Russia.

On September 21, following his speech to the UN General Assembly,
Clinton will meet with Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Those
discussions will focus on ways to stop the spread of nuclear weapons.
"As you know," Berger said, "we've had a close relationship with
Pakistan for many years and we hope to work with Pakistan in the years
to come. However, Berger pointed out, that relationship, and US
relations with India, have been complicated by the nuclear tests the
two countries conducted in May.

He said the administration has not yet decided on whether Clinton will
visit India and Pakistan, as planned, later this year.

"We have discussed with the Indians, and with the Pakistanis, the
steps that we think need to be taken to put them back on track, as I
say, more firmly back on track in the nonproliferation regime. I think
there has been some movement, but I think so far it's been
insufficient," Berger said.

Clinton's third bilateral meeting will be with Japanese Prime Minister
Keizo Obuchi September 22 at the Rockefeller estate at Tarrytown,
outside New York City.

"This will be the first meeting between the new Prime Minister of
Japan and the President," Berger said.

He said Clinton will stress the importance to the world of economic
reform in Japan "and our sense of urgency that it is important that
Japan move forward to stimulate its economy through fiscal policies,
that it deal with its banking crisis ... and that it continue to deal
with deregulation and market access."

He added that the two leaders will discuss a number of other issues,
particularly North Korea, whose "launch of the Taepo Dong missile over
Japan on August 31 obviously has been troubling both to us and to the

President Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton will also
participate September 21 in a conference sponsored by New York
University (NYU) on strengthening democracy in the global economy. The
President will engage in a roundtable discussion with Prime Minister
Tony Blair of Great Britain, Prime Minister Prodi, President Petar
Stoyanov of Bulgaria, and Prime Minister Goran Persson of Sweden.

That discussion "should be a fairly free-flowing conversation among
the leaders about their practical experience in devising new methods
of governance to deal with promoting democracy, civil society, in the
global economy," Berger said.

In answer to a reporter's question, Berger said the US strike August
20 on a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan was justified because the United
States had "a high level of confidence" that that plant was also
making a chemical called EMPTA, which is essentially the penultimate
precursor to VX gas.

"There are very few steps, maybe even only one step, between EMPTA and
VX nerve gas," he said. The plant "is part of a Military Industrial
Corporation of which Usama Bin Ladin is associated. He seeks chemical
weapons for the purpose of using them for terrorist action. I think
the case is very strong."

It "would have been irresponsible" not to strike that plant, Berger

"This plant was, in my judgment, a legitimate target, and had we not
struck it I don't know how we could have faced the American people and
said we had every reason to believe that there was a chemical
weapons-related facility here, associated with Usama Bin Ladin, who
has said he wants to kill Americans, but we decided not to attack it."