USIS Washington 

22 September 1998



Office of the Press Secretary

(New York, New York)

September 21, 1998


Marriott Eastside

New York, New York

MR. LEAVY: Good afternoon. We have the National Security Advisor here,
Sandy Berger, to give a readout of the President's day, his meeting
with Secretary General Annan, Prime Minister Sharif. After Sandy
briefs, Mike will come up and answer any other questions you may have.

MR. BERGER: Good afternoon. I want to do three or four things: talk a
bit about the speech, and specifically give you some more information
about the reference the President made in the speech to an emergency
supplemental the President intends to submit to the Congress later
this week on security, give you a readout of the Sharif meeting, and
then a very brief readout of the meetings that he had with the
Secretary General.

You've seen and read the speech; I will not repeat it. But let me
simply emphasize the five or six points I think the President wanted
to emphasize. He has addressed the question of terrorism for the
American people and the international community on a number of
occasions, I think most recently at the Naval Academy at their
commencement. Those speeches have been quite concrete, quite specific,
the steps that we need to take as an international community to deal
with this increasing phenomenon. I think what the President wanted to
do today was to talk more broadly about the phenomenon of terrorism
and make several points.

First, that this is a universal problem, not just an American problem.
We're all obviously focused on the terrible tragedy in Africa and the
incidents that have been directed here and against Americans, whether
it's in the World Trade Center or going back to Lockerbie and other
incidents involving Americans. But what the President made very clear
today to the assembled group was that this is a collective problem,
that no one is immune from the pernicious affect of terror.

Second, I think the President wanted very clearly to de-legitimize
terrorism, to make very clear that terrorism is not a form of
legitimate political expression, that it's not an acceptable
reflection of grievances, that it's not a legitimate response to
deprivation; that it is, as he said, murder pure and simple.

But at the same time, as the President made very clear that we needed
collectively to reject terror in all of its forms, he also recognized
that we have to deal with the conditions in which frustration and
desperation are bred.

Fourth, the President talked very specifically about the arguments
some make, the kind of overhang on the terrorism discussion, that this
is somehow a clash of civilizations, that this is somehow a division
between Western values and Western power and the Islamic world. And I
think this is a theme the President has talked about on many occasions
in the past, perhaps not at any time quite so extensively:
acknowledging our deep respect for Islam, it's growth in the world,
it's importance as a religion, as a cultural religion, its importance
to the United States with 6 million practitioners of Islam. But that
as he said, the Almighty does not confer licenses to kill, and those
who cloak themselves in the rhetoric or legitimacy of religion, no
matter what that may be, are false prophets or false perpetrators.

Finally, the President talked about the common agenda that we need to
work on together to fight this problem, denying safe havens to
terrorists and pressuring states that do; trying to cut off the
financial flows to terrorist groups; making the Biological Weapons
Convention tougher, as we're seeking to do; ratifying the Chemical
Weapons Convention and getting it approved, as we hope to do in the
Congress; and joining together on common law enforcement as we are
doing in the Nairobi/Dar bombings and elsewhere.

I think, over all, what you've seen in the last several years is the
President seeking to elevate to the top of the security agenda the
issues that heretofore have been seen in a narrower context. Whether
that's drugs, or in this case terror, these are the new transnational
threats that we have to see as the great security challenges of the
next 20 years.

Now, the President made reference in his remarks to steps we would be
taking to intensify and to strengthen both our ability to protect our
people abroad against terrorism as well as our ability to fight
terrorism. Later this week the President will submit to the Congress
an emergency supplemental in the amount of $1.8 billion to renew and
expand the fight against terrorism. And this supplemental -- and there
will be a fact sheet available at some point when I'm finished -- will
both have defensive, protective measures, as well as beefing up our
offensive capacity to prevent and to find terrorists after the fact.

Funding will be used to rebuild our embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and
Dar; to improve security for facilities serving American personnel
worldwide; to strengthen the fight to prevent terrorism, as I said,
both at home and abroad, both in the law enforcement area and in the
intelligence area.

More specifically, the President will request the bulk of this money
will be for money for the Department of State for emergency expenses
in connection with Kenya and Tanzania, including funds to reconstitute
our embassy activities there and for security improvements. That's
number one.

Number two, as part of this effort, will be funding to improve
security of our American facilities worldwide. This is an emergency
supplemental; this will not solve all of the problems that we have.
But we've looked at the most serious problems and these are the ones
that we need to address on an emergency basis.

The Defense Department will be reimbursed for costs associated with
the immediate response that they provided to the Kenya and Tanzania
bombings. The Department of Treasury will receive funding for
increased Secret Service protection that has become necessary as a
result of this intensified fight against terrorism. Seventy million
dollars for international security assistance -- that's anti-terrorism
funds in the Department of State. The FBI will receive funding to
intensify its substantial efforts in this fashion, as well as money
for the National Park Service for the same purpose -- also elements of
the package that will be classified. And I'll answer questions, if you
have, about that.


Q: Regarding the speech, given the way international terrorists tend
to operate in the shadows and specifically in countries where
institutions for law enforcement, et cetera, are not well established,
even if he were to get international cooperation, is it still not
going to be very difficult to stop people like Usama bin Ladin and
those kind of well-financed terrorists?

MR. BERGER: Well, I think with someone like bin Ladin you're dealing
with a new phenomenon, you're dealing with stateless terrorism. I
mean, when you have state terrorism at least you have a state to act
against. That state has lots of things that it values and lots of
things that one can go against in retaliation.

This is a network that exists in many parts of the world that has both
loose and tight affiliations, but all centers around bin Ladin. But I
think there is a growing sense, even since Africa, that this has to be
acted on in a concerted and strong fashion. We have had quite good
cooperation in arresting a number of people affiliated with bin Ladin.
In other situations we've had quite good luck in recent days in going
after bin Ladin cells in other countries. And I think it is a very
difficult target, but I know one thing, and that is that if we're not
aggressive and proactive it certainly will not disappear, it will only
get worse.

Q: Are you at all -- were you encouraged to make this speech or to
make these proposals as the result of enhanced cooperation in the last
four or five weeks since --

MR. BERGER: Well, I think terrorism has been -- as I said, I think one
of the things the President has done over the last four or five years
-- I would say one of the central elements of our foreign policy and
one of the things he has succeeded in doing is elevating these new
transnational issues -- for example, drugs or international crime or
terrorism -- to be not just law enforcement and domestic issues, but
be national security and foreign policy and international issues. So
this has been an effort going on for some time.

Obviously, the fact that we were attacked in Africa on August 7th has
intensified our effort. But as the President laid out today very
carefully and very deliberately, this is not just an American problem.
If you are in any part of the world -- if you're in Algeria, if you're
in Egypt, if you're in Europe, if you're in Argentina -- countries
increasingly are being victimized by this and they have to begin to
see that this is something they have to work more closely on together.
And I think that cooperation is increasing, but I think we need to do

Q: Sandy, on the emergency supplemental, what is the increased funding
for Secret Service that you mentioned? Is that for the protection of
the President?

MR. BERGER: It is for extra demands that have been placed on the
Secret Service in connection with the current threat. I'm not going to
go beyond that, for obvious reasons.

Q:  The supplemental is for what dates, Sandy?  It runs from when?

MR. BERGER: Well, we would hope that it would be -- I should say we
have done this with very close consultation and cooperation with the
congressional leadership of both parties, with the appropriators of
both parties. That's not to say there's agreement on all aspects of
this, but there has been a high degree of discussion already that has
taken place on this. This would be an FY98 emergency supplemental.

Q:  How much?

MR. BERGER:  $1.8 billion.

Q: Do you have any assurances the Republicans won't try to marry it
with tax cuts so the President would agree to that amount of money?
And on a separate money question, did the President bring up with Kofi
Annan anything about the arrears, U.N. arrears?

MR. BERGER: Well, I would hope on the first question that they would
not. We have a lot of embassies in the world, to take example, that
are not as secure as one would like them to be. And what this
supplemental does in part is to focus on those embassies and say, we
need to do some things right away to protect our people who are
working abroad. It identifies certain law enforcement and intelligence
and other areas where we know if we have some more resources we can
get some more results.

So I believe this is overwhelmingly in the national interest. I
believe that the leadership of the Congress -- I've spoken to them
myself on this; the President has spoken to the Majority Leader, the
Speaker, as well as the Minority Leader of the House and Senator
Daschle, some of the appropriators -- I believe there's a common view
that we ought to act on this on the basis of the clear and compelling
national interest.

On the arrears issue, it not surprisingly did come up. The President
raised it with the Secretary General. The President said, as he has
unfortunately in the past few years, that this remains a logjam on
this issue; that we will continue to try our best to get this done. I
sincerely hope that -- as you all know, this is entangled with an
issue of an abortion issue. These are two extremely important issues
on which there are strong feelings on both sides. And both are
entitled to be debated and voted upon on their individual merits, and
we are prepared to have a vote on Mexico City and we're prepared to
have a vote on U.N. arrears and IMF money. But to make one hostage to
the other is to do a great disservice, in my judgment, to an
institution that is doing a great deal of good and which the American
people overwhelmingly support -- that is, the United Nations.


Q: Sandy, what's the purpose of calling for greater international
cooperation on terrorism when earlier this year at the G-8 you talked
about terrorism extensively in Birmingham, and then with the Africa
bombings, the U.S. unilaterally made the decision to strike
Afghanistan and Sudan, and one of your G-8 partners severely
criticized the decision? Is the purpose just to repeat and repeat the
message on terrorism with the hope that some day there will be

MR. BERGER: Well, first of all, I think saying something twice doesn't
necessarily make it redundant. That is, I think when things are
important, sometimes you have to speak to them frequently as you raise
people's awareness of the problem. So the fact the President has
previously addressed this question I think hardly is a reason for him
not to address it again.

In terms of multilateralism and unilateralism, it is true for every
issue that there is a multilateral dimension and a unilateral
dimension. The President has said often, we work together with other
nations where possible, but we're prepared to act alone when
necessary. There is a huge amount of this terrorism issue when it
comes to safe havens, when it comes to moving money around, when it
comes to sharing information about intelligence and law enforcement,
that inherently, intrinsically is multilateral. But when Americans are
killed by terrorists in Africa, the United States is not going to seek
permission from other countries to respond.


Q: Sandy, did Kofi Annan raise the criticism of the missile attacks in
his meeting with the President?



(end transcript)