State Department Noon Briefing


THURSDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2000 - 1:30 P.M.

Q: This UN resolution on the Taliban, the arms embargo, what do you
see as the chances that this is going to, in fact, go through? How
effective realistically will it be? I mean, the other resolutions
haven't really done what you wanted them to do. And the third thing on
this is, doesn't it in effect actually end up hurting Pakistan,
because that's where the arms sort of go through?

MR. REEKER: Well, let's talk about a couple of things. First of all,
the resolution imposing further sanctions on the Taliban has been
introduced at the Security Council, I believe about 1 o'clock this
afternoon. And not to not answer your question, but there is the
briefing that the US mission to the United Nation is conducting, I
believe, at 2:00, so they may be speaking now. I believe our
Counter-Terrorism Coordinator, Ambassador Michael Sheehan, was going
to be part of that briefing. So you may want to check with your
colleagues up in New York because I think they were expecting a fairly
big turnout for that.

The bottom line of this whole situation is that the Taliban have
refused to comply with the Security Council Resolution, Resolution
1267, which was unanimously passed last October in 1999, calling upon
the Taliban to turn over Usama bin Laden to a country where he could
be brought to justice. The United States has worked very closely with
Russia and other members of the Security Council, consulting
frequently on what else could be done to gain Taliban compliance,
since more than a year has passed and they have not complied with

So we expect, now that this resolution has been introduced, that the
Security Council will once again support these very carefully targeted
measures designed to address the continuing terrorist threat posed by
the Taliban. And I highlight the fact that the sanctions that are part
of these UN Security Council resolutions are carefully constructed not
to harm the Afghan people. For example, the flight ban on Ariana
Airlines allows exemptions for humanitarian and religious purposes,
and ordinary trade continues via overland routes. And we are going to
continue working with other Security Council members to ensure that
any of the new measures adopted under a new resolution would not harm
ordinary Afghans.

I would also note in that line that the international community
provides massive humanitarian assistance and relief to the people of
Afghanistan, and the United States is the largest donor in that
effort, contributing about $113 million so far this year. There was
just a meeting in Montreux, Switzerland, where Assistant Secretary
Inderfurth participated in coordinating talks on assistance to

Now, the resolution that is currently in effect, as we said, came
about because of the Taliban's harboring of Usama bin Laden and their
general support for terrorism. So it is the Taliban who are giving
shelter to bin Laden, and we think that this new resolution will also
focus obviously on that aspect of it and will include details in terms
of restricting arms flow to the Taliban, who continue to harbor this
terrorist and continue to support terrorism themselves.

But for any more detail into what the resolution has in it
specifically, I don't have a copy with me here. I will refer you to
that briefing that is taking place up in New York. And then if we
still need more, if there is interest down here in Washington, we can
try to get some officials later tomorrow to look at it more closely.

(The briefing was concluded at 2:35 P.M.)