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Breaking News

State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher Holds Camp David Briefing

Aired July 13, 2000 - 6:18 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

JUDY WOODRUFF, CNN ANCHOR: We interrupt now to take you directly to Camp David and to Richard Boucher, the briefer for the State Department bringing us up to date. Let's listen.

RICHARD BOUCHER, U.S. STATE DEPARTMENT SPOKESMAN: I'll stay as long as you want.

This afternoon, the secretary has been meeting with various people. She had a meeting with Prime Minister Barak in the early afternoon. She then had meetings with senior members of the Israeli and Palestinian delegations -- various configurations.

There's been discussion between the parties that's continued this afternoon, but I'm not aware of any other meeting between the leaders. And the characterization remains the same: They're grappling with some very tough issues, the core issues of permanent status in the region.

The president has returned. When I left Camp David about little a after 5 he was going into a meeting with his senior advisers. And as far as additional meetings, we don't have anything new on that, nothing set at this point, but we'll try to provide you a readout of what does happen in a few hours.

That's it for the moment, that's the update, and be glad to take questions.

QUESTION: Any group dinner?

BOUCHER: Not determined yet what happens the next few hours.

QUESTION: Palestinian officials arrived in Washington today saying they expect to meet tomorrow morning with President Arafat and they also expect to meet with President Clinton. Is there any plan for such a meeting?

BOUCHER: We haven't had any such request, and I think I described today at midday what the -- what the circumstances would be.

QUESTION: On the Phalcon deal, there are reports out of the Israeli defense ministry today that (UNINTELLIGIBLE) will expect compensation from the United States for scrapping the deal (UNINTELLIGIBLE) to be brought up at the summit. Do you know if there's been any discussion on that yet?

BOUCHER: Not that I'm aware of. I think the question was asked of Joe the other day and we didn't have anything on that.

QUESTION: Richard, did you happen to note any palpable infusion of optimism on the Clinton return given the fact of his comments on the White House in announcing the Vietnam deal?

(LAUGHTER)

BOUCHER: There's always excitement when the president returns, but a palpable infusion of optimism might be going too far.

No, we've described the discussions up there, the president is back for serious work. We're not trying to characterize optimism or pessimism at any given moment. We say they're grappling with the tough issues and that's what's going on up there, that's been what's going on with the secretary this afternoon, and that will continue with the president now that he's back.

QUESTION: Richard, do you know if the president's planning to spend the night?

BOUCHER: Yes.

QUESTION: Richard, I'm not trying to get ahead of where we are, I'm just trying to -- in trying to explain to an audience back home wondering all the different components of this that are going to be important, can you explain the importance of the aid package that will be necessary if we reach an agreement?

BOUCHER: I don't think I can flesh it out very much for you. I would say that the United States has always supported peace in the region in the past, including with substantial aid and assistance, and if we get to the point where that starts to be defined we'll obviously consult very closely with our Congress as we go forward.

QUESTION: Can you comment at all on what would be the need for an aid package, and what it would be used for, and how sizable it might need to be?

BOUCHER: I don't think I can given any, kind of, estimates on it at this point. There are certainly a lot of development needs in the region, a lot of security needs in the region, and obviously we have very strong support for our ally Israel.

QUESTION: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) closer to an agreement today that were three days ago on any of the issues?

BOUCHER: That's the kind of characterization I'm just not in a position to do.

BOUCHER: I'm sorry.

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) the three Palestinians who arrived today said in camera that President Arafat has spoken to President Clinton and requested that they rejoin on the delegation. Do you know -- I know you don't -- you're not the White House spokesman, but could you reply basically?

BOUCHER: I am not in a position, and I don't think Mr. Lockhart is either, to describe specific issues or things that might have come up or might not have come up in the conversations that they've had in that way. We're not trying to go into that level of detail on any issue or item that might come up.

All I can tell you at this point is we have not had a request for people to come up.

QUESTION: Can you confirm that an Israeli has joined the delegation?

BOUCHER: I think one has, yes.

QUESTION: You've said that experts have come in. Why would they be needed?

BOUCHER: These are very -- in addition to being very involved issues -- or tough issues that involve the vital interests of the party, there's a lot of complicated issues that are attached to them. And so there are various experts that might be required by the delegations to talk about specifics and to look at -- to help them work on specific issues as they go forward.

(CROSSTALK)

QUESTION: (OFF-MIKE) specific issues would suggest that you're getting down to specifics at this stage.

BOUCHER: Well, all along we've said there've been meetings that discuss all the issues together, the connections between the issues, the general purposes and goals of the talks, as well as meetings that involve some of the specific issues that are involved. So it's a continuation of that and as some of those issues come up, the delegations have a need to meet with their experts on those things. And as they raise those with them, as we've decided that that is necessary, we've facilitated it and made it happen.

QUESTION: Since you released a delegation list at the beginning, will you now update that delegation list and tell us...

WOODRUFF: We are listening to a press briefing at Thurmont, Maryland, just outside Camp David. The State Department spokesman Richard Boucher telling reporters that there have been discussions between the parties today, that Secretary Albright, Secretary of State Albright met with both Israelis and Palestinians.

But the only characterization he would give of the talks that have been now -- going on there now in their third day is he said they are grappling with the tough issues that would be needed, that would be necessary in a move toward a peace agreement.

We're going to take a break. "WORLDVIEW" will be back. TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.fdch.com

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