RESEND: 2000-7/14 Lockhart press briefing Bcc:
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary
                          (Camp David, Maryland)
Immediate Release                     July 14, 2000

                              PRESS BRIEFING
                               JOE LOCKHART

                        Thurmont Elementary School
                            Thurmont, Maryland

12:05 P.M. EDT

     MR. LOCKHART:  Good afternoon, everyone.  Let me say to start that
it's obvious and I'm gratified to see that the upstanding performances over
the last few days have dwindled the crowd to a hardened, but committed,
few.  Let me go into last night, a little bit on today and then I'll take
your questions.

     Just before the dinner last night the President had a brief meeting
with Shlomo Ben Ami, one of the Israeli negotiators.  They had a session on
the back porch of the President's cabin, and then walked down to dinner.

     The dinner started at about 8:30 p.m. last night, went for about an
hour and a half.  After the dinner, the President spent a little bit of
time, about an hour or so, with his team, and then proceeded to have
bilateral discussions first with Prime Minister Barak and then with
Chairman Arafat.  His evening ended sometime after 1:00 a.m.

     This morning, as far as the President's schedule, I'd say about 10:30
a.m. or so he had a meeting with his team.  I left that meeting while it
was still going on.  I expect that during the day he'll continue his
previous efforts of meeting both with delegations and with the other
leaders.  We'll let you know later in the day, to the extent we have more

     As far as other things, I think the negotiators today will be
primarily meeting with each other.  They have divided up into smaller
groups and will be dealing directly on the core issues that we have talked

     Finally, as I think some of you know already, Secretary of State
Madeleine Albright is meeting now, as we speak, with a Palestinian
delegation that's here in Emmitsburg.  She will meet with them.  This comes
out of a discussion that we'd been having over the last day or so.  This
group had come here; there was some discussion about meeting with Chairman
Arafat.  Given the spirit of the ground rules we put down, we indicated
that we would prefer that that meeting not happen up at Camp David.
Secretary of State Albright offered to meet with the group in Emmitsburg.
The Palestinian Delegation accepted that offer.  The meeting is happening.

     One piece of logistics:  I will brief again later on this afternoon.
But I do not expect to brief tomorrow.  So after the briefing at 5:00 or so
today, you will not see me up here until probably early Sunday morning.

     Q    Joe, minor clarifications.  The dinner -- were Arafat and Barak

     MR. LOCKHART:  Yes.  The dinner was similar to dinner the previous
evening.  It is in the Laurel Cabin.  Last night's dinner probably had 30
or so attendees.  Chairman Arafat, Prime Minister Barak and President
Clinton sat at a table together, but each -- separated by two or three
people at least, so their conversations were primarily with others in the

     On the way in to dinner, as a measure of how things are working here,
the President arrived first, spent a moment or two with Chairman Arafat
when he arrived.  And as the President walked away, Prime Minister Barak
walked in, they spent a few moments talking and then proceeded into what's
being used as a dining room.

     Q    And you described the seating.  Was there still an opportunity
for the President to talk to the two leaders, both, in this dinner?

     MR. LOCKHART:  Once they sat down for the formal eating part of it,
the President was engaged in conversation with others, as were the other
leaders.  Their conversations directly happened in the session in the sort
of mingling outside the room before they walked in.

     Q    The groups meeting -- that's the word you used -- are they
grouped by issue or by expertise, or is it looser than that?

     MR. LOCKHART:  My understanding is, they're grouped by issue, but that
-- I think that's the extent to which I want to describe them.

     Q    Joe, can you tell us more about the Albright meeting with the
Palestinians?  Is that instead of any Arafat meeting with the Palestinian
-- or a prelude to perhaps an Arafat --

     MR. LOCKHART:  My understanding is -- at this point, I would use the
"instead of" formulation, but I wouldn't completely rule out the
possibility that at some point he might want to go see them.  I think at
this point, we want to keep the focus on the negotiating that's going on at
Camp David, but I think we also recognize, the President recognizes the
importance of both being able to articulate the importance of this, to keep
a positive atmosphere around this for those who are interested, so I think
it's a positive use of the Secretary of State's time to go down and talk to
these people.

     Q    Regarding, again, the seating arrangement, you described how
Arafat and Barak are separated from President Clinton by three seats.  What
about the seating arrangement as far as Arafat and the rest of the
delegation?  I think he's seated next to some Israeli delegation?

     MR. LOCKHART:  Yes.  Generally, each of the leaders will have someone
from one delegation to their left, someone from the other delegation to
their right.  And as is the case in many of these dinners, the conversation
will vary between turning to your left and talking to someone, turning to
your right and talking to someone and having a conversation between the
three of them.

     I think the one thing, just as something that I noticed from last
night is, just because the President had come back and had done the event
on Vietnam, there was a lot of discussion around the table about the
thawing of relations and the moving forward in a commercial way between the
U.S. and Vietnam.  There were several times that were small groups of
conversations going on that included the leaders and the delegates around
the table.

     Q    -- I was under the impression, from your words as well as
Richard's words over the past few days, that there had never been a request
for the Palestinians to come to see Arafat or for him to go see them.  And
now you're telling us that there have, in fact, been discussions over the
past couple of days about this which have resulted in Albright going to
Emmitsburg.  What gives, what's the deal?

     MR. LOCKHART:  Well, I would listen very carefully to the words I use.
I said over the last day.  And the last time I was up here and I asked,
there was no request for a meeting.  I'm not sure that a formal request
ever came in.  There was some discussions that I'm aware of yesterday that

     Q    -- using the wrong words --

     MR. LOCKHART:  Well, I'm using the words I'm using, so you can parse
them any way you like.

     Q    You said you preferred for this meeting not to happen between
Arafat and this delegation.  Now what we understand, that  Chairman Arafat
has phoned these people; he even asked them, why are you late.  He
apparently has the wish to -- with these people.  You have already let --
expert to join the team.  Why do you say you prefer for this meeting, can
you explain to us why you --

     MR. LOCKHART:  Because I don't think we view this -- and I'm not sure
the delegation views this as a team of experts coming in.  This is a group
of political leaders and I think Chairman Arafat certainly can meet with
them, if he wants, but the ground rules and the spirit that we set up here
is that we'd be bringing people in -- we would not be bringing people in
that weren't involved in the formal negotiations.

     Q    Can you say what the Secretary's purpose is in the meeting?  Is
she attempting to appease these people?  Is there a concern that they --

     MR. LOCKHART:  No.  I think what I expect the message she'll bring is,
she will talk in general terms about the peace process.  But I don't expect
her to get into any of the substantive points that are going on at Camp
David now.  But I think she'll also take a message of how important it is
to keep a positive atmosphere surrounding these discussions.  Because as we
all know, I think one of the reasons we are going through this process that
we're going through -- where I stand up here every day, or Richard stands
up here every day and give you very little information is the atmosphere is
important.  The people who are involved here pick up the paper every day,
they read it and we're trying to create an environment where they can
concentrate solely on how they can positively and constructively move

     Q    What do you think about consensus?  Is it really important for
Chairman Arafat to have consensus within his own faction?

     MR. LOCKHART:  I think it's important that there is public support for
what Chairman Arafat is doing.  I think it's just as important for Prime
Minister Barak to have public support.

     Q    -- last night that the American side had submitted some bridging
ideas to the two sides.  Could you comment on that?

     MR. LOCKHART:  I would repeat what I've said before, which is I view
that as getting to the substance of the discussions in the negotiations,
and I'd be very careful about who knows what they know and who doesn't know
what they know.

     Q    -- the summit is going to end when the President leaves next
week.  Is there any news on that?

     MR. LOCKHART:  I have no further news.  The President's schedule is

     Q    Joe, is the atmosphere still positive in Camp David?

     MR. LOCKHART:  I think these -- I would certainly continue to describe
it as informal, because of the setting.  It is a beautiful place that
people -- that you can't describe any other way, beside that, and informal.
But these are intractable issues.  These are issues that go to the vital
interests of both of the parties, so this is very serious.  At times,
discussions are tense, but that should be no surprise to anyone.

     Q    Why President Arafat was not given the same equal chance that
Prime Minister Barak got when he talked to his supporters in a
demonstration in Tel Aviv over the phone, why he wasn't been able to talk
to -- leader in the same general -- that Secretary Albright is going to
talk to them?

     MR. LOCKHART:  Listen, no one is being denied anything here, except
for living up to what we see as the ground rules on Camp.  If anyone from
the delegation would like to go and meet with this group or another group,
they are free to do so.

     Q    How hard is the President willing to push for an aid package that
would be significant enough to really address the needs that would come out
of any kind of agreement?  Is he willing to go to Congress and really fight
for a sizeable aid package?

     MR. LOCKHART:  I think as in the past, America can play a positive
role.  I think the leaders can be assured that we will do what it takes to
go to Congress to play our role.  I don't think, however, that Congress is
predisposed to not work with the President; quite the opposite.  I think
Congress will work with the President to do what we can.

     Q    When you spoke about -- this is also a follow up -- on what you
said about Vietnam, you said -- the conversation, quite a bit of it --
because he made a pitch there, he used that as an example.  Did he get the
impression, does the U.S. have the impression that that notion is taking
hold -- I mean, do you think he was making headway on it?

     MR. LOCKHART:  I think answering that question directly would get to
drawing some conclusion or assessment about where we are on the talks.  I
certainly think it was an interesting talking point for many of the people
there, to look at a former adversary and the process of reconciliation
that's been going on.  But beyond that, I don't --

     Q    -- you spoke of the conversation.  Were they speaking of it in
sort of a detached way, or did they see some relevance?

     MR. LOCKHART:  I think some of it was in a detached, historical way,
but some of it was certainly done in the context of the discussions they
are having.

     Q    On the financial issues, has the U.S. already committed itself to
taking the majority of the burden of whatever financial needs would come
out of a peace package?  And is this something that the U.S. will bring up
to other international leaders at Okinawa, perhaps also appealing to them

     MR. LOCKHART:  Well, we certainly would look at this as an
international effort.  I think the U.S. appropriately would look to take
the lead on this.  But the E.U. has been very involved as an important
player here, and we would look to other nations to provide assistance as

     Q    But no idea yet what any kind of general numbers,
any --

     MR. LOCKHART:  No.

     Q    Should we assume the President will be here through the weekend?

     MR. LOCKHART:  I think you can assume he'll be here indefinitely.  I
think everyone knows the outer parameters of his schedule.  If, for some
reason, that changes, we'll let you know.

     Q    I would like to ask, too, would you suppose that there will come
a breakthrough on Monday before the President will leave to Okinawa, or do
you suppose that it will come a breakthrough only after that?

     MR. LOCKHART:  I'm certain that I don't know the answer to that; but
if I did, I wouldn't say.

     Q    Joe, you said that the negotiators were meeting with themselves
today; how are the leaders spending the day?

     MR. LOCKHART:  As I told you, the President was still with the team
when I left in order to come over here.  I believe the other leaders were
with their own teams, and they were going off a little bit later to have
these smaller groups that I discussed.  I'll try to get some sense when I
come back, but I don't know at this moment.

     Q    Joe, other than the informal conversations at dinner, we've been
told there's been one three-way leaders meeting and one  Arafat-Barak
two-way meeting.  Has that been the extent of the formal contact between
the Israeli and Palestinian leaders?

     MR. LOCKHART:  That's the extent as far as I know.  The others, as
described, have been mostly bilateral.

     Q    Joe, is there going to be any scaling down of the talks during
the Sabbath?

     MR. LOCKHART:  I would expect over that 24-hour period, there could be
some informal discussions.  But nothing really beyond that.

     Q    -- any of the -- you know, we've got a lot of news here, but
still -- little color, and there's less of that, generally is the case.  Do
you want to tell us about golf parks or bowling alleys or anything you can
-- you know, they've been here, what, this is the fourth day?

     MR. LOCKHART:  Yes.

     Q    Any use of the facilities?

     MR. LOCKHART:  Well, unfortunately, the bowling alleys have been used,
but at this point, only by the staff.  And I think at this point -- only by
the American staff.  As you walk around, there is a constant stream of
negotiators whizzing by in golf carts.  Suffice it to say that not everyone
has equal capability in negotiating a golf cart as they do diplomatic
efforts.  There's been at least one fender bender that's been reported to
me, but -- (laughter.)

     Q    Are they grappling with the go carts?  (Laughter.)

     MR. LOCKHART:  Grappling with the go carts.  (Laughter.)   And also,
there are people who prefer to walk, there are people who prefer bicycling.
But other than that, I think the main focus has been either meeting between
the teams, within the teams, and preparing for the leaders' meetings.

     Q    Who was the accident with?

     MR. LOCKHART:  That might go to substance.  (Laughter.)  This was
reported to me and I did not see it with my own eyes, so I think I'll just
say "two negotiators."  (Laughter.)

     Q    Two on the same side?

     MR. LOCKHART:  Two on the same side.  That's all I'm going to say.
Otherwise, I would have had probably more to report.

     Q    What kind of plans are being made for prayers and services and
things like that?  What will be done at Camp David throughout --

     MR. LOCKHART:  As I understand it, there will be a shabbat dinner this
evening.  I'll try to get some more details about that when I come back.
As far as religious service, I'll try --

     Q    Joe, to follow on that, will that shabbat dinner be attended by
all three delegations, or only by the Israelis?

     MR. LOCKHART:  I'll let you know.  I don't know the answer to that.

     Q    The fact that tomorrow you are not going to brief us, does this
mean that during the shabbat you are not going to have any discussion with
Palestine at the same time?

     MR. LOCKHART:  No.  I think as I indicated, tomorrow will be a day of
informal discussions, and I will basically report what I can on Sunday.
But I think, given the fact that we've all been at this for four or five
days with very little information, all of us taking a day off would be a
positive thing.

     Q    -- for the first time actually, we hear that now the negotiators
are grouped on certain different issues.  It's the first time we heard
this.  Can we read into this that now they are coming more into grappling
-- with the real issues, and also separately.  I mean, instead of -- from
yesterday we had an impression that it was a bit chaotic -- that everyone
is discussing every issue.

     MR. LOCKHART:  You could --

     Q    And now we are hearing -- they have been grouped on certain
issues.  What can we read into this?

     MR. LOCKHART:  Well, you could read that into that, but I wouldn't be
your source.  (Laughter.)

     Q    Some local residents are upset about the removal of U.S. flags
from the classrooms and the house by the Arab and Israeli press corps.  Is
there any plan to replace them?

     MR. LOCKHART:  I am not aware of that.  I'll look into that.

     Q    Joe, have the talks in Emmitsburg on the generic issues begun, or
are there plans for them to start Saturday night?

     MR. LOCKHART:  They have not begun, as far as I've been informed.
We'll let you know when that happens.

     Q    An Israeli parliamentarian was tossed off the premises this
morning, and at the same time Gadi Baltiansky has been down here a couple
of times to speak to the press.  Does this mean that you're cracking down a
little bit more on both people talking here?

     MR. LOCKHART:  Well, we have -- at the outset of these discussions, we
set some ground rules.  These particular parts of it I understand make your
life more difficult, but we think they are constructive, as far as the
overall talks.  One of them was that the U.S. was designated as the
spokesperson here at the Press Center.  Now, I know there's a lot of other
ways around other people who want to speak, but we set the rules and we're
trying to enforce them as equally and fairly as we can.

     Q    -- breeches, what about these breaches?  What are you doing about

     MR. LOCKHART:  I don't think we want to bring in a heavy police
presence here to thwart it.  We're going to deal with it as we can.

     Q    Yes, but let's break it down.  There are people that were in the
delegation -- presumably, who -- and there are people who aren't in the

     MR. LOCKHART:  That's right.

     Q    What's wrong with people who aren't in the delegation talking to
reporters --

     MR. LOCKHART:  There's nothing wrong with people in the delegation
talking to the reporters; we prefer they just not do it here.

     Q    Here?

     MR. LOCKHART:  Here in this building.  There are plenty of other

     Q    Why?

     MR. LOCKHART:  Because those are the rules that I sat down and agreed
with, with my counterparts, and I want to at least look like I'm trying to
keep my word.

     Q    -- the Palestinians are talking with Mrs. Albright?

     MR. LOCKHART:  No, because they're not part of the delegation.  I
expect they'll probably be very available for comment, and will provide you
with an interesting lead for the evening.

     Q    -- at least yesterday -- granting them interviews without any
intervention --

     MR. LOCKHART:  We are intervening as quickly and as fairly as we can.

     Q    Do you know that it will be a problem in the Knesset in Israel --
and maybe Mr. Barak or another -- have to return to Israel?

     MR. LOCKHART:  I'm not aware of any change in travel plans for the
Prime Minister or anyone in his delegation at this point.  If they make us
aware of that, I'll pass that on to you.

     Q    -- will go to Okinawa, they will go to vote in Jerusalem and come

     MR. LOCKHART:  Make note of that.  (Laughter.)

     Q    Two brief questions.

     MR. LOCKHART:  Yes.

     Q    Is this summit, ongoing conference, is it modeled on -- that's
the first question --

     MR. LOCKHART:  No.

     Q    And the second -- and I don't think this is seriously getting
into substance, so we have to be very careful.  If you are discussing the
core issues, can we assume that they're discussing the implementation?

     MR. LOCKHART:  Of the core issues?  I think you can assume that
everything that both sides came here with a need to discuss is and will be
discussed here.

     Q    Can I talk about the implementation?  The timetables,  deadlines.
-- or if they agree on the core issues, like the -- there's a very strict
timetable for implementation.  Is this part of the discussions, as well?

     MR. LOCKHART:  Let me, without violating my substance rules, say that
all issues that need to be discussed will be discussed here.

     Yes.  I'll take one more.

     Q    How did the White House do the -- for the Vietnam trade bill in

     MR. LOCKHART:  I think there's broad, bipartisan support, as evidenced
by the attendance at yesterday's event.  I think it will pass.  I'm not
certain that the House and the Senate will have the opportunity to bring
this up this year, but I certainly expect, whether it's this year or next
year, that this will pass with strong bipartisan support.

     Thank you.

                          END                   12:28 P.M. EDT

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