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DoD News Briefing: Secretary of Defense, William J. Perry

Presenters: Secretary of Defense, William J. Perry
October 27, 1995 5:30 PM EDT

Thursday, October 26, 1995, 5:30 p.m.

Dr. Perry: I've had a constructive meeting this afternoon with Minister of Defense of Russia, Pavel Grachev, and his delegation. At this meeting, each side clearly and unambiguously defined its position as to how Russia could participate in the peace implementation process in Bosnia. That is the goal of both countries.

There was a distinct gap between the two positions on how to achieve that goal. We've had a good business-like discussion for the past three hours and succeeded in closing that gap some. But, it's still not completly closed. We will resume discussions at 6:30 this evening and we will continue them on into tomorrow.

That's all I have to report to you at this time.

Q: Dr. Perry, do you expect to reach -- do you expect that you've come close enough to reach an agreement tonight or do you expect that...?

A: I think the discussions will go on into tomorrow. I'm very hopeful we will reach an agreement, but we have not reached it yet.

Q: What are the sticking points, sir?

A: I don't want to discuss yet the negotiation that we're going through right now or the details of this whole discussion.

Q: Can you tell us what was the progress?

A: I am.. I do not think it's productive to discuss a negotiation in the middle. And we're still in the middle of this negotiation.

Q: Could you tell us who's giving ground?

A: No.

Q: Do you expect there to be Russian combat troops involved in the peace implementation force?

A: I'm very hopeful that we will reach an agreement on Russian participation. We're discussing several alternatives -- modalities -- of how that might be done and I don't want to speculate yet on what the outcome might be. I'll take one more. Mark?

Q: Sir, did he provide any information on Boris Yeltsin's health or do you have your own information on the status of the Russian President?

A: He has gotten a report from Moscow on President Yeltsin's health. I don't think -- I don't want to be a firsthand source of information on that. But, the report he had was that they're not expecting that President Yeltsin will have to undergo any surgery. Now, that's not a very complete report and I would suggest that you check with him tomorrow. You'll have an opportunity, I think, to ask questions of Minister Grachev tomorrow -- to get a firsthand account. I don't like to be a secondhand source of news.

Q: Can you tell us if the area that you closed the gap on slightly concerns the role of Russian troops in the support role outside the IFOR?

A: I'm really not going to discuss the negotiation while we're in the middle of it. As soon as I have something concrete to say, I will be happy to give you the full details of it. I have to get back now.

Q: Do you know if we're going to get a read-out tonight?

A: I don't think there's going to be anything to report tonight yet. This discussion's going on into the morning.

Q: Will he meet physically here in the morning with you, sir, before you go to Kansas?

A: We'll decide that at the end of the meeting tonight. We will have several hours, of course, for discussion on the plane tomorrow. Depending on how the meetings come out tonight, we might decide to get together before we leave tomorrow.

Thank you.

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