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Secretary Rumsfeld Media Availability In Djibouti

Presenter: Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld
December 12, 2002

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

(Media availability outside Presidential Palace, Djibouti)

Q: The American presence here sizable - what does Djibouti get out of it for being our hosts?

Rumsfeld: Well the relationship between our two countries has been evolving. It's been very helpful to have the cooperative attitude on the part of Djibouti and the government in the global war on terrorism. It's not for me to say how things might evolve but we always hope a relationship will be mutually beneficial and I suspect that that's the case here.

Q: Where do you think those scud missiles were headed?

Rumsfeld: Any answer I would give on that would be speculative and that's not my inclination. There's clearly an interest in determining where they were headed, but they're not gonna get there.

Q: Implication of fact they came from North Korea?

Rumsfeld: The implication. Well North Korea doesn't like to hear me say it, but they continue to be the single largest proliferator of missiles -- ballistic missile technology on the face of the earth. And they are putting into the hands of many countries technologies and capabilities which have the potential for killing tens and hundreds of thousands of people. And needless to say our hope is that that wouldn't be the case.

Q: Type of missiles? Warheads?

Rumsfeld: Scuds.

Q: Warheads?

Rumsfeld: There are warheads for them.

Q: Explosive?

Rumsfeld: I assumed that but I didn't ask.

Q: Mr. Secretary, have you determined Yemen transit point, or did Yemen buy them?

Rumsfeld: I have no information about the destination as to whether there was one destination or whether there were possible transfer points to other locations.

Q: Does Yemen need scuds?

Rumsfeld: It's not for me to say.

Q: Is it without question that this transaction would violate the MTCR?

Rumsfeld: You know I'm not a lawyer

Q: Inaudible

Rumsfeld: I don't' do that. There are places that the places could have been headed that were clearly illegal.

Q: Spanish, U.S. Navy deceived - how vessel was flagged, etc?

Rumsfeld: The short answer is yes. There were efforts to deceive and a variety of techniques were used.

Q: Is that a violation in and of itself?

Rumsfeld: Again I'm not a lawyer. There's no question but that the circumstance of the vessel in terms of its legality or illegality in what it's doing can change depending on how it's flagged and the extent to which it may or may not alter a flag. As well as contents and as well as the question of what does the manifest say relative to what the actual cargo is. So there are a whole set of legalities which our folks are knowledgeable about and we have of course several maritime interception programs, some of them are unilateral, some are multinational. In this case it wads a multi-national effort.

Q: Reaction of the skipper?

Rumsfeld: I do not know the reaction of the skipper. I think I'm gonna have to excuse myself.

Q: One more! [Djibouti]

Rumsfeld: Well it's a country that is, that shares our concerns about fanaticism, terrorism, extremism. It's a country that has clearly lived in as part been a part of the world that is important with respect to the global war on terrorism. And we've found that the cooperative approach that we've been able to find here has been very very helpful and beneficial to us and I hope to them.

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