DoD News Briefing with Secretary Cohen, USD Slocombe and Gen. Ralston
Also participating in this briefing are Under Secretary of Defense (Policy) Walter B. Slocombe and General Joseph W. Ralston, Vice Chairman, JCS
Secretary Cohen: Good afternoon.
Since the beginning of Operation ALLIED FORCE, we have said that we seek a resolution that meets five critical conditions: a cease-fire that ends the fighting; a withdrawal of all Serb military, paramilitary and special police forces; the deployment of an international peacekeeping force with NATO at the core; the return of the refugees; and the creation of an autonomous government for Kosovo within Yugoslavia.
The Military Technical Agreement reached by NATO and Serb military leaders lays out the terms for a Serb withdrawal and the entry of a NATO-led force. It's a sound agreement that meets all of NATO's demands. If the Serbs honor the terms of this agreement and they pull out as scheduled, NATO will pause and then end its air campaign. Kosovar Albanians will eventually be able to return home and to live in peace and stability.
NATO's pilots and crews, all who are involved, and the world's diplomats as well, have worked very hard for this agreement. If the Serbs live up to what they have signed, this will end the killing and begin the peace.
We have with us today two gentlemen who have worked very hard during the last several weeks, but most especially the last couple of nights. We have General Ralston, who will give you a more detailed briefing, along with Under Secretary Walt Slocombe. I might point to the two of them working in conjunction with Sandy Berger, Secretary Albright, Strobe Talbott and others -- and of course, the President -- working late last evening and well into this morning. All of us have contributed a great deal of effort to seeing this to fruition. The real test will be whether the Serbs will live up to this agreement, and that's why we worked so hard at the details, to make sure that we were satisfied that there were contingent plans in the event that there was not a compliance with the agreement.
I can take a couple of questions now before yielding to General Ralston and to Walt Slocombe, but point out that the Chairman and I would intend to have a conference sometime during the course of the day tomorrow, during which time we will give a much more detailed briefing on the entire campaign to date, and where we see it unfolding.
Q: Mr. Secretary, under optimum conditions, when do you think U.S. troops could begin moving into Kosovo? And even more quickly, when will the refugees start to go back?
Secretary Cohen: Under optimum conditions if we see the passage of a resolution by the Security Council, that could come fairly quickly, then as soon as that occurs, then we would have KFOR moving in very quickly to make sure that there was no gap between the Serb forces leaving and the KFOR forces coming in.
Before that can take place, of course, we have to have a Serb agreement, which we now have on the technical agreement, the Military Technical Agreement, and then we have to see evidence, verifiable evidence, that they are taking steps to now comply with that agreement by starting the pull-out of their forces. This has to be verified, and once we've verified that they're taking action consistent with the pledge contained in this agreement, then there can be a pause, and then we go to the Security Council, and the Security Council can then pass a resolution. Once that is passed, then we would see the forces flowing into Kosovo.
I would point out that already we are moving forces to be prepared to go in very quickly so that there will not be any kind of a significant gap between Serb forces leaving and the KFOR going in.
The second part, in terms of refugees. We can't put any specific timeframe on this. We hope to get them back as quickly as we can, but as safely as we can. So safety will be the primary driving factor here. That's why it's important for the KFOR to get in and to start clearing mines with the assistance of the Serbs as well, to make sure we can assure the safe return of the refugees.
So it's hard at this point to put any kind of a timeframe on that. We'd like to see it as soon as possible, but only if it's safe.
Q: Mr. Secretary, can you tell us -- when NATO started this, Sir Michael Jackson said that the NATO document was a non-negotiable document. We've been led to believe that there was some wiggle room, and some things were negotiated.
Can you tell us where the give was? How many days do the Serbs have to get out now? Are we going to provide them with fuel? Anything else you can tell us that was different from the original agreement?
Secretary Cohen: I believe that General Ralston and Walt Slocombe will go through the document itself. There were some minor changes during the course of the weekend. You may recall that Chairman Shelton and myself were asked whether or not if it was a question of a few days' difference, would that be a dispositive issue as far as rejecting or accepting it, and we indicated a matter of a few days would not alter the substance of the agreement, provided we were satisfied this was not an attempt to simply slow-roll NATO into a situation where there would be a pause, an indefinite pause, no action taken, and therefore, have it bog down the Security Council. So there was some modification of the timeframes.
As far as the first, the movement in a specific zone, zone three, that would still occur during, in a one-day period of time. But I'd like to have General Ralston lay out the chart showing the zones, the anticipated movement of the forces. There will be an overall cap of 11 days as opposed to seven. So at the end of 11 days after the entry into force of this agreement, within that 11-day timeframe, all Serb forces -- paramilitary forces, police -- have to be removed.
Q: On that same point...
Q: One follow-up, please. If the Serbs do start to pull out, you're not going to wait until the end of 11 days. When will the NATO strikes stop? And have they not already stopped as far as a de facto cease...
Secretary Cohen: The strikes have not, in fact, stopped. We have indicated before, time and time again, there had to be an agreement, a signed agreement, and there would have to be action taken consistent with that agreement demonstrating and manifesting an intent to comply by the movement of their forces out of Kosovo. Once we are satisfied that they are taking those steps, then we can have a pause. Then the Security Council can take its action. Then KFOR can go in.
In the event that there is not a Security Council Resolution, then the pause, of course, would not remain in effect. So we worked very diligently to make sure that we examined every particular detail, as I said, with the Chairman over the weekend. We want to make sure there's no misunderstanding, no misapprehensions, no ambiguities which could be later exploited saying we were confused about what this meant. That's what took so long to get at the details of this agreement.
Q: Mr. Secretary, what risk do you see that some paramilitary forces may stay behind and pose challenges to us, the American peacekeepers or other peacekeepers?
Secretary Cohen: There are always risks involved in any operation, but we believe, based upon the signing of this agreement, that the Serbs understand, Mr. Milosevic understands and has agreed to the terms of this. To the extent that there are any paramilitary forces or others who would seek to undermine this, we would have a very robust KFOR with NATO in the command and control of that peace implementation force. So we think it will be a significant robustness and capability. It will discourage anyone from seeking to violate the agreement.
It's always possible. We can't rule it out, and that's the reason why it has to be as vigorous as we have made that determination.
Q: Mr. Secretary, how do you define "verifiable evidence" of the withdrawal, and who will make that determination?
Secretary Cohen: The SACEUR in consultation with his subordinates and colleagues will make a judgment and make that recommendation to us. We will know it as such when we see it and are satisfied that this is consistent with a reduction in the forces and an intent to carry out exactly what they've signed up to.
Should it be reversed, should there be any machinations involved, should there be any attempt to in any way undercut the agreement and simply have a partial pullout with no intent to comply with it, then it's clear from the documents that have been signed that suspension of the air campaign would no longer be in force. So the air campaign would then continue.
So we have taken those contingencies into account and have structured the agreement accordingly. So judgment will be made. We expect that -- based upon our military capability and ability to assess what movement is taking place and where it is taking place -- that a judgment can be made that would allow a pause to take place and the Security Council take action very quickly.
Q: Mr. Secretary, in the second day of the war, General Clark said that NATO would disrupt, degrade, and ultimately destroy the Serb forces if Milosevic didn't agree to international demands. On this, the 77th day, how close did NATO come to meeting those goals of disrupting, degrading, and ultimately destroying...
Secretary Cohen: I think I'd like to leave that for tomorrow when the Chairman and I will give a more detailed briefing in terms of what has been accomplished through the air campaign. Fairly significant damage has been done. We'd like to take the time to lay it out in more detail. I think tonight we'd simply like to have General Ralston and Walt Slocombe come and give you the greater details in terms of what the Military Technical Agreement contains, show you a chart laying out the zones that will, how they'll be emptied of Serb forces, on what time-line. I think that will be important for tonight.
Q: Mr. Secretary, is withdrawal what you said, "you know it when you see it?" Or is that, are there any specific numerical or time, number, date triggers that you look at?
Secretary Cohen: I think it's a judgment call that the SACEUR, again in talking with his colleagues, can make a recommendation that that is substantive evidence or manifest evidence of an intent to comply with the agreement by the pulling out of forces that can be verified by various overhead assets and other types of intelligence collection, including members of the press corps who may be given some access to that region. So it could come very quickly, but I think it's a judgment call, and we will just have to see how many people are moving, how quickly, out of which areas. That will be an indication, and we can make a judgment.
As I indicated before, in the event that initial judgment is reversed or doesn't, there's no follow-through on it, then we can always go back to what the document says. Namely, that there either is going to be compliance with it or else the suspension will not remain in effect.
Q: You say you want to avoid ambiguity with the Serbs, and given their own track record of not meeting their words with deeds, do you have any concerns that what you're headed towards is a period of ambiguity where they claim they have significantly withdrawn and NATO...
Secretary Cohen: No, because we expect this to take place within a very short timeframe. This is not going to be something that's going to be dragged out for any length of time. We will know very quickly whether they intend to move their forces out. We will make that determination. We will verify it. We will then see the Security Council -- there will be a pause. In the event there's any reversal of their activities, in the event there's any evidence that they intend to simply try to bog this down in some other way, then we made it very clear -- the document makes it very clear -- the pause will no longer be in effect.
So we will be poised with our air assets. They remain engaged as we speak. They can be re-engaged very quickly, and everyone is on notice that they will be in the event that this isn't followed through.
Q: Has the clock started ticking on the 11 days yet?
Secretary Cohen: The clock, I believe, started ticking at the signing of the document.
Q: Mr. Secretary, do you need approval of all the NATO allies in order to stop any bombing pause and resume bombing should that be necessary?
Secretary Cohen: There is, the action that we have now, there will be a NAC -- a NAC decision was made, I believe, tonight, in terms of agreeing to this entire arrangement, and at that particular point there will be an agreement that the bombing will be on a suspension or a pause which can be reinstituted if there is a breakdown in any way, a reneging on the part of the Serbs from carrying forward.
Q: Tonight they will agree to suspend...
Secretary Cohen: Yes, I believe they're in session now, and [I] hope that they can take action this evening.
Q: Will the resumption of bombing take a separate NAC vote, or is that...
Secretary Cohen: No.
Q:...of the SACEUR or...
Secretary Cohen: It's contained in the agreement itself that in the event that there is not compliance with the agreement, the suspension will no longer be in effect, which means it would simply continue without the necessity for another NAC.
Press: Thank you.
Secretary Cohen: I'll see you tomorrow, and Walt Slocombe is here and General Ralston.
Under Secretary Slocombe: What I'd like to do is provide some details of what the agreement says and leave to General Ralston to go through in more detail how the withdrawal will take place and some of the other more strictly military points.
Obviously, as with any other agreement, the success of this agreement depends on its being implemented, and NATO will be vigilant in ensuring that it is implemented. The agreement contains very broad powers for the NATO force to take action if there is any failure of compliance.
Subject to those important qualifications, this agreement is a very good framework for restoring Kosovo to its people -- for letting the refugees and the internally displaced persons return home -- to provide security for the international presence as it will be there, and to set up a system of democratic autonomy for Kosovo.
It meets all of the five NATO demands: the cease-fire, the withdrawal of all Belgrade security forces, create a condition in which refugees would return and exercise their right to return, to have it implemented and enforced by an international security presence with NATO at the core and under NATO command, and provide a framework for political development for autonomy.
The key points of the agreement, which I think we will have copies shortly, are that there's a cease-fire to take effect immediately, which bans all acts of violence throughout Kosovo. A required withdrawal along an accelerated time-line which -- a very short time-line with definite gate posts -- which General Ralston will explain in detail.
But one of the points I want to stress is that one of the issues throughout this conflict and throughout the development of the various diplomatic efforts to resolve it was to be sure that all relevant forces did depart, and the definition in the agreement is extremely broad. It says "FRY forces," that's Federal Republic of Yugoslavia forces, "includes all Yugoslav and Serbia personnel and operations with a military capability. This includes regular army and naval forces, armed civilian groups, associated paramilitary groups, air forces, national guards, border police, army reserves, military police, intelligence services, federal and Serbian Ministry of Internal Affairs local, special, riot and anti-terrorist police, and any other groups or individuals so designated by the KFOR commander."
So the requirement to pull out all of the security forces is extremely broad.
In addition to the requirement to pull out ground forces, there are requirements with respect to air and air defense forces, which General Ralston will also explain.
Importantly, in the process of withdrawal, the Serb and FRY forces are to identify and clear minefields.
The next thing the agreement does is to establish and authorize the international security presence, KFOR, the Kosovo force. It will deploy on the passage of the U.N. Security Council Resolution, which was introduced yesterday in accordance with the process which Secretary Cohen described. It is a NATO force. General Jackson made clear in the course of the negotiations that he is the KFOR commander, that he will be part of a NATO chain of command, and [that] it will be a NATO force.
It has very broad purposes and broad authority, including the use of military force to deal with any non-compliance or any threats to the accomplishment of the mission of the force.
General Ralston will explain in more detail how, at least on the part of the forces which are there now, we will begin getting ready to move KFOR in very rapidly.
I think the Secretary has broadly described the initial stages and the pause. The way it works is the cease-fire and the initial requirement to withdraw take effect at once. We have intensive verification means in place to monitor this process in addition to whatever help we get from the media. And when there is a verified demonstration that the cease-fire and withdrawal are being implemented, there will be a suspension of the bombing. That suspension is explicitly provided in the agreement to last only so long as there is compliance and clearly stated that in the event of non-compliance, the suspension will cease to operate.
When there is completion of the withdrawal, the air campaign will be terminated as such, but KFOR retains very broad authority including the use of military force to enforce compliance.
That's the broad structure of the agreement, both with respect to the withdrawal requirements and to KFOR's charter of operations, so to speak.
Rather than take questions now, which I think inevitably would result in saying "General Ralston will take care of that," or if you get into General Ralston, "Slocombe will take care of that," why don't we ask General Ralston to do his presentation next and then we'll do questions together.
General Ralston: Thank you, Secretary Slocombe.
Like Secretary Cohen and Secretary Slocombe, I believe the signing of the Military Technical Agreement today was a very important and necessary step towards the cessation of hostilities in this region, and more importantly, getting the Kosovar Albanian refugees back into their homeland.
For those of us in uniform, we believe that actions speak louder than words. Therefore, until we have a chance to verify withdrawal, NATO will stay ready to carry out our air campaign.
On the map here, if you can see this, we have Kosovo divided into three zones -- the northern zone, zone three; there are really two parts of zone two in the middle; and zone one in the south.
The way the agreement is designed to work is that within one day of the signing of the agreement, which was today, we will have a demonstrable withdrawal of troops from the northern area here, from number three. That will free up areas that other forces can then flow into the north.
Five days later -- and there are measurable milestones all along for this agreement -- then all of the forces are to be out of zone one. This is on the southern border, as they flow further north. That will then facilitate the KFOR force entering in the southern zone.
Then three days after that, by day nine, all of the forces should be out of zone two in the center. Then two days later, all of the remaining forces out of zone three.
So it is phased in that manner to facilitate the withdrawal.
There was earlier a question about, well, why did it take all of the talking back and forth to do this? This is a very complex operation of getting the forces through all of these zones. When the two military technical experts sat down next to each other they have to look at what road networks are available, how many bridges are out, how long will it take to get the forces through a particular area, and they resolved that to the mutual satisfaction of the two, and this is a timetable that both sides believe is doable. Both sides have committed to it, and it's one that is verifiable to see how the withdrawal is going.
Q: Is the 24-hour marker linked to a number of troops or just the hour?
General Ralston: It is not linked to a specific number of troops, but we believe that if the Serbs are acting in good faith that it will be rather easy to demonstrate a verifiable withdrawal within that first day.
Q: General, I want to ask a question about this a little bit. First of all, has the cease-fire taken effect now? And secondly, in zone three you said some to be removed within 24 hours and the remainder by the 11th day. Is there going to be a pause, or will they just be withdrawing for the whole 11 days?
General Ralston: The milestones on there are what the Serbs have signed up for. So to go back, the first step in this process was the signing of the Military Technical Agreement. The next step is the cease-fire and the verifiable withdrawal. So the cease-fire and verifiable withdrawal out of zone three should be ongoing now.
Once NATO is satisfied that the cease-fire has taken place and that there is a verifiable withdrawal, then SACEUR would recommend to the Secretary General that the bombing be suspended. The suspension would then take place. The withdrawal will continue on the schedule that I have outlined...
Q: Let me follow-up, if you don't mind. Is the cease-fire only in zone three, or will the cease-fire take effect throughout Kosovo? For instance...
General Ralston: Throughout Kosovo.
Q: Specifically, what about now the fighting that's been going on in the Mount Pastrik area between the Serbs and the KLA? Is the KLA agreeable to having the Serbs go through a cease-fire without attacking them? Or how do they withdraw? The Serbs, I mean.
Under Secretary Slocombe: There's been extensive contact with Kosovar Albanian organizations, including the KLA, and I think they've stated publicly, and they've certainly stated privately, that they will not attack retreating forces of the Serbs and of Belgrade. We have every expectation that that is what will happen, that the Serbs will disengage and that the cease-fire will apply.
Q: Have the Serbs been told, has the Serb military been told that any burning of villages on the way out would trigger either a continuation or resumption of the bombing?
Under Secretary Slocombe: Yes.
Q: Anything like that.
Under Secretary Slocombe: The cease-fire, what we call a cease-fire in shorthand, is actually defined in the document as "refrain from committing any hostile acts of any type against any person in Kosovo." So that obviously would include attacks on civilians and so on.
Q: The cease-fire is underway as we speak?
Under Secretary Slocombe: That's right.
Q: Do we know if it's actually...
Under Secretary Slocombe: That's what the verification is about.
General Ralston: The agreement is two hours old, so...
Q: The EIF plus one, we are now within that one-day window, right? So 24 hours from roughly now, the SACEUR should be able to make a determination whether or not the Serbs are fulfilling their requirement to withdraw at least some forces...
Under Secretary Slocombe: You're right to say "are fulfilling", because it's not that they have to complete it before we will make that...
Under Secretary Slocombe: It's to demonstrate that they are in fact taking action. If at any point after that they cease to continue their compliance or they don't meet the deadlines, then the suspension will not be in effect, and they'll be subject to attack as both the agreement and General Jackson made clear.
Q: So the halt of the bombing could come in 24 hours...
Q: No, it could come before that, right?
Under Secretary Slocombe: It can come as soon as a recommendation is made by the SACEUR that he has seen the necessary demonstration, the verification of compliance, yes.
Q: It could come within 24 hours.
Under Secretary Slocombe: Yes. It's not a guarantee that it will come within 24 hours, but it could come within 24 hours.
Under Secretary Slocombe: We would like this process to move as rapidly as possible, but we will insist on real verification. How long that will take, I don't think we can predict at this point. We hope it's very rapid.
Q: Secretary Cohen suggested that the NAC is poised this evening to approve a suspension.
Under Secretary Slocombe: No, I don't think there will be a suspension this evening. There will not be a suspension this evening.
General Ralston: I think what the Secretary was referring to is that the NAC is prepared, and I think probably has by now approved the agreement that was signed.
Q: So there won't be a suspension tonight?
Under Secretary Slocombe: I would be surprised if it was suspended...
General Ralston: It's night-time over there. It's much more difficult to verify at night than it is in daylight that you have people moving out. But as soon as that can be done through whatever means, then General Clark then would make his recommendation to the Secretary General.
Q: General Ralston, are we still (inaudible) of these three exit routes that have been outlined to us? Or is that gone now, and they simply leave by whatever road they can?
General Ralston: It's my understanding that the agreement does have the exit routes on there. Clearly, people can exit anyway that they want to as they go out.
Under Secretary Slocombe: Can I add -- one reason that that is of some relevance is that there is a specific point that forces which are withdrawing, which are in those designated assembly areas and which are withdrawing along the designated roads, will not be subjected to attack even before the suspension. The Serbs logically said, wait a minute. We know you're attacking everything that's on the roads. You want us to start withdrawing before there is a suspension. We don't want to be attacked while we're doing it. So the system of designated routes and designated assembly areas is designed to and will serve the function of meeting that concern.
Q: Just to follow up on that point. Just walk us through a little bit, what NATO has heard from the Serbs over the last few days of this discussion. Have they needed assistance in getting out?
Under Secretary Slocombe: To my knowledge, one of you raised the question of are we going to provide them with fuel. They have never suggested that there is any requirement that we do anything to help in that sense to my knowledge. Obviously, I have not been privy to every conversation about everything. I know there was a detailed discussion of what roads were still workable in light of the air campaign.
Q: What do you estimate the number of Serb troops that will be allowed back in? This agreement suggests something a little bit different than what we heard, that they were actually responsible "as they leave" for clearing mines and identifying mines. Instead of leaving first and then coming back...
Under Secretary Slocombe: They will certainly be responsible for identifying the minefields and clearing them to the extent possible. Obviously, they're not going to clear a whole lot of minefields in 24 hours.
One of the things which will happen as a part of implementation is a separate negotiation about how a relatively small number, hundreds not thousands, would be allowed to come back, among other things, to work on mine clearance. That whole process will be under the control of KFOR.
Q: So that...
Under Secretary Slocombe: That is yet to come.
Q: That was not settled in this negotiation. That's been set aside for a future negotiation, exactly how many will come back?
Under Secretary Slocombe: How many, what the conditions will be, and within the broad four categories, what they'll do.
But I want to emphasize that the number will clearly -- we're talking about something like 40,000 Serb troops in country now. It will be on the order of a few hundred.
Q: Mr. Slocombe, between Sunday when the talks apparently collapsed and today, what concessions did NATO make in this document to Serb demands or requests for either timing or sequencing?
Under Secretary Slocombe: I think it was less a question of concessions than it was of working to be sure we really had a U.N. Security Council Resolution that would be able, that had support where the text was all worked out and where we'd be able to be reasonably confident that it would be approved by the Security Council as soon as the suspension took place.
Q: Do we have any assurance -- and we have night vision equipment, any withdrawal -- has it started at all? Any evidence of any withdrawal?
General Ralston: That's something that NATO is looking at right now. I am told that there were certainly some indications that they were making preparations for the withdrawal. I just have to defer to the people at NATO to make that judgment.
Q:...sources here with the Joint Chiefs. Certainly you must be getting word out of (inaudible) if anything is taking place.
General Ralston: As I say, certainly the indications are that preparations are underway. We'll just have to wait.
Q:...told of preparations earlier. I mean any movement of the troops?
General Ralston: It's been two hours. Most of the time we've been in this room.
Q: General, (inaudible) actually be able to monitor this real-time with Predator, real-time video in the building here or in Mons or in Molesworth? Can you talk a little bit about the technology that will allow you to real-time...
General Ralston: I think there are several means that SACEUR can use to get the data to help him make his judgment on verification. JOINTSTARS, for example, is one of the things that is there. It works in all weather, around the clock. Certainly the Predator. Certainly the Hunter. If they are in the right places. Certainly, pilots during daylight as they are overflying the area. So it will be a combination of these sources.
Q: I see a potential for real abuse of this agreement on the withdrawal, because on the one hand you say don't do anything on the way out, don't attack any persons. On the other hand, Secretary Cohen said they can return fire if they're fired upon. Without having any observers on the ground, how will NATO know if they're just raping and pillaging their whole way back and saying that: "Oh, we were fired upon." How will you verify that?
General Ralston: Clearly, it's very difficult to verify 100 percent on any agreement here. You have to rely upon, certainly, the intentions of the people involved and use all the evidence that you've got. I think we would remind everyone that is leaving that we, certainly, will be looking, talking to the people that are left behind, looking for any evidence of any kinds of criminal activity as the people are going out, and they will be held responsible for it.
Under Secretary Slocombe: Furthermore, bear in mind that the time periods allowed are very short. These successive withdrawals have to be completed in a matter of days. So at the expiry of those days, except for the third zone at the beginning, simply being present in the area would be a violation.
Q: The German Foreign Minister, I believe it was, was quoted earlier today saying that at the end of negotiations the Serbs objected to one sentence and that that sentence was removed. Do either of you know what the sentence was and what it pertained to?
Under Secretary Slocombe: There has been a long -- the kind of common theme, leaving aside the technical issues of what the discussions have been about, has been about sequencing, and it was a sentence related to sequencing.
Q: Why the unusual drawing of this? I mean it's kind of a stovepipe of...
Under Secretary Slocombe: To get Pristina, to include Pristina in the first zone.
Q: Why wasn't that included say in zone two?
General Ralston: Because their headquarters is in Pristina, so it's unreasonable to ask them to move out [of] their headquarters while they're trying to coordinate the evacuation from the other places.
Q: General Ralston, does NATO plan to keep CAP up over Kosovo while all of this is going on, and over Serbia as well? Over the 11-day period?
General Ralston: NATO -- before the suspension, then NATO will continue their air campaign and they will have CAP and all other defenses that they need to ensure the safety of our pilots that are involved. Once you have a suspension, then it will be up to the field commanders to establish where they think the CAPs need to be in order to carry out their mission.
Q: Do you have any update on Secretary Talbott's discussions with the Russians and how they'll...
Under Secretary Slocombe: He hasn't gotten there yet, I don't think. He left at 1:00 o'clock.
General Ralston: He just left this afternoon headed there.
Press: Thank you.