Excerpts from DoD News Briefing Transcript, 97-06-19
HR-Net note: The extraneous HTML code which appears in the passage is duplicated here exactly as it appears in the original.
DoD News Briefing
Thursday, June 19, 1997 - 1:30 p.m.
Mr. Kenneth H. Bacon, ASD(PA)
Mr. Bacon: Good afternoon. Welcome to our briefing.
Q: It was reported that the (inaudible) meeting Greek Deputy Secretary
Yanos (inaudible) and that DoD Under Secretary Jan Lodal gathered here at
the Pentagon. They discussed (inaudible) some military initiatives over
Cypress and the Aegean Sea. Could you please clarify what types of military
initiatives they discussed.
A: What types of military issues they discussed?
Q: ...As it was said, even by Nicholas Burns.
A: They primarily discussed the Holbrooke appointment and the approach that
he'll take to trying to resolve the crisis situation. That was the main
focal point of their conversation. They also discussed various ways to
improve relations between Greece and Turkey. In that regard, one of the
issues they focused on were the confidence building measures that have been
proposed by the NATO Secretary General Javier Solana. Those have been
described in the past. But that was the gist of the meeting. It was 30
minutes long so they didn't have a chance to go into great detail about all
issues involving Greece and Turkey.
Q: ...answer to the proposal which has been...
A: I don't know that. That's really something that's being brokered by the
Secretary General, and I think it would be most appropriate to ask the NATO
people about that.
Q: Your mapping agency, NIMA, stated for the public record that he has been
advised recently by the Department of State to include in the U.S. maps in
the future the island of (inaudible) as under Greek sovereignty, and
(inaudible). Could you please comment and confirm?
A: That's true.
Q: It's true? news/Jun1997/b06191997_bt321-97.html">that the island is
under Greek sovereignty as it always has been. That map is a nautical map
for mariners, and it's available to the public. So you can go and check for
yourself to make sure that the island is listed under Greek sovereignty. **
Q: I'm raising this question because it's a kind of dispute between the DoD
and the Department of State...
A: There's no dispute. There's no dispute here.
Q: ..that to the State Department that the island is Greek...
A: These questions are actually decided by the State Department. They have
an official geographer over there. In fact the title is the Office of the
Geographer and Global Issues at the State Department. He's the guy who
decides the appropriate nationality of properties around the world. We
follow his advice.
The reason this was listed as undetermined sovereignty, it was listed that
way because a mistake was made. As soon as the mistake was called to the
attention of the Defense Mapping Agency, which of course no longer exists
because it's been subsumed into NIMA -- the National Imagery and Mapping
Agency -- it was changed. So I don't think it's fair to characterize this
as a dispute. This is something that we cleared up as quickly as it was
called to our attention.
Press: Thank you.
** -- In this briefing, I mistakenly said that the Aegean island of Imia is
"under Greek sovereignty." In fact, the sovereignty of that island is in
dispute between Greece and Turkey.
It is long-standing U.S. policy not to take a position on conflicting
claims to sovereignty, or on other countries' boundary disputes. We believe
this policy helps us to act, where appropriate, to facilitate the
resolution of such disputes.
The State Department spokesman said on February 1, 1996: "Both Greece and
Turkey claim sovereignty to that particular islet. We have decided, upon
reflection, that we will not proclaim our view of sovereignty."