THE WHITE HOUSE Office of the Press Secretary ________________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release October 30, 2000 PRESS BRIEFING BY JAKE SIEWERT The James S. Brady Briefing Room 1:42 P.M. EST Q Jake, at the State Department today they said that the President spoke with the leader of Yemen, Salih. Can you tell us about that call? MR. SIEWERT: He did. He spoke with him on Saturday. As you know, the President had written a letter to the leader of Yemen, thanking him for the cooperation on the first phase of the investigation, and asking for their continued cooperation as we go into the next phase of the investigation. We got a return call on Saturday, and they spoke for about 25 minutes on Saturday. They pledged their full cooperation in the next phase of the investigation; and we made clear that as part of that investigation we're going to need to see some access to witnesses and access to primary materials there. Q Did they agree to that? MR. SIEWERT: They've pledged full cooperation, and I'm not going to get into the modalities of the investigation, but they pledged that they would continue to cooperate. And we've received excellent cooperation from them in the first phase, and we expect that that will continue. Q So they agreed to give us access? MR. SIEWERT: They've said that they would cooperate fully in the next phase of the investigation. Q Have there been problems, though? Apparently with the certain people that the Yemense - Yemen authorities have detained, and they haven't allowed U.S. officials to question? MR. SIEWERT: I'd check with the Department of Justice and the other investigation agencies about how each phase of it's going. But generally in the first phase of the investigation we are very satisfied with the cooperation we've gotten. As you know, a lot of the investigators have returned now. We have a smaller group that's focusing on the next round. The President called President Salih to let him know that we need more cooperation in the second round, continued cooperation. They made clear that they would provide that cooperation, and we made clear in the call that we're going to need access to suspects and information that we'll need to continue that investigation. In terms of the day-to-day particulars of this, I think there are better places to get that information than here. Q Is it your understanding that this latest pledge of cooperation means that Yemen will give our FBI investigators access to the witnesses, suspects and evidence? MR. SIEWERT: You should check with the FBI on how that is actually playing out in practice, but we've made clear that that's something that we will need. Q Salih says that he's going to continue to cooperate. That is how the White House interprets it. The White House brings up specific concerns in his phone conversations -- MR. SIEWERT: That's what he said. That's all I'm saying. That's what he said; and we made clear, as part of that cooperation, we'll need access to information and to suspects. .... - Q Jake, back on Yemen, did the President write the letter at the urging of Janet Reno and Louis Freeh? MR. SIEWERT: Not that I'm aware of. I think it was meant just to -- I'll check on that, but it was meant to just thank him for the cooperation in the first phase, recognizing that we're moving into a new stage where we were lessening the footprint that the investigators had in Yemen, but that we needed to continue and do more over the next phase while there were fewer people on the ground; the next phase of the investigation is very important. END 2:08 P.M. EST