State Department Noon Briefing


WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 1, 2000 - 12:35 P.M.

Q: Richard, do you think the Yemeni Government is inhibiting the
investigation into the Cole?

BOUCHER: This is sort of the daily question, and I have to say we're
not going to try to do a daily taking of the temperature or a
scorecard or whatever we want to call it. We're not going to try to
assess on every moment of the hour or the day the extent of the

Let me go back to the basic facts. We had extensive and useful and
good cooperation in the initial phases of the investigation. We are
moving into new phases of the investigation. The President and others
have talked to President Salih about the kind of cooperation we need
in those new phases. It is more cooperation. It is extensive
cooperation that we will need in the new phases of the investigation.

We are talking to the Yemeni Government, to Yemeni officials, about
how to manage that cooperation, how to do it, how to organize it --
the modalities, as we like to say, of that cooperation. Those
discussions continue. And when we have something to report, we'll
report it to you.

Q: Yesterday you said you were making progress.

BOUCHER: And we're still making progress.

Q: Is there anything - any requests of the US, like access, like the
US wants access?

BOUCHER: Again, I'm not going to try to talk about asking this,
getting that, not getting this, have this right now, maybe-in-an-hour
kind of assessments. We're looking to establish the modalities of this
cooperation. We're making progress in those discussions, but we
haven't concluded them yet. When we do, we'll tell you about them.

Q: Is the demand that US helicopters - that they have to have
permission to land now in Yemen kind of the - part of the progress
that you're talking about?

BOUCHER: Once again, I'm not going to be able to deal with each of the
-- all the different elements that are involved in this.

Q: Well, it seems like the first thing that's happened since the
President of Yemen called and spoke to President Clinton, and since
the Secretary and Director Freeh sent their letter, the first solid
step that the Yemenis have taken is actually to inhibit US actions on
the ground there, with this demand for permission for helicopters to

Do you not see it that way?

BOUCHER: No, we don't. That would be a wrong conclusion based on
incomplete information, but I'm not allowed to give you more.

Q: So this is a good thing?

BOUCHER: I mean, there's a lot of things that are happening, okay?
Some of them work out, some of them don't; some of them don't work
initially, and we have to fix them. I can't get into a whole list of
everything we might have requested and everything that's done. You
can't just operate an investigation that way, and I'm not going to

Q: Okay. Well, is there something that needs to be fixed?

Q: Well, would you like to have more cooperation than you're getting
at this point?

BOUCHER: We have made quite clear that, in the new phase of the
investigation, we need more cooperation; we need extensive - we need
different kinds of cooperation, a different kind of access to
evidence, to information, different kinds of procedures. We're working
those things out. We're making progress in that regard, but we haven't
concluded it at this point.

Q: Is the helicopter thing something that needs to be fixed?

BOUCHER: I'm not going into helicopters or requests for this or
requests for that. We just can't - you know, we just can't start
telling you every step of the investigation what we ask for and what
we may or may not get, and we'll work it out.

Q: Is this the kind of thing that you're working out necessary to
conclude before the new phase gets started, or would you say that
we're already in the new phase that you talk about?

BOUCHER: I guess I would say that we are already in the new phase and
that we have moved the people around. As you know, we've moved some
people offshore; we have moved a lot of people back who weren't needed
there for the next phase. So we are moving in - we are in the new
phase of investigation in some way.

(The briefing was concluded at 12:50 P.M.)