2000-7/14 afternoon Lockhart brief
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary
                          (Camp David, Maryland)

Immediate Release                             July 14, 2000

                              PRESS BRIEFING
                               JOE LOCKHART

                        Thurmont Elementary School
                            Thurmont, Maryland

5:20 P.M. EDT

     MR. LOCKHART:  Okay.  Let me bring you up to date since we last spoke,
just a few hours ago.  This won't take long.

     Since I was here last, the President has had two bilateral meetings;
first with Prime Minister Barak, at the President's cabin, on the back
patio.  When that was complete, the President took a short walk over to the
cabin where Chairman Arafat has been staying for a bilateral meeting there.

     The President then met with his team briefly.  He's now currently
preparing to record his radio address, which is on a domestic subject.
Then he'll, no doubt, have more activity tonight, but I don't have any of
that confirmed yet.

     Q    -- bilaterals, anyone else sitting there?

     MR. LOCKHART:  Translator with -- interpreter with Arafat.  I think
the Barak meeting today was one-on-one.

     Q    How long?

     MR. LOCKHART:  We'll double-check.  I don't have the times on it.
Some of the Barak meetings have had note-takers.  But this one, we can

     Q    -- the expert group, if I can call it that, groups -- did they
keep meeting?  Do you know how long they went?

     MR. LOCKHART:  I don't know if each and every one is still meeting
now, but I understand that they were all meeting today.  I expect that
sometime in the next hour or two they will all break, report back to their
own delegations, report to us on any progress they may have made today.

     Q    Joe, what's the reaction to the report that the Palestinian
officials or sources are saying that Dennis presented a proposal last night
that they believe was too much -- too similar to what the Israelis were
proposing, and they didn't like it, threatened to walk out and then the
President then -- -- proposal had been given to them by --

     MR. LOCKHART:  I think commenting on that would break the basic tenets
of the news blackout.  Those of you who have to report, even in a news
blackout, will just have to take your chances.

     Q    Joe, wait a minute -- say anything you don't want to confirm or
deny --

     MR. LOCKHART:  I think that's what I said.

     Q    -- Arafat has not met again --

     MR. LOCKHART:  Not that I'm aware of.

     Q    Joe, can you provide a little more information about this meeting
with the Palestinian leaders and Secretary Albright?  I mean, this -- or
did they provide specific information that the Secretary wants to take --

     MR. LOCKHART:  Well, I think the information, in their point of view,
they've made quite clear, because I think they've been available to the
media this afternoon.  But I think the Secretary wanted a chance to go and
talk to them.  She had a good meeting, she listened carefully to their
point of view.  I think Chairman Arafat thought it was important, thought
that this was a good idea for her to take this time to listen to their
point of view.

      I think they laid out their concerns at how -- on why it was
necessary to bring about a genuine peace.  Again, I think they are quite
able to articulate their own point of view.  I think Secretary Albright
spent some time explaining why we have the arrangements we do here at Camp
David, talked a little bit about the task at hand in terms that I think
you've probably heard from her before the negotiations started -- talking
about neither side getting 100 percent; how these are the most difficult
issues that the parties face, which makes this very difficult, very hard.

     And as they work through these issues, this process is bound to get
harder as they move along.  I think she also made the point that this is a
very important process for all parties involved, and we believe it's
important that people do what they can to support the process.  Yes.

     Q    To divert for one second.  Is the administration pleased with the
tobacco verdict in Florida, $145 --

     MR. LOCKHART:  The administration doesn't take a view on private
lawsuits, but our view about the tobacco industry and their behavior is
quite clear, based on the actions the Justice Department is preparing to
recoup money based on our cooperation with states, as far as trying to
change their marketing practices and their targeting of children.  So
without commenting specifically on this particular case, we have always
believed that the tobacco industry is responsible for the way they have
marketed and produced their products.

     Q    -- the verdict, such a substantial sum, gives you a little bit
more of a moral boost or a little bit of a --

     MR. LOCKHART:  I don't know this is about how we feel or a boost in
spirits, it's about a very serious, probably the most serious public health
issue we have in this country, with more than 3,000 kids starting to smoke
every day; a third of them will die early from it.  And we think we need to
continue to address this issue.  In many ways, we're doing it on a number
of fronts, as are some people who are private litigants.

     Q    Joe, on that subject -- talk that if this type of punitive damage
goes through, that it will cost the industry jobs and families could lose
primary sources of income.  What do you say about the concerns of working
families who may have their livelihoods just taken?

     MR. LOCKHART:  I think we worked in good faith with the tobacco
industry to try to reach a settlement and they walked away.

     Q    Do you still believe that the news blackout is expected by both
parties in the negotiations?

     MR. LOCKHART:  I think -- there are certainly some people who are
writing things that may or may not be sourced from people who know what
they're talking about.  But I think, by and large, the substance of what's
going on there is remaining in Camp David.

     Q    (Inaudible.)

     MR. LOCKHART:  Let me do this one.  I was not able to nail down -- I
know that there will be a shabbat dinner.  I was not able to nail down the
details and all of the different attendants.  I hope to get something and
I'll let the pool know this evening.

     Q    Can you explain -- one meeting between Bark and Arafat.  Why are
they not talking to each other?

     MR. LOCKHART:  These negotiations go on at a number of levels, they
have a logic unto themselves.  And I think in order to reach an agreement,
there has to be work done at all levels.

     Q    -- delegation said that they came basically to see Mr. Arafat.
And he had the intention to come back and try to see him again.  What do
you think about that?

     MR. LOCKHART:  Depends when they come.

     Q    Not now?

     MR. LOCKHART:  I think we've been relatively clear on this.  I think
the meeting today was a good one.  I think both sides expressed
satisfaction with it.  But our main focus is on what's going on at Camp
David, for obvious reasons.

     Q    Joe, did all three of the -- the three leaders that we saw on
CNN, like two days ago, the three leaders that were so-called opposition
leaders, did they all three meet with Albright today or was it only two of
them, as we --

     MR. LOCKHART:  I know the group was six or seven people.  I don't know
-- six?  I think they came out and all talked to the press.

     Q    -- it there?

     MR. LOCKHART:  We'll check afterwards for you.  I think Richard knows.

     Q    Has there been other -- you said he's going to be working on his
radio address, delivering his radio address.  Have there been other things
that the President has had to attend to today, beyond the Middle East peace

     MR. LOCKHART:  There's been a variety of subjects.  The President's
Chief of Staff is up here.  For instance, as many of you know, the House
took steps on the foreign operations bill, with decidedly mixed response
from us as far as some of the things they did.  There were some good things
in there, there were some bad things.  So there was a discussion this
morning, separate and apart from what we're doing here about what we might
do and what we can do.  So that sort of work continues.

     Q    -- peace talks?

     MR. LOCKHART:  He's been in touch with a few people, but I'm not going
to get into the substance of those, that are not Camp David and domestic.

     Q    Will the informal format extend possibly to the United States
presenting proposals --

     MR. LOCKHART:  I don't think I'm going to get into the format for any
proposals that may or may not, because I think whether you write them down
or you speak them orally, that gets to substance.  The answer was not
present -- your question.

     Q    Do you know why?

     MR. LOCKHART:  No.

     Q    Does the administration have any response to the flag issue
that's going on in the schools right now?

     MR. LOCKHART:  The first I heard of this was at the briefing this
morning.  And without any editorial comment from me on some of the things
that have happened here this afternoon, I looked into it.  There is a
no-flag policy, which makes some sense as far as the meeting rooms, for the
talks which has served us well in the past.  But in checking with protocol,
that really only extends to rooms where there will be meetings or plenaries
and clearly does not extend to meetings where press are being worked out

     So having looked into it and having seen that the spirit and the
letter of this agreement doesn't really apply here, we have put the flags
back up.  They are back up.

     Q    Did the negotiators observe any kind of religious service today
at any time?

     MR. LOCKHART:  I didn't talk to them specifically about that, nor did
they communicate that to me.  I'm certain that they followed whatever the
normal pattern is.

     Q    Joe, there's no change in the President's schedule in terms of
staying here tonight and through the weekend?

     MR. LOCKHART:  No, he'll be here tonight, and we'll let you know as we

     Q    Joe, could you tell me more about -- you say you put the flags
back up.  Are you talking about at Camp David, because some people --

     MR. LOCKHART:  Now, let me provide you with the facts here, because
there's been very little discussion about the facts, and a good bit of
grandstanding based on rumors and fantasy.  There are two rooms here, and I
know this will be a big story in your paper tomorrow, so let me give you
the facts.

     There are two rooms here where the Palestinian press are working out
of, where the Israeli press are working out of.  There were two miniature
flags that when they went around and were setting them up, someone saw the
flags, took them down under the no-flag policy, which again has a solid and
logical foundation, diplomatically.  Now, I know there was a lot of fuss
made.  There wasn't a lot of checking to see what the facts were, but fuss
is a lot more interesting than facts.  But once I checked on it, and
checked that this clearly didn't extend to rooms where the press was
working, we put the flags back up.

     Q    Joe -- ask a question.  First of all, we haven't written anything
on this, that's why I wanted to get the facts from you.  But, secondly, I
was going to ask you if the flags were taken down at Camp David and are now
being put back up, as well as this building, in this room.

     MR. LOCKHART:  There's nothing that was -- there's nothing else that's
happened here, except for those two rooms where the press is working.  All
the other flags that were in this building remain there.  I understand that
the flag out front doesn't fly when school is out, so --

     Q    -- taken down theirs --

     MR. LOCKHART:  I don't know.  I don't know that there was a flag in
the room where the plenary was located, but we have a policy for these
discussions, which I think does make sense, that in those meeting rooms,
there are not flags.  But whether things were taken down, I don't know.

     Q    This is the kind of detail that you apparently can offer us.  Any
more on the golf cart fiasco?  (Laughter.)  In terms of who was involved,
and --

     MR. LOCKHART:  I think I'll stick right where I am --

     Q    Was there a movie shown last night up at Camp David --

     MR. LOCKHART:  There was some late-night bowling that -- I told some
people -- that didn't involve any of the delegations, and just involved a
lot of inept bowlers.

     Q    Any weekend activities planned?  No off-campus -- there is no fun
at Camp David?

     MR. LOCKHART:  I'm not sure anyone is describing this as fun.

     Q    Joe, I've got to try this again.  You can say it's substance.
The U.S. position traditionally has been in situations like this that at
some point, if they feel it's the wise thing to do, they will present
bridging proposals.  Now, if you can't say whether the U.S. has begun to do
this, does the U.S, at this event, which would not be unusual, reserve the
prerogative, or the right, or whatever you want to call it, the tactic of
presenting bridging proposals?

     MR. LOCKHART:  We certainly would not eliminate any diplomatic
initiative or effort that might help move the process forward.  I'm just
not going to discuss any of those efforts or any of those options.

     Q    -- deteriorated between Chairman Arafat and Prime Minister Barak
since we're going more into talks, or is it still friendly?  How would you
characterize it?

     MR. LOCKHART:  To the extent that I have witnessed something, I have
witnessed it firsthand, I haven't witnessed a deterioration.

     Q    Have you heard about any tensions between the parties?  I mean,
in the morning, you told me that --

     MR. LOCKHART:  Yes, these are very, very difficult issues, so I've
heard about a lot of tensions between the parties.  There are tensions
every day when you're trying to work through these difficult issues.  I
just think it's better left up at Camp David and not detailed here.

     Q    Today, were there any tensions?

     MR. LOCKHART:  There are tensions every day, as I said, when you're
working through these issues.

     Q    Is Chairman Arafat packing up his bags?

     Q    -- walk out of the summit?

     MR. LOCKHART:  I didn't see any luggage today.  (Laughter.)

     THE PRESS:  Thank you.

                              END                5:35 P.M. EDT

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