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DoD NewsBriefing

Tuesday, April 9, 1996 - 10:30 a.m.

Secretary of Defense William J. Perry

[This media activity takes place following a Full Honors Arrival Ceremonywelcoming

Minister of Defense Anneli Taina, of the Republic of Finland, to thePentagon]

Q: Mr. Secretary, what can you tell us about possible plans for evacuatingAmericans from Liberia?

A: I'll answer that question in a moment, but first if there's any Finnishpress here, I'd like to give them an opportunity to ask any questions. Arethere any press from Finland here which wishes to ask any questions?

Q: What can you tell us about possible plans for evacuating Americans fromLiberia?

A: There is fighting going on now, in Monrovia. It is not directed againstAmericans, nevertheless we see it as a potentially dangerous situation. TheSecretary of State has not, at this point, requested evacuation. We have madecontingency plans to prepare for that in case he does ask for an evacuation: weare bolstering the security; we are sending what we call a military assessmentteam; and we are prepositioning airplanes and helicopters to be in a positionto respond quickly if an evacuation is requested.

Q: Has the United States consider assisting in the evacuation of citizens fromother countries who are in the US compound?

A: That's a decision that will be made by the Secretary of State. We willrespond to whatever evacuation that they request us to do. We areprepositioning equipment which can handle a sizable evacuation if necessary,but I do not want to go into any of the operational details of our planning orprepositioning at this point.

Q: What's the latest that you can tell us about the situation involving NorthKorea's incursions into the DMZ?

A: There's been nothing new on that in the last 24 hours. We watch that, ofcourse, very closely. But it... based on the reports I had as of about a halfan hour ago it's been very quiet in the last 24 hours.

Q: How are you bolstering security [in Liberia]? And have you moved anytroops in at all?

A: We are sending additional security forces there, but I will not say `howmany' or timing.

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