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U.S. Department of State
93/01/31 Remarks with ForMin of Latvia
Office of the Spokesman

Office of the Spokesman
For Immediate Release                                  January 31, 1993


SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  I am very pleased to welcome here the Foreign 
Minister of Latvia.  We have begun an acquaintance over the last 
several months.  I had the great pleasure of visiting him in Riga, and 
today we will be following up on a number of matters we talked about 

First, I am very pleased that Latvia has indicated a desire to join the 
Partnership for Peace.  I think that would be very constructive.   
Second, the United States places a very high importance on the prompt 
and unconditional withdrawal of the Russian troops from Latvia, and 
that will be a primary subject of our discussion here today.  We hope 
that can be accomplished in the very near future.

At the same time, I will be discussing with the Foreign Minister and 
the distinguished Parliamentary delegation that has come along with him 
the need for the Latvian government to be sensitive to the rather large 
Russian minority that is present in Latvia.  As you know, many 
international organizations have examined the situation and found that 
there is no violation of human rights by the Government of Latvia 
toward the Russian minority that's there but nevertheless has counseled 
concern and sensitivity for the Russian minority that is there.  The 
Foreign Minister and I have talked about that before, and we will be 
discussing that again.

Mr. Minister, I am delighted to welcome you here.  It is very nice to 
have you and your delegation in Washington.

FOREIGN MINISTER:  Thank you.  It is a great pleasure for me, an honor 
for me for the second time to meet Mr. Christopher here (inaudible) 
last year.  We are continuing the dialogue concerning Latvia's 
security, concerning the troop withdrawal, which is the first and the 
main problem, really, in Latvia.

Now we need some agreements inside and between different political 
groups and parties in Latvia (inaudible).  That's why not only 
representatives from the Foreign Ministry are here, but also all of the 
leaders of factions represented at our (inaudible) or the Parliament 
are here:  just to discuss the problem how we must behave, what we can 
do, and what the guarantees are that agreements which perhaps will be 
signed (inaudible) without United States help not a single guarantee is 
good enough for small Latvia.  You must understand this.  Thank you.

QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary, could we ask you about the visit this week by 
Chancellor Kohl and Foreign Secretary Hurd.  What are these visits 
about in regard to Bosnia?  Are we about to see some new new initiative 
on Bosnia which they are pushing, you are pushing?  Can you help us 
understand that?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  I think Bosnia will come up in both 
discussions, but Bosnia is not the primary subject of either discussion 
as I understand it.  I believe that the President and Chancellor Kohl, 
who are having lunch together today, will be discussing broad issues, 
especially developments in Russia and the former Soviet Union, issues 
relating to NATO and the Partnership for Peace.  As I say, I am sure 
that Bosnia will come up.  My meeting with Foreign Secretary Hurd will 
be a broad discussion of a number of issues.  It's a follow-up on 
meetings comparable to this that we have had in the past.

So, John, there is no expectation that out of these meetings will come 
some new initiative that you can expect to be announced at the end of 
the meetings.  What I do think is that that issue, because of its 
importance, will be discussed in both meetings; but it is not likely to 
be the dominant or centerpiece of either of the discussions.

QUESTION:  Is this a run up to the use of air power, perhaps?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Well, with respect to the use of air power, as 
you know over the weekend the Secretary General received a report from 
his special group on this subject, and we have endorsed that report.  
That could lead to the use of air power if there is not an agreement 
for the replacement of the Canadian troops at Srebrenica or for the 
opening of the airport at Tuzla.  But those matters will play out over 
time, and so, you know, these meetings are not specifically any kind of 
a run up to the use of air power, although there may well be reference 
once again to the report that the Secretary General received over the 

QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary, back to the Baltics.  Are you concerned by 
the tone of some of the statements emanating from Moscow on the 
question of the near-abroad and, last week, Deputy Foreign Minister 
Churkin's comment that in 1940 incorporation of the Republics was not 
against international law?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  We depend for the Russian attitude on this 
matter on the conversations we had with President Yeltsin, who 
indicated a continuation of Russian policies to remove the Russian 
troops from the Baltics.  Nothing I have seen since then contradicts 
that.  The statement by Foreign Minister Kozyrev has been said 
authoritatively not to have related to the Baltics.  I think the 
position of the Russian government is on track for the removal of the 
Russian troops from the Baltics.  There are some technical issues to be 
discussed in connection with that, but we take President Yeltsin's 
statement that he gave us when we were in Moscow as being the 
definitive answer on that subject.  Thank you very much.