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U.S. Department of State
93/10/04 Interview on CNN-TV "World Today"
Office of the Spokesman

                     U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
                     Office of the Spokesman

For Immediate Release                       October 4, 1993

                           INTERVIEW OF
                    ON CNN-TV'S "WORLD TODAY"

                         October 4, 1993

MR. FRANK SESNO:  And now joining us is U.S. Secretary of State Warren 
Christopher.  Mr. Secretary, thanks very much for coming in on what must 
be a phenomenally busy day.

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Good evening, Frank.

MR. SESNO:  We have these two huge stories, both Somalia and Russia.  
Let's start with Somalia, since that's what we're coming off of.  First 
of all, what is the purpose of sending in 200 additional troops?  That's 
hardly enough to pacify Mogadishu.  Is it merely enough to ensure a 
rapid and orderly withdrawal?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  No, I think we're dealing with an immediate 
problem with a need to beef up in various ways.  You know, we're sending 
in four tanks, a number of Bradley vehicles, and these are basically 
rotation troops so that we have replacements for the troops that are 

MR. SESNO:  If this doesn't do the job, will more be going in?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  That's a decision that the President will have 
to take.  But one thing I would say, Frank:  In the face of this kind of 
an attack on American troops -- the obscene pictures we have just seen -
- it's a time for Americans to be very steady in our purpose here and 
not talk about getting out.

MR. SESNO:  How then do you respond to Senator Byrd and Senator Dole, 
who are talking about that very thing, getting out?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  I certainly understand the emotional reaction 
that we don't want to stay there any longer than necessary; but we came 
there to do a job -- that is, to establish security.  And I think until 
that job is done we shouldn't get out.  But above all, I think when our 
troops have been attacked in the way they were yesterday, and when we 
have casualties and many injured as well, I think we have to be steady 
in our purpose and indicate that we are backing up our forces.

MR. SESNO:  The question I heard as I spoke with people on the Hill 
today, though, is confusion over what that job is that we're doing 
there.  One senator said, for example, "Well, are we going to stay there 
until we get Mohammed Aideed?  Will we be there a year from now if 
Aideed is still at large?"

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Our purpose when we went there was to establish 
enough security so that starvation could be brought to an end, so that 
the relief organizations could get food through.  We were successful in 
that, and now General Aideed has come in at this last moment and has 
tried to recreate the conditions that produced the starvation before.  I 
think we need to deal with General Aideed or his forces in a way that 
prevents that from happening.  But ours is not the U.N. mission.  We are 
not there for the long pull of nation building.  We are there to 
establish a secure environment.

But I would like to talk more about the immediate situation that we face 
tonight.  With the attacks that have been made and with the missing that 
we have there at the present time, I think we must be very serious and 
purposeful in our resolve.

MR. SESNO:  But on that score, then, is it your intention to state that 
U.S. policy is to remain in Somalia until General Aideed is captured?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  I wouldn't put the focus on General Aideed.  I 
would put the focus on establishing a secure environment so that we have 
done the job we went to do in the first place, and then we can leave.

MR. SESNO:  Senators Dole and Byrd, with respect, would say we've done 
that job, much of the country is being fed; now it's nation building, 
let the U.N. do that.

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  With all respect, I would disagree with both 
Senators, as of the situation tonight.  I think, with the attacks over 
the weekend, that this is not the day to be talking about pulling our 
troops out.  You know, the notion that our troops would leave there 
tonight under the present circumstances I find one that I just cannot 

MR. SESNO:  Let me just ask you a specific.  Senator Leahy suggested 
today that either troops should come out or the Administration should go 
to Capitol Hill, to Congress, for a resolution of support.  Is that 
being considered?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  As you know, we're required to make a report to 
Congress by the 15th of October, or at least there is a resolution to 
that effect.  We will obey that resolution.  And the Senate has passed a 
resolution indicating that they expect us to seek a resolution of 
support by the 15th of November, and we'll certainly be consulting with 
Congress and trying to reflect the views of Congress in that regard.  
That's quite a different thing than saying today that we should pull our 
forces out and leave.

MR. SESNO:  But a specific resolution, additional resolution, you don't 
see the need for that?  Is that what you're saying?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  What I'm saying about that, Frank, is that if 
Congress wants to debate the matter, wants to consider the matter in 
November, that's certainly something we can consider.  We take into 
account the views of Congress very strongly.  But there are times when 
the President has to take the responsibility that he has as Commander in 
Chief, and I think that's just what you saw the President doing tonight.

MR. SESNO:  Let me ask you about one specific comment that Senator Dole 
made that we just saw in that clip, and that is in reference to the U.N. 
Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali.  He said he is not empowered to 
make U.S. foreign policy -- his words.  Do you feel, as the architect of 
U.S. foreign policy, that you have lost your prerogative, or the United 
States has lost its prerogative, in Somalia to the United Nations?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Not at all.  We'll never subcontract American 
foreign policy to any person or power.  I went to see Boutros-Ghali a 
week ago and told him I thought that we needed to have urgent action on 
a political track.  I think he got the message.  I talked to him by 
telephone yesterday, and he indicated that he was going to the area.  He 
was going to try to find a political solution to this matter.  We have 
to be working on the security track, but we also need to be working 
urgently on the political track.  The events of the last 48 hours only 
underscore that need.

MR. SESNO:  One more clarification, if I may -- something that President 
Clinton said.  He said, in reference to these airmen or whomever who may 
be held.  If anything happens to them, he said, the U.S., not the United 
Nations, will take this matter gravely.  What exactly is he talking 

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Well, in the first place I would say that those 
men ought to be returned promptly.

MR. SESNO:  Do you know how many there are who are being held?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  I think it's probably not prudent for me to say 
tonight how many have been held or what circumstances they are being 
held in.  But I think if I were talking to General Aideed tonight, I'd 
say, "Look, you are responsible for the safety of these men.  Return 
them immediately.  Take good care of them while you have them, and if 
you don't there will be grave consequences.  And we're not going to go 
through some international body to debate how we handle the situation if 
you harm any of these men."

MR. SESNO:  So as far as you're concerned, if any of these men are 
harmed, the United States is empowered and justified in taking whatever 
unilateral action it deems necessary?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  One of the things we've done all over the world 
is to be concerned about American citizens, especially American 
servicemen, when they are held in that kind of circumstance.

MR. SESNO:  The crisis in Russia -- a lot happening there.  We'll talk 
about that right after this break.

                          [COMMERCIAL BREAK]

MR. SESNO:  Continuing now with Secretary of State Warren Christopher.  
Mr. Secretary, just before you came over to CNN you were mentioning to 
me during the break you had an opportunity to talk with the Russian 
Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev from Moscow.  What is he telling us as 
to the situation now?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  He said the situation was relatively calm in the 
city tonight.  There is sporadic gunfire.  He said people had gotten out 
of the White House, taken their weapons with them.  So, there was some 
sporadic gunfire in various parts of the city.  He said that otherwise 
the situation was under control and the Yeltsin forces were in firm 

MR. SESNO:  Did he give you any indication as to what President 
Yeltsin's next actions will be?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  He indicated that Yeltsin would probably be 
making a speech tomorrow in which he would reaffirm his intention that 
there be elections, that they be open and free elections -- I think the 
11th and 12th of December -- and also indicated the intention to have a 
presidential election later on, in short to give reassurance that he was 
still on a democratic course.

MR. SESNO:  So, your indication is that Boris Yeltsin will proceed with 
this timetable for parliamentary elections first, then a constitutional 
process, then a presidential election?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  That's what Foreign Minister Kozyrev indicated 

MR. SESNO:  What did the Foreign Minister say to you, if anything, about 
the number of casualties and the death toll of this fighting?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  I asked him about that, and he said they still 
don't have an accurate count.  He said there would be substantial 
casualties but that the numbers quoted earlier today were just 
speculation by individuals and they do not have a hard count at the 
present time.

MR. SESNO:  Mr. Secretary, do you feel that the United States, the West, 
the world, essentially is putting all of its eggs in Boris Yeltsin's 
basket as far as democratizing?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  We certainly have indicated our strong support 
for him, but that's not unqualified support.  It is support as long as 
he continues on this democratizing path.  I think he deserves a lot of 
credit for trying to handle the situation without the use of force.  As 
you know, he waited quite a long time to use force.  He also gave people 
an opportunity to leave the White House before he used force.  So I 
think he has consistently acted in a way that is as democratic and 
peaceful as possible.  Unfortunately, when  challenged by a mob that was 
out of control, when Rutskoi in effect incited the riot, incited the 
attack on governmental buildings, he had little choice but to respond 
forcefully, which he did.

MR. SESNO:  So you feel this response was fully justified?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Yes, under the circumstances I do.  I talked to 
our Ambassador Pickering today and wanted to check with him to make sure 
that the translation that I had heard with respect to Rutskoi was 
accurate -- that is, that he really had incited the people to go and 
attack the television tower and city hall.  Ambassador Pickering 
confirmed that.  That's just unacceptable conduct, to take that kind of 
a mob and urge them to go out and attack other government buildings.

MR. SESNO:  A senior Administration official said earlier today that 
there was, in his words, a healthy and significant minority outside of 
Moscow that had been, anyway, sympathetic to Rutskoi and Khasbulatov.  
Did Mr. Kozyrev give you any indication as to what's going on elsewhere 
in the country, and how much do you feel people are in lockstep now 
behind Boris Yeltsin?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Well, I did ask him about that, and he said 
things were quiet in the other parts of Russia.  He also said that there 
was a meeting between President Yeltsin and regional leaders today, and 
the regional leaders had strongly endorsed Yeltsin's direction.  Of 
course there will be minority groups around the rest of the country.  
But one thing I'd remind you of, Frank, is that this group is basically 
the old-line communists.  When they raised the flag, it was the hammer 
and sickle.

MR. SESNO:  They were elected.

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  They were elected under circumstances that were 
-- the way they were nominated is, I think, somewhat misleading as to 
the democratic character of it.  But in any event, the forces that were 
opposed to Yeltsin basically were the old-line communists, a return to 
an earlier day.  Rutskoi basically would like to return to the former 
Soviet Union.

MR. SESNO:  President Clinton still has not spoken with President 

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  I don't know that he has.  President Clinton has 
been traveling on the West Coast today with a very heavy schedule.  So I 
don't know whether he has spoken to him or not.

MR. SESNO:  And you're still planning to go later this month?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Well, I'd planned to go to Eastern Europe, 
including principally Moscow, and my plans are still on track. 

MR. SESNO:  Secretary of State Warren Christopher.  Thank you very much 
for sharing your time so generously with us.



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