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U.S. Department of State
95/12/05 Secretary NATO Intervention
Office of the Spokesman



                          U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
                           Office of the Spokesman

                             (Brussels, Belgium)
                              December 5, 1995


                                INTERVENTION
                                     BY
                   SECRETARY OF STATE WARREN CHRISTOPHER
                   AT THE MEETING OF NATO FOREIGN AND
                       DEFENSE MINISTERS ON BOSNIA


     Mr. Acting Secretary-General, distinguished colleagues:  It is a  
great privilege for Secretary Perry and me to speak with you today on 
behalf of the United States and President Clinton.  For the first time 
in NATO's history, all 16 of our foreign ministers and all 16 of our 
defense ministers are meeting together.  As we prepare to launch this 
historic mission in Bosnia, our Alliance has never been more united.

     We are united because our mission is deeply rooted in NATO's 
fundamental purpose:  to combine our strength in the defense of peace.  
That purpose was conceived by NATO's founders a half century ago in the 
wake of the two most destructive wars in human history.  They created 
this permanent Alliance to ensure we would never have to fight a third 
great war.

     In its first half century, our Alliance met its greatest test.  As 
a result, we have reached the most hopeful period in the modern history 
of Europe.  Thanks to NATO, Western Europe emerged from the Cold War 
more secure and united than ever before.  Thanks to NATO, Central Europe 
was able to win its freedom, and the barbed wire that once divided our 
continent has been discarded for good.  Thanks to NATO, the partnership 
between United States and Europe is indissoluble, and we can pursue our 
shared interests and values effectively together.

     The Cold War is over, but we still have great challenges to meet.  
Such a challenge is clearly posed by the war in the former Yugoslavia.  
In the first shots that rang out in Sarajevo, we heard an ominous echo 
of the origins of World War I.  In the killing fields and concentration 
camps of Bosnia, we have seen our most terrible memories of World War II 
come to life again in the heart of Europe.

     This summer, the war in Bosnia reached a point of crisis.  NATO 
faced the prospect of withdrawing UN troops from Bosnia under fire.  But 
in these terrible events, we saw a chance to change the course of the 
war.  Together, we agreed to take decisive action to protect Bosnia's 
remaining safe areas.

     Without NATO's determined use of force, our diplomacy could not 
have brought the parties to the table.  Without the prospect of a NATO 
implementation force, the parties would not have had the confidence to 
reach -- and to implement -- a comprehensive settlement.  Without NATO, 
there would be no peace and no hope in Bosnia.

     The Dayton agreement has given us our best hope to achieve a 
lasting peace.  We wanted an agreement that addressed all the 
fundamental issues that divided the parties, with no short cuts or 
ambiguities, and that is what we obtained.  We wanted Bosnia to remain a 
single state, and it will.  We did not want Sarajevo to be divided as 
Berlin once was, and it will not.

     As we negotiated, we constantly insisted on an agreement that our 
troops could implement and enforce safely and effectively.  Each part of 
the agreement was carefully constructed to take the needs of our armed 
forces into account.  The three Balkan presidents have provided formal 
assurances for the safety of our troops.  We expect them to take the 
necessary steps to ensure that this and every other commitment made at 
Dayton is fully honored. 

     NATO has approved a detailed operational plan to implement the 
agreement.  This plan meets two tests that President Clinton laid out in 
his address last week to the American people.  First, the mission is 
"precisely defined -- with clear, realistic goals that can be achieved 
in a finite period of time."  NATO can provide a respite from fear and a 
chance to start rebuilding, but only the people of Bosnia can finish the 
job.  Second, our troops will have the strength and authority to protect 
themselves and to fulfill their mission.  I am confident this plan will 
have the support of the American people and our Congress.

     For each of our nations, deploying our troops is always a difficult 
and solemn choice.  But President Clinton has made clear, the United 
States is determined to carry out the responsibilities of leadership.  
Meeting that responsibility is profoundly in the interest of our nation 
and the world. 

     Last weekend in Ireland, President Clinton reminded us that 
European soldiers have stood shoulder to shoulder with America far from 
European shores, most recently in the Persian Gulf and in Haiti.  
Nowhere is it more important that we stand together than in Europe, 
where our common security interests are so great.  We designed NATO to 
secure these interests effectively, and to share the risks of our 
collective effort.

     Our 16 nations will form the critical core of the NATO force in 
Bosnia.  But equally important, we will be joined by our new partners 
from Central Europe and the New Independent States, who will serve side 
by side with NATO troops for the very first time.  

     The breadth of this coalition is not just unique to NATO's history.  
In all of modern European history, this is the first time that soldiers 
from every European power will serve together in a common military 
operation.  Think of it:  soldiers from France and Germany, Britain and 
Spain, Greece and Turkey, Poland and Sweden, Russia and the United 
States all sharing the same risks, on the same soil, under the same 
banner, at the same time.  Never before could we say with such 
conviction that our only remaining enemy is war itself.

     We are closer than ever to fulfilling the dream that Harry Truman 
expressed upon the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty.  "If there is 
anything inevitable in the future," he said, "it is the will of the 
people of the world for freedom and peace."

     Because of the mission we launch today, and because of our strategy 
of integration, the entire continent can one day share the blessings of 
peace that unite our community of free nations.  As we strive with our 
partners to overcome the division of Bosnia, we can also help to 
overcome the remaining division of Europe. Bosnia, once the symbol of 
Europe's post-Cold War disintegration, can be the proving ground for a 
broader and deeper transatlantic community. 

     These are goals that the United States and Europe can and will 
achieve as Allies, as partners and as friends.  Winston Churchill's 
immortal words remain our guidepost:  "Let us move forward together." 

     Thank you.
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