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U.S. Department of State
96/02/03 Press Conference (with Bosnian President Izetbegovic)
Office of the Spokesman



                         U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE 
                         Office of the Spokesman 
 
                            (Sarajevo, Bosnia) 
________________________________________________________________________ 
For Immediate Release                                   February 3, 1996 
 
                            PRESS CONFERENCE 
                                 WITH 
                  SECRETARY OF STATE WARREN CHRISTOPHER 
                   BOSNIAN PRESIDENT ALIJA IZETBEGOVIC 
 
                            The Presidency 
                    Sarajevo, Bosnia-Hercegovina 
                           February 3, 1996 
 
 
PRESIDENT IZETBEGOVIC: We have the honored pleasure of speaking to his 
Excellency Secretary Christopher.  That was an open and thorough 
discussion, and we have said how much we appreciate everything that he 
and the United States of America have done for reaching peace in Bosnia-
Hercegovina.  On behalf of my delegation and our people, I have thanked 
his Excellency, Mr. Christopher, for the efforts that he made in 
advancing peace.  Participating in the Dayton discussions and reaching 
peace in Dayton, I was a witness, and I know very well how much effort 
Mr. Secretary has invested in reaching peace. 
 
The subject of our discussions was the implementation of the Dayton 
Agreements.  It was with pleasure that we have stated that the military 
part, the military compliance, by IFOR is developing without major 
difficulties.  However, the civilian part of the agreement goes slowly, 
although lately there are signs of improvement.  We have discussed the 
issues of Sarajevo, Mostar, elections, and the reconstruction of Bosnia-
Hercegovina.  As of Sarajevo, we have expressed our dissatisfaction with 
the decision of Mr. Bildt that the following forty-five days there is a 
presence of the Serb police in those areas.  We consider it  the wrong 
interpretation of this part of the Dayton agreement and that the 
presence of the Serb police in the following forty-five days is illegal.  
We have Mr. Christopher informed about this and it is my impression that 
he understood it well.   
 
We have also made an objection to the fact that there is devastation 
going on in the areas which have to be added/joined to the part which is 
the Federation, not only the areas but also the factories and all the 
properties being devastated.  I have informed Mr. Christopher of Mr. 
Krizinger's, the German ambassador to Bosnia, visit yesterday to 
Vogosca, where they found a very difficult and sad situation.  Mr. 
Krizinger found devastated factories and equipment there.  It is our 
opinion that IFOR should be preventing this.  If IFOR is not able to do 
that, then the Serb side should be fully notified that all the damages 
that they are creating will be deducted from the financial support of 
the international community that is due to them.   
 
As of the election, we have also notified Mr. Secretary that this part 
of the Dayton agreements, when it comes to the freedom of the political 
activities, is not developing well.  The freedom of movement and freedom 
of media is an absolute precondition for free and fair elections.  The 
American side has fully agreed, in this regard, with us.   
 
As for the prisoners, the majority of prisoners have been released from 
our side.  I believe that it is today that the remaining five prisoners 
will be released today in Gorazde.  We have difficulties there, as you 
know.  The wives, the daughters, the sisters of the killed and missing 
people are protesting against the release of the remaining Serb 
prisoners before the destiny and the situation regarding their husbands 
and their sons is being found out, from Srebrenica.  They're placing 
this issue before – in front of – the Dayton agreements, because that 
issue is of more importance to them.  We have difficulties in this.  We 
have informed the American side of this.  The Americans are very well 
informed on this situation. 
 
It was with great satisfaction that we received the news that the 
Assistant Secretary for Human Rights Mr. Shattuck will remain Bosnia-
Hercegovina, and that he is going to travel to Omarska and he'll be 
going out to investigate the issue of the mass graves that we are 
speaking about.  The special group established by the International Red 
Cross will continue to investigate the questions and the destinies of 
the missing persons from Srebrenica.  Mr. Christopher has expressed the 
readiness of the United States of America to continue fully to cooperate 
and to work on searching and investigating the destiny of the missing 
persons, especially from Srebrenica.  So, it was in this regard that 
I've asked Mr. Christopher to, at the meeting tomorrow with President 
Milosevic, ask him for the better cooperation of Serbia with the 
International Tribunal in The Hague.   
 
Mr. Christopher has also expressed the readiness of speeding up the 
decisions regarding the reconstruction of Bosnia-Hercegovina.  We have 
informed his Excellency that there are so many delegations, so many 
people, coming here to Bosnia-Hercegovina and coming in and out with 
proposals and with promises, but not even one dollar reached Bosnia-
Hercegovina from the program of reconstruction of Bosnia-Hercegovina.   
 
I have also informed the Secretary of State on the development on the 
issues regarding the Federation and the issues regarding the development 
of the situation in Mostar.  Finally, we have agreed fully that all the 
foreign forces have to leave Bosnia-Hercegovina.  We have expressed, in 
this regard, our full decisiveness to fully comply with the Dayton 
provisions.  Thank you. 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Thank you Mr. President.  Let me thank President 
Izetbegovic and his colleagues for their welcome here in Sarajevo.  It 
is a great privilege to be here and to witness the rebirth of Sarajevo 
as the capital of a unified country at peace.  It's not been so long 
since the Dayton Accords were concluded, but the citizens of Sarajevo 
seem to be beginning to enjoy the miracle of a normal life, as President 
Clinton once put it.  As I drove in from the airport, I could see that 
the citizens of Sarajevo were beginning to fix their windows.  Shattered 
windows were being fixed.  I think that's a simple metaphor for the 
confidence that's been generated by the presence of IFOR here.  Of 
course, we cannot deny the wreckage of war, which is also apparent here 
in Sarajevo.  With peace, it is clear that everything is possible -- 
rebuilding, reconciliation, justice.  Bosnia, once again, has a future 
as a European democracy, and it's a close partner of the United States.  
 
The fact is that the key to the future lies in the carrying out, the 
implementation of the Dayton Accords.  It's a very aggressive set of 
documents.  The agreements that were reached there reached out and 
provided, with considerable precision, a road map for the future.  I 
must say that, although there are problems, the net pluses far outweigh 
the problems that existed.  The indications of compliance are enormous, 
especially on the military front.  The indications that there will be 
compliance on the civilian front build up day by day.  IFOR, now, has 
total freedom of movement throughout the country.  Bosnia's national 
government and the government of the Federation have been appointed.  
This is a very strong beginning, and, as I say, although problems 
remain, nevertheless, the overwhelming weight of the evidence is that 
the implementation is going well and can succeed, if we continue to work 
at it.   
 
Of course, that's one of the principle reasons that I've come here, to 
try to advance implementation and to try to ensure compliance.  The 
United States' leadership is necessary in this regard, as it was in 
connection with the Dayton Agreement and with the indications of IFOR 
deployment here, and now the beginning of a peaceful process.  I welcome 
the President's statement that the remaining prisoners-of-war will be 
released.  I welcome his statement that they will ensure that the 
foreign forces leave the country.  As the President said, one of the 
main missions that I have here is to ensure the cooperation of all 
parties with the War Crimes Tribunal.  We remain convinced that this is 
a key to the reconciliation of the country. That's the point that I'm 
going to reiterate in both Belgrade and in Zagreb, as well.   
 
As the President indicated, the transition here in Sarajevo and the need 
for concrete steps to build confidence among all the people of this 
city…  During the war, Sarajevo became a symbol.  It captured the 
imagination of the people of the world and I think that we must now seek 
to help the parties, in building an open and pluralistic society here.  
I know that this is a difficult process and the people here, who have 
suffered through four years of war, have had bitter disappointment and 
terrible devastation.  But, Bosnia understands that it's destiny lies 
with the nations, the institutions and the values of the West.   
 
On behalf of President Clinton, I assured President Izetbegovic that the 
people of the United States will continue to stand with the people of 
Bosnia, as we work through the difficult, but resolvable, problems of 
implementation.  With peace everything is possible.  With war, nothing 
was possible.  So, we have a new opportunity.  We face challenges, but 
those are challenges that can be resolved, as we work together to try to 
bring not only the absence of war, but the blessings of full peace to 
this area.   
 
QUESTION:  (inaudible) 
 
PRESIDENT IZETBEGOVIC:  I would answer positively to that question, but 
no we will not do that unilaterally. 
 
QUESTION:  (inaudible) 
 
PRESIDENT IZETBEGOVIC:  We do not agree with that.  We do agree that the 
international police forces go there.  That is the only solution.  Since 
under present conditions, there is only protection, security and safety 
for the Serb part of the population and there is no protection and no 
safety for the rest of the population we expelled….non-Serb  population 
who have to be insured to be able to go back to their homes.  It is only 
the international police forces who could guarantee the equal security 
for both the Serb and non-Serb populations. 
 
QUESTION:  Mr. President, how many…(inaudible)? 
 
PRESIDENT IZETBEGOVIC:  There were a lot of foreign forces in Bosnia-
Hercegovina.   First of all, there were Serb—Milosevic--  forces here.  
There were the Croat forces here with our consent on the basis of the 
Split agreement, and there were units from the Muslim Islamic countries.  
I cannot tell you exact figures, but we did agree that all foreign 
elements have to leave Bosnia Hercegovina, and we are going to implement 
this. 
 
QUESTION:  (inaudible) …Secretary Christopher, are you satisfied…?   
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  In answer to that question let me just step back 
for a moment and give you a broader perspective.  The Dayton agreements 
are very  complex, very aggressive agreements, far more than most people 
thought could be achieved.  For the most part, those agreements are 
being carried out well.  Throughout the country, the armed forces have 
moved back behind the agreed lines, and IFOR has freedom of movement 
throughout the country.  Great progress has been made in connection with 
the Federation, and all in all, it's a good beginning.   With respect to 
the particular question you asked, the President has assured me that 
there would be a full release of prisoners.  My own impression is that 
the government of Bosnia-Hercegovina has made great strides in this 
regard and is probably closer to compliance than the other parties.  I 
take his assurance very fully.  I do not take it as being conditional 
upon the search for missing.  We want to join that search for missing. 
There will be a new commission appointed by the ICRC, the United States 
will cooperate fully in that search for the missing.
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