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U.S. Department of State
96/02/03 Remarks to US Forces in Bosnia
Office of the Spokesman


                           U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE 
                            Office of the Spokesman 
 
                                (Tuzla, Bosnia) 
_____________________________________________________________________ 
For Immediate Release                                February 3, 1996 
 
 
                                 REMARKS BY 
                 SECRETARY OF STATE WARREN CHRISTOPHER 
                 TO THE UNITED STATES FORCES IN BOSNIA 
 
                              Tuzla Air Base 
                              February, 3 1996 
 
 
 
Admiral Smith, General Nash, men and women of the United States Armed 
Forces:  As a refugee from the Dayton process, I am honored to join you 
today, to see firsthand what American leadership, American know-how, and 
American spirit can do here in Bosnia.   
 
You've accomplished a tremendous amount in the time that you've been 
here.  Already you've rebuilt a ruined airport, carried out the biggest 
river bridging by our armed forces since 1945, and prepared the way for 
those still to come -- 6,000 Americans and hundreds of troops from other 
countries.  And in what is surely a first for northern Bosnia,  I 
understand that our technical experts were able to bring the Super Bowl 
to over 80 percent of our troops last weekend. 
 
You know that in North Dakota, where I come from, the year has four 
seasons:  summer, fall, winter and mud.  By far the longest season was 
mud.  No wonder I feel at home here.  But I also see that your arrival 
here has brought a fifth season -- a season of hope. 
 
Thanks to your enormous efforts, Bosnia's warring armies have pulled 
back from trenches that some feared would divide this country for ever. 
You have made it possible for prisoners to be reunited with their 
families.  You have turned guns into scrap metal.  You have shown that 
the promise of the Dayton Agreement, and the desire of the Bosnian 
people for peace, can be fulfilled. 
 
This is D-plus-45 -- the 45th day of the NATO mission.  I've just had an 
invaluable briefing from Admiral Smith and General Nash.  I can say to 
you, to the American people, and I will report to the President, that we 
can be gratified and pleased that the level of compliance with the 
military aspects of the peace agreement is very good.  Across this 
troubled land, soldiers are pulling back from territory they once fought 
to conquer and wanted to keep.  The people of Sarajevo and Gorazde are 
no longer trapped within confrontation lines.  The flash of shell-fire 
no longer lights the night sky.  Many, many people said it would never 
happen.  But thanks to the work you and your colleagues have done it 
has. 
 
Peace in its fullest sense has not yet come to Bosnia.  But this is no 
longer a country at war.  You have succeeded in the first, critical 
phase of your mission. 
 
You still have a tough job ahead.  We're reminded every day that it 
comes with its share of dangers.  But your mission is clear:  Every day, 
you make this base a safe entry point for the soldiers still to join 
you.  Every day the hunt for mines, your most deadly enemy, goes on.  
Every day, Lieutenant Colonel Swain's Apache squadron keeps up 
reconnaissance over the zone of separation.  Every day that you are here 
doing your job is another day that the Bosnian people can go about the 
business of building peace, beginning the reconstruction of their 
devastated country. 
 
Today and tomorrow I will visit Sarajevo, Zagreb and Belgrade.  I'll be 
meeting with the Presidents of the three countries with which we 
negotiated at Dayton.  My message to each of them will be the same.  
Every single provision of the Dayton Accords must be implemented fully 
and swiftly.  They are not dependent on each other.  It's an obligation 
of each of the Presidents to carry out the provisions of the accord.  
And we intend to see that they do it.  If they don't do it, they won't 
have the benefits that come under the agreement.  Full implementation is 
necessary to build confidence among the people of Bosnia that peace will 
last.  It is necessary so that you can do your job effectively. 
 
While you keep the peace, reconstruction is beginning around the 
country-- restoring the homes, the schools, the lives this war 
shattered.  Free elections will be held -- we're determined they will be 
held -- giving citizens the voice they lacked when war raged.  War 
crimes investigators will uncover evidence of the atrocities whose 
evidence I'm sure you see as you move around this tragic country.  For 
if this generation of Bosnians does not see justice, future generations 
may well seek revenge, and the cycle of violence will continue. 
 
The impact of what you are doing reaches far beyond this command center, 
beyond the American sector, beyond the Sava River.  As you help Bosnia 
come back together, you are bringing Europe together.  Twice this 
century, American troops have had to fight and sustain devastating 
casualties to keep this continent from being dominated by a hostile 
power.  Fifty years ago, in fact, the "Blue Falcons" of the 325 Airborne 
flew into Normandy on Gliders and fought across a divided Europe.  Now 
they are patrolling in the Russian sector outside Tuzla, and standing 
with soldiers from every power and region of Europe and from around the 
world in the cause of peace.  I couldn't help when I walked through the 
honor guard today to be thrilled by seeing soldiers from so many 
different countries.  You're in the lead, but you are involving others 
in a positive and effective way, and I thank you for that as well.  In 
this area alone troops from twelve countries share your duties, your 
hardships and, I understand, even your MREs. 
 
During my three years as Secretary of State, I have traveled to seventy-
nine countries.  I have had the privilege of seeing our armed forces 
defend American security and American ideals, massing at the border of 
Kuwait, patrolling the Korean DMZ and building roads in Haiti.  In every 
instance American troops are doing a superb job.  Now here in the mud, 
under the often gray skies, are America's finest -- the greatest hope of 
the war-weary people of Bosnia.  You, and the families at home who 
support you, are the best that our nation has to offer the world. 
 
So to every Balkan capital, and back to the United States, I will take a 
message from Task Force Eagle.  With determination, decisive force, 
"Mickey Mouse" boots and armored Hum Vees, America's armed forces are 
bringing life to the Dayton Agreement.  They are bring life back to this 
country.  They are bringing life to the vision of the world America 
seeks, a world at peace, where American interests and American values 
will and must prevail. 
 
On behalf of the President and all the American people, I want to thank 
you as deeply as I possibly can for what you do.  I thank you for your 
sacrifices.  I thank you for performing so superbly day in and day out.  
The soldiers I've talked to here today have made it clear to me that 
they understand their mission.  They know that what they are doing is 
important.  They are determined to carry it out.  I salute them for what 
they do for their country. 
 
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