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U.S. Department of State
96/02/29 Remarks: Argentine Peacekeeping Forces in E. Slavonia
Office of the Spokesman
Office of the Spokesman
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
(Buenos Aires, Argentina)
For Immediate Release February 29, 1996
SECRETARY OF STATE WARREN CHRISTOPHER
AFTER A REVIEW OF ARGENTINIAN PEACEKEEPING FORCES
GOING TO EASTERN SLAVONIA
Plaza San Martin
Buenos Aires, Argentina
February 29, 1996
FOREIGN MINISTER DI TELLA: Secretary Christopher, gentlemen, it is a
great honor to have you with us, and it is truly an honor. I think it
is proof of the current status of the relationship between our two
countries, a relationship of equals, a fraternal relationship. After so
many years of disagreement we have found the way to building a future
together and to communicate effectively. We treat you as a friend
coming from a friendly nation, a nation of which we are associates,
allies, and partners. The fact that you have come to greet our peace
force has really made a great impact on us. We are very proud of our
peace force and of what they have done and what they are doing now, we
are very proud to be members of the peace forces that are working for
peace throughout the world. I welcome you again and we would now like
to listen to your address with great pleasure.
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: Foreign Minister Di Tella, General Diaz,
distinguished guests, and particularly members of the Argentine Armed
Forces: It gives me great pleasure to meet with you today at this
monument honoring your country's greatest hero. Many years ago, General
San Martin galvanized the people of this continent to fight for what he
called the "American cause." It was a struggle for individual freedom,
representative government, and political independence. It was a
struggle in which soldiers took part, not to conquer or destroy, but to
enable the people of this region to control their own destiny. In
pursuit of his goal, San Martin led his Army of the Andes across the
mountains to seek the liberation of Chile and Peru. He was committed to
principles that were years ahead of their time: impartiality, respect
for civilian authority, and a determination to leave the fate of new
nations in the hands of their people.
Today at last, our times have caught up with San Martin's vision.
Freedom is ascendent throughout our hemisphere. Andean roads carry
traders, not warriors. Now Argentine soldiers are crossing oceans to
uphold the same great American cause to which their liberator dedicated
this nation. In the Persian Gulf War, in Cyprus, in Mozambique, in
Croatia, and from the very beginning our efforts to restore democracy to
Haiti, Argentine troops and police have served with distinction. Each
time, they have done so in the cause of peace, and like San Martin, they
have always come home when their mission was done.
Today, we pay tribute to a special group of Argentine troops who
are preparing to join the new peacekeeping mission in Eastern Croatia;
there they will bring the benefits of peace to a people who have
suffered greatly. Some of you will be joining Argentine police, fresh
from duty in Haiti, who are already performing an invaluable service
with the International Police Task Force in Bosnia. By supplying these
peacekeepers and police, Argentina is setting an example for the world.
The power of the Dayton Agreement lies in the broad international
consensus that is helping to enforce it.
When a nation thousands of miles away from a conflict volunteers
to share the risks of peace in a distant region, it sends a ripple of
hope that touches all our shores. Argentina understands that no nation
can be truly secure and prosperous if it isolates itself from the
problems of the planet. With that realization has come the admiration
of the world for Argentina.
By the service we celebrate today, you are demonstrating that
professional soldiers can play an indispensable and honorable role in a
nation that has embraced civilian, democratic government and made peace
with its neighbors. The transformation of the Argentine military is at
the heart of Argentina's transformation into a stable, modern democracy.
On behalf of the United States and me personally, because of my
deep involvement with the Dayton process, I thank you and I salute you
for your contributions. As these dedicated soldiers leave for the
former Yugoslavia, our nations are united in wishing them success in
advancing the cause of peace, and Godspeed in their safe return home.
General Diaz, Foreign Minister Di Tella, thank you for the honor
and pleasure of participating in this moving ceremony today.
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