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U.S. Department of State
96/06/02 Statement: Meeting with Balkan Leaders, Geneva, Switzerland
Office of the Spokesman



                       U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE 
                       Office of the Spokesman 
 
                           (Berlin, Germany) 
____________________________________________________________________ 
For Immediate Release                                   June 3, 1996 
 
 
          STATEMENT BY SECRETARY OF STATE WARREN CHRISTOPHER 
                         FOLLOWING HIS MEETINGS 
               WITH SERBIAN PRESIDENT SLOBODAN MILOSEVIC, 
                   CROATIAN PRESIDENT FRANJO TUDJMAN 
                 AND BOSNIAN PRESIDENT ALIJA IZETBEGOVIC 
 
 
                        Intercontinental Hotel 
                         Geneva, Switzerland 
                             June 2, 1996 
  
 
	Good Evening.  I have just completed my meetings with the three 
Balkan leaders. Today's talks are a part of a determined effort by the 
United States and the international community to ensure the full 
implementation of the Dayton Agreement -- an effort that will certainly 
continue.  Each time we meet, we come closer to our goal and we make a 
return to the past an even more distant prospect.  Certainly, today was 
no exception. 
 
	I have said since Dayton that the United States will stay engaged 
in this process, day in and day out, and I will personally push the 
process forward with the parties in seeking a full peace. 
 
	As you know, we are approaching D + 180, the half-way point in 
IFOR's mission in Bosnia.  I had a full briefing this morning from 
General Joulwan and Admiral Smith.  I can tell you our forces have made 
really remarkable strides in ensuring the transfer of territory, the 
demobilization of troops, and the cantonment of heavy weapons.  They 
have done this in less than six months, they have already achieved what 
the cynics thought was once impossible. 
 
	This progress has important implications:  Though Bosnia is still 
a troubled country, the prospect that its communities will once again 
seek to resolve their difficulties by force is, fortunately, fading.  In 
addition, IFOR is now in a position to expand its presence throughout 
all of Bosnia to establish a safe and secure environment for civilian 
implementation.  Our troops will conduct more visible and proactive 
patrols throughout the country.   
 
	This will improve conditions for freedom of movement and put war 
criminals at greater risk of apprehension.  As General Joulwan made it 
clear in our meeting this morning, IFOR considers it an important part 
of its mission to apprehend those indicted war criminals with whom it 
comes into contact. 
 
	We are also establishing more hopeful conditions in the region for 
the people of Bosnia.  In Bosnia, IFOR reports that 10,000 to 15,000 
people are crossing the inter-entity boundary line every day.  
Reconstruction is gaining momentum.  General Joulwan told me that work 
will soon begin on the road to Gorazde.  This summer, the United States 
will begin refurbishing 2,500 homes which were damaged in the war.  As 
we announced last week, President Clinton and I are sending Dick Sklar 
to Sarajevo to expedite our assistance there.  I am also pleased to 
announce that the United States Agency for International Development 
will soon open an office in Banja Luka.  We strongly believe that all 
those who support the peace process should see its benefits on the 
ground. 
 
	In our talks today, we advanced the peace process even further.  
First and foremost, the three Presidents joined together to call for 
elections in Bosnia by September 14th, the date established at Dayton.  
They also agreed that an exact date should be announced to provide a 
focus for the work that remains prior to the elections.  Let me tell you 
why this is a very important development.  
 
	If we had given in to calls to delay the elections, it would only 
entrench the status quo in Bosnia.  It would reduce pressure on the 
parties to meet their commitments, and in fact, make it less likely that 
the conditions on which free elections depend will be established.  As 
the residents agreed today, it would risk widening the divisions which 
continue to exist in Bosnia. 
 
	Holding free and fair elections is the necessary precondition to a 
democratic government for all Bosnians and for the diverse communities 
there.  It gives us another effective way to eliminate indicted war 
criminals from government, for they will not be permitted to run for 
office.  It is the only sure way to give the people of Bosnia -- all the 
people of Bosnia -- a real chance to shape their future.  They were 
denied their voice by five years of war and the sooner they regain it, 
the better.   
 
	Of course, to make sure that the elections can achieve their 
intended goals, the parties have to meet their commitments to assure 
freedom of movement and a free media.  There is much work to be done.  
But today, we have taken some important steps to that end. 
 
	For the first time, each side agreed to recognize the validity of 
identity documents and press credentials issued by other entities -- a 
precondition for free and fair elections.  They also agreed that any 
municipality that fails to constitute Local Election Committees will 
risk losing its right to participate in the elections.  They also agreed 
to establish telephone links.  They will also fully support an Open 
Broadcast Network -- a new television network organized by the 
international community.  
 
	The Balkan Presidents also agreed to instruct their negotiators to 
conclude talks on arms control this week, in advance of the June 11 
deadline set by Dayton.  They reaffirmed the importance of beginning 
arbitration on Brcko, and accepted the United States' offer to help 
identify a third arbitrator, after the parties name their two 
arbitrators, the Bosnians already having identified theirs. 
 
	I made it very clear to the parties today that indicted war 
criminals must be removed from positions of authority and turned over to 
the War Crimes Tribunal.  There is a growing determination in the 
international community to see that these commitments are fulfilled. 
 
	This process -- the Dayton process, and all that it involves -- 
has been and will remain a difficult process.  And while the glass is 
not yet full in Bosnia, it certainly is filling.  The United States is 
determined to stay engaged to keep the parties moving toward peace -- 
the kind of peace that I believe can only be built one step at a time. 
 
	Thank you very much. 
 
QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary, you referred to maybe more public and more 
expanded patrols.  Is that a change in mission?  I think you said it is 
a bit of a change, but what I really would like to know is if these 
prominent war criminals or others appeared in public, going skiing for 
instance, or attending the funeral of a comrade-in-arms, one might say 
euphemistically, would they now have been arrested under the new 
condition? 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Barry, on the front part of your question, it is 
not a change in mission.  But, as we have said before, as IFOR completes 
the military aspects of its obligations, as they for example accomplish 
such things as the cantonment of weapons, it gives them more resources 
and more time to accomplish other missions.  As General Joulwan said 
today, IFOR is going to be involved in more proactive patrolling than 
they have been in the past.  In that patrolling, if they come upon the 
indicted war criminals, as my statement says, IFOR recognizes an 
obligation to arrest the indicted war criminals and turn them over to 
the war crimes tribunal.  On the specific question you have asked, if 
the proactive patrolling brought them into contact with the indicted war 
criminals at the places you have mentioned, they would arrest them and 
turn them over to The Hague.  
 
QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary, I gather from your comments that you did not 
receive from Serbian President Milosevic the kind of assurances you 
wanted concerning Karadzic and Mladic.  Could you tell us a little bit 
about your discussions with him and what, if anything, he told you about 
those two men? 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Well, I left him in no doubt about my own views 
and the views of the United States that they should be removed from 
office and turned over to the war crimes tribunal.  He indicated that he 
had certain letters, or that certain steps had been taken, to make other 
people acting President.  I told him that just was not enough.  What we 
needed to see was real action, real movement.  By real movement we mean 
the removal of the indicted war criminals from office.  We had a good, 
firm conversation on that subject.  He left here, I think, fully 
understanding my views. 
 
QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary, at what stage, if the status quo continues, 
and specifically regarding the war criminals Karadzic and Mladic, at 
what stage would the United States seek to re-impose sanctions on Serbia 
and the Bosnian Serbs? 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  The Dayton Agreement and the following United 
Nations resolution contains a very important provision.  That provision 
is that either the IFOR commander or the high representative Carl Bildt, 
who is here, can make a finding that any of the parties has not been 
complying with the Dayton Agreement.  Once that finding is made, there 
is a virtual, automatic re-imposition of sanctions, without any further 
action by the United Nations Security Council.  It's simply passed up 
the chain of command, and that takes place.  That is a very important 
resource or tool that we have.  That was pointed out today.  I am not in 
the business of establishing deadlines but, as I said in my statement, I 
think there is a growing impatience on the part of the international 
community with the situation that exists, and I think a growing 
understanding of the inconsistency between the presence of indicted war 
criminals and proceeding to open and fair elections. 
 
QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary, I understood you to say that at this midterm 
meeting in Florence there would be a certain date announced for these 
elections.  Does that mean that the OSCE will, on that date, certify 
that conditions are ready for those elections?  Or will the 
certification come later -- and if it does comes later, is there a date 
certain for that certification to come? 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Steve, I do not think I referred to the Florence 
meeting, but let me answer the question this way.  The presidents -- 
that is, the three parties, the Balkan presidents -- indicated today 
that the elections should take place no later than the outside date 
provided for in the Dayton Agreement.  That is, no later than September 
14.  They also emphasized the importance of that decision being made at 
a relatively early time so that the parties could focus on what happens 
in the future.  I feel confident that date will be fixed sometime in the 
month of June.  I think it may be ready for announcement by the time of 
the Florence meeting on the 14th of June.  It will be required, of 
course, to make the findings that you have mentioned.  Those findings of 
course will indicate that over the period of time -- the three months 
between June 14th, for example, and September 14th -- there would have 
to be ongoing preparations which would help to ensure -- which would 
ensure -- that the elections would be free and fair, thus fulfilling the 
certification requirements.  
 
QUESTION:  Can you give assurance today that Karadzic will not still be 
at liberty by the time these elections take place in September?  And if 
he is still at liberty, will you recommend these elections are delayed? 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  As I have said before, I think that the strong 
preference is that he be removed from office and turned over to the war 
crimes tribunal.  I do not exclude the possibility that elections might 
be held if he's not been turned over to the war crimes tribunal.  But 
that certainly is the better approach, the preferred approach, and ones 
that we are strongly urging on the parties and we hope will be achieved. 
 
QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary, coming in today, President Izetbegovic said 
that he did not believe that elections could be held as long as Karadzic 
was in office.  What did you do to talk him out of that? 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Well, you just have to read the statement that 
the parties agreed on, which may not have been distributed to you yet.  
In the fourth paragraph, the parties state very clearly that the most 
important next step in the peace process would be to hold free and fair 
elections within the time period established by the Agreement, that is, 
the 14th of September.  I think that President Izetbegovic, like many 
others, clings to the view, maintains the view, that it would be far 
preferable for Karadzic to be out of office and turned over to the war 
crimes tribunal by that time.  The agreed statement is quite expansive 
or extensive on the subject of the elections, and we are all going to 
work very hard to try to achieve that result.  I think President 
Izetbegovic will be one of the strongest proponents of trying to make 
sure that Karadzic is out of office.  Nevertheless he realizes the 
importance of setting the date so the parties can focus between now and 
the 14th of September on ensuring that conditions are ready for the free 
and fair elections.  Thank you very much. 
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