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U.S. Department of State
96/06/27 Press Availability with French ForMin de Charette
Office of the Spokesman

                       U. S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE 
                        Office of the Spokesman 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                June 27, 1996 

                      PRESS AVAILABILITY WITH 
                          June 27, 1996 
                          Lyons, France 
MINISTER DE CHARETTE:  Ladies and gentlemen, we have spent the past two 
hours together in meetings before the opening of the G-7.  I must say to 
you that France and the United States have very close and strong 
relations.  We have major common interests and this has been an 
extraordinary partnership and, therefore, our relationship is very 
strong and solid. 
As you know President Clinton and President Chirac enjoy a very close 
and personal relationship and that, of course, also strengthens the 
relations between the two countries. 
Between Secretary Christopher and myself, we are used to working 
together and I was very happy to spend these two hours together, where 
we worked together but also shared in our friendship that we have in 
common.  I consider Secretary Christopher a great Secretary of State for 
the United States. 
We have decided that we would pursue close diplomatic consultations to 
treat in depth the major issues of current times.  I also took the 
decision to go to Washington in September where we are going to look at 
the results of these consultations and where I hope we will be able to 
make important decisions about these issues. 
Therefore, I can sum up by saying that this was a very important 
meeting, both for our friendship and for our joint efforts.  Thank you. 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Good morning.  It is wonderful to be in the 
beautiful city of Lyon especially on a gorgeous day like this.  We have 
had a good opportunity to talk about our relationship and to further the 
personal relationship between the Foreign Minister and myself.  I think 
the era of the dawn of President Chirac and the Foreign Minister have 
given rise to new opportunities.  Minister de Charette and I have been 
fortunate to be able to join our Presidents in achieving some things 
that could not have been done before, or were not done before I think it 
was the work together with President Clinton and President Chirac, and 
of course others, that did bring us to the place where we are in Bosnia.  
A good deal of this morning's discussion was a focus on insuring that 
that progress be on a steady path forward. 
The arrival on the scene of both Minister de Charette and President 
Chirac has enabled us to take some steps in NATO that we have been 
wanting to take from our stand-point for several decades.  In this 
morning discussion we were trying to ensure that our policies in the 
Middle-East are congruent and establishing good communications as we 
move into a somewhat new situation on the ground in the Middle-East with 
a new government in Israel.  Having spent a good part of last night in 
Dhahran in Saudi Arabia, of course, terrorism, is an issue that is very 
much in the front of my mind.  I am very glad to remember that terrorism 
was high on the agenda of the G-7 in Halifax with the follow-up meeting 
in Ottawa.  I know that leaders today will be focusing on the issue of 
terrorism and how it's addressed from an international standpoint 
because as President Clinton said that progress in the economy and 
progress in other fronts are really dependent upon our having peace and 
tranquility and the lack of worldwide terrorism. 
QUESTION: May I ask though to you a little pick me please, if I might, 
on terrorism.  A prosaic question perhaps.  Do we have any idea who did 
the awful deed? But more interested in whether, in your judgment, there 
is any danger, real danger, to the Saudi government?  A danger of 
instability. There have been two incidents after all now and Saudi 
Arabia is so important to the West and to the United States? 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: On the first question, although there have been 
some claims of responsibility, we do not know whether those are serious 
or valid.  My experience is that it is best not to speculate in this 
situation, at least Secretaries of State should not speculate.  Quite 
often, first guesses are wrong.  It is much better to wait for the 
investigation and there is a very large investigation, a joint US-Saudi 
investigation, going ahead. On the second question, my answer is 
absolutely not. I think it is a solid and stable government and we will 
carry forward investigating this terrorist act and getting to the bottom 
of it, I hope, in very short order. 
QUESTION:  Secretary Christopher, concerning your trip to Israel, what 
are the new elements that prove that the peace process will go on and 
will not go into freeze? 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: There is a new government in Israel, of course, 
and I was reassured there that Prime Minister Netanyahu emphasized his 
commitment to the peace process.  He understands and he says that there 
are commitments made, international agreements with Palestinians and 
Jordanians, but beyond that he hopes to have a discussion with Lebanon 
and Syria; the two other tracks.  So, I think he is committed to going 
forward. As you would expect with his government, he brings some new 
approaches but I think he understands that peace is essential to making 
the kind of progress that is essential for his government as well as 
other governments in the region. 
QUESTION:  Mr. Minister, during the luncheon conversation about the 
explosion in Dhahran, did you have the feeling that behind this 
terrorist attack - as the US often thinks - was Iran.  Or, is this a 
Saudi-Saudi question - threats coming from within Saudi Arabia?  
MINISTER DE CHARETTE:  We didn't speculate on discretions, we spoke 
broadly about the issue in general and, of course, I expressed to 
Secretary Christopher the fact that both the government and the people 
of France are side-by-side with the American people and the American 
government during this difficult moment.  We think it is important to 
undertake strong action in the anti-terrorist field.  As you know, by 
the way, this is part of the agenda of the G7.  We think this is a 
priority issue.  President Clinton has publicly stated that he would 
like this to be brought up.  President Chirac also thinks that this 
should be one of the main points of discussion, and, by the way, they 
have a bilateral this afternoon where they will undertake this question.   
QUESTION:  Where does the Monitoring Group stand in its efforts?  The 
Franco-American (inaudible) Is Mr. Christopher coordinating with you to 
make this committee operable? 
MINISTER DE CHARETTE:  As Secretary Christopher has said we had a long 
discussion about the Middle-East, especially given the fact that 
Secretary Christopher just concluded a trip to Israel.  We have 
exchanged information on this issue.  I have listened very carefully to 
what Secretary Christopher has had to give me and we both evaluated 
together the situation. As far as the particular question about the 
implementation of April 26 Agreement, with the Monitoring Group, these 
are very, very important issues of course and we hope that decisions 
about this issue  will be made quickly.  And since this is the last 
question that I was going to answer, I would like to state once again 
what a great pleasure it was for me to be able to see Secretary 
Christopher again.  We had not seen each other for a few weeks and I 
actually missed him.  I am very happy to be able to be here with him 
today.  French and American diplomacy must work hand in hand and this is 
what we intend to do in the next few weeks. 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  May I add just a word.  The Monitoring Group has 
not fizzled out on the agreements reached on April 26.  They are still 
in existence.  They involve checking that civilians on both sides of the 
border itself are secure.  It never was intended to extend to the so-
called security zone, an action between the armed forces within the 
security zone.  What we are talking about now is the procedures to 
implement the Monitoring Group and as the Minister rightly said there 
are difficulties just here but we feel we are very close to an agreement 
on the procedures to implement the principles that were agreed on in the 
April 26 agreement. 
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