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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
FRENCH FOREIGN MINISTER DE CHARETTE
AND SECRETARY OF STATE WARREN CHRISTOPHER
June 27, 1996
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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