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U.S. Department of State
96/08/12 Briefing on Bosnia (en route to Brussels)
Office of the Spokesman




                       U.S. Department of State 
                       Office of the Spokesman 
 
                   (En Route from Andrews to Brussels) 
__________________________________________________________________ 
For Immediate Release                              August 12, 1996 
 
 
                 REMARKS BY SECRETARY WARREN CHRISTOPHER 
 
 
It has always been always been clear to me that the implementation of 
the Dayton Agreement would be a very difficult endeavor that would 
require constant monitoring.  The agreement is complicated and it 
certainly is not self-executing.  From the very first I put a high 
priority on monitoring it and understood that it would require constant 
week by week, often day by day, work.  This trip out here is part of 
that pattern.  As you recall I was out here in February and this is the 
third of the meetings with the three Balkan presidents I have had and of 
course  around the edges of that have been constant meetings, constant 
trips by Dick Holbrooke when he was Assistant Secretary, and now John 
Kornblum.  I insisted that the Assistant Secretaries for European 
Affairs make this their highest priority and devote the majority of 
their time to it.  They certainly have done so.  We will have to 
continue to work at this all the way through the endeavor because of the 
complexity of the agreement, because of the background of the parties.   
 
The particular focus of this trip will be on the elections.  Dayton made 
the elections the centerpiece of the agreement itself.  They are going 
to be held within the time schedule called for by the agreement.  The 
trip is really focused around that.  I wanted to go to Brussels first to 
meet the SACEUR commander, General Joulwan, to meet with NATO Secretary 
General Javier Solana and also to meet with Bob Frowick, the OSCE person 
in charge of the elections.  IFOR, now that they have the military 
matter in hand, is able to devote time to assisting in the elections 
procedures.  I met last week in Washington with General Joulwan.  I was 
very impressed with the amount of attention that IFOR is able to devote 
to insuring that the environment be satisfactory for elections and IFOR 
will, within the discretion of their commanders, be able to assist on 
many of the logistical matters involving the elections.  This trip will 
be primarily focused on the elections, but I want to also emphasize to 
the parties the importance of being ready to put the governmental 
institutions in place following the elections.   
 
The only other point I want to make is to say how far we have come since 
a year ago.  Thinking back to the 12th of August of last year, we had 
indeed taken important decisions at the London Conference and that was 
followed by the NATO meeting which put in place the possibility of a 
strong military action.  The NATO military action was not taken, and as 
I am sure you all recall, did not start until the end of August of last 
year.  The fourteen days of bombing did start then.  Think of how much 
progress has been made with the military implementation being 
successfully achieved, the separation of the parties, the commencement 
of reconstruction, the ability to hold the elections.  There has been a 
transformation of the situation in Bosnia despite all the problems that 
remain. 
 
When you think of the long and very bloody war; when you think of the 
history of the parties, it is not surprising that it has been a 
difficult road.  But it is one that we are traveling with a lot of 
aggressiveness, a lot of determination, and will continue to do so.  Of 
course I can never remember August without remembering August 19, the 
day that three Americans, Bob Frasure, Joe Kruzel and Nelson Drew, were 
killed on the road into Sarajevo.  This is a far different time than 
that, but I think all three of them would be pleased to see how much 
progress has been made on the endeavor that they started and gave their 
lives for in Bosnia. 
 
I would be glad to answer a few questions, as we get into this trip, 
which I think will be another in a series of important steps toward 
implementation of the Dayton Agreement. 
 
QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary, a little broader question, please.  Do you 
think the Administration's foreign policy will be an issue in the 
campaign, and how do think that policy will stand up?    
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Foreign policy is always an important issue in 
political campaigns. It is one of the key elements that people judge.  I 
think our foreign policy has been accepted and it has achieved success 
in the areas that it should be measured by.  Is the United States safer 
than it was four years ago?  Have we brought more prosperity through 
greater access?  Have  we had an opportunity to pursue our values around 
the world?  And I think judged by those tests, we have had a successful 
foreign policy.  I think it is also important to say, Barry, that on a 
number of major issues we have been able to work in very close harmony 
with the leading Republican figures, including the Republican candidate 
himself, Senator Dole.  He has worked closely with us on issues.  Bosnia 
is one that comes to mind.  A number of issues were pursued in a 
bipartisan way, and that of course would mean some limitations, some 
restraints on the extent to which foreign policy is an issue in the 
campaign.  As you know the tradition is that the Secretary of State does 
not get involved in political campaigns.  I will not be going to the 
convention and, as I said before, I do not do politics.  But 
nevertheless, I do have a strong conviction that our foreign policy has 
been effective, and judged by the tests I mentioned I think that we have 
made a good deal of progress in the last three and a half years.   
 
QUESTION:  Just a little more than a month before the election, Mr. 
Secretary, are you satisfied that Karadzic and Mladic have been 
effectively marginalized?  Do you think they are out of the picture as 
far as the elections concerned? What moves will NATO take in the coming 
weeks to make sure they stay in their ski lodges. 
 
THE SECRETARY:  Of course, until Karadzic and Mladic are before the War 
Crime Tribunal in The Hague, the only real goal will not have been met.  
With respect to the elections, I think the great concern in the 
elections was the distortion caused by the presence of Karadzic, first 
as the leader of the Serbs and then as the leader of the party.  He is 
in neither of those positions.  He is out of power and he has largely 
vanished the scene.  He is not on television at the present time.  He 
seems not to be visible in Pale.  We will continue to monitor this very 
closely.  The agreement that Dick Holbrooke worked out with him when we 
was there is an important step forward but we will have to watch that 
with great care.  But I want to emphasize that in the long run we want 
to see both of them before the War Crimes Tribunal.   
 
QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary, you say that the elections will be the focus 
of the meeting.  What is it you want the Balkan presidents to do this 
time?  You have a meeting date, Karadzic has at least resigned.  What is 
there that you want them to do specifically from this meeting? 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  First, with respect to Karadzic himself, I 
intend to insist in the conversation with Milosevic that they live up to 
the agreement that Dick Holbrooke negotiated when he was there; that he 
is both out of power and out of influence.  I would say that is a 
continuing matter.  This whole thing is a work in progress, which means 
there is work to be done.  Progress has been made but there remains work 
to be done.  I also want to emphasize the importance of freedom of 
movement, the importance of the ability of the refugees to return to the 
area.  Those are subjects of the conversations.  The elections within 
the federation are strong topics for me to raise with Tudjman and 
Izetbegovic.  Norm, it is highly important that there be opportunities 
by all the parties to communicate with the electors, with their 
constituents.  One of the things I will be stressing with the three 
presidents is the need to make available the facilities of modern 
communication to all the parties.  I hope when I am there myself to 
speak directly with the people of Bosnia to emphasize the importance 
that we attach to the elections.  There is lots of work to be done with 
these three presidents.  There always is.   
 
QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary, as we were leaving this morning, there was a 
bit of news about U.S. troops throughout Bosnia being on heightened 
alert and that that had happened, that status had been imposed sometime 
last week.  Can you tell us anything about that?   
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  First let me say that American troops in Bosnia 
are always on a relatively high state of alert.  It has been a situation 
where the commanders have insisted on a high level of discipline.  I 
think the standards they have imposed have been one of the major 
elements in the very good record that IFOR has had.  There have been 
some recent events that caused the commanders to make the judgment that 
they want to emphasize the state of alert at the present time, and they 
have done so.  One of the problems was the compliance issues around the 
area called Han Pijesak.  Another was some information that had come to 
the commanders.  This is a judgment to be made on the ground.  The main 
point I would make, Barry, is that IFOR will carry out its 
responsibilities.  It has the determination to do so, and has the 
resources and equipment to do so.   
 
QUESTION:  Do you think under the circumstances, that these elections in 
Bosnia can be free and fair? 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  I think it is essential that the elections go 
forward.  Democratic elections are essential in order to enable the 
parties to put the institutions called for by the Dayton Agreement into 
place.  We are, I think, making progress in trying to create the 
conditions so that the elections can meet international standards.  We 
have just about a month ahead in which more work can be done so the 
elections can reach the highest standards possible under those 
circumstances.  No one has thought that the elections would be perfect 
so that they could be judged by standards of, say, northern Europe.  But 
nevertheless, I think it is important that the elections be held and we 
maximize the fairness of the elections, we maximize the democratic 
participation in them.  I think we will do so and I think the elections 
will be a very strong, unifying factor within the country, enabling us 
to move forward to the next stages. 
 
QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary, when you say that no one believed the 
elections would be perfect, in what regard do you think they will be 
less than perfect? 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Steve, the background of the parties, the four 
years of war, the intensity of the dislike by the parties, the history 
makes it unlikely that these elections will be a model that might be 
reached in countries where there has been a long tradition.  The 
confidence that people have to return to the areas from which they came 
is a place where we probably will not achieve the level of perfection 
that we would like to achieve.  There are hundreds of thousands of 
refugees, some of them may not feel the level of confidence that we 
would like to have them feel to return to their home areas.  But 
nevertheless, that is something that we will be working on and one of 
the things that IFOR can help to work with.  Mainly, Steve, it is the 
generalized sense of this being the first election after a long and very 
bitter war, against the history of hatred and division within the 
country.  I think it is that environment that means these elections will 
not reach the highest level of perfection that they might in a country 
where elections have been going on for decades or hundreds of years.   
 
QUESTION:  Thank you.  Mr. Secretary, you indicated that the 
Administration worked a great deal with Bob Dole, the Republican 
candidate, as part of a bipartisan foreign policy on Bosnia and other 
issues.  Have you ever had the chance to work with Senator Dole's chosen 
running mate, Jack Kemp, and do you think he has sufficient experience 
in foreign affairs in order to become president if necessary.  Have you 
worked with him?  And also, are you familiar with the Republican 
platform at all?  Do you have any problems with that, particularly the 
plank that calls for U.S. troops never to be under control of UN or 
foreign commanders?   
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Jack Kemp has not been in office as a 
congressman in the time that I have been here this most recent time.  I 
have met him, but I do not know him personally.  I think the time I 
talked with him most was at a prayer breakfast where he happened to be 
seated very close to where I was.  He has obviously  been a very popular 
choice with the Republican party.  I think we will all get to know his 
views on the most current issues better in the days and weeks ahead.  I 
certainly do not have any comment to make on the choice by Senator Dole 
except to say that it seems to be very well received within his party.  
Jack Kemp is a very prominent and well known American who happens to 
come from my home town and I was on the board of Occidental College for 
years so I know how prominent an alumnus he is there.  I do not want to 
get into commenting on the Republican platform except to say our views 
are well known.  American troops will always remain under the command of 
American officials, that is something that will never be changed.  I do 
not want to be drawn on this important trip to Bosnia into any kind of a 
political discussion.  There will be enough opportunities for the 
President and others to comment on the Republican platform and the 
Republican candidates.   
 
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