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U.S. Department of State
96/08/13 Press Conference with NATO Secretary General Solana, Brussels
Office of the Spokesman


                      U.S. Department of State  
                       Office of the Spokesman  
  
                        (Geneva, Switzerland) 
___________________________________________________________________ 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                               August 13, 1996 
 
 
                       PRESS CONFERENCE WITH 
              SECRETARY OF STATE WARREN CHRISTOPHER 
            AND NATO SECRETARY GENERAL JAVIER SOLANA 
 
                       NATO Headquarters 
                       Brussels, Belgium 
                        August 13, 1996 
 
 
SECRETARY GENERAL SOLANA:  Good afternoon.  It is always a pleasure to 
have Secretary Christopher here at NATO Headquarters.  Let me tell you 
that we have had a very positive meeting.  As you can imagine, we have 
talked about a lot of things, but without any doubt, the most important 
part of our discussion has been related to Bosnia.  As you well know, I 
just returned yesterday from Sarajevo, where I had the opportunity to 
evaluate the situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina. 
 
We are facing a very crucial moment, the moment of the elections, the 
moment in which the citizens of Bosnia-Herzegovina will have the 
opportunity to elect their representatives, and have the possibility of 
looking forward, looking into the future, and stop looking to the past, 
and therefore, reconstruct their country. 
 
I want to tell you that, as far as IFOR is concerned, we will do our 
best to cooperate with the OSCE so that the elections are a success.  
But if you allow me to give you a personal impression: yesterday, it was 
about a year that I was in Bosnia, a year ago, at the time that I was 
the Chairman of the European Union, the president of the Council of 
Ministers.  I remember arriving in Sarajevo, and when I was trying to 
get across the city of Sarajevo, I was shot at.  I had to spend the 
night in a Holiday Inn that was absolutely destroyed, without water, 
without lights, without windows.  Yesterday, I had the opportunity of 
walking around the streets of Sarajevo with people in the coffee bars, 
with the Holiday Inn put up.  So we have done quite a lot in this period 
of time, in the very short period of time.  I want to take advantage of 
this opportunity to convey to you how grateful we have to be to the 
different countries which have cooperated in NATO, in IFOR, which 
actually brought to Bosnia-Herzegovina the most important thing, which 
was peace.  It was war a year ago, and now it's peace.  That is a thing 
we have to remember and the most important thing we have been able to 
achieve in this period of time. 
 
But this is not the end.  As I said before, we have in the coming months 
a crucial moment, which will be the electoral process.  I can guarantee 
you that as far as IFOR is concerned, we will do our best so that the 
elections are a success.  The election will not be perfect, because as 
you know very well, Bosnia is a country that is coming out of too much 
suffering, where too much hatred accumulated, and therefore we will do 
our best.  We will probably find some bumps on the road.  We found bumps 
on the road yesterday, as you know, and fortunately we were able to 
solve the problems that we found yesterday.  There was non-compliance 
with the Dayton Agreement.  I would like to say publicly that IFOR will 
do its best so that no violations are permitted to the Dayton Agreement.  
The Dayton Agreement is the one which has to be respected by everybody.  
We will not tolerate any non-compliance with the Dayton Agreement. 
 
That is what we have been talking about today with Secretary 
Christopher, but, as you can imagine, we have talked also about the 
agenda, the dense agenda, that NATO has in the months to come, beyond 
IFOR and beyond Bosnia:  enlargement; the adaptation of the Alliance; 
the relations with Russia.  All those things have been in the very 
productive, very constructive conversation with Secretary Christopher 
and his team that I appreciate very, very much.  Although you may not 
believe it is summertime, in Brussels it always rains in summertime, and 
while others are on vacation, we are working.  And you are working.  
Thank you very much for being here today. 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Thank you.  It is a great pleasure for me to be 
here today with my friend Javier Solana in what is an extraordinarily 
challenging period for NATO.  NATO is very fortunate to have Javier 
Solana's wise and strong leadership during this critical period.  His 
leadership is enabling the Alliance to meet its great responsibilities 
as the central institution for trans-Atlantic security. 
 
Of course the most immediate challenge is in Bosnia, where NATO is 
working with the civilian agencies to try to give the people of that 
country a better life in the future.  Since IFOR was deployed only eight 
months ago, it has successfully directed compliance with the military 
aspects of the Dayton Agreement. 
 
Yesterday, as the Secretary General said, we saw an example of IFOR's 
continuing determination to ensure that all the military aspects of the 
Agreement are fully carried out.  The Secretary General and I, today in 
our conversation, re-affirmed our intention to see that all the parties 
fully comply with their Dayton obligations.  It was the kind of 
determination that the Secretary General showed yesterday that will 
ensure that peace in Bosnia can endure. 
 
Now IFOR is called upon to lend its strength to supporting the September 
14th elections, which, of course, is the next key step in the 
implementation of the Dayton Agreement.  Most of our meeting today was 
focussed on how we can work together and how IFOR can assist in ensuring 
that the elections will be effective, democratic elections. 
 
The most critical priority in the coming weeks is to ensure that there 
will be a secure environment, and there will be the kind of freedom of 
movement which makes possible a democratic election.  IFOR is also 
prepared to use its very considerable logistical abilities to assist in 
tasks which are so important for the elections, such as establishing 
rural voting stations and distributing voter forms and lists.  IFOR also 
will establish a Joint Elections Operations Center with the OSCE, and 
that is something that I had a good discussion of with Ambassador 
Frowick this morning, who places a lot of store in the value of that 
Center. 
 
My meeting this morning with General Joulwan gave me great confidence 
that the IFOR responsibilities will be carried out with the same skill, 
the same dedication, that has characterized everything that has been 
done by IFOR up to this point, and of course my meeting with Secretary 
General Solana only underscored and affirmed those matters. 
 
We will be discussing tomorrow, in Geneva, how we can ensure compliance 
with the Dayton Accords.  There in Geneva I will be joined by General 
Joulwan, by High Representative Bildt, and by Ambassador Frowick in the 
meetings with the three Balkan presidents.  As the Secretary General 
said, of course, in addition to talking of Bosnia, we reviewed the many 
other things and the very heavy agenda that NATO has over the next 
month, and over the course of the next year.  The continuing internal 
adaptation of the Alliance, the progress toward enlargement, the 
tremendous progress that is being made in the Partnership for Peace, and 
the steps toward strengthening the relationship between NATO and Russia. 
 
We are, of course, pointing toward the meeting of the North Atlantic 
Council in December when a number of these critical issues will come 
into focus.  But for the time being, our principal focus is on the 
elections in Bosnia, which are only 31 days away now. 
 
Q:  Mr. Secretary, does the discovery of the hidden weapons shake your 
confidence in the immediate parties and in fact, in their patrons?  Do 
you think it is possible there are more weapons floating around?  How 
can you have, really, peace, if these kind of things keep cropping up? 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Barry, was that to me or to the Secretary 
General? 
 
Q:  Oh, I am sorry Mr. Secretary.  It was to you. 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  I think the way that IFOR has handled that, the 
dispatch with which they have handled it, is an indication that there 
will be no deviation from the compliance that is being required.  I 
think that the message that the Secretary General and General Joulwan 
gave yesterday sends a strong message, a strong lesson, to any of those 
who might consider not being in full compliance. 
 
Barry, we have always known that the Dayton Agreement was complex.  We 
have known that it would require constant monitoring and attention.  
That is why I have three times convened the presidents of the three 
Balkan countries, why we've been working on these matters virtually 
every day and certainly every week, with visits to the region by 
Assistant Secretary Kornblum and others, with just constant attention to 
this matter.  And I think that when matters come up, it is not a 
surprise that they have come up.  What is necessary is to resolve them 
quickly with precision and determination, and that is exactly what has 
been done here. 
 
Q:  ITAR-TASS News Agency, Alexandre Minuev.  The question to Secretary 
Christopher.  You said you have discussed the issue of NATO-Russian 
relations.  Can you elaborate on this question now? 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  I think we are in a period now that the Russian 
elections are behind us, and which the pace of the discussions between 
NATO and Russia should accelerate.  It is important that that go forward 
on a track that is generally parallel the enlargement discussions.  I 
think we are in a period where real progress can be made on that 
subject.  The Russian government has now just been formed.  It is now 
timely to develop a relationship between NATO and Russia that will lead 
to the further integration of Europe and will show that we can work 
cooperatively with all of Europe. 
 
Q:  Mr. Secretary, moving away from Bosnia a bit to Turkey, your 
spokesman yesterday expressed some concern and confusion over Turkey's 
quick willingness to engage commercially with Iran.  I am wondering two 
things.  First of all, has there been a determination whether that 
violates this new U.S. law?  And secondly, what your message would be to 
the Turks as regards this kind of contact with Iran? 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Well, as you know, we have a deep concern about 
Iran for its projection of terrorism, for its opposition to the peace 
process, for its efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction.  We 
simply think that they should not be encouraged or given the resources 
to carry out those desperate acts.  We want to convey that to our friend 
and ally, Turkey.  There has been no determination as to whether or not 
this violates the new statute.  We think there is a risk that it may, 
but the Turks have taken the position that it is a trade agreement 
rather than a violation.  I think the main thing we would say to the 
Turks is that, in dealing with Iran, you have to recognize them for what 
they are, a country that does project terror and is an enemy of the 
peace process.  We would nevertheless, or because of that I think, want 
to call this to the attention of Turkey.  But we will go on in these 
discussions.  These discussions are only beginning with what is 
essentially the new Turkish government. We hope that we can persuade 
them, as we are hoping we can persuade others, that it simply is not 
good business, it is not good international citizenship at this point to 
deal with Iran. 
 
Q:  I have a question to both gentlemen.  I can hardly understand your 
satisfaction as I read the news agencies.  The visit of NATO, of IFOR 
troops, to these certain barracks were kind of a state visit.  The 
President of the Serbs Republic and the NATO Commander together, whereas 
the Dayton Agreement asked for an unannounced inspection of any military 
points there.  How can you be satisfied with what has happened today? 
 
SECRETARY GENERAL SOLANA:  I can tell you very frankly why I am 
satisfied.  Because 24 hours ago, it was not allowed for the IFOR troops 
to inspect what should be inspected.  As you said, it should be 
inspected without any previous announcement of it.  We worked very 
carefully with that, we worked strongly yesterday, and we achieved that 
that violation of Dayton was no longer a violation.  Let me tell you 
that this morning at nine o'clock in the morning, without previous 
advertising of what time we would be, the forces of IFOR were there.  A 
while later, the President of the Republica Srpska was there also.  And 
that, of course, is not going against the idea that you inspect all the 
barracks when you think you have to inspect them.  And something that 
yesterday -- or the day before yesterday -- was impossible, was a 
violation of Dayton, today is compliance with Dayton.  That is what I 
think is the show of my satisfaction as Secretary General of NATO.  
Because Dayton has been in compliance. 
 
Q:  This morning, sir, you had a series of meetings with General 
Joulwan, Ambassador Frowick, and the Secretary General, on the question 
of elections in Bosnia.  You have said that one of your concerns is 
security for the return of refugees.  Are your concerns about this now 
allayed?  Do you think that IFOR can provide adequate security for 
refugees to return to vote? 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Betsy, when I come to NATO, I am always 
encouraged because of the strength and precision of the operation here.  
You can not help but feel encouraged when you talk to General Joulwan 
and Secretary General Solana.  They are making plans, they are 
determined to try to ensure mobility within Bosnia insofar as possible.  
We have no illusions about the difficulties in Bosnia.  We are certainly 
not complacent about it.  That was a war, a very bitter war, conducted 
over a four-year period against a history of centuries of antagonism.  
So it is a very difficult situation.  But I come here and I see how well 
organized NATO is.  I see how well organized Ambassador Frowick is for 
the elections.  I am certain that there will be problems, but these 
elections are very important as a unifying factor for the country, as a 
way to ensure that we are taking further steps forward.  As the 
Secretary General did, when I compare where we were just a year ago with 
where we are now, I am encouraged, and I'm also determined that we shall 
proceed forward on a step-by-step basis, dealing with problems as they 
arise, on a day-to-day basis, but nevertheless, with our eye firmly on 
the target of maintaining peace in that war-torn country and giving the 
people of Bosnia an opportunity to develop the institutions of democracy 
and to develop, if they wish to do so, a multi-ethnic country. 
 
Thank you very much. 
 
SECRETARY GENERAL SOLANA:  Thank you very much. 
 
 
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