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U.S. Department of State
96/08/15 Address to People of Bosnia-Herzegovina
Office of the Spokesman
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
Text as Prepared for Delivery August 15, 1996
LIVE TELEVISION ADDRESS
TO THE PEOPLE OF BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA
SECRETARY OF STATE WARREN CHRISTOPHER
Good afternoon. It is a great privilege for me on behalf of
President Clinton and the American people to speak directly to you, the
people of Bosnia. I came to Sarajevo today to see firsthand the
progress you have made and the challenges you are overcoming. I am here
to reaffirm the support of the United States and the international
community as you prepare to hold next month's historic elections -- and
as you move to establish a democratic, multi-ethnic government.
Last December, the Presidents of Bosnia-Herzgovena, Croatia and
Serbia chose peace when they signed the Dayton Agreement. But only you
can make the peace enduring and enable your country to succeed. Now you
will have the opportunity and the power to make your choice.
In fact, I can see that you are already choosing peace. When I
visited Bosnia six months ago, I saw the first glimmer of recovery from
war. Now the opposing armies are disengaged and demobilized, thanks to
the tremendous work of IFOR troops from over two dozen countries. And
today in Sarajevo, I saw that the people of Bosnia are rebuilding their
lives and their country in this summer of hope.
This morning I arrived at the Sarajevo airport just after it
reopened to civilian traffic. Step by step, Bosnia's isolation from the
world is ending. I saw the bustle of people shopping as I walked
through the Sarajevo marketplace.
I understand that all around the country, you are beginning to
live normal lives again. Every newspaper that is published, every
factory that is back in production, every school that reopens and every
bus and train that runs throughout your country testifies to the
indomitable spirit of you, the Bosnian people.
What I heard and saw today gives me great confidence -- confidence
that hope can triumph over violence and tolerance over hate on September
14. With this election you will take back the power that was denied you
for four long years by snipers and prisons, by tanks and mines.
Yesterday in Geneva, Presidents Izetbegovic, Milosevic and Tudjman
joined me for the third time this year as we work together to overcome
in the way of the lasting peace you deserve. The three Presidents
renewed their commitment to help ensure the conditions for democratic
elections. The agreements we reached will increase the chances that all
the people of Bosnia will be able to move throughout the country freely
and cast votes without fear of violence or intimidation.
Let me tell you why, on behalf of President Clinton, I am pressing
your leaders so hard to enable these elections to succeed.
For us, democracy is a cherished ideal. Today, throughout Europe,
people long oppressed by the cruel hand of communism are beginning to
share in the blessings of democracy. Now you too have the opportunity
to build a democracy of your own. Your success will bring a better life
to your country, and greater stability to this entire region.
After the votes are counted, the winners and losers, large parties
and small, will all have the responsibility to come together, with the
willingness to compromise and the determination to move forward.
This will not be an easy path to follow. Securing the blessings
of peace and democracy will require more than just an election. I
hardly need to tell you that we have a long way to go before there are
jobs and homes for everyone and before the shadow of violence and hate
disappears from your lives.
But I am convinced this is the only way to lasting peace and
growing prosperity. The path of extremism and intolerance -- as you
know as well as any people in the world -- leads back to war and
Four years ago, a small minority began a war that most Bosnians
did not want. On September 14, the majority have a chance to be heard.
I hope and I believe that you will choose a better future over the
bitter past. As you walk the path of peace, you can count on the United
States and the international community to continue to walk that path
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