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U.S. Department of State
96/10/15 Interview on PBS-TV "The Newshour with Jim Lehrer"
Office of the Spokesman

                       U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
                       Office of the Spokesman
For Immediate Release                           October 15, 1996

                           INTERVIEW OF

                      Washington, D.C.
                      October 15, 1996

MS. ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH:  First, tonight, a "Newsmaker" interview with 
Secretary of State Warren Christopher, who is just back from his first 
visit to sub-Saharan Africa.

The Secretary began his trip in Israel, helping revive Israeli-
Palestinian talks.  From there, it was on to Mali, Ethiopia, Tanzania, 
South Africa, and Angola before returning home last night.

In the midst of his travels, the Secretary broke the mileage record 
racked up his predecessor, James Baker III.

Mr. Secretary, welcome.

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Thank you, Elizabeth.

MS. FARNSWORTH:  Just for the record, what was that?  How many miles?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  I think it was about 703,000 miles when I broke 
the record between Mali and Ethiopia.

MS. FARNSWORTH:  Let's start with the Middle East.  What is the status 
of the negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians now over 

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  They're very active.  They've been going for 
about a week.  All the time I was in Africa I had nightly reports from 
Ambassador Dennis Ross, who is assisting the parties in those 

I think the parties' mood has been very good.  They're down to hard 
negotiating.  Mr. Ross has been going back and forth between the 

MS. FARNSWORTH:  I understand he was, last night, with the King and 
Yasser Arafat.

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Yes.  He flew to Amman last night to meet with 
Yasser Arafat and also met with the King.

There's lots of hard negotiating.  These are very difficult issues.  But 
the fact that the parties are back working hard at it, the fact that the 
tone is good and the mood is good, I think is a real step forward from 
where it was, say, two or three weeks ago.  We'll just to wait and see 
how this comes along, but I think they're going to find some way to 
resolve these problems.

As you know, they began negotiating in Erez, one of the areas right on 
the edge of Gaza Strip.  They intend to move to Taba and Eilat where 
they can go around the clock, if necessary.  But for the time being, I 
think Ambassador Ross feels it's advantageous to focus on these informal 
contacts that he's having between the two parties.

MS. FARNSWORTH:  Press reports indicate that Israel is seeking expanded 
authority to be able to pursue terrorists if they move out of the areas 
Israel controls into the Palestinian-controlled areas, and other matters 
like that.  Is that the case?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  I'll say this, generally.  Although neither 
party is trying to change the basic agreement, I think that Israel is 
trying to find enhanced ways to deal with the security issues.  The 
recent events, I think, have spotlighted some of the security issues.  
So in light of the new facts on the ground, the parties are trying to 
find practical ways to deal with them.

I would emphasize this is not changing the agreement, just finding more 
effective ways to implement it.

MS. FARNSWORTH:  Although the Palestinians have indicated they think 
they are trying to change the agreement?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  I think it has to be common ground between them 
that they're not changing the agreement.  When I was out there, I think 
I made that point clear to Chairman Arafat.

The Israelis are not trying to modify or rescind the basic agreement, 
simply to try to more effectively implement it.

MS. FARNSWORTH:  On Africa, when you were in Ethiopia, you called for 
the creation of an Africa Crisis Response Force which would, I gather, 
have some funding from the U.S. and some training from the U.S.  Why?  
What would it be for?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  To enable the parties there in Africa to deal 
more effectively with humanitarian situations and peacekeeping matters.

One of the shortcomings we've had out there, Elizabeth, is that some 
event will come, such as the genocide in Rwanda, and there simply is not 
time to put together a force, because it takes many months to put 
together a force if you're doing it from scratch.

So what we're trying to do here is to have not a standing army but have 
countries pledge to put forward forces.  These would not be American 
forces.  They would be forces from African countries that had been 
trained together and well-equipped so they could act swiftly.  That's 
the genius of this situation, if the suggestion has any importance at 
all.  They would have funding and support logistically from the United 
States, the European allies, perhaps others, with troops to be provided 
by the African countries.

I got quite a favorable response as I went around Africa.  There seemed 
to be a high degree of interest in it.  But they want us to consult, 
quite properly, with their African institutions -- the OAU, the new 
organization in southern African called SADCC.  We will do that.

I think also they want us to make sure that we've consulted carefully 
with them.  That was one of the purposes of my trip.

MS. FARNSWORTH:  Who would deploy the force?  Would the U.N. decide to 
deploy or the Organization of African Unity?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  It would have to be deployed on the basis of a 
decision by the United Nations Security Council.  But they would want to 
act in conjunction with a regional organization.

As we go into this next difficult period, in many continents I think 
we're going to have to depend more and more on regional organizations to 
back up and to amplify what the U.N. can do.

MS. FARNSWORTH:  Is there a special urgency right now for this because 
of what's happening in Burundi?  Is that really what's in your mind in 
trying to get it through?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Yes, it's both a specific case and the broader 

MS. FARNSWORTH:  Tell us about what is happening.  You have said 
recently that you think the Burundi situation is quite serious.

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  It's a very dangerous situation in Burundi.  Mr. 
Buyoya has taken over in a coup there.  The other leaders in the region, 
the Presidents from the neighboring countries, have imposed an embargo 
on Burundi to try to force Mr. Buyoya to take certain steps; and he's 
taken some good steps.  He's recalled the parliament back into action; 
the political parties can act again.

But they're trying to insist that he begin negotiations with the 
opposing parties there in Burundi.  Those negotiations --

MS. FARNSWORTH:  We should remind people that there is an ethnic 
situation not unlike the one in Rwanda which led to the death of many 
hundreds of thousands of people.

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  There's that same intense hatred, long-standing, 
between the Hutus and the Tutsis.  I think there must come some 
negotiation between the two.  That's what the neighboring presidents are 
trying to achieve.

It's a very complex and difficult and dangerous situation.  I don't know 
whether this Crisis Force can be put into being in time to deal with 
something.  What we hope to do is to have it ready if that situation 
would eventuate in some months.  But, particularly, I think we need to 
try to find a longer-term solution so we're not helpless in each one of 
these situations.

MS. FARNSWORTH:  President Mandela, when you were in South Africa, said 
-- as you just told me -- that this African force needs to be something 
which is really the child of Africans and not something that is just a 
U.S.-inspired force.  Is that possible?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  I think it's entirely possible and highly 
desirable.  The United States so often has to try to play a leadership 
role in this situation.  As President Mandela said to me, "Only the 
United States can provide the logistical support to handle most of these 
matters; only the United States can provide the leadership."  On the 
other hand, he wants to make sure that this is not something imposed 
upon Africa but that Africa will not only endorse but support.

President Mandela told me that they would be meeting on it sometime this 
week at a meeting in Maputo -- too much jet lag, I guess -- in Southern 
Africa to discuss this.  I think that's very healthy.

MS. FARNSWORTH:  Let's talk about Nigeria for a minute, though.  You 
didn't visit Nigeria.  It was certainly a subject according to comments 
that you made during the trip.

You said that human rights violations, corruption and other matters made 
it a very high priority for action.  There's already some U.S. embargo -
- no visas to Nigerians, and a few other things.  Could you tell us what 
you talked about and what you think needs to happen, and why?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  I've talked about it in most African countries.  
The election there in Nigeria was overturned by General Abacha.  He's 
conducted a rather repressive dictatorship, and there are many human 
rights violations.

We've been trying to put enough pressure on him so as to restore 
democracy there.  The United States has done some things.  We're trying 
to work with other countries.

MS. FARNSWORTH:  What has the U.S. done, exactly?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  The United States has done what you said.  That 
is we have --

MS. FARNSWORTH:  No visas.

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  -- no visas, no arms sales.  We've been working 
with other countries on possible other sanctions to be taken.  One of 
the problems with sanctions is that they really don't work very well 
unless they're multilateral in nature.

But there is, I think, a growing conviction -- and this is one of the 
things that President Mandela and I discussed -- of, really, a feeling 
that we've run out of options as far as just talking and needing to do 
something stronger with respect to Nigeria.

Elizabeth, before we get too far from this, though, I want to emphasize 
the importance that Africa has to all of us.  We've been talking about 
the problems.  But my trip out there reminded me how important our 
partnership is with Africa.

There was a time when we thought that only the Cold War made us 
interested in Africa.  But my trip there reminded me, first, how 
important it is in terms of avoiding nuclear proliferation; how 
important it is in terms of the environment.  We need to work together 
on maintaining rain forests in Africa because it's going to be important 
for all of our future.

There's tremendous economic potential in Africa.  One of the success 
stories is in southern Africa, how they've gone together to form an 
economic unit that can be a tremendous advantage to them and to us in 
the future.

I don't want Americans to think of Africa just as the problems or the 
failures or the tragedies they see on television.  There's a tremendous 
opportunity there.

MS. FARNSWORTH:  You went at an interesting time.  You said that you're 
interested in these various multinational things, that are problems that 
have to be solved by nations working together.

It has been sort of a founding principle of the Organization of African 
Unity that African countries would not intervene in each other's 
affairs.  And yet from what you say and from we've seen recently, that 
seems to be changing.  Is that right?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  I think they're coming past that position.  For 
example, the Presidents of the countries adjacent to Burundi have come 
to the point where they knew they had to do something.  They couldn't 
stand by and watch a coup take place in Burundi.  That was a watershed 
event there in Africa.

MS. FARNSWORTH:  Angola:  Going to another problem, still.  Angola is a 
place where there's a very large -- the largest U.N. peacekeeping force 
ever, I think; even larger than the force in Cambodia -- and it's about 
to leave.  It will leave in a couple of months.

You were there with some fairly critical things to say about one of the 
sides in this long war, Jonas Savimbi.  Could you tell us about that 
situation, and why he didn't meet with you after, apparently, he had 
agreed to?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Elizabeth, it is the largest current 
peacekeeping force although it's not nearly as large as the one that was 
in Bosnia at an earlier time.

About two years ago, the parties there -- that is, Dr. Savimbi and the 
government of Mr. dos Santos -- reached an agreement that they would go 
forward and form a unity government.  They had a number of military 
provisions.  They made a lot of progress toward that.  But now they seem 
to be at a stalemate.  In the last three months they've slowed down.

One of the reasons I went there was to try to emphasize the need to 
continue progress.  There are some things the government needs to do -- 
that is, President dos Santos.  But by far the burden now is on Dr. 

I invited him to meet me there in Luanda.  He chose not to come.  He 
said there were security situations.  I do not think those were bona 
fide.  But, in any event, I had an opportunity to meet with some of his 
lieutenants who were there in Luanda.  I met with the government and 
emphasized the importance of completing this arrangement that they 
worked out for a unity government.

That country really has great opportunities but it's been a score of 
years just impaled on this war.  It's very sad to see now.  There are 
more landmines in that country than there are people; more than 10 
million landmines.  A hundred and fifty people are killed by landmines 
every day.  So they need a period of peace.

It's one of those countries, though, with enormous resources.  They have 
oil resources, they have diamond resources, and they have, really, a 
very rich soil.  If we can get them a period of peace, it's going to be 
a very successful country again.

I really appeal to Dr. Savimbi now, as I did there, to complete this 
process, to join the Unity Government.  When I couldn't stay over to 
meet with him, I sent one of my colleagues down to meet with him to give 
him the message, "Get on the program, get with it."

MS. FARNSWORTH:  Jim Mann wrote in the L.A. Times -- I think it was 
today or yesterday -- that "When Secretaries of State finally get to 
Africa and Latin America" -- which you also visited this year -- "these 
oft-neglected continents, it's a tip-off they're preparing to depart."  
Are you?

MS. FARNSWORTH:  I don't know where Jim got that idea.  I've been 
wanting to go to Africa for some time.  I've been to north Africa many, 
many times.  There's no tip-off there.  I just was able to do something 
I had wanted to do for some time.

As I've said before, Elizabeth, the question is very "iffy" now, very 
hypothetical now.  If the President wins, I'll sit down with him and 
talk about my future.  Until then, I'm going to keep on doing what I'm 
doing and enjoying it very much.

MS. FARNSWORTH:  Mr. Secretary, thanks for being with us.

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Thank you, Elizabeth.

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