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U.S. Department of State
96/12/05 Appointment of Sec.-Designate Madeleine Albright
Office of the Spokeksman
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
For Immediate Release December 5, 1996
SECRETARY OF STATE WARREN CHRISTOPHER
ON THE APPOINTMENT OF
SECRETARY OF STATE-DESIGNATE MADELEINE ALBRIGHT
December 5, 1996
MR. BURNS: Ladies and gentlemen, the Secretary of State has a statement
to make on Ambassador Albright. Following that, he'll be glad to take
one to two questions from you and then he must depart.
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: Good afternoon. I just wanted to come down and
add my personal, warmest congratulations to Madeleine Albright on her
selection as the President's nominee to become the 64th Secretary of
Madeleine has been my close, personal friend, colleague for almost a
quarter of a century now since we worked together in Senator Muskie's
Her extraordinary career and her remarkable talents made her the ideal
choice to carry America's foreign policy into the 21st century.
Madeleine is already well-known and deeply respected here by the State
Department family. She's well known, too, to the American people and
the wider international community. As the United States Permanent
Representative to the United Nations, as a member of the President's
Cabinet for four years, she's been a brilliant and forceful voice in
shaping American foreign policy and in carrying forward our principles
Because of the long friendship Madeleine and I have had and her
extraordinary abilities, we forged a special kind of partnership that I
believe is unique in the history of Secretaries of State and U.N.
Her toughness and determination played a key role in many of the
important achievements of our Administration from Haiti and Bosnia to
the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
Her life is a testament to the importance of American engagement and
leadership on the international stage. Madeleine will serve as
Secretary of State on a very strong, skilled, new foreign policy team.
I want to give my personal congratulations to Senator Cohen, to Tony
Lake, and to Sandy Berger. Tony and Sandy, of course, have been two
very valued colleagues, and I'm delighted they'll continue to serve the
President in the years ahead.
I've greatly admired Senator Cohen's work in the United States Senate
over 24 years, his leadership on international affairs, and I believe
that his background will serve him very well in enabling the
Administration to build a strong bipartisan foreign policy and national
Over the years, experience has demonstrated the central importance of
effective teamwork in managing our national security policy. I think I
can say with confidence to the American people and to America's friends
and allies around the world that with this new team, American foreign
policy will be in sound and capable hands.
The next four years are going to present exciting and important
opportunities for advancing America's values and interests around the
globe. Under the leadership of the President and Vice President Gore,
their new national security team, I am sure they will seize those
opportunities to create a more secure and prosperous America and a
Thank you very much.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, in your four years, you've had to deal
sometimes with some quite difficult Foreign Ministers and leaders from
other countries. In some of these countries, there is a long tradition,
and unbroken tradition, of male-dominated societies.
Do you think the fact that Ambassador Albright is the first woman to
occupy the post will give her any special advantages or disadvantages?
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: I think she'll be very effective in that role.
I've known Madeleine for, as I say, about 25 years in many different
capacities. In each one of them, she has performed brilliantly. She's
a tough, smart person.
I've seen her in her capacity as an intellectual in the field of foreign
policy; I've seen her as a leader of a think-tank; I've seen her in
Presidential campaigns, both losing ones and winning ones. I know that
she has the capacity to reach out to a very broad range of people
without regard to gender, without regard to race. She's a very
effective person, and she will be effective with the Foreign Secretaries
and other representatives around the world. I have no doubt of that.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, since you're the only Secretary of State we
have at this time, I wonder if I could ask you a topical question.
There have been repeated reports of a possible breakthrough on the
Hebron issue in the Middle East talks. Is there anything to it? Is
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: We continue to work very actively on that front.
The parties are edging closer together. Those issues remain very tough
issues. I hope the parties will get over the goal line in the
relatively near future. But there are tough issues that remain to be
I can say, though, that the negotiations are very active at the present
time. The parties seem to be developing new confidence in each other.
They're learning to work together, which is a highly valuable by-product
of this prolonged negotiation.
I can't give you anything definitive. I don't want to raise
expectations. But I can tell you the parties are edging closer
together, and they're nearing a conclusion.
QUESTION: Are you encouraging Prime Minister Netanyahu and President
Arafat to meet soon?
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: At the right moment. I'm sure that they need to
meet, but that really is something that will be part of this overall
One more. Steve.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, is the timing of the U.S.-Russian summit in
March, is that tied in any way to the NATO leader's summit that is
coming later because of the whole issue of NATO expansion?
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: I think it's very timely for them to have the
summit then. President Yeltsin has gone through a very serious but
successful operation, apparently. I think it's very important for him
and the President to get back together and to have the advantages that
come out of the direct contact between the two of them.
We've seen over the terms of my tenure here the importance of direct
contact between the two of them. I can remember how vividly it was when
they met together in Hyde Park and made real progress on the Russian
participation in IFOR.
When they can meet together and when they can talk issues through face
to face, there are real advantages. I'm very glad they're getting
together in March. That's an early time. It's well timed, I think, in
advance of the summit -- the NATO summit.
Thanks very much.
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