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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

                             PRESS CONFERENCE
                          ON THE APPOINTMENT OF

                             December 5, 1996
                             Washington, D.C.

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.

Mr. Secretary.

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 
presidential campaign.

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 
and ideals.

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 
security policy.

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 
peaceful world.

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 
anything happening?

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 
worked out.

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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