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U.S. Department of State
96/12/09 Press Briefing in Brussels, Belgium
Office of the Spokesman

                         U.S. Department of State
                         Office of the Spokesman

                           (Brussels, Belgium)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                              December 9, 1996

                             PRESS BRIEFING BY

                                Conrad Hotel
                             Brussels, Belgium
                              December 9, 1996

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Good morning and thanks for showing up on a 
night without much sleep.  As every one in the room knows, one of 
President Clinton's priorities in his first term and now in his second 
term was emphasized yesterday by Sandy Berger:  European integration.  
This meeting could be a very important meeting.  We will take decisive 
steps in the direction of European integration.  From my standpoint, 
this process is very much on track.  In a sense, this meeting reminds me 
of the meeting three years ago, prior to the 1994 NATO Summit which was 
the key point in launching this whole effort.  In the December meeting 
of the NAC, we prepared for the 1994 Summit in January and, in the same 
sense, we are setting up a work program for the period between now and 
the 1997 Summit.   The last ten days have involved a number of 
significant meetings leading up to the Summit, basically building blocks 
for the Summit.  First, of course, was the OSCE meeting in Lisbon which 
set a number of comprehensive goals for European integration.  A very 
significant event was an agreement of the members to modernize the CFE 
Treaty with commencement next year.  Then at London, of course, there 
were agreement on encouraging reconciliation and implementation in 

Here at NATO an important decision will be taken tomorrow to have a 
NATO-lead stabilization force, so called SFOR, to support that effort.  
We have the decision taken, of course, assuming that the United Nation 
Security Council will provide the umbrella for SFOR.  When we come down 
to tomorrow's meeting, I think there will be very important decisions by 
the Ministers to review and implement NATO's efforts in three respects.  
First, the assumption of new roles and missions for NATO, so 
dramatically reflected in IFOR and now SFOR's role.  IFOR comes to an 
end, of course, in about a week.  Second, the adaptation of NATO's 
internal structures and, third, the external outreach of the Alliance to 
new members, so called "Enlargement."  

The meeting tomorrow will be significant in setting a date for the NATO 
Summit next year, and a full agenda of decisions for that Summit.   At 
the same time, we move forward with NATO's cooperation with non-members 
as it proceeds with enlargement.  Certainly one of the things we look to 
is to explore ways to institutionalize the cooperation with Russia and, 
significantly also, with Ukraine.   Strengthening the Partnership for 
Peace will be high on the agenda, and closely allied to that will be the 
proposal for the new Atlantic Partnership Council, the so called APC.  
NACC is, in my judgement, really a relic of the Cold War period and 
ought to be supplanted by the Atlantic Partnership Council which will be 
a very important step to give a voice to all the members of the 
Partnership for Peace, and it will be very significant to those who are 
not in the first tranche of the enlargement. 

The internal adaptation of NATO is also moving forward on a very steady 
basis.  The recent decision of Spain to participate fully and to join 
all the integrated structures just as any other member of NATO is a big 
step forward.   I would not expect any final decisions on internal 
adaptation tomorrow; I would not expect any final decisions on issues 
like AFSOUTH, but nevertheless, we will be discussing those and moving 
forward.  One thing I would emphasize in that context is that 

AFSOUTH is only one very small piece of a much, much broader context.   
The vast overwhelming aspect of internal adaptation has already been 
agreed to and I think we are now dealing with the final issues on 
internal adaptation.  I would expect something to be worked out over 

Of course, a major question which will be addressed here will be the 
NATO-Russia issues.  Primakov will join in a 16 + 1 meeting which has 
become a key part of these meetings.   The offer that we have to Russia 
to work out a Russia-NATO charter still stands.   We are hopeful that 
following the OSCE meeting last week, Russia will now accept our offer 
for discussions.  The Vice President had a good meeting with Prime 
Minister Chernomyrdin in Lisbon, as you know.  My own prediction would 
be that this NATO meeting will authorize the Secretary General to open 
discussions with Russia formally in the name of the Alliance.  That will 
be a decision for Russia to make.  It is Russia's choice really.  We 
pursue those discussions on integration and I hope that choice will be a 
positive one.  I think it will be.  

Just a word or two about Serbia, and then I will take your questions.

We have been in a quite extraordinary situation for 18 straight days now 
in which there have been continued demonstrations of tens of thousands, 
sometimes more than that, despite the very bad weather.  There have 
been, day after day, demonstrations without violence on the part of the 
demonstrators.  The United States has left no doubt and I leave no doubt 
about our support for democratic change in Serbia.  Consistently, I have 
made these points to Milosevic over the long course of our meetings 
together, the importance of democratic change.  John Kornblum has been 
echoing these sentiments very effectively in the last several weeks.  We 
urge Milosevic, have been and continue to, to open dialogue with the 
opposition, to recognize the importance of freedom of assembly, to 
accept the results of the election, and especially, to preserve freedom 
of the media.   I want to emphasize to him as well again the importance 
of not using force in connection with these demonstrations, but to find 
a way to recognize and accept the election results, and to open a 
dialogue with the opposition.  I think that is the only prudent course 
for him to follow.  I would hope and expect a unified action on the part 
of NATO members reflecting the comments that I have just made.  
Stability in the region of the Balkans as a whole is very important and 
democratization in Serbia is a key factor.

With those opening comments, I am glad to try to take any questions you 

QUESTION: Sir, if you will permit me, I would like to ask one from 
Column A and one from Column B, but they are just hard questions, I will 
keep them brief.  Can you have that reform without the removal of 
Milosevic? And so far as the NATO deliberations, can the Council ensure 
the charter, the concessions, or gestures to Russia? Are there any 
others that you think might come out of this meeting to make this 
enlargement more digestible for Moscow?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  On the first point, Milosevic has shown himself 
to be a pragmatic and flexible person, certainly his conduct at Dayton 
showed he has the capacity to reverse long-standing positions and I will 
hope he will reverse the long-standing positions here.  I don not think 
he is incapable of that.  I hope he can be persuaded that it is in his 
own self-interest to do that.  On the second question, I do not see it, 
in terms of concessions but I do see that NATO is prepared to have an 
open, positive dialogue with Russia on establishing a charter that can 
try to provide the way forward with a recognition that enlargement has 
been long-committed by the Alliance but it does need to be in any way 
hostile to Russia or to in any way impair Russia's interests.

QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary, you are meeting Mr. Primakov tomorrow.  Do you 
see any hope at all of getting Russia to join the U.S. in any move to 
restore economic sanctions against Serbia if this continues without 

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  We will certainly maintain that option and I 
want to talk to Foreign Minister Primakov about conditions in Serbia and 
emphasize to him that I believe that Milosevic's position at the present 
time is self-defeating and he should recognize the importance of 
accepting the election results, having a dialogue with the opposition as 
being in his own interests, 

and I hope to persuade Mr. Primakov of that.  Let me say, I certainly am 
pleased that we have maintained the outer wall of sanctions and have not 
given full recognition to Serbia.  I think our judgement was right in 
that regard and it gives us some remaining leverage without the need to 
have multilateral sanctions but we retain the option of seeking 
multilateral sanctions if the situation continues.

QUESTION:  But can you do that if Russia has its current attitude?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Certainly Russia's acquiescence or support in 
the Security Council would be necessary for that and that's one of the 
reasons why I want to talk to the Foreign Minister about that subject.

QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary, to follow-up on Barry's question:  Have you 
talked to Mr. Milosevic personally, and, if you haven not, we know that 
Secretary Talbott has made representations and we know John Kornblum has 
been in touch.  If you have not, why have you chosen not to take this to 
him directly, this question of not using violence against demonstrators, 

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Charlie, in the past I have talked to him about 
the importance of democratization.  The last time was when we were 
together in Geneva, but he cannot possibly misunderstand our position.  
I have day-in and day-out authorized our Spokesman to go out in the name 
of the United States and take the positions that Nick has so there can 
be no doubt about that.  And John Kornblum has made his positions known 
on a personal basis.  If I am in direct contact with Milosevic I will 
certainly do that but there is no doubt about the United States' 
position.  The daily briefings by our Spokesman are approved on a daily 
basis by me and so Milosevic should not be in any doubt as to what our 
positions are.

QUESTION:  What would you suggest to do to avoid destabilization of 
Zaire?  Will have you have some consultations with some european partner 
about Zaire in Brussels?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Zaire is a very important issue and it would be 
surprising if, around the edges at least of the NATO meeting, that 
subject were not discussed.  We have, as you can tell from my opening 
remarks, a very full agenda here at NATO, especially with the Serbia 
issues to be confronted as well.  We are continuing to consult with our 
allies and friends about the situation in Zaire.  The situation, of 
course, changed quite dramatically from the one that we first addressed 
together with the Canadians in the lead, but we continue to discuss 
those matters to see if there is some basis for, some need for a multi-
lateral force.  On the other hand, there are certain issues that are 
internal to Zaire which really need to be addressed by that country.  We 
continue, though, to have great concern for the humanitarian issues 
there and are following that as the situation evolves and changes 
rapidly.  Nevertheless, our concern remains high for the humanitarian 

QUESTION:  The NATO-Russia dialogue is not going forward as fast as we 
all expected and it still remains that there might continue to be some 
opposition to enlargement.  I am wondering, leaving aside the  CFE and 
some of the discussions of the offers that were made during the OSCE 
last week, would the U.S. consider supporting Russia's persistent demand 
to bolster the OSCE perhaps as a way to advance the NATO-Russia 

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  We think the OSCE plays an important role in the 
overall European picture but not as a treaty and not as a legally-
binding document but really in the role OSCE has played in the past.  
The positions we took at Lisbon are the ones we will continue to take 
but we, as I say, regard OSCE as an important building block, an 
important part of this approach to European security that has been 
critical to President Clinton's overall foreign policy.  I would not 
expect any major change though in our position on that subject.  We are 
anxious to proceed with discussions with Russia on a NATO-Russia 
charter.  As I say, it is really Russia's choice.  I hope they will 
choose the decision of integration.

QUESTION:  Sir, just to follow-up on that.  In all your discussions with 
the Russians, what do you think they are waiting for before they start 
discussions, specifically?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  I hope and expect they will choose at this 
meeting to proceed with those discussions.  There have been a number of 
exploratory discussions with us and with other countries.  I think we 
have made progress in sorting out the issues.  I want to identify the 
meeting between the Vice President and Mr. Chernomyrdin as being an 
important part of those discussions.  The discussion between my 
colleague Strobe Talbott and Primakov in Lisbon could give an important 
impetus to these discussions.  But as I say, I think, here, what I would 
anticipate is the authorization for the Secretary-General to open 
discussions with Russia on a charter and, as I say, I hope that the 
Russians will be in a position to accept that.

QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary, regarding the adaptation of NATO commands.  
The United States has said repeatedly that it wants to see the Europeans 
take a greater responsibility for their own defense.  I am familiar with 
the argument put forward by the administration that it cannot reject, or 
cannot desist from manning SouthCom because of the importance of the 
Sixth Fleet.  But don't you think that the time has come for greater 
responsibility to be invested in the Europeans, and that more resources 
should be placed in the Commands by the Europeans themselves?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Absolutely, Bill.  And part of the overall 
discussion has involved that.  For example, as part of an overall 
package, the United States would be quite agreeable to there being a 
Deputy SACEUR with special responsibility for involvement with the 
European forces.  I want to emphasize again that the AFSOUTH issue is 
only a small percentage in the overall adaptation that will emphasize 
significantly the points you make and that is greater European 
responsibility.  And, so often in one of these negotiations you come 
down to a single point or a couple of points and those points get 
magnified and the overall thrust at what is happening gets minimized but 
I urge you to step back and see how much has been accomplished in the 
direction of adaptation.  My own hope and expectation is that we will 
find a way to finish it -- not at this meeting but between now and the 

QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary . . .

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Steve, welcome to these sleepless nights.

QUESTION:  It is not so bad.  On that point, is this question not, 
though, what is holding up all of the other areas that have not been 
agreed on?  And how can we resolve them?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Well, as sometimes happens, the last piece is a 
difficult one but I think there are ways to address the overall 
situation without in any way modifying the United States' position on 
that particular issue, which is one of great tradition and historic 
importance for us on which I do not expect to see change. But this is a 
very broad engagement and there may be ways, in connection with other 
issues, to give reassurance that there will be full European 

QUESTION:  Is this your last trip, really?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: (Laughter)  Well, I think it is my last trip.  I 
have a little bit more than a month ahead of me and lots to do.  But as 
far as I know, this is my last overseas trip.  Thank you very much.

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