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U.S. Department of State
96/12/17 Press Remarks with Italian Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini
Office of the Spokesman

                         OFFICE OF THE SPOKESMAN
                         U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                            December 17, 1996

                         PRIOR TO THEIR MEETING
                           WASHINGTON, DC
                         DECEMBER 17, 1996

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Good morning.  I am very glad to have this 
opportunity to meet with Foreign Minister Dini.  Together, I think we 
have been able to make very good progress in very close contact between 
our countries.  I think he and I have established, over the last months, 
a very close relationship.  There is no doubt that Italy is one of our 
very closest allies -- and under the leadership now of Prime Minister 
Prodi and the Foreign Minister, I think our relationship is more strong 
and productive than it has been for a very long time.

Over the last four years, we have produced some very significant 
achievements.  Together we helped to restore the peace in Bosnia, and 
we've moved steadily forward with our concept of an integrated Europe.  
That was really the essence of steps that we took together at Brussels 
in the NATO meetings last week.  We have been cooperating to help 
African nations to resolve their conflicts and deal with the 
humanitarian disasters there.

Mr. Foreign Minister, I particularly want to express my appreciation for 
the leadership that Italy has demonstrated in the U.N. Security Council 
as president during the present month.  It has been a splendid 
cooperation we have had.

This morning we will be discussing the Foreign Minister's visit to 
Belgrade last Thursday.  We certainly agree that Serbia will only be 
able to fully join the Western community of nations when they are a free 
and open society.  I think we are going to work together to achieve our 
shared goals there of democracy, dialogue and respect for free 
expression in Serbia.  In this

regard, we look forward to the dispatch of the high-level OSCE mission 
to Serbia and call upon President Milosevic to respect the proposals 
when they come from this mission.  The news is just out this morning 
that former Prime Minister Felipe Gonzalez of Spain has been asked to 
head the OSCE mission.  That would be a very distinguished choice.  I 
hope he either has accepted or will accept.

We are going to be looking at ways, that is the Foreign Minister and I, 
to reinforce our relationship at all levels, including increasing 
exchange programs, as well as enhancing our consultations on foreign 
policy.  I was very pleased to hear that Italy will join the "Fellowship 
of Hope" program, which I announced at my speech in Stuttgart, and which 
will involve an exchange of diplomats and scholars -- a further exchange 
between our two countries --  which can only be positive and effective 
in bringing our great partnership even closer together.

Mr. Foreign Minister, I am delighted that you are here today, and I look 
forward to good discussions with you as always.  Thank you.

FOREIGN MINISTER DINI:  Thank you very much, Warren.  I am very, very 
happy for this opportunity of this meeting with Secretary Christopher.  
The Secretary has indicated a broad spectrum of issues on which we have 
been dealing closely together in recent months.  Concerning our 
bilateral relations, the Secretary has underlined his desire that is 
also our desire to move on with more structured consultations in the 
future between our two countries, to have them on a regular basis, on a 
broader spectrum of issues on the table.  Also, we welcome this 
opportunity for the exchange of diplomats, "Diplomats of Hope" as the 
program is called, that it would be extended to Italy very soon.  The 
Secretary has also indicated the matters that we are going to discuss 
together in our forthcoming meeting now.  They are all of great 
importance and of great concern also to Italy because a number of them 
deal with issues in countries that are bordering Italy in a way.  
Geographically and politically, we are very interested to work closely 
with the United States to find common positions on how to proceed.  
Thank you very much.

QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary, could you give us a rundown on the talks with 
the North Koreans in New York, and could you say whether food aid and 
energy assistance is being discussed?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  We are having some conversations with the North 
Koreans in New York at the appropriate level.  I do not want to go into 
trying to give you a catalogue of those conversations, but I will 
emphasize the importance of the North Koreans expressing regret or 
making some other gesture with respect to the submarine incident in 
South Korea.  That is an incident that does require some action or 
comment from the North Koreans before we can proceed.  But we have a 
wide variety of matters to discuss with them, including the matters that 
you have mentioned.  We will not be commenting in any detail on the 
results or even prospects for those negotiations until we have reached 
some further agreement.

QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary and Mr. Foreign Minister, on the Middle East, 
can you tell us please there is a growing concern, especially today 
after the negative reply of Israel to the appeal of President Clinton.  
Can you comment on that?

SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  President Clinton yesterday made it clear that 
we are concerned about the turn of events in Israel and with the 
Palestinians.  It appears that the discussions on Hebron are not making 
the progress that we had all hoped that they would make.  The recent 
statements by Prime Minister Netanyahu on the settlement issue have 
caused concern.  The President expressed the views of the United States 
yesterday that we are going to be continuing to work on that problem and 
try to encourage both the parties to come into agreement on Hebron and 
also to move forward with the other outstanding issues under the interim 
agreement, as well as moving into discussions on the final status 
negotiations.  This is another matter, as the President indicated, where 
we simply need to be persistent in urging the parties to take action -- 
being as constructive and helpful as we can, but recognizing that the 
parties themselves are the ones that need to make the difficult 
decisions in this area.

Mr. Foreign Minister?

FOREIGN MINISTER DINI:  No, there is nothing to add.  I think there is 
concern over the present status of discussions in the peace process.  It 
is not proceeding well enough, as the Secretary has said.  We are all 
equally concerned to see that some step forward is taken, in particular 
to find an agreement on the redeployment from Hebron and move on to 
other matters.  It is both on the part of the European Union, which 
Italy of course contributes, to make our own feelings well-known and to 
keep pressure on the parties to come to some positive conclusion. 

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