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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
REMARKS BY SECRETARY OF STATE WARREN CHRISTOPHER
AND FOREIGN MINISTER LAMBERTO DINI
PRIOR TO THEIR MEETING
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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