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U.S. Department of State 95/12/04 Daily Press Briefing

From: (Dimitrios Hristu)

U.S. State Department Directory

Subject: U.S. Department of State 95/12/04 Daily Press Briefing

Office of the Spokesman




Monday, December 4, 1995

Briefer: Glyn Davies


Dayton Peace Agreement Available on World Wide Web......1



Safety of Serbs in Sarajevo ............................8-9

--Possibility of Mass Migration ........................9

Comments of French UN Commander ........................9-10




DPB #174

MONDAY, DECEMBER 4, 1995, 1:09 P.M.


MR. DAVIES: Welcome to the State Department briefing. I've got just one thing to say today, and then I'll take your questions.

The State Department is getting modern. The Dayton Peace Agreement is now available -- proof-read and complete -- on the World Wide Web. The complete text of the peace agreement is available on the Department of State's Home Page on the World Wide Web in a special section on U.S. Policy on Bosnia. This section also includes complete texts of related speeches, testimony, statements, briefings, fact sheets, and other material concerning the Balkans.

The World Wide Web address -- and this will take a minute -- is HTTP:// Plenty of people are already looking at those documents. I hope with that complete information, others may dip into the World Wide Web and look at it as well.



Q Is the United States discussing with the French or other allies whether steps need to be taken to assure the safety of Serbs in the neighborhoods of Sarajevo, which will have to be put under Federation control soon? Does the U.S. believe that there are steps that need to be taken, either to assure the security of those Serbs or to reassure them that they will be safe?

MR. DAVIES: There's no difference of opinion between the United States and France on the peace agreement or its implementation. Obviously, the French have worked closely with us on bringing peace to Bosnia. As a member of the Contact Group, they were there at Dayton all three weeks of the negotiations. They provided strong support as we went forward in reaching the peace agreement itself.

France, of course, will also participate in the Implementation Force with a significant contingent of its military personnel. Sarajevo is in the French zone of the IFOR. That is not an issue that is at all dominating the agenda between the United States and France or indeed all the partners in this effort.

Q Does the United States believe that any steps need to be taken to assure the security beyond having IFOR in place?

MR. DAVIS: The United States believes that the Dayton peace agreement is comprehensive -- both the general framework and the numerous annexes -- and that there are sufficient guarantees there and sufficient guarantees made by the signatories to the Dayton Agreement to take account of any concerns that any of the peoples who live in Bosnia might have.

Q Does the United States expect -- you've seen the articles, I'm sure, predicting that up to 70,000 Serbs may pick up and leave quite soon, and that some of them may burn their buildings before leaving. Does the United States believe anything should be done to prevent this, or that it's not going to happen, that the reports are inaccurate?

MR. DAVIES: Obviously, one of the reasons why we're having these various meetings in the runup to the Paris peace signing and why we will consult after that intensively is to discuss all aspects of the Dayton peace agreement. But we don't see any kind of doomsday scenario for the Bosnian Serbs after the IFOR begins to go in and the Agreement is implemented.

We believe that the Agreement takes good account of all these contingencies, and that the parties to the Agreement will live up to what they've signed up to do, which includes on the part of the Bosnians or the Bosnian Federation providing all protection necessary for Bosnian Serbs who live in their area.

Q Do you think that the Bosnian Serbs are just bluffing about sort of leaving en masse, or do you think -- or will IFOR have some particular role if in fact these people all started a mass migration and burning their houses?

MR. DAVIES: I'm just not going to comment on what seems kind of an outlandish scenario at this stage, which is a mass exodus of every Bosnian Serb or of most Bosnian Serbs from the eastern suburbs of Sarajevo. We don't expect that because we think that they will -- once the Agreement begins to be enforced, come into play, we think that they will be reassured by what they see on the ground when the IFOR goes in.

Q Has the United States protested the comments by General Bachelet?

MR. DAVIES: We didn't have to because the French Government was very quick in coming out directly after he made those comments. They essentially said that they didn't associate themselves with those remarks by the General, that he wasn't speaking for the French Government; and I think Bachelet himself made a statement that was televised along the same lines -- that he wasn't speaking for his government on that issue.

Q I mean, his comments were pretty explosive, and coming from a senior officer like that are you worried that perhaps they reflect deeper feelings within -- despite the fact that France may officially disavow them, that perhaps they reflect deep-seated feelings among the French officer corps or among government officials?

MR. DAVIES: No, we're not concerned about that at all. We have every assurance from the French, both publicly and privately, that they will continue to work closely with us, and we've seen no signs at all at senior levels in the French Government that that's not the case.

Q But if he stays in the job, will the United States have confidence in his ability to perform it adequately?

MR. DAVIES: I think the General's been recalled to Paris, so I`m not sure what his precise status is. But if he does stay in the job, we'll see at that time. It may be that he's in fact been withdrawn from that position, but I don't know for certain. We'll wait and see.

Q Have you asked that he be withdrawn from that position?


Q The United States has not --

MR. DAVIES: Not to my knowledge, we haven't asked that he be withdrawn.

Q Would the United States welcome his withdrawal?

MR. DAVIES: We consider the Bachelet matter closed, and the French Government closed it.

Q Can I ask a related question on Bosnia? U.S. officials have repeated over the last week that in Dayton they got assurances from President Izetbegovic that all foreign forces would leave Bosnia when IFOR went in. Now the first wave of American soldiers has gone in. Is there any progress in the removal of the Mujaheddin from the Tuzla area?

MR. DAVIES: It's probably best on that question and maybe other Bosnia questions to refer you to the Secretary and his party who are in Brussels.

The Secretary, tomorrow, will be meeting with our Alliance partners. There will be press opportunities. I think, in fact, Nick is briefing -- he may be briefing now -- on some of these questions.

So for questions that go deeper into the whole Bosnia issue, it's best that we speak with one voice. Right now the Secretary's party -- the Secretary himself, Nick Burns, and others in Brussels -- are that voice. I'm going to leave it there.

Q You have nothing on that question?

MR. DAVIES: I think it's best that we keep that where the Bosnia action is today, which is with the Secretary of State who is in Brussels.


(Press briefing concluded at 1:35 p.m.)


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