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Exchange With Reporters Prior to Discussions With Foreign Minister Andrey Kozyrev of Russia

September 29, 1993


Q. Mr. President, is there anything the United States can now do to bring peace in Bosnia since the Bosnian Parliament has voted against the peace plan?

The President. Well, you know, this process— this goes on day by day. We're just going to have to see what happens. They want some more territory. You know, I think they're entitled to some more territory, but I don't know if they can get it. I think that the price of passing up this peace may be very high. And I think they'll probably consider that over the next few days. But we'll just have to wait and see what happens. We haven't had time to examine what our options are.

Q. Is the only alternative more war?

The President. Well, that's up to them. All of them.

Q. Are you encouraging them then to accept this treaty, or do you think that they should go ahead with their demands for more?

The President. Well, I have encouraged them to try to make peace. That's what I've encouraged them to try to do. I hate to see another winter come on for all of them there. But that's a decision they'll have to make, their country, their lives, they'll have to make the decision.


Q. Sir, what assurances are you hoping to receive from Mr. Kozyrev about the situation, and what message might you be sending to Mr. Yeltsin through him?

The President. Well, I think he's already given the assurances that all of us hope. They're doing everything they can to preserve peace. And there's a commitment by President Yeltsin to move to a truly democratic system, through truly democratic means. That's about all the United States or anyone else could ask for.

Q. Mr. President, one more question. Is this meeting of yours with the Russian Foreign Minister, is this meeting of yours a meeting of support or is it a meeting of concern?

The President. Well, it's a meeting of support. I'm concerned about events in the sense that I hope they go well, and I hope that everything works out all right. But I am firmly in support of the efforts that President Yeltsin is making to hold democratic elections for a legislative body and to have a new constitution and to present himself for election again. I think that the United States clearly has an interest in promoting democracy and reform in Russia.

And as you know, I have aggressively supported efforts in our Congress to get more aid for the process of reform and for economic opportunity in Russia, and I will continue to do that.

NOTE: The exchange began at 4:54 p.m. in the Oval Office at the White House. A tape was not available for verification of the content of this exchange.

William J. Clinton, Exchange With Reporters Prior to Discussions With Foreign Minister Andrey Kozyrev of Russia Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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