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Exchange With Reporters Prior to Discussions With Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou of Greece

April 22, 1994


Q. Mr. President, are you going to start bombing, or are the allies going to start bombing Gorazde very shortly as a result of the NATO Council ultimatum?

The President. They're meeting now. Let's see what they do, and I'll have more to say about it later.

Q. Do you want the NATO allies to allow NATO to select the bombing targets and move more independently of the U.N.? And do you expect them to——

The President. We want to continue to work with the U.N., but they're working—our people are there now, working on the arrangements. So let's see what comes out of the meeting today, and we'll—I'll have comments about it after they do.


Q. Sir, I wonder if you could tell us why the Haitian boat people are being allowed this time, sir?

The President. Well, two reasons: First of all, they were very close to the United States. The whole purpose of the return policy was primarily to deter people from risking their lives. Hundreds of people have already drowned trying to come here. These people were only 4 miles from the shore. The second was that we had evidence that the Haitians might have been subject to some abuse by the people who were in control of the boat. And so for those reasons, we thought the appropriate thing to do was to bring them on in, which we did.

Q. Is this a change in the policy for the future?

The President. No change in policy.

[At this point, one group of reporters left the room, and another group entered.]

Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Q. President Clinton. Mr. President, are you going to discuss the problem with Greece and Skopje and the measures that Greece has got against Skopje?

The President. Absolutely.

Q. What do you believe about these measures?

The President. What I think is that we have Mr. Nimetz over there and Mr. Vance. We're trying to help work it out. I think that it's very much in the interest of Greece and Europe and the world community for the matters to be worked out between the two countries, and I think they can be.

Q. How committed are you to delaying the process until Greece's concerns are satisfied, sir?

The President. I think it's obvious that we've shown a real concern for Greece's concerns. That's one of the main reasons I sent a special envoy over there, and we're trying to work through it. We'll discuss that today. We just started out—we haven't even had our discussions yet.

Q. There's been some criticism that the U.S. side has not exercised enough of its good—[inaudible]—to Skopje and to come up with a solution.

The President. We're working hard on that now, and we'll continue to. I think there will have to be some changes from the point of view of Skopje.

Q. Are you going to visit Greece, sir?

The President. Oh, I'd love to do that. I've never been there.


Q. What about Cyprus?

The President. We're working hard on Cyprus, and I think—I hope there will be some movement from the Turkish side on Cyprus in the next couple of days with regard to the confidence-building measures. I think that the ball has been sort of in Mr. Denktash's court, and I hope he will take it up. And then I hope that Greece and all others will support pushing forward. I have worked hard to resolve this since I've been in office, and I will continue to stay on it. More later.

NOTE: The exchange began at 11:45 a.m. in the Oval Office at the White House. In his remarks, the President referred to Matthew Nimetz, U.S. Special Envoy to the United Nations to resolve the conflict between Greece and Macedonia; Cyrus Vance, United Nations Special Envoy to the Former Yugoslavia; and Rauf Denktash, Turkish Cypriot leader. A tape was not available for verification of the content of this exchange.

William J. Clinton, Exchange With Reporters Prior to Discussions With Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou of Greece Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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