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Remarks and an Exchange With Reporters Following Discussions With President Václav Havel of the Czech Republic in Prague

January 11, 1994

The President. Thank you very much. First, I want to express my thanks to President Havel for his warm welcome. I'm coming back to Prague only for the second time in my life. I was here 24 years ago in this same week, in a very different role in life.

I have been deeply impressed by the progress made by the Czech Republic and was deeply impressed by the meeting I had today with the President and the Prime Minister and with other leaders of the government. I reaffirmed the fact that the security of this Republic and of the nations of Central and Eastern Europe are important to the security of the United States and to Europe and to the Atlantic alliance, that the Partnership For Peace is the beginning of a genuine security relationship which can lead to full membership in NATO, and that we must also be mindful of the economic dimension of security. For it is difficult for nations to pursue good policies and to reflect democratic values unless they can also offer the hope of success to the people within their borders who work hard, obey the law, and try to contribute to the welfare of society.

So we talked about these things, and I look forward to talking tomorrow with all the leaders, who will be here together, in perhaps somewhat more specific terms about what we can do to further both these objectives. But I am very encouraged by this meeting tonight, and I thank President Havel for his support for the Partnership For Peace.

Partnership For Peace and NATO

[At this point, a question was asked in Czech, and a translation was not provided.]

The President. That issue has not been resolved, so since it was not discussed one way or the other, I suppose it is theoretically possible. NATO is a security alliance in which all the members undertake to assume certain responsibilities for the welfare of the entire group. One of the things I want to emphasize about the Partnership For Peace is a security relationship that will permit immediately the military commanders of NATO to begin to work with the military leaders of each country involved in the Partnership, to look at joint training, to look at joint exercises, to deal with the whole range of issues which will help to move toward membership.

NOTE: The President spoke at 6:50 p.m. in the First Courtyard at Prague Castle. A tape was not available for verification of the content of these remarks.

William J. Clinton, Remarks and an Exchange With Reporters Following Discussions With President Václav Havel of the Czech Republic in Prague Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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