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Remarks on Arrival in St. Petersburg, Russia

April 18, 1996

Tragedy in Lebanon

Mayor Sobchak, Governor Belyakov, Commander Seleznev, representatives of the Russian Federation, ladies and gentlemen, thank you for this welcome to St. Petersburg. I am very pleased to begin my visit to Russia here, a city so alive with promise and possibility. I have looked forward to this day for a long time, and I very much look forward to my opportunity to see the city tomorrow.

Let me begin, however, by saying I arrive at a somber moment. On behalf of the American people, I want to express my deepest condolences to the Government of Lebanon and to the families of those who were killed and wounded this morning in south Lebanon. I also offer my condolences to the Government of Fiji over the casualties among its U.N. peacekeeping personnel.

Today's events make painfully clear the importance of bringing an end to the current violence in Lebanon. To achieve that goal I call upon all parties to agree to an immediate ceasefire. An end to the fighting is essential to allow our diplomatic efforts to go forward.

Before leaving Tokyo, I directed Secretary of State Christopher to travel to the Middle East to work out a set of understandings that would lead to an enduring end to this crisis. Special Middle East Coordinator Dennis Ross will travel to the region in advance of Secretary Christopher to begin this process.

Resolving the current situation will not only stop human suffering, it will help us all to make further progress toward our goal of a comprehensive and lasting peace in the Middle East. But let me say again, we should begin with an immediate cease-fire.

Thank you very much.

NOTE: The President spoke at 10:30 p.m. at Pulkova Airport. In his remarks, he referred to Mayor Anatoliy Aleksandrovich Sobchak of St. Petersburg; Gov. Aleksandr Belyakov of Leningrad Oblast; and Comdr. Sergei Seleznev, Leningrad Military District.

William J. Clinton, Remarks on Arrival in St. Petersburg, Russia Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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