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Remarks Prior to Discussions With President Jacques Chirac of France and an Exchange With Reporters

February 19, 1999

President Clinton. Is everyone in?

Q. Yes, sir.

President Clinton. As you know, we're going to have a press conference at the conclusion of our meetings. But I just wanted to take this opportunity to welcome President Chirac and the members of his delegation back to the White House. We have had a good working relationship and a warm personal friendship. I'm delighted to see him.

We have a lot of important things to discuss, especially the situation in Kosovo, but also the work we've been doing on the international financial matters and many other things. And we'll be able to discuss them later at the press conference.

But mostly, I just want to welcome him here and give him the chance to make a few remarks, if you would like.

President Chirac. I want to say how happy I am to be with you here and with President Clinton, my good friend.

We're going to have a very interesting day's work together. We'll, of course, first be talking about Kosovo and also a number of other important questions, like the international financial monetary situation in preparation of the NATO summit and a number of other subjects.

And I want to thank President Clinton for his welcome.


Q. President Chirac, do you think that there will be a settlement, a peaceful settlement in Kosovo or military action? Do you think that both sides will make an accord by noon tomorrow?

President Chirac. I hope with all my heart that both sides would understand that their intention is to find an agreement, because the side which would not understand that would then have to bear the consequences. And those consequences would be serious for them but also for their country and their people—as the time for peace has come, and every side must make this effort to make peace possible. And we are determined, really determined and firm on this.

Q. President Clinton, does Mr. Milosevic deserve more time and, if not, sir, why not?

President Clinton. We'll answer all the other questions at the press conference.

NOTE: The President spoke at 12:05 p.m. in the Oval Office at the White House. A journalist referred to President Slobodan Milosevic of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro). President Chirac spoke in French, and his remarks were translated by an interpreter. A tape was not available for verification of the content of these remarks.

William J. Clinton, Remarks Prior to Discussions With President Jacques Chirac of France and an Exchange With Reporters Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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