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Remarks on the South African Elections and an Exchange With Reporters

April 26, 1994

The President. This delegation from the House and Senate is here to report on the trip that they took to South Africa a couple of weeks ago. And I'd like to just begin by offering the congratulations of the United States to the people of South Africa for beginning the election process today.

I'm sure many of you have already seen some of the pictures that are coming in. They're very, very moving. There was one older lady who had to wait for a few hours. And she said that she'd been waiting all of her life, that a couple hours more was no problem for her.

I think it is a—especially in light of the extra round of violence that the people have endured in the last few days, that the renewed determination of the people there to claim their democracy and to have this multiracial election is really a wonderful thing. The United States is committed to this process and its success. And we'll be there as your partner when the elections are over.


Q. Mr. President, are you confident the Serbs will meet the deadline this evening?

The President. Well, we expect them to. And of course, we're following it very closely today.

Q. Are you confident you've worked out the problems with the United Nations in case they do not?

The President. I believe that we have. We worked hard on it last weekend. And as I told you, I believe that we have.

Welfare Reform

Q. Mr. President, are you going to have to scale back your welfare plan because you've decided against any taxes to pay for it?

The President. Well, in the beginning we knew that, based on the CBO budgeting rules, we wouldn't have—we couldn't raise enough money anyway to guarantee a job, publicly funded job, for every person on public assistance that might not have a job within the 2-year time period. So we'll have to phase that portion of it in. But it'll still be quite an extensive program.

NOTE: The President spoke at 3:50 p.m. in the Cabinet Room at the White House, prior to a meeting with congressional leaders. A tape was not available for verification of the content of these remarks.

William J. Clinton, Remarks on the South African Elections and an Exchange With Reporters Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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