JOINT PRESS CONFERENCE OF THE PRESIDENT AND PRIME MINISTER D'ALEMA OF ITALY
3:00 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon. I very much enjoyed myfirst meeting with Prime Minister D'Alema. I am proud of ouralliance and our friendship with Italy.
I have to begin this press conference by stating againour great sorrow over what occurred at Cavalese. When I calledformer Prime Minister Prodi immediately after that terrible event, Imade it clear that we would take strong measures to assure thatsomething like that would not occur again. We have taken suchmeasures to enhance safety; we will continue to do so.
The Prime Minister and I today agreed that our Secretaryof Defense and their Minister of Defense will review theseoperational and safety measures together to assess their adequacy andto determine whether additional measures should be taken to ensurethe highest levels of safety. They will report to the Prime Ministerand me as soon as possible.
I know you will understand that I cannot comment on anyparticular case, in part because legal proceedings are still pending,but let me say that our objective has been, and remains, to determineresponsibility and accountability in an open and fair process. As Isaid when this happened, the United States is responsible for thisterrible tragedy. Again I want to say to the people of Italy, onbehalf of the American people, we are profoundly regretful andapologetic for what has occurred -- to the families and to all thepeople of Italy.
Now, we must remember that we have been strong partnersand good friends, especially in working for our common security.Today we discussed the coming 50th Anniversary NATO Summit. It willbe here in April. We will admit new members; we will plan to meetnew challenges. We will address our European allies' initiative,which I fully support, to enhance our defense capabilities and assumea greater role in our common defense.
NATO's efforts have been aimed at helping the Easternhalf of Europe enjoy the freedom and stability the Western half hasbuilt over the last half-century. The end of the Cold War made thisa possibility, but not a certainty. We have learned that if we donot contain conflict in Europe, it will spread and we will pay a farhigher price to deal with it down the road. That is why we and ourallies acted to stop the war in Bosnia, and start it on the pathtoward reconciliation and democracy, and why we are seeking to endthe conflict in Kosovo. If we don't, and it intensifies, there willbe a major refugee crisis in the center of Europe, something thatItaly knows all too well.
Almost certainly it will draw in nearby nations,including the bordering states of Albania and Macedonia, which todayare engaged in the fragile process of building their own democracies.But the next round of talks, set to begin in tendays, now -- I very much hope the Kosovar Albanians will followthrough on their statement at Rambouillet, and sign the agreement toend the fighting and restore self-government.
It is in their strong interest, and it is also inSerbia's interest. Serbia must accept the agreement, and a NATO-ledforce in Kosovo, which is essential for peace to take hold. And NATOremains ready to act if Serbia instead continues the violentrepression of Kosovo's people.
The Prime Minister recently wrote, "the turmoil anduncertainty in Southeast Europe has made Italy a frontline state."How true. It is terribly important that we, therefore, move togetherto strengthen stability across this region. NATO has been workingclosely with some of Southeast Europe's emerging democracies to dothat.
Two weeks ago, when President Chirac was here, Iannounced a new initiative to expand security cooperation with thesenations, to coordinate security assistance from NATO countries tothem, and to improve cooperation and economic development across theregion. I hope and believe Italy will play a key role in thiseffort.
The Prime Minister and I also talked about our commonefforts and our common interest in spurring global economic growth,bringing greater stability to the world's financial system, andputting a human face on the global economy by supporting workingfamilies and aiding the most vulnerable citizens, communities andcountries.
Today, I am grateful to know that our economy reached amilestone of 18 million new jobs last month, since 1993. But theUnited States cannot grow over the long run unless prosperity isincreasing for our friends and partners in Europe, Latin America,Asia and Africa. I want to work with the Prime Minister to addressgrowth, the stability of the financial system and the human needs ofthe 21st century economy. And I must say I'm quite optimistic aboutour prospects, based on our first meeting today.
Again, Mr. Prime Minister, welcome. The podium isyours.
PRIME MINISTER D'ALEMA: (Speaking Italian.) Thank you,Mr. President, for your words, and thank you for our talks which, forme, have been very interesting, indeed.
I conveyed to the President of the United States that Iwas personally shocked, and so is Italian public opinion, owing to averdict which gave the impression that the tragic accident atCavalese could find no effective answer in terms of determination andpunishment of those responsible for it.
I thanked the President of the United States for thesorrow he decided to express in remembering that tragedy. It is asincere sorrow and a feeling we have great appreciation for. ThePresident of the United States repeated here that he believes thataccident concerns the responsibility of the United States. I alsounderstand that at this moment we cannot and must not interfere withthe specific judicial proceeding which is not yet over, which willinclude new trials and new verdicts.
I just wish to stress one point. That event certainlycannot be considered an ordinary occurrence. It is not normal for amilitary aircraft to fly in a valley, 300 feet from the ground. Itis neither normal, nor acceptable, that this leads tothe consequences it did lead to. We expect that at the end of theprocess it is made clear who was responsible for this accident andthat these people are punished for it.
At the same time, as President Clinton said, we gave amandate to the Defense Secretaries of the United States and Italy tojointly reexamine all measures concerning the functioning of militarybases, concerning the military exercises around such bases, all thesafety measures that will reassure citizens that such accidents cannever again occur.
I must say, I appreciated the human sensitivity and theserious way in which President Clinton reminded us all of hiscommitments to Prime Minister Prodi, and his will that justice isdone in a clear way.
Our talks have shown that the friendship and cooperationbetween the United States and Italy is very strong, both in thepreparation for the NATO summit and in the preparation of the G-7,G-8 meeting, as well as in confronting the most acute and delicateinternational crises.
We both want the Rambouillet peace accord to be signed.We ask this with great determination -- we ask this of Albanians,Kosovar Albanians, for whom this peace agreement means autonomy,safety, and recognition of their rights. And we ask the same, withgreat determination, of the Yugoslav Republic and Serbian Republic,which have a duty to respect the rights of Kosovar Albanians. Andfor them the peace accord means putting an end to guerrillaactivities and ensure respect for the territorial integrity ofYugoslavia.
We are ready to take upon ourselves ourresponsibilities, as we did in Bosnia and Albania, together with ourallies. We are ready to deploy our forces to ensure peace andsecurity in that war-torn area.
We also talked about Russia, the very serious problemsin Russia, the need for a common strategy between Europe and theUnited States to help Russia to embark upon the path of a more soliddemocracy, an open and functioning market economy.
I also expressed to the President of the United Statesmy own personal gratitude for his commitment to peace in the MiddleEast. And I repeated to him our commitment to support and encouragethat peace process.
It was very interesting for me to have a dialogue on themajor problems of the economy and of societies, making a comparisonbetween the experiences and problems of Europe and the United Statesof America. We admire the American economic dynamism, the Americancapability for innovation, for job creation and creation of wealth.At the same time, we are very fond of the social rights and socialsolidarity which is one of the assets of Europe. This is, indeed, amajor issue for a shared dialogue and effort at finding new waysbetween Europe and the United States.
How do we combine together strong, economic, dynamismwith the values of social solidarity? We have opened a dialogue onthis issue, on this major issue, which President Clinton so manytimes has been actively engaged upon. And I suggested to him thatafter the forum that was held in New York with Prime Minister Prodi,with Tony Blair, with President Clinton, himself, I suggested to himthat after that dialogue we could have a similar dialogue, includingEuropean and American intellectuals and political leaders.
And President Clinton told me he will think about thisidea, namely, about the possibilities for a new dialogue of thisnature, and we would be very pleased to host it in our country,organize it. It is very important for me that, as well as having aloyal and active alliance at a military and political level, we candevelop a common dialogue and rethink it together. The world isconfronting us with major challenges and we must, and can, search forthe answer to these challenges together.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Now we will alternatequestions between the American and Italian press.
Q Mr. President, the Prime Minister said yesterdaythat he was baffled by the acquittal of the Marine pilot, and that hefelt that the accident was a massacre. What do you say to Italianswho feel that justice has not been done, and that if the pilot is notguilty, then someone else is?
And to the Prime Minister, sir, could you say, do thePresident's remarks today about this, do you think that they willcalm the anger in Italy? How far will they go?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, let me answer, first of all.Because there are at least two further court-martial proceedings togo forward, I have to be quite careful in not making any commentsthat could have any kind of impact on those one way or the other.
To me, the important thing now is that the United Statesmust clearly and unambiguously shoulder the responsibility for whathappened. Our presence in Italy -- our air operations, our trainingoperations were the context, the environment in which this horriblething occurred. I think the things that we can do are, first of all,to work closely with the Italians, as I've said, to make sure that wehave done everything we can to reduce the prospect to zero thatsomething like this will occur again, and that our Italiancounterparts agree with that, and agree with the changes.
Secondly, that we do what is appropriate by thefamilies. And there was a modest cash settlement given to each ofthe victims' families shortly after the accident to deal withimmediate expenses. And under Italian law, they file claims,adjudged by the Italians, and then we pay 75 percent of those claimsunder our agreement.
And the third thing is to do everything we can to have ajust disposition of the cases that are now going through. And I'mcommitted to all three things. I will do the best I can. I alsothink it's very important. I don't know that my words could everease the pain of someone who lost a child or a parent or a sibling ora spouse in that terrible accident. But at least it's important forthe people of Italy and for those families to know that the UnitedStates is not trying to duck its responsibility and that we areheartbroken and horrified by what happened. And we're going to doour best to make sure that nothing like that ever happens again.
PRIME MINISTER D'ALEMA: I think President Clinton spokevery clearly. We are not asking for a scapegoat. I do not know whowas responsible for what happened. It is up to the justice system todetermine who was responsible and who is guilty. But we expect thatat the end of this process it is clear and it is determined who isresponsible, and those who are found responsible are punished througha fair trial. We are confident that this willhappen.
Q Prime Minister D'Alema, you touched upon somethingthat we Italian journalists have very much at heart, the Cavaleseevents. But I ask you to make an effort, could you please verysincerely say to us, are you satisfied with the answer given byPresident Clinton on this specific point, on the Cavalese tragedy?
And I'd like to ask President Clinton, were youexpecting a verdict of acquittal on this case? Thank you.
PRIME MINISTER D'ALEMA: Let me repeat, I appreciatedPresident Clinton's words very much, and the commitment he has taken.I consider them to be serious commitment. We shall say we aresatisfied when whoever is responsible for what happened is foundguilty and punished. With so many casualties, with so many deaths,you can hardly ever say you are satisfied. It is a word I cannotuse. Let me say very clearly that I have appreciated very much, andI think we should appreciate, the great human sincerity with whichPresident Clinton has shared this tragedy, with not arrogance, withno sense of detachment.
THE PRESIDENT: Sir, let me say again, because theperson involved in that court-martial is facing another action, andbecause there is yet another action against another person who was inthe plane, another trial pending, I cannot comment on what myreaction to the verdict was, because anything I say, under our law,that goes across the airwaves, could be inferred one way or the otherto have an impact on a pending proceeding, in ways that would bedisastrous for what I think we all want, which is an orderly and justprocess.
Q Mr. President, I have a couple of foreign policyquestions. Do you expect a breakthrough on Kosovo -- especially inview of -- the policy seems to be attacking or threatening Serbia andthen retreating, it's constant. And my other question is, how canyou justify chipping away at the ABM Treaty, which helped keep thepeace during the Cold War, and pour billions and billions into a StarWars defense against the possibility that starving North Korea mightfire a missile at us?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all -- (laughter) -- youknow, she's been doing this for quite a long time. (Laughter.) Andit's not a fair fight, she's better at it than I am.
Let me, first of all, say about Kosovo, I don't thinkit's fair to say that NATO threatens and backs away. We tookmilitary action in Bosnia, which led directly to the peace. So Idon't think Mr. Milosevic is under any illusion that if NATO has anaction order outstanding, that we won't activate it. And I would beastonished to believe that our allies would back away from acommitment we had made.
I think what happened at Rambouillet was quiteimportant, and justified the request not of Serbia, but of bothparties -- both parties -- for some more time to try to sell thisagreement, to ruminate on it, to decide how to respond to it. TheKosovars themselves wanted that. Finally we have an agreement not inevery single point, but in large measure, between the Serbs and theKosovars on what the nature of autonomy would be over the next threeyears. That's quite an astonishing achievement.
And so my perception is quite the reverse. I think wewere facing a humanitarian disaster in Kosovo last summer. We camein with the threat of force and it worked and we averted it. And wedidn't have to use force because we averted the tragedy, we got whatwe wanted. Were there violations of the cease-fire? Yes, but theywere violations from both sides.
And there were problems there. But that's why westarted this new process with a new NATO action order. It becameclear we had to do more because, particularly, of the terriblekillings in one village in Kosovo, that were precipitated by theSerbs.
Now, I do not believe that at least at the present pointMr. Milosevic could be under any illusion, based on what happened inBosnia that -- from the point of the view of the United States,anyway, and what NATO has said -- that we will keep our word. And Ithink we did the right thing to give both parties the time they askedfor at Rambouillet to try to figure out how to get to "yes." Themost important thing here is how to get to "yes." It's a goodagreement. It will save lives. It will stabilize Kosovo. It willmove us toward genuine autonomy, which was working there, I mightadd, before it was taken away a decade ago.
Now, on the ABM Treaty, let me say, doing the researchon a missile defense system, which is not a violation of ABM treaty-- it is theoretically possible that we could develop a missiledefense system that, either by its nature or by where it wasdeployed, would be a violation of the AMB Treaty. I, personally,have told the Russians over and over again I have no intention ofabrogating the ABM Treaty. Anything we do, we will do together.
But the only threat we have -- excuse me -- the threatthat the United States is likely to face 10 or 20 years from now frommissiles coming in is by no means -- not just from North Korea. Itis a fact that many countries with whom we have serious differencesnow are making vigorous efforts either to build or to buy missileswith increasing ranges, that go distances far beyond anything thatwould be necessary to protect their own territory.
General Shelton has said that this missile defense istough, it's like trying to hit a bullet with a bullet. That's whatmissile defense is. I think if we believe that the technology mightbe there, we owe it to ourselves and to all of our allies -- not justour old allies, but some of our post-Cold War allies -- to try todevelop that, along with an adequate warning system, to try toprevent countries that are desperately trying to get missiles -- thatthey could not possibly need to defend their own territory -- fromever taking offensive action against us or anyone else.
But I have no intention of supporting or initiating aunilateral abrogation of the ABM Treaty. I will not do that. Wehave been very candid with the Russians; we have talked to them aboutwhat we are doing. We have talked about what kinds of information wemight share in the future. But I have never advocated, initiated,encouraged, sanctioned, or blinked at the possibility that we couldunilaterally abrogate the ABM Treaty. I personally would be veryopposed to that.
Q Prime Minister D'Alema, next Wednesday you willhave to answer the questions by the members of Parliament. Can yousay as of today that your government will not have to revise thelegal status of NATO bases? And I have a question for PresidentClinton. What is your answer to the many members of the ItalianParliament who are asking for a revision of the status of the NATObases?
PRIME MINISTER D'ALEMA: We very clearly stated that weintend to revise the rules and very seriously go through and checkall the rules relating to military actions, exercises, training,movements, flights, in order to ensure high and certain standards ofsafety for the civilian population. So to some extent, this does notconcern the legal status of the military personnel, which is, as youknow, regulated by a 1952 convention. It should be revised by allthe countries that signed it if it is to be revised. But this is away to respond to the need of reconcile the function of thesemilitary bases, which are not a concession to someone else -- theyare a tool to defend our own security and our common security.
It is a way to reconcile this with the safety of ourcitizens. We shall discuss this -- I don't know what you meant bylegal status or position. Legally speaking, the United States hasasked to abide by the convention -- to implement the conventionaccording to which military personnel working in military basesabroad, in case of charges, should be tried by the country of origin.This convention applies to all countries. It is not an Americanprivilege. For example, when the Italian pilots were charged for theRamstadt accident, they were tried in Italy. We required that the1952 convention be applied, exactly like the United States has askedto apply the 1952 convention for the Cavalese accident.
Naturally, the convention must be respected and compliedwith, because it exists. But we will be much happier to comply withit if our citizens and our public opinions are reassured that byadopting these procedures, justice is done.
THE PRESIDENT: I'm not sure I have a great deal to addto what the Prime Minister said. I agree with what he said.
If the question that many Italian officials are askingis, shouldn't there be an agreed-upon set of changes in theprocedures for the movements and training of American militarypersonnel to make them safer for the people of Italy, I agree withthat. If the question is, should our very presence there bereexamined, and the agreement under which Americans charged withoffenses should be tried in American jurisdiction, my answer is justwhat the Prime Minister said.
I believe it serves both our interests -- for example,when we were establishing our presence in Bosnia, I flew into Aviano,into our base there. And I took a C-17, one of our supply planes,and flew into Bosnia. I also flew up to Hungary from there, theplace where we had our base, from which we moved our people in there.And it seemed to me that our presence there, in that way, furtheredItaly's interest, Europe's interest, NATO's interest, and not simplyAmerican interest. That, of course, is a judgment that every countryand all the decision-makers make, in a way, on an annual basis. Theydecide. They continue to support these things.
But I believe that the larger partnership has served theUnited States and Italy very well.
Q Mr. President, more than 70 million Americanswatched Monica Lewinsky's recent television interview, and a numberof people are buying a book that she's put out. I'm just wondering,do you have any thoughts on it that you can share with us thatperhaps might bring closure to this? And do you have any problemwith the idea that she's actually making money off that relationship?
And, Prime Minister, some of your countrymen aresuggesting that NATO ought to conduct a review, an investigation ofthis accident. Do you support that idea, to just ensure a sense ofimpartiality?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, let me answer your question.First of all, I did not see the interview, so I can't really commenton that. What I hope is that she will be permitted to go on with herlife, and I hope it will be a good life. And I hope that the effortsthat I have made, and that I continue to make every day -- at homeand at work -- will bear fruit. And I hope that all the people whohave been hurt by this, including totally innocent people who havemassive legal bills, will get the help they need. And I'm determinedto do what I can to help them.
But the important thing is that the American people arevirtually screaming at us to get on with their lives and theirbusiness and to do their business. And I'm going to do my best to dothat, as well as I possibly can. But, you know, this was a prettytough thing for everybody involved, and I wish her well. I hope itworks out all right for her.
Q So the money is okay?
THE PRESIDENT: You know, that's not a decision for meto make. I think that my -- I can only -- one of the things I'velearned, that I've had to re-learn all over again in this lastfour-year episode, is that all I can control in life is what I do andwhat I say. And if I do and saythe right things, then that's the thing that's best for me and myfamily and for the American people. And that's what I'mconcentrating on doing.
And I don't wish anyone ill who was caught up in this.And she paid quite a high price for a long time, and I feel badly forthat. So I just hope it works out all right.
PRIME MINISTER D'ALEMA: I think that at present weshould follow with attention, and respect the proceedings and thejudicial process which is envisaged in the United States. AsPresident Clinton mentioned, two more trials have to be heldconcerning these events at Cavalese. When this process is over, whenwe have a complete picture of responsibilities and punishment for theevents, then we shall evaluate what to do, once it is made clear whois responsible and these people are punished. But at this time, Idon't think it would be right to examine other possibilities and putforward new ideas that do not seem well-founded as yet.
Q Prime Minister, you talked about American, Europeanand Italian values. There are some criticisms toward Americanvalues. These American values have created 18 million new jobs inthe last years. How many of these are you willing to learn to createnew jobs in Italy and in Europe, if any?
Mr. President, public opinion is a little bit morewidespread than just the crisis, the accident, that happenedyesterday. We have a crisis on trade, and Italy somehow feels to bea target within the U.S. So what can you say to reassure Italians,and what actions are you going to take? Because the public opinionis rather upset, not just for that, but for the fact that Italianproducts are constantly, constantly, whenever there is a trade war,on target. And on other issues like the Security Council, theU.S. is against the Italian position, while Italy seems to be havinga position very much in sync on G-8 and NATO position with the U.S.What do you say to that? What do you say to the public opinion?What will you do?
PRIME MINISTER D'ALEMA: It is not the first time that Ihave expressed great interest for the dynamic nature of the Americansociety and economy. I think that when exchanging views and ideasand suggestions it is certainly useful for Europe to learn somelessons from -- some important lessons -- from the experience of theUnited States.
And, more specifically, I think that one of the featuresthat impressed me most is their speed in terms of innovation, theability to innovate and the amount of investment in education. Lastnight I was talking about this with the Secretary of Education of theUnited States. And I think that, undoubtedly, this is a strategicissue. The speed of innovation, the investment in human capital,certainly are strategic options. And these are some of the things --there are other things, as well -- that we are interested in, in theAmerican experience.And Europe, which has a more rigid, heavier, less dynamic system --so does Italy -- must learn from them.
PRESIDENT CLINTON: If I might just say I will answerthe question you asked me, but I would like to also comment on thequestion you asked the Prime Minister. The great struggle everyserious country faces is how to reap the benefits of the astonishingrevolution in technology and the globalization of the economy, and tominimize the disruptions so that you can have some sort of stablefamily and community life.
Now, what we had to do when I took office was to get ridof this terrible deficit we had, which kept interest rates high forus and too high for you, and was taking too much money out of theglobal economy, and to focus on some areas where we really needed todo better with our own economy. And it is true that we are blessedin this country with a very dynamic system. Of the 18.1 million newjobs we've had, almost 17 million of them were created in the privatesector -- they were non-governmental jobs. An enormous percentage ofthem were created in small businesses.
But I wouldn't say that you have nothing to look towithin Italy. I told the Prime Minister, when I was a governor, Icame to Italy 10 years ago to study the economic organizations ofsmall businesses in Northern Italy that grew out of the medievalartisans' guilds. And I think -- and they are quite flexible -- theyhave individual business owners working together to market theirproducts, to develop new products, to advertise their products.There are all kinds of exciting options which will be job-creating ifyou can figure out how to multiply them.
And what we are trying to do in America, now -- bystrengthening our Family Leave law, by strengthening our child caresupport system, by moving people from welfare to work, but makingsure they keep the health care for their children -- is to get thebenefits of having a social contract that recognizes the need forfamilies and communities to get support, and the benefits of thedynamic economy.
You're coming at it from a different direction. Whatyou need to do is to keep as many of the benefits of the socialcontract as you can, but to make the economy as dynamic as possible,because you know that you have a country full of intelligent,innovative people who could generate more jobs than they'regenerating.
But understand that this is the dilemma that everysingle country is facing from some perspective or another. And noone has all the answers. And what I would hope the people of Italywill give the Prime Minister the ability to do is to try some newideas, to support him in admitting that no one has solved thisproblem perfectly, and that we should want responsible leaders to
have serious thoughts about new ideas, and to try them out withouthaving someone try to derail every effort that they make. I think hedeserves some support in addressing this issue, because for any of usto pretend that we either shouldn't address it or have all theanswers -- I think both approaches would be quite wrong.
Now, let me just say a word on the trade issue. Firstof all, the specific issue you mentioned must feel strange to Italy,since the Italians have not really been at the forefront of thisdecade-long dispute between the EU and the United States over thebanana issue. It's not really about bananas; it's about rules.
I'm trying now -- right now -- to get the United States,through the authority of the Congress, to take the lead in furthermarket-opening measures. I have done my best to keep our marketsopen during this very difficult period for the Asian economy, and formuch of the Latin American economy. We had a record trade deficitlast year. I thought that, except for where I thought our laws werebeing violated, like in steel -- where we were having steel dumped --I felt that we should try to do that; that that should be ourcontribution. Because we were doing well, and we ought to try tohelp these countries as much as we could.
But we cannot maintain an open trading system, which Iam convinced is essential for global prosperity, unless we also haverules that are abided by. Twice -- just twice since I've beenPresident, we've won this case in the EU. I think we've won it fourtimes over the last 10 years. It has gone on -- somehow the ruleshave to work. That's what this is about.
And since it's the EU -- I had nothing to do, by theway, with drawing up the details of what would be in the package ofcountervailing tariffs, or duties. But I think our TradeAmbassador's Office must have felt that since it was an EU dispute,there had to be some -- we couldn't just pick out countries and playfavorites in that way.
But I regret this very much. And we still have time tofix this. We can still fix this and it be avoided, and I hope verymuch we will, in the next few weeks, get a resolution of this. Butit's been going on ten years. And we lose cases in the WTO all thetime, and we just take a deep breath and face the fact that we lost.It happens. Now, so I would say to the people of Italy, don't --it's not a unilateral issue.
Now, on the -- you asked me about the United Nations.Let me just say -- I can't -- there are very few countries in theworld, in the years that I've been President, who have shown moreconsistent leadership, even through a successive change ofgovernments, than Italy. For us, it's a critical country in so manyways. And I was delighted that the Prime Minister would come heretoday. I would do anything I could to increase theresponsibility and reach of Italy.
The United States has had a long-standing policy infavor of expanding the Security Council to include Japan and Germany,largely because of the size of their economies and their influence,and their importance for that reason. And we have been -- we haverecognized that there are countries in the developing world thatbelieve they should have more permanent membership. So we have beenfor an expansion in the size of the Security Council, generally, toguarantee certain continents and regions a permanent position.
The position we have taken should not be viewed as ananti-Italian position. We tried to calculate how many people can youhave on the Security Council and still have it function. That'sbasically where we've been. I'm not obsessed with any -- there is nomagic number. But what we're trying to do is not to hold backanyone, but to keep the Security Council as a functioning body. ButI doubt very seriously that there's another leader of any othercountry in the world that has a higher opinion of the internationalresponsibility and capacity of the Italian government and the Italianpeople that I do, after having observed it for six years.
Thank you very much.
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