|For Immediate Release||July 12, 1997|
MR. MCCURRY: I certainly am not here to belabor the obvious with your enthusiastic reports, using words like "conquering hero," and "triumphant." I won't do anything to embellish your reportage. But I will say that this trip was very much about placing a capstone on the 20th century and laying a cornerstone for the 21st century.
If you think of the structures that have existed after the Cold War and how they need to be adapted to preserve an American role, a leadership role in the future of Europe, a great deal of work was done this week to advance that partnership that the President has talked about throughout this trip.
He obviously goes home very delighted with the outcome of the deliberations from Madrid, and through the stops we made in the countries we visited in the last three days, and he looks forward, of course, now to continuing to make the case to the American people that what you saw here in Europe this week -- the enthusiasm of the European people for a U.S. role in Europe -- is something that produces dividends at home for the American people. He understands that's a case that he'll have to flesh out and develop and work hard to advance in front of the American audience in the coming year as we work up to the ratification next year of the necessary amendments to the Washington Treaty that will allow new members to join the NATO Alliance.
There's not much beyond that that I think I need to say about the trip. I did want to ask Anne to very quickly give you a readout on a very productive bilateral session that the
President had with the Prime Minister at the Palace earlier in the afternoon. And then we can wrap up anything quickly you have.
Q This morning at the bilat, can you clarify when the President was asked about Bosnia today, he said the present operation will have run its course by then and we'll have to discuss what, if any, involvement the United States should have there. This seems to be the first time he is opening the door to some kind of continuing --
MR. MCCURRY: This is not the first time. The administration has acknowledged there will be some international presence necessary in Bosnia for some time, perhaps a considerable time, beyond the expiration of the SFOR mission of June in 1998. Our view has always been that that mission, approved by the North Atlantic Alliance, comes to an end in June of 1998, and we fully expect that mission to end on the date specified.
But the President has acknowledged, I believe in the past -- I don't believe this is the first time, but I think the others, certainly, in the administration have acknowledged there will be some international presence necessary to secure and extend the gains that are resulting from the Dayton Accords. Now, remember, that includes many aspects of civilian reconstruction. It involves deepening the institutions of democracy that we want to see develop as a result of the Dayton Accords themselves, and we acknowledge there will be a lot of hard work.
But as the President very clearly said, what role, if any, to be played by the United States is something subject to future discussion. And there has not been within our government, and certainly not within NATO, any well-developed discussion of the contours of that type of presence beyond June, 1998.
It is, frankly, too early to do that because, as the President likes to say often, you can't plan for a future until you accomplish the purposes that have already been agreed to and outlined for today, which is why the President puts the stress on doing the important work of enhancing, making more effective aspects of the Dayton Accords, as he talked to the pool about last night on the plane, certainly as we demonstrated this week through SFOR's more effective work on behalf of the International War Crimes Tribunal.
Q Well, Mike, I mean, are you shifting gears from saying, instead of talking about withdrawal by a year from June, you're now talking about end of mission so that you could just change --
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