PRESIDENT CLINTON: Let me just say briefly again how grateful I am
to have this opportunity to welcome President Goncz to the United States
and to reaffirm our strong friendship with Hungary, and what a good
time it is for this visit to be occurring, and we are doing our best
to bring an end to the conflict in Kosovo, to reverse the ethnic cleansing
and to build a new future for all of Southeastern Europe.
I know all the Americans here know that there are hundreds of thousands
of ethnic Hungarians living in Vojvodina in northwestern Serbia. This
is a very, very important issue for Hungary And we are determined to
bring it to a successful conclusion, to reverse the ethnic cleansing
and to see the refugees go home. And the president and his country's
support of this endeavor has been absolutely critical.
REPORTER: Mr. President, are the Russian troops --
REPORTER: President Clinton, do you expect the U.N. Security Council
to pass this resolution? And if it does, do you expect that Milosevic
will comply in good faith?
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Well, the answer to the first question is yes,
I expect the U.N. Security Council will adopt it.
REPORTER: No veto?
PRESIDENT CLINTON: I don't expect so. The Russians are supporting it.
We got the agreement in Bonn this morning early our time, and I had
a talk already with President Yeltsin about it.
In terms of compliance, that's what we're interested in. And we want
to see compliance. And when there is evidence that full withdrawal has
begun, we will suspend the bombing and then monitor that for compliance.
But keep in mind, our military people, in the military-to-military contacts
between NATO and the Serbs, will work out the logistics of Serb withdrawal
and the international security force coming in so as not to create a
vacuum. And I think all that will be worked out in a satisfactory manner.
But our interest is in -- our opinions won't matter; what will matter
is what actually happens.
REPORTER: Mr. President, will the Russian troops, peacekeepers be under
NATO control, command?
PRESIDENT CLINTON: I don't expect that to happen, but I do expect that
there will be an acceptable level of coordination the way we worked
it out in Bosnia. I hope there will be something like what we did in
Bosnia. because it worked there. And we had the command and control
intact so that our soldiers and our mission could be protected. The
Russians were involved, as it happens, in Bosnia., as you know, in the
American sector, where we worked together with them very closely, and
I was -- I have been very pleased with that cooperation. I think it's
quite important for the Russians to be involved in this.
REPORTER: Mr. President, once the peace will implemented, what commitment
the U.S. has to reconstructing the region? How will the new "Marshall
Plan" look like? And what role Hungary can play in that?
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Well, it's interesting, that's what the president
said to me this morning, that the most important thing is that we rebuild
the region. And we, as you know, at the NATO meeting here in Washington
a few weeks ago, we had a meeting in which all of us committed to be
a part of the reconstruction of Southeastern Europe. The details will
have to be worked out. I expect the EU will be in the lead. The United
States will certainly support that.
But what I would like to see is all the countries in the region participating.
And I like not only the analogy of the Marshall Plan but also the work
that was done between the West and Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic
after the Berlin Wall fell. That is, we should be supporting democracy
and human rights as well as economic development.
Obviously, I hope that Serbia. will be a part of that, but in order
to be a part of that, I think Serbia. will have to observe the same
standards and have the same sort of government and the same devotion
to the Human rights of its people and to others that all the other countries
in the region have.
REPORTER: Slobodan Milosevic took away the autonomy of the province
in Serbia. Will that be addressed in the final peace plan?
PRESIDENT CLINTON: First things first here. Let's get the first things
REPORTER: What do you suspect President Milosevic is up to, sir, in
the -- (inaudible)?
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Well, I think the main issues, at least for the last
72 hours, were involved -- with the nature of the U.N. resolution. That
was resolved today. So now we'll just have to see what happens with
the military-to-military contacts.
The most important thing now is that we get something that is, (A) verifiable
and (B) that will work, which means we have to know that they are withdrawing;
we have to have a schedule for the introduction of the international
Well, keep in mind the big picture here. The big picture is to reverse
the ethnic cleansing, to bring the Kosovars home, to have them safe
and be able to govern themselves, and to have an international security
force with NATO at the core. So we have to watch for the big picture.
And that is why even yet, and notwithstanding this very good development,
but we have to sound some note of caution here.
REPORTER: Mr. President?
PRESIDENT CLINTON: We have to work on it.
STAFF: Thank you very much.