[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1994, Book I)]
[January 10, 1994]
[Pages 21-24]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

The President's News Conference in Brussels
January 10, 1994

Initiatives in Europe

    The President. Good evening. Ladies and gentlemen, I came to Europe 
to help strengthen European integration, to create a new security for 
the United States and its Atlantic partners, based on the idea that we 
had a real chance to integrate rather than to divide Europe, both East 
and West, an integration based on shared democracies, market economies, 
and defense cooperation.
    Today we have taken two giant steps toward greater security for the 
United States, for Europe, and the world. First, this afternoon I joined 
our NATO allies in signing the documents that create the Partnership For 
Peace. The United States proposed this Partnership to lay the foundation 
for intensive cooperation among the armed forces of our NATO members, 
all former Warsaw Pact states, and other non-NATO European states who 
wish to join the Partnership. By providing for the practical integration 
and cooperation of these diverse military forces, the Partnership For 
Peace will lead to the enlargement of NATO membership and will support 
our efforts to integrate Europe.
    I'm also pleased to announce that on Friday the United States will 
sign with Ukraine and Russia an agreement which commits Ukraine to 
eliminate nuclear weapons from its territory. These include 176 
intercontinental ballistic missiles and some 1,500 warheads targeted at 
the United States. This is a hopeful and historic breakthrough that 
enhances the security of all three parties and every other nation as 
    When I came into office, I said that one of my highest priorities 
was combating the proliferation of nuclear weapons and other weapons of 
mass destruction. The issue of nuclear weapons in the former Soviet 
Union was the most important nonproliferation challenge facing the 
world. With the Soviet Union dissolved, four countries were left with 
nuclear weapons: Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Belarus. I have sought 
to ensure that the breakup of the Soviet Union does not result in the 
birth of new nuclear states which could raise the chances for nuclear 
accident, nuclear terrorism, or nuclear proliferation.
    In just one year, after an intensive diplomatic effort by the United 
States, both Kazakhstan and Belarus agreed to accede to the Nuclear Non-
Proliferation Treaty and to join the ranks of nonnuclear nations. Much 
credit for these actions goes to President Nazarbayev of

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Kazakhstan, whom I will be welcoming to Washington in February, and 
Chairman Shushkevich of Belarus, whom I will meet in Minsk later this 
week, as well as to the people and Parliaments of those two countries.
    My administration has been working with the Governments of Ukraine 
and Russia to address Ukraine's security concerns so that it could 
follow suit. The trilateral accord we will sign will lead to the 
complete removal of nuclear weapons from Ukraine.
    I want to congratulate both President Yeltsin and President Kravchuk 
of Ukraine for their statesmanship in negotiating this accord with us. I 
want to commend President Kravchuk and to thank him for his leadership. 
I look forward to consulting with him personally during the brief stop 
at Borispol Airport in Kiev on Wednesday evening. President Kravchuk 
will later join President Yeltsin and me in Moscow on Friday to finalize 
the agreement in a trilateral meeting.
    This agreement opens a new era in our relationship with Ukraine, an 
important country at the center of Europe, a country, I might add, which 
was mentioned frequently during our meetings today. We expect to expand 
our cooperation with Ukraine, especially in the economic area. We look 
forward to Ukraine's playing an important role in efforts to move toward 
the integration of a broader Europe.
    Today I spent the day at NATO Headquarters, one of the pillars of 
our security in the post-World War II era. Throughout that era, our 
security was defined by the stability of Europe's division. But with the 
two breakthroughs for peace announced today, we can begin to imagine as 
well as to define a new security for the post-cold-war era founded not 
on Europe's division but instead on its integration. Throughout the 20th 
century, now drawing to a close, Europe has seen far too much bloodshed 
based on these divisions. But with strong democracies, strong market 
economies, strong bonds of defense cooperation, and this strong step to 
combat nuclear weapons proliferation, we can make the next century far 
more secure for all of our people by building a united Europe.
    Andrea [Andrea Mitchell, NBC News]?


    Q. Mr. President, there are some who have suggested that even this 
Partnership For Peace is going to be too much of an exacerbation to the 
nationalist tendencies in Russia. And today Mr. Zhirinovsky said that if 
NATO troops are ever stationed near the borders of Russia, it's a 
mistake, it's finished for NATO and/or other forces who have supported 
this organization, it's the beginning of a third world war if the NATO 
or other forces are along those borders. How do you respond to that and 
to the concerns that there are people in Russia who will not even take 
this step kindly?
    The President. My response to that is that his, thank goodness, is 
not the governing voice in Russia and that we have offered to the 
Russians, to all the states of the former Soviet Union, and to all the 
Eastern European countries which were in the Warsaw Pact the opportunity 
to participate in this Partnership For Peace.
    The reason I wanted the Partnership For Peace rather than nothing, 
which perhaps Mr. Zhirinovsky would have preferred, or immediate 
membership, which others would have preferred, is that I thought it gave 
us the best chance, first, to develop substantive military and defense 
cooperation for these countries; second, to give nations who wish to be 
members, full members, of NATO the chance to develop the capacity to 
assume their responsibilities; and third, to give us the chance, most 
importantly of all, to create a Europe that really is integrated, that 
is based on unity and not some dividing line that at least is further 
east than the cold war dividing line was.
    So I simply--I disagree with the position that he's taken, but that 
is not the position that governs Russia, thank goodness.
    Q. Do you think, just to follow, that Russia would be joining the 
Partnership For Peace?
    The President. They're certainly welcome to do so. We've issued----
    Q. Could that happen in the next few days?
    The President. I think that all the nations to whom the welcome mat 
has been put out may want to take some--some may want to take more time 
than others to think about it. But we certainly expect to have some sort 
of continuing defense cooperation with Russia, and they are certainly 
welcome to be a part of this.
    Go ahead, Rita [Rita Braver, CBS News].


    Q. On the subject of Bosnia, earlier today you said that NATO would 
be reasserting its warning against the strangulation of Sarajevo.

[[Page 23]]

You said if we're going to reassert this warning, it cannot be seen as 
mere rhetoric. Yet, NATO has done nothing in Bosnia really. What changed 
today after your meeting?
    The President. Well, let me point out, NATO has done everything that 
the United Nations has asked it to do. With our allies, we have 
conducted the longest airlift in history to bring supplies to the people 
of Bosnia. We have supported working with our allies' operations in the 
Adriatic and other operations designed to support the embargo. We have 
supported the no-fly zone. We have done everything the United Nations 
has asked us to do.
    What we are going to discuss tonight in greater detail--let me say, 
I don't want to say any--I'll be glad to talk about my comment today, 
but I do want to tell you we're going to have more discussions about 
this tonight at dinner.
    The point I was trying to make today that Secretary General Woerner 
also wanted to make was that if we were going to restate, in effect, the 
warning we adopted in August that if Sarajevo were subject to undue and 
continued shelling in a way that threatened it significantly--and there 
was more shelling today--that we would consider having air strikes, that 
we had to be prepared to do that. And I can tell you that on behalf of 
the United States that if the facts warrant that, we would certainly ask 
the North Atlantic Council to take it up. That is, we would ask all of 
our allies and NATO to consider an appropriate response. Now, there's 
still the U.N. to deal with and other things, but we believe we should 
go forward.
    The question of what we can do to get a peace in Bosnia, however, I 
want to caution you, goes far beyond that. That is, it depends upon the 
willingness of all the parties to agree to a reasonable settlement. And 
what may be appropriate in dealing with relieving the siege of Sarajevo 
may or may not actually hasten an end to the war. So we'll be discussing 
that in greater detail.
    Helen [Helen Thomas, United Press International]?
    Q. You're not ready for the air strikes yet, sir?
    The President. Well, let me say, what I want to do at this meeting--
this meeting is not about air strikes. This meeting is about whether 
we're going to reaffirm our position. I can just tell you that the 
United States would be prepared to ask the North Atlantic Council to 
consider that if the siege of Sarajevo continues and the facts warrant 

Partnership For Peace

    Q. You made one of the toughest statements you ever have made for an 
international group. What was the response of the allies? I mean, how 
did they take it? Did they say they would go along?
    The President. Well, we're going to talk about it tonight. Some did; 
some have not commented yet. But let me say today the most important 
thing and the thing we talked about today was our agreement on the 
strategy for reaching out to the East. Over the long run, that will have 
a greater significance, in my judgment, for the future of Europe than 
whatever is or is not done with the tragedy in Bosnia at this late date. 
So we spent most of our time today fleshing out, dealing with, working 
through this whole concept of the Partnership For Peace. And I was, 
frankly, very gratified that so many of the leaders of the other 
countries believe that it is the right way to go and understand it's not 
just a compromise but it's a vibrant concept that gives us a chance to 
build the best possible future for Europe. That to me was the best thing 
we were doing.
    Terry [Terence Hunt, Associated Press]?


    Q. Mr. President, what assurances do you have from President 
Kravchuk that he can sell this arms deal to his Parliament this time? 
There have been difficulties in the past. And what are the costs, sir?
    The President. Well, let me say, first of all, that--let me deal 
with the cost first. As you all know--and then I'll get to the other 
point--you all know how the Nunn-Lugar funds work. The only cost to the 
United States taxpayers in this agreement will be the continuation of 
the Nunn-Lugar program, that is, the funds that we provide to help 
people dismantle their nuclear weapons. What does Ukraine get out of 
this? They get security assurances that go with this sort of agreement. 
That is, once you become a nonnuclear state, the states that have 
nuclear weapons promise not to use them against you ever, under any 
circumstances. They get various kinds of technical assistance to carry 
out this. And they get paid for their highly enriched uranium. They are 
compensated. That is a commer-

[[Page 24]]

cial transaction involving no cost to the American taxpayer. So there is 
no cost.
    In terms of the assurances, let me say that President Kravchuk has 
continued to work on--progress on previous agreements he has made. He 
has shown, I think, great courage in the last few months in working 
through this very difficult and complex set of negotiations with us that 
has involved me, the Vice President, the State Department, and everybody 
else that's appropriate on our side. And we have no reason to doubt the 
ability of the President to keep the commitment that he is prepared to 

Middle East Peace Process

    Q. Mr. President, now that you have a deal with Ukraine, what can we 
anticipate Sunday when you meet with Syrian President Asad? Will there 
be some sort of dramatic announcement there, as well?
    The President. I've already got--you know, we've already bunched too 
many stories in one day, haven't we? [Laughter] I really can't--I can't 
say any more at this point than you already know about that. We're going 
to try to keep the Middle East peace process going.
    Thank you very much.

Note: The President's 39th news conference began at 6:42 p.m. at the 
Conrad Hotel. In his remarks, he referred to Vladimir Zhirinovsky, 
leader of the Liberal Democratic Party in Russia.