[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1998, Book I)]
[April 1, 1998]
[Pages 482-483]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Remarks to Senegalese Troops Trained for the African Crisis Response 
Initiative in Thies, Senegal
April 1, 1998

    President Diouf, distinguished leaders of 
Senegal and the United States, members of the Senegalese and American 
Armed Forces, ladies and gentlemen. We have just seen a training 
exercise involving dedicated soldiers from our two nations, part of the 
African Crisis Response Initiative.
    I'd like to thank the Senegalese soldiers and the United States 
Armed Forces. I'd like to especially thank the distinguished officers 
who briefed us, Lieutenant Colonel Diallo 
and Major Erckenbrack. And I'd also 
like to express my appreciation to the other Senegalese soldiers and 
gendarmes who were standing there who have served with multinational 
peacekeeping forces in Haiti and Bosnia, Africa and the Middle East.
    Senegal is respected around the world for its tradition of 
peacekeeping and humanitarian efforts. You are a leader among the more 
than 15 African countries that regularly contribute troops to United 
Nations peacekeeping missions. I thank Senegalese troops for their 
commitment to peace, and I thank our American troops for your work here.
    Africa and America have a great stake in the success of the soldiers 
like those President Diouf and I have seen here 
today. Where bullets and bombs prevent children from going to school and 
parents from going to work, amid chaos and ruin, these soldiers and 
other like them can bring security, hope, and a future.
    Terrible violence continues to plague our world, and Africa has seen 
some of the worst. In some cases, children, often against their will, 
have stood on the frontlines of armies as cannon fodder for the 
ambitions of others. A few days ago, I met in Rwanda with some of the 
survivors of the 1994 genocide there. As I said to them, let me say 
again: We must find better ways to prevent such horrors from occurring.
    While peace has started to take hold in many nations that once knew 
only violence--Ethiopia, Mozambique, Angola, Liberia, and elsewhere--
tensions linger in some of these nations, and

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violence continues in others, like Burundi, Somalia, and Sudan. Buried 
landmines prevent children from walking in safety in too many African 
countries. Millions of refugees still remain driven from their homes. In 
the debris of war, poverty and disease thrive.
    The international community needs new tools to keep the peace in 
volatile areas and cope with humanitarian crises. The African Crisis 
Response Initiative program, which President Diouf and I have seen in action here today, provides 
peacekeeping training and nonlethal equipment to African soldiers, with 
the goal of helping African nations to prepare their military units, led 
by African commanders, to respond quickly and effectively to 
humanitarian and peacekeeping challenges in Africa and around the world.
    Senegal was one of the first nations to support the African Crisis 
Response Initiative, and along with Uganda, the first to participate in 
its training exercises. Mali and Malawi participated soon after. We are 
about to begin an exercise with Ghanaian troops, along with Belgian 
soldiers. Later this year, we will conduct exercises with Ethiopia, and 
we look forward to other countries participating soon.
    Our purpose is not to dominate security matters in Africa or to 
abandon America's role in Africa's security but, instead, to build on 
existing efforts, including those of African nations, the Organization 
for African Unity, the United Nations, France, Britain, and others, to 
strengthen the capacity for preserving peace here. With our African 
partners we will also establish a center for security studies in Africa, 
modeled on the Marshall Center in Germany, to provide programs for 
civilian and military leaders on defense policy planning and the role of 
militaries in democratic societies.
    America will continue to be involved on this continent as long as 
African nations desire our assistance and our partnership in building a 
safer future.
    Mr. President, I want to thank you and your 
military leaders for being such partners. And I would like to thank the 
members of the American military, and one in particular, 
General Jamerson, for his efforts, 
relentless over the past couple of years, to build closer ties between 
African militaries and our own.
    To meet the threats to peace and freedom we will face in the 21st 
century, we must strengthen our resolve in the face of hatred and 
violence. We must tell the aggressors and those who tear societies 
apart, ``You will not prevail.'' We must prove that the peacemakers are 
getting stronger. And above all, we must demonstrate that the 
peacemakers are working together.
    Thank you very much.

Note: The President spoke at 3:45 p.m. at Thies Military Base. In his 
remarks, he referred to Lt. Col. Abdoulaye Diallo, Senegalese commander, 
African Crisis Response Initiative (ACRI); Maj. Adrian E. Erckenbrack, 
USA, Commander, Operational Detachment Bravo; and Gen. James L. 
Jamerson, USAF, Deputy Commander in Chief, European Command.