THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release July 7, 1997 8:43 P.M. (L)
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
AND PRIME MINISTER AZNAR OF SPAIN
IN JOINT PRESS STATEMENTS
Official Residence, Moncloa Palace
PRIME MINISTER AZNAR: President Clinton and his family, at the invitation of Their Majesty, the King and Queen of Spain, have spent a few days in Mallorca. I hope they have been good days in Mallorca, a mini holiday. I had the opportunity to join them yesterday, again at the invitation of His Majesty, the King. I think I was meant to torture President's Clinton's holiday for a few moments, and we discussed at length a number of issues.
It is my pleasure to officially welcome President Clinton and his delegation to Madrid. We have just had a meeting, a continuation of yesterday's conversations, and the meeting was of tremendous interest. We talked about the summit, which begins tomorrow in Madrid. I hope that this will represent a decisive contribution to security and peace in the world. We hope that is the case, and it will be if we engage in a constructive spirit, the spirit which presides the Atlantic Alliance.
Advances have been made in the negotiations for the internal reform of the Alliance, and we have all made efforts to secure the necessary consensus on enlargement of the Atlantic Alliance. Sufficient elements are in place so that the summit which begins tomorrow can be the point of departure for improving the security and cooperation in the Atlantic Alliance. And we hope that conversations can conclude soon on internal reform for the security and defense of Europe, proceed with enlargement and to sign the historic agreement between the Ukraine and Russia and Atlantic Alliance.
I've spoken to President Clinton. I told him that Spain hopes to achieve considerable advances during this
summit, bearing in mind Spain's parliament decision on the referendum on NATO. And we hope to join the military command of NATO once the command is fully defined and our interests are safeguarded. President Clinton knows that Spain is deeply interested in having a positive outcome to this situation.
We discussed bilaterally issues of common interest to us in other parts of the world. Our bilateral relations are excellent, I must say -- relations between the United States and Spain. We already had an opportunity to talk a couple of months ago in Washington and I hope that these conversations and this visit are a good example of how to engage in permanent and fruitful dialogue between the United States and Spain.
Thank you very much. And I give the floor to the President of the United States, Mr. Clinton.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Mr. Prime Minister, it is wonderful to be back in Spain. And let me thank you again, along with the King and the Queen and the people of Spain, for the very warm hospitality that my family and I have experienced in Mallorca. And it is great to be back in Madrid and to be with you again.
As you said, we had a very good visit in Washington in the springtime, and then we also saw each other in Paris when the NATO leaders met to forge our compact with Russia.
The NATO summit which begins tomorrow is a milestone in our work to adapt NATO to a new Europe and a new century, so that it can meet new security challenges, open the door to new members, reach out to new partners. This new mission for NATO is designed to secure a Europe that is undivided, democratic and at peace for the first time in history. And it is very appropriate that Spain should be the host of the summit, because, after all, NATO last admitted a new member 15 years ago, and that new member was Spain.
When Spain joined NATO and the Europe Union, Spain strengthened both institutions and fortified its own newfound freedoms. Now it is one of democracy's staunchest friends and NATO's strongest leaders. And let me say to you, we welcome Spain's intention to take her full place in NATO's integrated military structure as we complete a new command structure.
This will also greatly strengthen the bonds of our Alliance. It will greatly strengthen our Alliance and, along with the steps that we will take over the next two days, I am sure we will promote a greater sharing of responsibility between America and Europe as we try to create an even stronger partnership with richer democracies for a new century.
Finally, Mr. Prime Minister, let me thank you again for hosting this summit and for the strong leadership you have shown in so many areas. I'm looking forward to the work ahead of us in the next couple of days and to the future we are trying to make together. Thank you very much.
Q Thank you very much for being here and
welcome here in Spain. I'm a reporter from Televisa. Let me ask you this in Spanish, anyway, Mr. President. As you know, elections were held in Mexico yesterday. I'd like to know what your opinion and the Spanish Prime Minister's opinion is with respect to Mr. Cardenas' victory. To what extent do you think those elections might influence the relations between the United States and Mexico?
THE PRESIDENT: It's interesting you ask this question because we have just discussed it, and I believe that the Prime Minister is a step ahead of me. He's already called President Zedillo, and they've had a visit. But we support the elections, and we support the expression of popular will by the people of Mexico. The United States wants to be a good partner and a good friend. We share a long border. We share much common heritage. We have many of the same problems with the narcotics and many of the same opportunities with economic growth. And we believe that anything that adds to Mexico's strength as a democracy is good for our common future.
These elections, insofar as they gave the Mexican people an opportunity for the open, free expression of their will, are good for that relationship and good for the future. It doesn't matter how they came out. That was for the Mexican people to decide. And we applaud that.
PRIME MINISTER AZNAR: I have already congratulated President Zedillo's election yesterday. I have already mentioned this to President Clinton. For us, it is a source of satisfaction that the political process in Mexico, in terms of quality, has taken a step forward after yesterday's elections. The elections were held in a very satisfactory way and human rights were fully respected.
Q Mr. President what do you think of the French deciding not to add to the military structure -- their own troops and so forth -- as the Spanish have done?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, the Spanish government and the leader who was here, he certainly can speak for himself, but Spain has said that they want to be a part of the integrated military structure, but there are certain specifics we have to work out. And Spain should, obviously, take a very aggressive view of its own interest in trying to work through those things. And I have encouraged all of our people to try to cooperate, to work it out in a way that is military defensible. That is, keep in mind, NATO is first and foremost a defense structure, and whatever we do has to make sense from a security point of view. But Spain is working through these issues. And I feel comfortable they will be worked through.
Now, with regard to France, at least in the United States, these issues are quite well known. We believe that there should be a new NATO command structure. We believe that more of the command positions should be given over to Europe and to everybody that is in the command structure, including France, should France decide to do that.
What we have said is that we do not believe that the United States should give up one single command -- the command of AFSOUTH -- it's called -- because that's where the United States' 6th Fleet is. And except for the position of our troops in Germany and Japan and South Korea, the 6th Fleet is our biggest asset beyond our borders, and the major asset of AFSOUTH. But beyond that, we believe the French, if they join the military structure, should be involved in the commands. And we want to support it.
So I hope as soon as the summit is over, NATO can resume negotiations with the French, and by the end of the year, both Spain and France will be in the integrated command structure. They are very great countries; they should be in the command structure.
Q What are the Spanish caveats to joining the military structure?
PRIME MINISTER AZNAR: I am maintaining the Spanish government's favorable position to conclude the process of integration in the military structure. That is our government's agreement. It is the majority consensus of Spain's parliament. We have already taken a number of steps in that direction. I think things are going very well as regards the prior work for concluding the new command structure.
Spain, needless to say, has its own interests that have to be safeguarded, but these have been covered, more or less, by a general framework. There are some technical problems that still have to be ironed out, but I think that with the impetus given by the Madrid summit, between now and the end of the year, particularly in the month of December, I think we can take the definitive decision to join the full integrated military structure, with all the consequences that entails, as Spain, which wants to shoulder its responsibilities and a country which wants to be present at a very ideal moment in history to contribute with its assets to peace and cooperation in the world, in the Atlantic and particularly in the areas of interest to Spain.
One last question, please. We are very pushed for time. I'm sorry.
Q A lot has been made of the United States' position accepting just three countries. If a further enlargement took place, does Spain think that Spain's interests have not been fulfilled? The three-country enlargement is -- if Spain is prepared to negotiate further, has Spain's position been strengthened within the Atlantic Alliance?
This is a step forward -- I'll ask a specific question, please. If Spain does not join the full integrated military structure, will a new command structure -- if it doesn't achieve a new command structure, will it be
THE PRESIDENT: That's your question.
PRIME MINISTER AZNAR: I'm convinced things will move along the lines I mentioned just a few moments ago. I think within a few months, Spain will be in the integrated military structure. That is in Spain's interest, in the Atlantic Alliance's interest. I did say there were some technical difficulties that have to be ironed out and they will be ironed out.
As regards enlargement, can I just say that we will make every effort to arrive at a consensus with regard to enlargement, and that consensus will ensure that the summit is a milestone, a success in terms of cooperation and security.
THE PRESIDENT: If I could just add to what Prime Minister Aznar said, we believe that the NATO doors should remain open. We do not believe we should close the doors on the aspirations of any democracy in Europe.
As regards Romania and Slovenia, we applaud the work they have done in embracing democracy and in showing a willingness to share the responsibilities of preserving the peace in the future, and resolving border disputes and ethnic difficulties. These things are to be applauded. And we do not believe they should be told that they can never be in NATO or that it would be decades upon decades. We believe, however, that each particular decision that should be made should be based on the military as well as the political imperatives of assuming the responsibilities of membership.
But nothing the United States has said should be viewed in any way as a negative for the future prospects of either of these countries or others as well.
Q Mr. President, do you expect the NATO summit to change the rules of engagement for the SFOR troops in Bosnia to permit a more aggressive effort to capture war criminals? And a related question -- is there a plan by, or have the CIA and special forces put together a plan that would lead to the apprehension of Mr. Karadzic?
THE PRESIDENT: I think the -- you've asked me two questions and I will give what I believe is an appropriate answer. The War Crimes Tribunal is a part of the Dayton Agreement, and we believe everyone should support the Dayton Agreement in all its parts, including that one. We have, and in so far as it's been free to operate, I think it has been a positive force. And I think it should continue to do so, and I believe we should support it in all ways that are appropriate. So that is what I would say about that.
I do not expect there to be a statement here explicitly dealing with the rules of engagement. I think we
will have a statement about Bosnia which will make it clear that all of us believe -- and we just had a discussion about this, and we discussed it before in Mallorca -- we believe that we have to do more to implement every element of Dayton. I think a lot of us are impatient that perhaps even we have not done as much as we should have on all of the elements of Dayton.