THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
REMARKS BY THE SECRETARY OF STATE IN QUESTION AND ANSWER SESSION WITH THE PRESS The North Portico
5:33 P.M. EDT
Q Mr. Secretary, is the decision by the Bosnian Serbs and apparently all the other various parties to meet this weekend in Athens, Greece with Owen and Vance -- does that change at all the President's thinking on what the options are right now?
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: Let me say this. Former Secretary Vance called me this afternoon to tell me about the anticipated meeting this weekend in Athens, and we discussed that during the afternoon meeting. It does not change our plans at all. The President's decision-making process is on track, it'll go forward as it was intended to go forward.
I think what we need from the Serbs, both the Bosnian Serbs and the Serbs from Serbia is deeds, not words; so we'll be proceeding with our plans just as they were before this announcement.
Q It sounds, Mr. Secretary, as if the President's already made a decision. Is that the case? And how soon will you be going to Europe?
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: The President has not made a decision. The decision-making process is as before. There's going to be a meeting of principals on Saturday morning. I'd expect the President's decision to come, as he said, sometime within this week.
Q When do you leave for Europe? Will you leave on Saturday evening?
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: I don't have any plans to go to Europe right now. We'll finalize any plans of that kind on Saturday.
Q So, then, his decision would come Saturday, sir? Is that what you're saying?
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: He said the decision would be by the end of the week, and I think Saturday is the end of the week.
Q Are you looking for a total cessation of hostilities from the parties? Is that what you're insisting on right now?
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: Right now we're simply trying to fix our own plans. The President is in the process of making his decisions on these matters and I think when he's ready to announce those, you'll hear from him as to what our goals are and what our plans are.
Q Mr. Secretary, why did you come out here today? Is it some kind of a threat to the Serbs? Is that supposed to be the intent of your appearance out here, and General Powell's as well?
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: I came out because I understood there was some interest in having a comment on the announcement made by former Secretary Vance and Lord Owen this afternoon, and I thought it would be useful for me to say right now, and say it clearly, that we're on track here, we're not deterred by that announcement. We're interested in it, but we're going to follow our decision-making process here because we've indicated that we think it's important the United States sticks to its decision, and then talk to our allies about it.
Q What sort of action do you want the Serbs to take?
THE PRESS: Thank you.
END5:37 P.M. EDT