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                         THE WHITE HOUSE
                  Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release September 25, 1993

STATEMENT BY THE PRESS SECRETARY

The United States condemns the attack on United Nations forces in Mogadishu last night which resulted in the death of three American soldiers and injuries to several other American and Pakistani soldiers. The President offers his deepest condolences to the families and friends of these brave men who were performing a vital humanitarian mission in Somalia.

This attack underscores the need to re-establish security in Mogadishu to prevent the international humanitarian efforts from being undermined. At times like this, it is essential to remember the reasons for our engagement in the 25-nation U.N. mission in Somalia. The UN's goal is to prevent the recurrence of the famine and anarchy that resulted in the deaths of 350,000 Somalis last year. We are working to create a peaceful environment in which the UN's mission can be assumed by a Somali authority.

Since 28,000 U.S. troops went to Somalia last December, we have withdrawn eighty percent of our forces. Today, our troops number less than 5,000 and make up less than twenty percent of the remaining UN forces from over two dozen nations. As UN forces continue to take up the burden, the American role can continue to diminish.

Today, Somalia is on the road to recovery, especially outside of Mogadishu: district councils are re-establishing the rule of law in much of the country, hospitals and schools are operating and crops are being planted and harvested. On Wednesday, the United Nations took important steps forward to support the reconstruction of Somalia's judicial, security and penal systems.

We must not allow this substantial yet fragile progress to be threatened by the brutality of warlords who would profit from the suffering of others and thwart the will of the overwhelming majority of Somalis who seek peace and reconciliation.

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