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For Immediate Release February 20, 1994


I have just been informed by NATO Secretary General Manfred Woerner that NATO and United Nations commanders have concluded that all known heavy weapons of the parties have been withdrawn from the exclusion zone around Sarajevo, are under the control of the United Nations, or soon should be. Therefore, they have concluded that no airstrikes in Bosnia by NATO air forces are required at this time.

This week's events clearly have given the residents of Sarajevo a respite from the shelling and a measure of hope. I want to congratulate NATO and each of our NATO allies for the demonstration of resolve that produced these results. I want to commend the high level of cooperation that has been demonstrated between the UN and NATO. As I told President Yeltsin in a call earlier today, I want to congratulate the government of Russia for its contributions to this effort. Finally, all Americans join in praising the courage and skill of our service personnel and those of our NATO allies; they have been the muscle in NATO's ultimatum.

Despite the significant events of the day, we must remain vigilant. All parties should be aware that the ultimatum stands. The deadline has not been extended. Any heavy weapons in the exclusion zone not under UN control are, and will remain, subject to airstrikes. NATO's decision also applies to any heavy weapons attacks on Sarajevo from within or beyond the zone. NATO and the United Nations will continue to monitor compliance extremely carefully.

The NATO decision and its results provide new potential for progress toward an end to the tragic conflict in Bosnia. In the coming days, American diplomats will be working with the parties to the conflict and our allies and partners to transform this potential into reality.