THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT UPON DEPARTURE The South Lawn
Q Can you give us a sense of what is going on in Bosnia and what has happened --
THE PRESIDENT: Well, you know the essential facts, that last evening, after midnight our time, United States aircrafts, flying under NATO authority, warned some fixed-wing Serbian aircraft, Bosnian Serbian aircraft, to land and when they didn't, they were shot down. There were two warnings. Every attempt was made, to the best of our information, to avoid this encounter.
We have had responsibility for enforcing the no-fly zone since last April. It has been since last fall that there were any fixed-wing aircraft that we knew of violating the no-fly zone, and we're attempting to get more facts now. We're also trying to brief everyone involved in this effort to bring peace to Bosnia about the facts and we will -- if we find out any more information, of course, we'll be glad to give it to you.
But it seems to --
Q Why now? Why now? Is this a new get-tough policy?
THE PRESIDENT: No, no. The violations -- the principal violations of the no-fly zone have been by helicopters, which could easily land. In this case -- we've not had a fixed-wing violation reported of any kind, much less one we were in a position to do something about, to the best of my information, since last fall, since September. Those are much more serious because of the capacity they have to engage in military conduct from the air.
Our mandate under the United Nations was to enforce the no-fly zone to eliminate the prospect that the war could be carried into the air.
Q How were you informed, President Clinton? How did you learn of this, sir?
THE PRESIDENT: Early, early this morning I was notified.
Q How about the firing of the counterintelligence --
THE PRESS: Thank you.