THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
REGARDING BOSNIAN CEASE-FIRE
The Briefing Room
11:00 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. Today we take another solid step on the hard but hopeful road to peace in Bosnia. I'm pleased to announce that the parties in Bosnia have agreed to a cease-fire to terminate all hostile military activities throughout the territory of Bosnia-Herzegovina to become effective on October the 10th, if certain conditions are met.
At the same time, the governments of Bosnia, Croatia, and Serbia have agreed to proximity peace talks in the United States, beginning about October the 25th, aimed at bringing them closer to a peace agreement. Those negotiations will take place with the assistance of our able negotiating team, led by Assistant Secretary Holbrooke, together with our Contact Group partners.
The talks will continue, then, at an international peace conference in Paris that can help to achieve an enduring end to the struggle. This is an important moment in the painful history in Bosnia, for today the parties have agreed to put down their arms and roll up their sleeves and work for peace.
We need to be clear-eyed about this. What matters is what the parties do, not simply what they say. There remain deep divisions to overcome. We are now on the right road, but we have by no means reached our destination, which is a serious and lasting peace in Bosnia. This cease-fire, however, greatly increases our chances to end the war and to achieve a peace. The United States, together with our European and our Russian partners, intends to use all of our influence and every ounce of our energy to seize this historic opportunity to peace.
Q Do you think -- this statement, and do you wish you had done it sooner? If you had moved more aggressively --
THE PRESIDENT: All I know is, we're on the verge of a cease-fire. We're going to do our best to get the cease-fire. We have five days of hard work to do on that.
Q Will NATO police this cease-fire? How will this be enforced?
THE PRESIDENT: We're going to brief you on all the details of the cease-fire. We intend to go forward with the cease-fire, then go forward with the talks here in Washington. We hope we can start the talks in Washington by October the 25th, and we feel very strongly that that will increase the chances of peace.
END 11:02 A.M. EDT