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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release April 3, 1997


                    President Clinton's Meeting with
                   Portuguese Prime Minister Guterres

     The President and the Prime Minister of Portugal, Antonio Manuel

de Oliveira Guterres, met for just over 90 minutes in the White House today -- a 20-minute private meeting, also attended by the Vice President, Secretary Albright, National Security Advisor Berger, and Portuguese Foreign Minister Gama, followed by a working lunch in the State Dining Room, in which Secretary of Defense Cohen and other U.S. and Portuguese officials also participated.

President Clinton praised Portugal's increasing international role, including its contributions to the Stabilization Force in Bosnia and to the UN peacekeeping force in Angola, as well as Portugal's activism in the UN Security Council. Prime Minister Guterres stressed the importance of U.S. engagement in Europe and his country's strong support for NATO enlargement, together with the establishment of a long-term partnership between the Alliance and Russia.

The President and the Prime Minister reviewed preparations for the Madrid summit, agreeing on the importance of strengthening NATO's ties with all of Europe's new democracies through an enhanced Partnership for Peace, a cooperative agreement between NATO and Ukraine, and establishment of the Atlantic Partnership Council. They discussed NATO's internal adaptation and goal of building a stronger European security and defense identity within, rather than separate from, the Alliance. They also had a detailed discussion of command structure changes affecting the Iberian peninsula.

The President and Prime Minister agreed on the importance of establishing a Government of National Unity and Reconciliation in Angola, scheduled to take place on April 11. They also stressed the need for an immediate cease-fire and a diplomatic solution to the conflict in Zaire.

Prime Minister Guterres presented the latest Portuguese approach to human rights in East Timor. The President underscored his concern about human rights abuses in East Timor and his support for UN efforts to promote peace and reconciliation.

The two leaders had a brief discussion of the implementation of the U.S.-Portuguese Agreement on Cooperation and Defense and other bilateral topics. The President expressed his hope that the United States and Portugal could soon begin negotiations on an "Open Skies" agreement on civil air service between our two countries.

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