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                     Office of the Press Secretary
                       (Capetown, South Africa)
For Immediate Release                                     March 27, 1998

Statement by the President

I am pleased that the Senate has approved important legislation to provide funding for victims of natural disasters, for support of our forces in Bosnia and the Persian Gulf, and to deal with the risk to financial stability around the world.

It is particularly important that the Senate, by a vote of 86-14, provided the International Monetary Fund with resources it needs to help stabilize Asian economies. The crisis in Asia poses a threat to American jobs and exports, and we already have seen evidence that weaknesses in economies there are having an impact here. To ensure that the American economy continues on the path of steady growth, Congress must make sure that the IMF is strong enough to respond to any broadening of the current crisis. And because the IMF functions like an international credit union, paying our share won't cost American taxpayers a dime.

I am also pleased that the emergency funding in this bill will allow our military forces to continue their missions in Bosnia and the Persian Gulf without impairing the high readiness level of our forces worldwide.

At the same time, I remain concerned that the Senate bill does not address the matter of United Nations arrears. This continues to undercut our global leadership.

I hope that the House of Representatives will act to fund all these critical activities before it returns home for recess.