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pd29de97 Remarks to the Community in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina...

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[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents]

[Page 2095-2096]
Monday, December 29, 1997
Volume 33--Number 52
Pages 2085-2108
Week Ending Friday, December 26, 1997
The President's Radio Address

December 20, 1997

    Good morning. In this season of hope and special time for our loved 
ones, I'd like to share some thoughts on what all Americans can do to 
strengthen our families. Specifically, I want to talk about our efforts 
to protect our children from drugs, the most dangerous enemy of 
childhood. Nothing can cause more pain and heartbreak in a family or 
cause more harm to a child's future than the use and abuse of drugs.
    We should be very proud that drug use among all Americans has fallen 
by one-half since 1979. But in recent years, teenage drug use was 
rising. Today I have some good news.
    A second major survey on drug use this year has confirmed that for 
the first time since 1991, our teenagers are beginning to turn away from 
drugs. In a report I'm a releasing today, the Department of Health and 
Human Services has found that the increasing rates of teen drug use are 
leveling off and, in some cases, decreasing. Today's eighth graders are 
less likely to have used drugs over the past year, and just as 
important, they are more likely to disapprove of drug use. This change 
in attitudes represents a glimmer of hope in our efforts to protect our 
children from drugs. But our work is far from over.
    The most effective strategy we have against drugs begins at home. 
It's a fight that can be won at kitchen tables all across America. This 
holiday season, as we spend some hard-earned time with our families, I 
urge all parents to sit down with their children, as Hillary and I have 
done, and share a simple and important lesson: Drugs are dangerous; 
drugs are wrong; and drugs can kill you.
    But Government can also do its part to help parents keep their 
children safe from drugs. Over the past 5 years, our administration has 
put in place a comprehensive national plan to fight drugs at all levels. 
We're putting 100,000 community police on our streets. We've cracked 
down on meth dealers and seized their labs. We've expanded mandatory 
drug testing for parolees and demanded that drug offenders get the 
treatment they need to live productive lives. We've worked with 
neighboring countries to prevent drugs from crossing our borders in the 
first place and built new community coalitions against drugs.
    Most importantly, we fought to protect the safe and drug-free 
schools program that helps to keep drugs out of classrooms and away from 
children. The historic Balanced Budget Act I signed this summer also 
includes $195 million for a national youth antidrug media campaign. Our 
goal is to make sure that every time a child turns on the TV, listens to 
the radio, or surfs the Internet, he or she will get the powerful 
message that drugs can destroy your life.
    But we can't ever forget that the best drug enforcement prevention 
effort still is parents

[[Page 2096]]

teaching their children the difference between right and wrong when it 
comes to drugs. So once again, I call upon our parents to build on the 
progress we're making by talking frankly to your children about the 
destructive consequences of trying and using drugs.
    As we celebrate the blessings of the year just past, let's all work 
to ensure that every child can look forward to a safe, healthy, and 
hopeful new year.
    Thanks for listening.

Note: The address was recorded at 6 p.m. on December 19 in the Roosevelt 
Room at the White House for broadcast at 10:06 a.m. on December 20.

[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents]

[Page 2096-2099]
Monday, December 29, 1997
Volume 33--Number 52
Pages 2085-2108
Week Ending Friday, December 26, 1997
Remarks to the Community in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina

December 22, 1997

    Thank you very much. Ladies and gentlemen, I think we should give a 
round of applause to Farouk and to Masha. They did a wonderful job, and 
I'm very proud of them. [Applause]
    I thank the Sarajevo Philharmonic, President Izetbegovic, President 
Zubak, members of the Bosnian Government; to the religious leaders who 
are here, the representatives of civilian and voluntary agencies from 
around the world, the members of the American delegation; to Senator and 
Mrs. Dole, Members of Congress; General Shelton, General Clark, General 
Shinseki; to the people of Sarajevo and the people of Bosnia.
    Let me say that all of us from the United States are very honored to 
be here, to gather in the dawn after a long darkness. For us this is a 
season of celebration, and we give thanks that the will for peace has 
triumphed over the weapons of war. At the edge of the 21st century, we 
come here to resolve to build a new era, free of the 20th century's 
worst moments and full of its most brilliant possibilities.
    What my family and I and our party have seen in the streets of 
Sarajevo has been deeply moving to us. Only a little more than 2 years 
ago, men, women, and children ran the gauntlet of snipers and shells in 
a desperate search for water. Now they walk in security to work and 
school. Then, sheets of plastic covered nearly every window. Now there 
is mostly glass, and plastic is rare. Then, people lived in the rubble 
of bombed out buildings. Now they have roofs over their heads, heat, 
electricity, and running water. Then, Sarajevo was mired in a deep 
freeze of destruction. And now, through your labors, it has begun to 
thaw and to grow anew in the sunlight of peace. Then, shops were barren 
and cafes were empty. Now, they are filled with food and alive with 
    And my wife and daughter and I just had some of that conversation 
and some pretty good coffee, I might add. [Laughter] We just came from a 
coffee shop where we were talking to a number of young people who work 
and study here from all different ethnic backgrounds, people determined 
to build a common future, to let go of the destructive past. And I went 
around the table and let every one of them tell me whatever they wanted 
to say. And then I said, ``Now, what is the most important thing the 
United States could do to help you on your way?'' And in unison they 
said, ``Stay for a while longer.''
    Then the time came for us to come here. And Hillary and Chelsea and 
I walked outside the coffee shop, and there's a beautiful church just 
across the street, and in front of the church there were three American 
soldiers who happened to come from a unit from Richmond, Virginia. And 
we walked over to shake hands with the soldiers, all enlisted personnel. 
And one of them said, ``We're so happy to be here. These are good 
people, and it's a good thing we're doing.''
    We in the United States are proud of our role in Bosnia's new 
beginning. Look at the group who came here today from our Government: 
the Secretary of State; three four-star generals; 10 Members of 
Congress, prominent Members of Congress from both political parties; my 
distinguished opponent in the last Presidential election, Senator Dole, 
and Mrs. Dole. Americans care a lot about Bosnia; without regard to 
their party or their political differences, they care about the people.
    We also have distinguished citizens here who have worked with 
nongovernmental organizations. They are a part of the amazing 
international force of human endeavor that

[[Page 2097]]

we have seen brought to bear in this remarkable land in the last couple 
of years; people from all around the world waging a day-to-day campaign 
of renewal with you. We are proud that we played a role in helping you 
to silence the guns and separate the armies, to rebuild roads and 
factories, to reunite children with their families and refugees with 
their homes, to oversee democratic elections and open the airwaves to 
voices of tolerance, to call to account those accused of war crimes. We 
are here because you decided to end the suffering and the slaughter and 
because we rejected the prospect of another needless war spreading in 
the heart of Europe, and because citizens all over the world were 
literally heartbroken by your suffering and determined to ease it.
    To everyone who has taken part in IFOR and SFOR and civilian 
projects large and small, I'd like to say a simple thank you. And God 
bless you all for what you have done and what you will do to change the 
face and the future of Bosnia.
    Most of all I come before you with a message for those in whose 
hands the future of Bosnia lie, its leaders and its people. For in the 
end the future is up to you, not to the Americans, not to the Europeans, 
not to anyone else.
    Two years ago in Dayton, Ohio, the leaders of Bosnia-Herzegovina, 
Croatia, and Serbia made a fateful choice for peace. But their 
responsibility and yours did not end there on that day. In fact, it only 
began. Your responsibility is to turn the documents signed in Dayton 
into a living reality, to make good on the pledge to bring Bosnia 
together as one country, with two multiethnic parts, sharing a common 
destiny. Those who rise to that responsibility will have the full 
support of the United States and the international community. Those who 
shirk it will isolate themselves. The world which continues to invest in 
your peace rightfully expects that you will do your part. More 
important, the people of this country expect results and they deserve 
    You have accomplished much, but there is much more to do. You have 
established the joint institutions of democracy. Now you must work 
within them sharing power as you share responsibility. You have vowed to 
welcome back those displaced from their homes by war. Now you must vote 
for the return program so that they actually can come back with stronger 
protections for minorities and more job creation. You are working to 
restore Bosnia's economy. Now you must build up the laws to attract 
assistance and investment and root out the corruption that undermines 
confidence in economies.
    You have begun to turn the media from an instrument of hate into a 
force of tolerance and understanding. Now you must raise it to 
international standards of objectivity and access and allow an 
independent press the freedom to thrive. You are taking the police out 
of the hands of warlords. Now you must help to reform, retrain, and 
reequip a democratic force that fosters security, not fear. You have 
pledged to isolate and arrest indicted war criminals. Now you must 
follow through on that commitment, both for the sake of justice and in 
the serving of lasting peace.
    Most of all, the leaders here, you owe it to your country to bring 
out the best in people, acting in concert, not conflict; overcoming 
obstacles, not creating them; rising above petty disputes, not fueling 
them. In the end, leaders in a democracy must bring out the best in 
people. But in the end, they serve the people who send them to their 
    And so to the people of Bosnia, I say today, you must make your 
desire for peace and a common future clear to the leaders of each group. 
And you must then give leaders the absolute support they need to make 
the hard decisions for a common future. The people of Bosnia can make it 
happen. The example that ordinary citizens set among your neighbors, the 
standards that you demand from your leaders will determine this nation's 
    After such a hard war, fighting aggressively for peace is difficult. 
So many have lost mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, sons and 
daughters. So many wounds are deep and scars still fresh. Energy may be 
short, at a time when an extraordinary effort of will is required to 
wrench yourself from the past and to begin to build a future together. 
How many people who have suffered as Farouk has suffered can stand 
clearly, unambiguously for the cause of peace and a common future. Many 
must if you are to succeed. And

[[Page 2098]]

many of you are trying to do that in religious and civic settings of all 
kinds. I thank all of those who are making organized efforts to build a 
common future, especially those who are mobilizing women, because they 
know so painfully how important reconciliation and reconstruction are to 
your families and your children's future.
    What I want all of you to believe today is that you can do it. In 
our time, from Guatemala to South Africa, from El Salvador to Northern 
Ireland, people are turning from conflict to conciliation. Still, the 
impulse to divide, if not to actually fight and kill, over ethnic or 
religious or racial differences, runs deep in human nature across the 
globe. It seems to be rooted in a fear of those who are different from 
ourselves and a false sense of superiority and security that separation 
and striving for supremacy seem to offer.
    In America for a long time, one race literally enslaved another. It 
took the bloodiest war in our history to break the chains of bondage and 
more than 100 years of effort since then to root out their consequences. 
And we're still working at it. But we grow always stronger as we let 
more and more of our fears and prejudices go. The more we recognize that 
as we live and work and learn together, what we have in common is far 
more important than our differences. So that across all those 
differences, together we affirm our devotion to faith and to family. We 
seek opportunity for all and responsibility from all. We believe we are 
immeasurably stronger as one America than as a collection of separate, 
hostile camps. And this is a point of special importance to you. We find 
that affirming our Union allows us the security to respect, even to 
celebrate, our differences.
    As we in America look ahead to a new century, we have people from 
over 180 different racial and ethnic groups who now call America home. 
We have embarked on a great national dialog across those groups about 
how we can live and prosper together in a new millennium. I would urge 
all of you to do the same thing here, to find more opportunities at the 
grassroots; to reach across the lines of division for the sake of your 
children and your future. I know that especially to the young people 
here, finding strength in your diversity may seem like an act of faith 
that requires quite a leap.
    Many young people recall little before the war. One teenage 
Sarajevan said recently, ``It's not just a question of starting again. 
It's a question of just starting.'' But I think it is important that all 
of you remember and teach that the war did violence not only to Bosnia's 
people but also to its history, its own tradition of tolerance. Just 
minutes from here, standing within yards from one another are a mosque, 
an Orthodox church, a Catholic church, and a synagogue, reminding us 
that generations of Muslims, Orthodox Christians, Catholics, and Jews 
live side by side and enrich the world by their example here, built 
schools and libraries and wondrous places of worship. Part of that 
population laid down their tools on Friday, part on Saturday, and part 
on Sunday. But their lives were woven together by marriage and culture, 
by work and common language and a shared pride in a place all could call 
home. That past should be remembered. And you should do everything in 
your power to make it a prolog. History can be your ally, not your 
    I am persuaded, having served in this office for 5 years, that the 
real differences around the world today are not between Jews and Arabs; 
Protestants and Catholics; Muslims, Croats, and Serbs. The real 
differences are between those who embrace peace and those who would 
destroy it, between those who look to the future and those who cling to 
the past, between those who open their arms and those who are determined 
to clench their fists, between those who believe that God made all of us 
equal and those foolish enough to believe they are superior to others 
just because of the color of their skin, of the religion of their 
families, of their ethnic background. This is a very small nation on an 
increasingly small planet. None of us has the moral standing to look 
down on another, and we should stop it.
    I was thrilled that the Sarajevo symphony played before I was 
introduced to speak. Its violinist and cellist, percussionist and 
flutist, played together before the war, stayed together during the war, 
answered the mortars and shells with the sounds of music. Seven of the 
members were killed--Muslims,

[[Page 2099]]

Croats, and Serbs. Well, they're still here, and they're still Muslims, 
Croats, and Serbs. And to tell you the truth, I know the tuba players 
from the violinists, but I can't tell the Muslims from the Croats from 
the Serbs. The harmony of their disparate voices--the harmony of their 
disparate voices--is what I hear. It reminds me of Bosnia's best past, 
and it should be the clarion call to your future.

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