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U.S. Department of State

Great Seal Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
Remarks and Q&A To Troops at Camp McGovern
Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, March 8, 2000
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State
Blue Line

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Thank you very much Colonel Gray and thank you all for your hospitality. I'd like to begin by introducing some of my traveling companions, General Don Kerrick, Assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs and my military advisor. And I am very pleased that Ambassador Miller was able to travel with us. He is really doing a fabulous job here and I'm very glad that he is part of the team.

I also want to thank you for not throwing food. (laughter) As you know, a couple of days ago I was the recipient of some unwanted eggs in the Czech Republic on Monday. We have been making up a lot of jokes about that but with your training, I think your aim would be a lot better so, I'm grateful.

I know that this is a particularly good time and that everybody is in a very good mood. If you're from Task Force 287 at the end of March you're going home. (Cheers) Yes. And I congratulate you because you all will go with great pride.

When I first visited Brcko it was about three years ago and a lot of people were saying this was a problem that couldn't be solved. Many predicted that Brcko would blow up and take the whole peace process with it.

Well, it didn't happen. And it didn't happen for two reasons. Force--that's you. And diplomacy--and that's people like Roberts Owen, also with us today, who was the Arbitrator of the Brcko Award, and who figured out how to split the baby without harming either half. And it's people like Ambassador Bill Farrand, the Brcko Supervisor and yet another of your guests today, who is both a great diplomat and a man who's hometown happens to be the same as the Catamounts--Watertown, New York. So, clearly that is the reason for the expert cooperation.

But all the diplomacy in the world wouldn't have worked without you, and those who preceded you and will come after--some of whom from the Third Armory Cavalry Regiment, I understand have already arrived.

When the Dayton Accords were signed, Bosnia was a broken place. Filled with mass graves, destroyed cities, orphans, hate and desperate fear. U.S. troops couldn't fix everything. But you took away the fear. And that made peace work.

This place still has a long way to go. But demilitarization coupled with your presence has given people confidence to rebuild their lives.

This matters, because when fighting starts here, it spreads. This is where World War I began and some of the bloodiest fighting of World War II occurred. Dayton stopped a war that had engulfed 3 countries and could have well torched the whole region.

By your presence, you saved lives, solidified peace, and made it less likely that American forces will ever again have to face combat here.

And I congratulate you and I thank you, and I want to leave you with three promises.

First, as long as I am Secretary of State, we will explore every possible alternative before requiring the further overseas deployment of American forces. You're the best, but others have a responsibility to do their share.

Second, we will do all we can to see that our armed forces have an operational tempo that is sustainable. There is a limit to what even you can do.

Third, we will ensure that our troops are only sent overseas on missions that are important to our interests, with the right training and equipment, and the full backing of the American people.

So I thank you again for everything that you are doing and may God bless you and keep you safe. (applause)

COMMANDER GRAY: Madame Secretary, we have a tradition at Camp McGovern which is that we always want to recognize folks who come to the camp. This is a very good occasion and we would like to recognize you with a certificate of achievement and I'll just read it: "Certificate of Achievement is awarded to The Honorary Madeleine Albright, Secretary of State. This is to certify that the Secretary of State, of the United States of America, The Honorable Madeleine Albright, is hereby declared an honorary Catamount for her service in Brcko on 8 March, 2000. In promoting peace and a safe and secure environment she has demonstrated the skill and honor worthy of being a Catamount."

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Thank you very much. I appreciate it. Thank you.


QUESTION: (inaudible)

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, that's a very good question and I think probably any decision that is the hardest, has to do with you in some form or another, because I think there is always the question about how diplomacy and the use of force work together. I have believed always that we should only use force as a last resort. But, it is very difficult to have the power of diplomacy if you don't think about how you will use force and the threat of the use of force. And, my military colleagues have said to me ‘Madeleine, don't ever threaten the use of force without the fact that you will ultimately have to use it.' And that lesson, I think, was deeply learned and therefore very difficult to make primarily on Kosovo. And, I think probably the hardest time that I've had has been in terms of determining what the appropriate time was to actually use the force in Kosovo. A lot of people had a lot of doubts. And there was a certain phase when people called it ‘Madeleine's War' -- that's when it wasn't going well. And then, I think, we showed it was the right thing to do. And so while it was the most difficult decision I've made I think it was the most satisfying. And, while there is a tremendous amount of work left to do, as you know as there is here, when you can make sure that people are not ethnically cleansed or raped or when they're not starving, then I think it is worth American action both diplomatic and military. So I am proud of that decision but I think it really was the hardest and fortunately I had a lot of wonderful colleagues and primarily the President of the United States to make that decision with me. Thank you.

QUESTION: (inaudible)

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, I think that what is very important about what happened here today is based on what has been happening here previously. This was, I think, one of the, as I said and as you all know, one of the most difficult parts of the Bosnia conflict because of the divisions and people -- their various claims to how Brcko should be run. And, it was very difficult, as I said, Roberts Owen did a fantastic job in trying to get an agreement that would be fair. What happens from now on, we have to make sure that those people that have been named by Ambassador Farrand to do their job will really do them, will make clear that they can work together and ultimately work toward a process where they can be elected and show that people of different ethnic groups can work together. So, it was a model problem. It can now be a model solution. People are going to be looking at it to see whether this kind of an arrangement can work. We're facing a very difficult problem in Kosovo in a town called Mitrovica. The situation there is different and similar in some ways. We're going to be seeing whether any aspects of what was done here in Brcko can in any way, various pieces of it, because it is different, might be suitable for solutions in other difficult places. But the job now is to make sure that the system is carried out, deal with whatever bumps in the road there are, and I think continue to make sure that there is a secure environment in which this experiment, which is what it is, can take place.

QUESTION: (inaudible)

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Thank you. I have had a lot of fun wearing different kinds of pins and broaches. I was telling the people at my table that the whole thing started as a joke when Saddam Hussein called me a snake. A title that I actually like. (laughter) I had on that day a snake pin by accident. CNN took a picture of it and said ‘why are you wearing that snake pin?' And I said ‘in honor of my title.' So then at the UN when I wore different pins, they'd say ‘what do they mean?' And I'd say ‘read my pins.' So, different ones for different places. But this pin I particularly treasure. It was given to me by General Myers who is now Deputy Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff but who had been one of General Kerrick's predecessors as Military Advisor to the State Department. And, it is a pin that is composed of all the ensignia of all the U.S. armed forces. And, I wear it with great pride and thank you very much for asking because I obviously wore it so somebody would ask me. (laughter)

QUESTION: (inaudible -- regarding being a female Secretary of State)

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Tell me what it is like to be a woman in your position? (laughter)

QUESTION: It is exciting.

SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: It is exciting. Let me say that I was asked the question about what it was like to be a woman Secretary of State about six hours after I took the job. And I said, you know, I have been a woman 60 years and Secretary of State for about 6 hours so I have no idea. Well, I now do have an idea. I think that it clearly has some difficult aspects to it as I think that any woman who takes on a new challenge has found. But, I actually think that it helps to be a woman Secretary of State. Colonel Gray and I were talking about how the job works and the importance of personal relationships. I believe that I have been able to establish some very important relationships with mostly fellow foreign ministers, because we have been able to talk openly and there is a little less ego involved. I think that has been advantageous.

What has been interesting is there were people who wondered whether it was possible for a woman to be Secretary of State in terms of dealing with Arab countries. I have actually found that not to be a difficulty at all. Only when I create a problem, which I did, on purpose. When I first met with the Gulf Cooperation Council of Foreign Ministers, they all arrived in their usual, wonderful official outfits. When I finished the meeting I said you may notice that I am not dressed as my predecessors have been and I thank you very much for your kindness and respect. But next time we'll talk about women's rights. And we did. As a matter of fact, one of the Foreign Ministers said ‘I bet you that we have a woman Foreign Minister in our history long before the United States -- it took over 200 years to have a woman Secretary of State. And he wanted to make very sure that I met his daughters, who are professional women in a variety of businesses. So, I think that has not proven to be a problem.

There is a very elite and exclusive club however, that I have formed and it is the women Foreign Ministers of the world. It's very powerful. There are 12 of us out of about 187 countries. We meet once a year around the General Assembly time and plot the overthrow of the world. (laughter) Basically, what we do is talk about how important networking is and the support that we have to give to each other. Because this is International Women's Day, it's a good opportunity to talk about something that I do regularly when I travel. I always meet with women's groups because I have tried to put women's issues at the center of American foreign policy not as kind of an adjunct but at the center for the following reason, not because I'm a feminist but because I believe that societies in order to function properly, have to employ the resources of all its people. In most countries, over half of the population is female and the women work very hard to support their families and to educate the children; to worry about health; to worry about passing down history. And, if the women are not treated properly then the society is not as stable as we would like and creates problems for all of us because the reason that you are here, and the reason that many of your colleagues might have to go some place else, is because of lack of stability and dreadful humanitarian situations which we also consider in our national interests. So, I do believe that women can and should and must play an important role in every society which is why I meet with women and why I welcome your question and why I believe it is so important to have women in the American military also, sister.

Thank you. Thank you very much. (applause)

[End of Document]
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