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U.S. Department of State

Great Seal Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
Press Remarks following UN Security Council Session on Africa
The United Nations
New York, New York, September 25, 1997
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State

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SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Let me say that in my meetings yesterday with the Contact Group, and now chairing a special ministerial meeting of the Security Council on Africa, we have yet again, I think, very good examples of the opportunities offered at the United Nations and on the margins of the General Assembly to be able to have very good and productive discussions about issues of major concern to the international community.
And I think what it shows is our ability, when talking together and looking at problems together, of working towards consensus and potential solutions -- whether they be in Bosnia or in Africa.
Ambassador Richardson and I were very pleased to have the opportunity, with the American Presidency Council in September, to use the ministerial in order to focus attention on Africa, which sadly, in the Security Council, is primarily dealt with when there are crises situations.
And we wanted to draw attention to the good things happening in Africa, as President Mugabe talked about -- the renaissance in Africa -- and our desire, as Security Council, to work with Africa as it deals with its problems and seizes its opportunities. And we all wanted to show our support for democracy and sustainable development in Africa. I think it was a really excellent meeting, and I join Ambassador Richardson in thanking all the foreign ministers who participated in it.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, why is Netanyahu humiliating the United States and yourself on the issue of housing settlements?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, I have to say that we have made quite clear that this particular building is not at all helpful as we are proceeding, in terms of trying to get the peace process going again.
It's very important, I believe, to create the proper environment so that the negotiations can proceed successfully, and that we can get our idea of marrying the interim agreement to accelerated final status talks going again. And for those talks to -- for there to be success in these kinds of talks, it's very important to have a good environment. And I must say that these kinds of actions do not help.
When I was there, I called for a time-out. I would like to see a time-out. And I am calling on Prime Minister Netanyahu to honor that time-out. And I am calling across the board, again, for a time-out on actions that make it more difficult to have successful negotiations.
QUESTION: Isn't it a personal affront to you, though, and to the United States -- the way he's been treating you? He didn't even tell you this on the telephone yesterday.
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: I think in high politics, one doesn't take things personally.
But I do think that it is regrettable that this action was taken and it was not discussed in our conversation yesterday. I do believe that it is very important -- and I repeat -- it is very important that there be a time-out on all acts that make it more complicated to have us act in the role that we would like to act in to bring the parties together in order to have successful negotiations.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, on the situation in Algiers, in your meeting did you talk about renewal of violence there and how the United States might help to combat that?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: There was mention by -- actually, it was Secretary Cook who spoke about the violence in Algiers and our concern about it.
It's a subject that I discussed yesterday with Foreign Minister Vedrine. And we talked about ways that the United States and France might in fact be able to assess the situation together and work together, because it is a tragic situation where there are so many hundreds of people.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, were you distressed by the call by Primakov in your meeting a few minutes ago to look at the OAU proposal to lower sanctions on Libya?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: I tell you, I think that Ambassador Richardson can testify to this, too. The issue of Libya comes up on a fairly regular basis in Security Council discussions. And there are those who believe that there ought to be some different approach.
On the other hand, we have said, and will continue to say, that it is very important for Security Council resolutions to be carried out fully, and for justice to be pursued as far as the Pan Am 103 bombings are concerned. Those points were also made clear.
But frankly, this is a subject that comes up very frequently when Security Council members get together.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, welcome home. Some of the African nations feel that the reform package will harm them, that Africa will be marginalized -- the development could be severely damaged by the reforms. How do you respond to this?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: I think that is truly not the case, because what we are trying to do -- the whole reform package -- and Secretary General Kofi Annan has stated it in this way -- is an attempt to make the United Nations more effective and more efficient.
And I think that it is in the best interest of all countries -- and the developing countries, in particular -- to make sure that programs are delivered efficiently and that our money goes toward the efficient delivery of programs, rather than to the payments for unnecessary bureaucratic processes, or even too many people.
So I think that we are in an era where we've got to get the most out of every dollar, and it needs to be -- we need to make sure that the developing countries do, in fact, get the benefits of reform. And this reform package is for all of us.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, regarding the statement issued by the Contact Group last night, how do you -- (inaudible) -- of the bad status for Kosovo? Is the United States prepared to mediate some kind of a dialogue for peaceful solution?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, the statement issued yesterday was done so because there was concern about potential violence in Kosovo by all members of the Contact Group, and a desire to make sure that the refugee situation does not become more difficult; that the education law be put into place so that the people of Kosovo can learn in the language that they want to; and the importance of pointing out that there should be some kind of an enhanced autonomous situation for Kosovo.
The Contact Group members wanted to make clear that we were all concerned about Kosovo.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, can you tell us a little bit about your announcement about a trip to Africa? What nations do you plan to visit, and when? For example, do you definitely plan to go to South Africa to visit President Mandela? Have you discussed this with President Clinton and Hillary Clinton, who has a special interest in Africa?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Well, let me say that the reason for my going to Africa is very much duck-tailed into the same reason that Ambassador Richardson and I wanted to have a ministerial on Africa. We believe that it is high time that more attention be paid to a continent that is very important to all of us.
I obviously discussed it with President Clinton. And President Clinton himself is thinking about going in the near future. Mrs. Clinton had many very important impressions and comments about her trip to Africa with Chelsea. And I think that we all are feeling that it is essential for all of us to pay more attention to that continent.
I have not yet developed my itinerary; and you will be the first to know.
Thank you.

[End of Document]

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