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U.S. Troops Key to Peace in Bosnia, Clinton Says

October 07, 1995|NORMAN KEMPSTER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

WASHINGTON — Stepping up his campaign to win public and congressional support for sending U.S. troops to enforce peace in Bosnia-Herzegovina, President Clinton said Friday that without U.S. military power, it will be impossible to end Europe's bloodiest war in half a century.

"In Bosnia, as elsewhere, if the United States does not lead, the job will not be done," Clinton said in an address to Freedom House, a nonpartisan group founded in the 1940s to support democracy abroad. The speech demonstrated a new focus on foreign policy for a President who once concentrated almost exclusively on domestic matters.

Unlike during earlier foreign policy speeches, which he often read woodenly from text, Clinton was in his rhetorical element Friday, ad-libbing through a sometimes self-congratulatory catalogue of U.S. diplomacy in Haiti, Mexico, the Middle East and the Balkans.

Except for a minor relaxation in U.S. sanctions against Cuba, which White House officials had revealed Thursday, no new initiatives were outlined in the speech. Instead, Clinton concentrated on the responsibilities of leadership the United States must shoulder in the post-Cold War world.

The American people, he said, "understand that a war somewhere else could one day involve our sons and daughters. They know that we cannot simply pretend that the rest of the world is not there."

Clinton has pledged to send up to 25,000 U.S. troops to help keep peace in Bosnia if the warring parties there reach a peace accord.

In his address, Clinton was sharply critical of the Republican-controlled Congress for slashing appropriations for foreign aid and for payment of the U.S. assessment to the United Nations. Washington is more than $1 billion behind in its U.N. payments.

"Does the United Nations need to be reformed? Has a lot of our money and everybody else's money been wasted? Of course," Clinton said. "Is that an argument for taking a dive on the United Nations? No."

Clinton devoted only one paragraph of the speech to his plan to relax the Cuba embargo by permitting academic exchanges, removing the ban on U.S. news bureaus on the island and other measures.

Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Tex.), who is seeking the Republican presidential nomination, denounced the steps as "a U-turn in our policy that will only encourage Castro and extend the suffering of the Cuban people."

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