Remarks by the President at Burundi Peace Talks; Arusha, Tanzania (8/28/00)
                                THE WHITE HOUSE

                         Office of the Press Secretary
                               (Arusha, Tanzania)
  For Immediate Release                                   August 28, 2000

                            REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
                       IN ADDRESS AT BURUNDI PEACE TALKS

                                   Simba Hall
                     Arusha International Conference Center
                                Arusha, Tanzania

8:10 P.M. (L)

     PRESIDENT CLINTON:  Thank you very much, President Museveni, President
Mkapa, distinguished leaders of the OAU and various African nations and
other nations supporting this peace process.  It is a great honor for me to
be here today with a large delegation from the United States, including a
significant number of members of our Congress, and my Special Envoy to
Africa, Reverend Jesse Jackson and Howard Wolpe and others who have worked
on this for a long time.

     This is a special day in America and for Reverend Jackson.  I think I
should just mention it in passing.  This is the 37th anniversary of the
most important civil rights meeting we ever had:  the great March on
Washington, where Jesse Jackson was present and Martin Luther King gave his
"I Have A Dream" speech.  I say that not because I think the situations are
analogous, but because everybody needs a dream, and I think whether you all
decide to sign this or not depends in part on what your dream is.

     I thank my friend, President Mandela, for coming in to replace the
marvelous late President Nyerere, to involve himself in this process.
After 27 years in prison and four years as President of his country --
which some people think is another form of prison -- (laughter) -- he could
be forgiven if he had pursued other things.  But he came here because he
believes in peace and reconciliation.  He knows there is no guarantee of
success; but if you don't try, there is a guarantee of failure.  And
failure is not an acceptable option.

     So I thank him, I thank the OAU and, Mr. President, you are here
today.  I thank the regional leaders, in addition to Presidents Museveni
and Mkapa, President Moi, President Kagame, Prime Minister Meles, for their
work.  I thank the Nyerere Foundation, Judge Bomani, Judge Warioba and I
thank the people of Tanzania for hosting us here in a city that has become
the Geneva of Africa, thanks to many of you.  (Applause.)

     I say again, I am honored to be in a place that is a tribute to the
memory of President Nyerere, and I'm glad that Madam Nyerere is here today.
I met her a few moments ago, and I thank her for her presence.  (Applause.)

     I thank President Buyoya and all the Burundians from all the parties
who have come to Arusha and for the efforts you have made.

     Peacemaking requires courage and vision -- courage because there are
risks involved, and vision because you have to see beyond the risks to
understand that however large they are, they are smaller than the price of
unending violence.  That you have come so far suggests you have the courage
and vision to finish the job, and we pray that you will.

     I confess that I come here with some humility.  I have spent a great
deal of time in the last eight years trying to talk people into laying down
their arms and opening their hands to one another -- from the Middle East
to Northern Ireland to the Balkans.  I have had some measure of success and
known some enormously painful failures.  But I have not been here with you
all this long time -- and maybe I have nothing to add to your
deliberations, but I would like to share some things that I have learned in
eight years of seeing people die, seeing people fight with one another
because they're of different ethnic or racial or tribal or religious
groups, and of seeing the miracles that come from normal peace.

     First, to state the obvious; there will be no agreement unless there
is a compromise.  People hate compromise because it requires all those who
participate in it to be less than satisfied.  So it is, by definition, not
completely satisfying.  And those who don't go along can always point their
finger at you and claim that you sold out:  Oh, it goes too fast in
establishing democracy.  Oh, it goes too slow in establishing democracy.
It has absolutely too many protections for minority rights.  No, it doesn't
have enough protections for minority rights.

     And there's always a crowd that never wants a compromise -- a small
group that actually would, by their own definition, at least, benefit from
continued turmoil and fighting.  So if you put the compromise on the table,
they will use it like salt being rubbed into old wounds.  And they're
always very good.  They know just where the break points are to strike fear
into the hearts of people who have to make the hard decisions.  I have seen
this all over the world.

     But I know that honorable compromise is important, and requires people
only to acknowledge that no one has the whole truth, that they have made a
decision to live together, and that the basic aspirations of all sides can
be fulfilled by simply saying no one will be asked to accept complete

     Now, no one ever compromises until they decide it's better than the
alternative.  So I ask you to think about the alternative.  You're not
being asked today to sign a comprehensive agreement, you're being asked to
sign on to a process which permits you to specify the areas in which you
still have disagreements, but which will be a process that we all hope is
completely irreversible.

     Now, if you don't do it, what is the price?  If you don't do it, what
is the chance that the progress you have made will unravel?  If you come
back in five or 10 years, will the issues have changed?  I think not.  The
gulf between you won't narrow, but the gulf between Burundi and the rest of
the world, I assure you, will grow wider if you let this moment slip away.
More lives will be lost.  And I have a few basic questions.  I admit, I am
an outsider.  I admit, I have not been here with you.  But I have studied
this situation fairly closely.  I don't understand how continued violence
will build schools of your children, bring water to your villages, make
your crops grow, or bring you into the new economy.  I think it is
impossible that that will happen.

     Now, I do think it is absolutely certain that if you let this moment
slip away, it will dig the well of bitterness deeper and pile the mountain
of grievances higher, so that some day, when somebody else has to come here
and sit at a table like this, they will have an even harder job than you
do.  So I urge you to work with President Mandela; I urge you to work with
each other to seize the opportunity that exists right now.

     And I urge those groups, including the rebels who are not now part of
this process, to join it and begin taking your own risks for peace.  No one
can have a free ride here.  Now that there is a process for resolving
differences peacefully, they should lay down their arms.

     Now, if you take this step today, it is a first step.  It can't
restore the bonds of trust by itself.  It can't restore the sense of
understanding that is necessary for people to live together.  So I will
also acknowledge that success depends not only on what you say or sign in
Arusha, also what you do in the weeks and months and years ahead in
Burundi.  The agreements you reach have to be respected and implemented
both in letter and spirit.  Again, I say, if you decide to do this,
everyone must acknowledge there must be no victors and no vanquished.  If
one side feels defeated, it will be likely to fight again, and no Burundian
will be secure.  And, after all, security for all is one of the main
arguments for doing this.

     Now, let me say something else.  Of course, you must confront the past
with honesty.  There is hardly a Burundian family that has not felt the
sorrow of losing a loved one to violence.  The history must be told, the
causes must be understood.  Those responsible for violence against innocent
people must be held accountable.  But what is the goal here?  The goal must
be to end the cycle of violence, not perpetuate it.

     So I plead with you; I've seen this a lot of places, and it's always
the same.  You have to help your children remember their history, but you
must not force them to relive their history.  They deserve to live in their
tomorrows, not in your yesterdays.  (Applause.)  Let me just make one other
point.  When all is said and done, only you can bring an end to the
bloodshed and sorrow your country has suffered.  Nelson Mandela will be a
force for peace.  The United States will try to be a force for peace.  But
no one can force peace; you must choose it.
     Now, again, I say, I watched the parties in Ireland fight for 30
years.  I've watched the parties in the Middle East fight for 50 years.
I've watched the parties in the Balkans now go at it and then quit and then
go at it again, and then I've watched -- saw a million people driven out of
Kosovo.  And when we began to talk about peace in Bosnia, the three
different ethnic and religious groups didn't even want to sit down together
in the same room.

     But when it's all said and done, it always comes down to the same
thing.  You have to find a way to support democracy and respect for the
majority, and their desires.  You have to have minority rights, including
security.  You have to have shared decision-making, and there must be
shared benefits from your living together.

     Now, you can walk away from all this and fight some more and worry
about it, and let somebody come back here 10 years from now.  No matter how
long you take, when it comes down to it, they'll still be dealing with the
same issues.  And I say, if you let anybody else die because you can't
bring this together now, all you will do is make it harder for people to
make the same decisions you're going to have to make here anyway.

     So I will say again:  If you decide, if you choose, not because
anybody is forcing you, but because you know it is right to give your
children their tomorrows; if you choose peace, the United States and the
world community will be there to help you make it pay off.  (Applause.)  We
will strongly support an appropriate role for the U.N. in helping to
implement it.  We will support your efforts to demobilize combatants and to
integrate them into a national army.  We will help you bring refugees home
and to meet the needs of displaced children and orphans.  (Applause.)

     We will help you to create the economic and social conditions
essential to a sustainable peace -- from agricultural development to child
immunization, to the prevention of AIDS.  I know this is hard, but I
believe you can do it.  Consider the case of Mozambique.  A civil war there
took a million lives, most of them innocent civilians.  Of every five
infants born in Mozambique during the civil war, three -- three -- died
before their fifth birthday, either murdered or stricken by disease.

     Those who survived grew up knowing nothing but war.  Yet today,
Mozambique is at peace.  It has found a way to include everyone in its
political life, and out of the devastation.  Last year it had one of the
five fastest-growing economies in the entire world.  (Applause.)  Now, you
can do that.  But you have to choose.  And you have to decide if you're
going to embrace that.  You have to create a lot of room in your mind and
heart and spirit for that kind of future.  So you have to let some things

     Now, Mr. Mandela -- he's the world's greatest example of letting
things go.  (Applause.)  But when we got to be friends, I said to him one
day, in a friendly way, I said, you know, Mandela, you're a great friend,
but you're also a great politician.  It was quite smart to invite your
jailers to your inauguration.  Good politics.  But tell me the truth, now.
When they let you out of jail the last time and you were walking to
freedom, didn't you have a moment when you were really, really angry at
them again?  You know what he said?  He said, yes, I did -- a moment.  then
I realized I had been in prison for 27 years, and if I hated them after I
got out, I would still be their prisoner, and I wanted to be free.

     Sooner or later, hatred, vengeance, the illusion that power over
another group of people will bring security in life, these feelings can be
just as iron, just as confining as the doors of a prison cell.  I don't ask
you to forget what you went through in the bitter years.  But I hope you
will go home to Burundi not as prisoners of the past, but builders of the
future.  I will say again, if you decide, America and the world will be
with you.  but you, and only you, must decide whether to give your children
their own tomorrows.

     Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

     END  8:30 P.M. (L)

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