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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Clinton Addresses Paris Assembly

PARIS -- In the first address by a U.S. president in 75 years to the French National Assembly, President Bill Clinton urged patience over Bosnia on Tuesday and called on Europeans to pull together against anti-democratic forces. "We must be patient," Clinton said. "We must understand that we do not have total control over events in every nation, but we have made progress in Bosnia." Clinton said the growing free world faces the post-Cold War challenge of uniting "our people when they do not feel themselves in imminent peril." "It is a mighty challenge," Clinton told the French lawmakers. "It will require resources. It will take years, even decades." Clinton was greeted with warm applause when he stepped to the lectern in the ornate assembly hall. He was the first president since Woodrow Wilson to address the assembly in 1919. Clinton said the United States and Europe failed after World War I to build a secure trans-Atlantic partnership on the strength of victory. Then, after defeating Nazi Germany, which Clinton celebrated Monday on the beaches of Normandy, Clinton said Western allies rallied together against the Cold War threat. "Now, we have arrived in this century's third moment of decision," Clinton said. While the Cold War has evaporated, there is a "cancerous presence eating away at states" in the form of "purposeless slaughter in Bosnia," the rise of skin-heads, anti-Semitism and other hatreds. This, he said, has left people across Europe "addicted to the political painkillers." Counseling patience, Clinton said the nations of Europe have chosen democracy and must stay on that path. On the conflict in Bosnia, Clinton said, "All of us want to bring an end to the fighting," Clinton said. "It is a mighty challenge...It will require resources. It will take years, even decades." The lawmakers did not applaud during Clinton's speech but gave him a long standing ovation at the end. Clinton stressed accomplishments in Bosnia, noting that it had not spread into a wider conflict, that Bosnian Moslems and Croats had signed a peace agreement and that humanitarian airlifts had succeeded. "We must do all we can to get both sides to embrace" U.S. proposals for a cease-fire, he said. He said post-Cold War problems range from the "purposeful slaughter in Bosnia to the random violence of skinheads in all of our nations." "Our challenge now," Clinton said, "is to rally our people around the opportunity of peace as those before us united around the dangers of war." On his first visit to France as president, Clinton endorsed a UN proposal for a renewable four-month cease-fire in the former Yugoslav republic and enlisted Prime Minister Edouard Balladur's support for sanctions against North Korea, a communist nation denying vital nuclear information to international inspectors. Clinton held separate talks with Gaullist leaders Jacques Chirac, the mayor of Paris, and Balladur. Both want to be the conservative candidate in presidential elections next year. He also was to meet with Socialist President Fran?ois Mitterrand, who says he intends to remain in office until his term ends in 1995 despite a battle with cancer.