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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 189-98
April 24, 1998

STATEMENT BY SECRETARY OF DEFENSE WILLIAM S. COHEN

My friend, Alain Richard, the French Minister of Defense, will visit me in Washington next week. I look forward to discussing our cooperation in Bosnia and a wide range of other shared security concerns during that visit.

For more than two centuries, our military relationship with France has been based on shared security concerns and mutual respect. Those same qualities guide dealings between our militaries and our nations today.

Currently, French aircraft fly with American planes to patrol the no-fly zone over southern Iraq, and French and American troops are serving shoulder-to-shoulder in Bosnia, where France has long played a leadership role in U.N. and NATO efforts to bring peace and stability. The cooperation between our forces in Bosnia has been close since the establishment of IFOR in 1995. It is close today, and will continue to be close and productive in the future.

The U.S. and France have worked together on all phases of the NATO mission to bring peace to Bosnia, including efforts to bring indicted war criminals to justice. Minister Richard and I will continue our close working relationship, especially during this period, when our common efforts are showing increasing success precisely because of the strong cooperation of France, the U.S. and other allies.