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Clinton Gets Lectured by Foreign Journalists With PM-Clinton-Foreign Policy Bjt

May 4, 1994

Undated (AP) _ From far corners of the world, journalists got their chance to question the president of the United States. And do a little lecturing at the same time.

″Instead of just politics, would it be more productive to treat equally all the sides in the civil war?″ asked the Serbian television reporter, echoing his country’s view that the United States is siding with the Bosnian Muslims.

″I guess the short answer is no,″ replied the president.

That question was just one of several instances during a CNN foreign policy forum Tuesday night in which several foreign journalists assumed a prosecutorial air.

″Don’t you think, Mr. President, that the decision that you don’t allow Poland and other Central European countries to become NATO members just because of pressure, of Russian pressure which Russia exerted, is a mistake?″ asked a Polish television reporter.

A questioner from Cuba wanted to know why the United States was maintaining a trade embargo on his country.

″The U.S. government has shown a great sense of wisdom and respect and maintained normal relations, economic and political, with different countries with very peculiar political systems,″ he said. ″Why is it different with Cuba?″

Then he added what he called ″something personal.″

″I refuse to accept that a wise and intelligent government that you preside takes that measure only, like the experts say, for winning the political votes of Florida.″

Clinton laughed and said, ″I didn’t win in Florida, so you can’t hold me.″

A reporter from Trinidad began his question by giving Clinton a quick history of U.S. relations with Latin America and the Caribbean, including mention of the Monroe Doctrine, Franklin Roosevelt’s Good Neighbor Policy, John F. Kennedy’s Alliance for Progress and what he called the ″gunboat diplomacy″ of Ronald Reagan and George Bush.

He finally got around to asking what Clinton’s policy was toward the region.

Only once did the president sound annoyed with a question. That was when Christiane Amanpour, a CNN correspondent reporting from Sarajevo, asked if he didn’t think that ″the constant flip-flop of your administration on the issue of Bosnia sets a very dangerous precedent?″

″There have been no constant flip-flops, madam,″ the president replied curtly.

At the end of the broadcast, he tried to make amends.

When asked if he was bothered by accusations he was vacillating, Clinton said, ″Oh, sometimes it really bothers me.″

He went on to say that ″I was waiting for my lecture from Sarajevo tonight and I rather enjoyed it, because that poor woman has seen the horrors of this war and she has had to report on them.

″She’s been fabulous. She’s done a great service for the whole world on that. I do not blame her for being mad at me, but I’m doing the best I can with this problem from my perspective.″

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