1. Archive

On radio, Clinton praises attack

Here is an edited text of President Clinton's radio address on Saturday:

Good morning. Last night the United Nations, acting with American and other coalition forces, successfully attacked the military positions in Somalia of the warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid. Our forces, thankfully, have sustained no casualties.

The U.N.'s action was a response to a savage attack this past week by Aidid's forces carried out on U.N. peacekeepers. Aidid's attack killed 23 Pakistanis and injured three Americans serving in the U.N.'s force. It was a cold-blooded ambush on U.N. forces who were delivering food and building peace for the people of Somalia.

The United Nations and the United States refuse to tolerate this ruthless disregard for the will of the international community. Therefore, following a request from the U.N. and pursuant to a U.N. Security Council resolution, I ordered the participation of our troops in this action. . . .

With this action, the world community moves to restore order in Somalia's capital and to underscore its commitment to preserve the security of U.N. forces. For if U.N. peacekeepers are to be effective agents for peace and stability in Somalia and elsewhere, they must be capable of using force when necessary to defend themselves and accomplish their goals.

We need to recall why U.S. forces were in Somalia to begin with, and how much has been accomplished since they first arrived. Last December the United States first sent troops to Somalia to help the United Nations answer a desperate call for help. By the time we arrived over 350,000 Somalis already had died in a bloody civil war, shrouding the nation in famine and disease. . . .

Today in Somalia, crops are growing, . . . refugees are beginning to return, schools and hospitals are reopening, a civil police has been re-created, and Somalia has begun a process of national reconciliation with the goal of creating the institutions of democracy. . . .

While American and U.N. efforts in Somalia have been successful, there remains a small but dangerous minority of Somalis who are determined to provoke terror and chaos. Last night's action was essential to send a clear message to the armed gangs, to protect the vast majority of Somalis who long for peace, to enhance the security of our forces still in Somalia, to hasten the day when they can safely return hope and to strengthen the effectiveness . . . of U.N. peacekeeping in Somalia and around the world. . . .

On behalf of all Americans, I am proud of the American forces, who once again have demonstrated extraordinary courage and skill. The world thanks them and all of the U.N. forces in Somalia for their service, for striking a blow against lawlessness and killing, and for advancing the world's commitment to justice and security.

_ Times wires