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Condoleezza Rice With Bosnian Tri-Presidency Chair

Remarks With Ivo Miro Jovic, Chairman of the Bosnian Tri-Presidency, at Wreath Laying Ceremony to Honor Ambassador Robert Frasure, Nelson Drew and Joseph Kruzel, American Diplomats Killed in Bosnia and Herzegoniva in 1995

Secretary Condoleezza Rice
C Street Lobby
Washington, DC
November 22, 2005

(11:30 a.m. EST)

SECRETARY RICE: Good morning. President Jovic, Prime Minister Terzic, President Tihic, and President Paravac, welcome and thank you very much for being here today. And a warm welcome also to Secretary Albright, to Ambassador Holbrooke and to Sandy Berger, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. Today, as we look back on a decade of peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, it is fitting and crucial that we remember those Americans who sacrificed most to make peace possible.

Robert Frasure, Joseph Kruzel and Nelson Drew gave their lives to help others escape the miseries of war and this morning we honor their memory.

One decade ago the United States summoned the greatest talents in our government to work for peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Bob Frasure, Joe Kruzel and Nelson Drew were on the frontlines of this historic undertaking. And they brought not only their decades of knowledge and expertise to the mission; they brought their character and their levity and their humanity.

Bob Frasure advanced American diplomacy around the world and opened our Embassy as Ambassador to Estonia. He was a tough negotiator, a trusted friend and a beloved mentor to so many members of our State Department family and those who knew Bob best remember his humor and his irony, his easy southern metaphors and his abiding love for his family.

I would like to thank Bob's wife, Katharina, and their two daughters, Virginia and Sarah, for their attendance here today and to let all of you know that yesterday we awarded the Bob Frasure award for leadership and diplomacy to Ambassador Bill Burns, our Ambassador to the Russian Federation.

Joe Kruzel -- Joe Kruzel worked tirelessly to integrate Eastern Europe into the West after the Iron Curtain fell. It is impossible today to imagine a modern NATO without Joe's contribution during the last century. Joe's unique wit and his ready laugh, his professional manner and his old airman's reverence for Americans in uniform are still foremost in the memories of his colleagues and friends and I am pleased that Joe's wife Gail and their son John are joining us today.

Nelson Drew -- Nelson served America as a warrior, as a diplomatic and ultimately as a peacemaker. He was a scholar and an Air Force officer who had worked on Balkan issues for many years and who distinguished himself as a keen intellect and with his poise under pressure. Those who knew Nelson and those who loved him most were moved by his unfailing religious faith, his boundless search for peace and his devotion to his family, and today I would like to welcome Nelson's wife Sandy for her presence here.

Ladies and gentlemen, Bob and Joe and Nelson did not live long enough to see the achievement of peace at Dayton, but they imagined the promise of peace and they laid its foundation. And today, because of their work and their sacrifice, their vision of a democratic peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina is becoming a reality.

All Americans as well as all Bosnians and millions more throughout the Balkans and Europe are indebted to Bob and Joe and Nelson. By helping others to secure their liberty, they made our nation and our world more secure. And their legacy of selfless service remains a source of inspiration for all of us who honor them and seek to advance the hopeful process and progress that they began.

Thank you.

PRESIDENT JOVIC: Madame Secretary, your excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, we are gathered here today with a very noble task, to remember those who paid for their nobility and their love towards humanity with their lives.

I come from a very small country in Europe in which war raged only ten years ago. The United States, both the government and the people, wanted to help us so they sent us their brave sons. Amongst them were your husbands, your fathers. They took their jobs very seriously and they came to help me and my children.

Today I live in peace with my children and I am able to see them every day, and it is very painful to me to know that you are not able to do the same. But I can assure you one thing: We keep these men always in our memory and we always pray to God on their behalf.

And I hope that these words that I've just uttered will help you understand us in Bosnia a little bit better. Thanks to their courage and their selflessness, they were able to build a bridge of friendship between Bosnia and Herzegovina and the United States. And thanks to them, Bosnia today lives a normal life, a life where people can achieve peace and a normal lifestyle.

And therefore I do urge you to be very proud of the people that you have lost because there is a country out there that lives thanks to them. And my deepest condolences to all of you.

MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, to conclude our ceremony this morning, I'd like to ask that we all join together in a moment of silence to remember Bob, Joe and Nelson.

(A moment of silence was observed.)

MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for joining us this morning in this solemn tribute to the men who lost their lives ten years ago in Bosnia. This is the first in a series of official events commemorating the tenth anniversary of the signing of the Dayton Peace Accords. And now, as Secretary Rice meets with the official Bosnia delegation, I'd like to ask that you follow you escorts and join us in the Treaty Room where, in a few moments, we will have a ceremony where two agreements between the United States and Bosnia and Herzegovina will be signed. And that concludes our ceremony, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for joining us today. 2005/1098

Released on November 22, 2005


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