THE WHITE HOUSE
Office Of The Press Secretary
STATEMENT BY THE PRESS SECRETARY
The President's planned trip to Europe and the former Soviet Union in January will reaffirm the importance of Europe to U.S. political, economic and security interests. It will also provide an opportunity for the President to articulate his vision of transatlantic relations and to further the process of enlarging the community of market democracies while replacing cold war divisions with a more integrated and unified Europe.
The President will open his trip in Brussels on January 9 with a major address on U.S.-European relations. He will then attend the NATO Summit on January 10 and 11, followed by meetings with the leadership of the European Union. The President will help to reshape NATO's relationship with the new democracies in Europe's east and reaffirm the importance of U.S.-EU cooperation on political and economic matters.
The President will next visit Prague on January 11 and 12, where he has proposed to meet with leaders of the Visegrad countries -- Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. The United States appreciates the willingness of the Czech government and President Havel to host this regional meeting. The meeting in Prague will underscore U.S. support for the security of the new democracies of Central and Eastern Europe, for their transformation to fully-functioning market economies, and for their cooperation with one another as they deepen their partnership with the United States, Western Europe and Western organizations.
The President has accepted an invitation from President Boris Yeltsin to make a state visit to Russia from January 12 to 15. This summit will further strengthen the new democratic partnership established between the United States and Russia during the Vancouver meetings in April 1993. In addition to discussions with President Yeltsin on economic, security and regional issues, the President plans meetings with a variety of Russian reform leaders to obtain a first-hand understanding of progress toward economic and political reform in Russia.
Following his visit to Moscow, the President will travel to Minsk on January 15, at the invitation of Belarusian President Shushkevich. By ratifying the START-I and Nuclear NonProliferation Treaties, Belarus has demonstrated its commitment to a non-nuclear future. During the visit to Minsk, the two Presidents will discuss ways in which the United States and Belarus can expand their bilateral relationship in support of the democratic and and economic reform process in Belarus.
The scope of the President's travel and the developing schedule of meetings and events underscore the importance of the transatlantic partnership in the post-Cold War era. In this regard, and reflecting the deep American consciousness of the history, interests, and sacrifices that the United States shares with the states of Europe, the President has accepted invitations to visit Great Britain, France, and Italy in conjunction with his attendance at World War II commemoration events in June, 1994.
In conjunction with his attendance at the G-7 Summit in Naples, scheduled for July, 1994 the President has also accepted with pleasure an invitation to visit Germany.