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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release October 28, 1996


The President announced today that he has designated Richard Schifter, Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and Counselor, National Security Council, to serve also as Special Advisor to the President and the Secretary of State for the Southeast European Cooperative Initiative (SECI).

SECI's goal is to enhance regional cooperation among the countries of Southeastern Europe by encouraging joint and cooperative solutions to shared economic and environmental problems. Under the auspices of SECI, participating countries will seek to address the most urgent aspects of these problems by improving information sharing, planning multi-state programs, and attracting private capital to complement existing sources of funding.

Participation in SECI's program of regional economic and environmental cooperation and development will help bring stability to the region, encouraging the countries of Southeastern Europe, including the states of the former Yugoslavia, to transcend the political disputes which continue to stand in the way of intra-regional harmony. In this regard, SECI will be an important complement to the international community's efforts in the months ahead to consolidate peace in the Balkans.

Ambassador Schifter will, on behalf of the President and the Secretary of State, encourage officials of the regional countries to launch the Southeast European Cooperative Initiative in the coming weeks.

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