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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release February 10, 1998


Southeast Europe Action Plan

President Clinton, in a meeting with President Petar Stoyanov of Bulgaria today, announced a new Action Plan for Southeast Europe. The Action Plan will give further dynamism to U.S. cooperation with the stable democracies of Southeast Europe. It will help states in the region consolidate reforms, develop regional cooperation, and advance their integration into the European and transatlantic communities. It will also reinforce Balkan peace by promoting stability around Dayton Accord countries.

The U.S. Action Plan for Southeast Europe will be implemented along three tracks:

First, the United States will expand bilateral political, economic, military and civil cooperation with the states of Southeastern Europe.

Second, the United States will work to promote greater regional cooperation.

Third, the United States will work bilaterally and multilaterally, particularly through closer cooperation with members of the European Union, to embed the countries of the region into the evolving architecture of European and transatlantic institutions.

The Action Plan is an evolving framework for the achievement of U.S. goals in the region. Intergovernmental Working Groups in several Southeast European capitals (presently Bulgaria, FYR Macedonia, Romania, and Slovenia) are developing country-specific work programs. These work programs will be supported by Washington agencies. Additionally, we will intensify our dialogue with Allies and partners about this region and look for areas for enhanced cooperation.

Using the format followed by the U.S. Department of Defense in the conduct of the existing Bilateral Working Groups on Defense Matters, the U.S. will establish Bilateral Working Groups on Economic Matters. These Economic Groups will be headed on the U.S. side by a senior State Department official, and include officials from the Departments of Treasury, Commerce, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and other agencies. Like their defense counterparts, the economic working groups will meet once a year to conduct assessments of progress towards agreed goals in the areas of economic development, trade, investment and related fields, and explore opportunities for further cooperation.

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