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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release May 6, 1998


               The United States and the Republic Of Italy:
                   A New Partnership for a New Century

The United States and Italy have built a strong, genuine and enduring relationship during more than fifty years of close cooperation. Today President Clinton and Prime Minister Prodi assessed the new opportunities and challenges before both countries as this century comes to a close and a new millennium begins. They agreed on a common agenda to create an even closer partnership in the 21st century.

Transatlantic solidarity remains the indispensable cornerstone of the U.S.-Italian relationship and the basis for a Europe secure, prosperous and free. As Allies in NATO, participants in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and partners in the U.S.-EU New Transatlantic Agenda, the United States and Italy reaffirm their confidence in a new Europe and a strong, enduring transatlantic community. Our shared commitment to build a better future does not stop at Europe's borders, but extends to the Middle East, Africa, Asia and Latin America.

As we move into the next century, the world will require increased international cooperation to meet common challenges, foster economic development and uphold democracy and human rights. In pursuing these goals, we reaffirm our strong support for the international institutions we worked to create more than fifty years ago. The United Nations and the Bretton Woods institutions must continue to play a key and reinforced role in tomorrow's increasingly interdependent world.

Joint leadership in political and economic areas is essential as we strive to enhance European security and address new challenges around the globe. We look forward to a historic NATO Summit in Washington in April 1999, which will celebrate NATO's fifty years as the most successful alliance in history, welcome three new members and prepare NATO for another fifty years of close transatlantic cooperation. We recognize that maintaining our security will require vigorous efforts by the range of Euro-Atlantic institutions to promote stability in Southeastern Europe and the Mediterranean.

An even stronger and more effective Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe is a central part of our vision for a more democratic and stable Euro-Atlantic region. We will work closely within the OSCE to focus on ways to spread the security, democracy, freedom and prosperity enjoyed by Western Europe over the past fifty years to other areas of Europe in the coming years.

Europe is pursuing accelerated political and economic integration through the European Union, which the United States has consistently supported. Both the United States and Italy recognize the historic step just taken by Italy and other EU Members to create an Economic and Monetary Union. Italy and Europe can benefit from a successful EMU underpinned by sound macroeconomic and structural policies, which would also be in the best interests of the United States. Indeed, a successful EMU has the potential to benefit the entire transatlantic economic relationship, as will our shared determination to reduce barriers to trade and to work together in the WTO to promote multilateral trade liberalization. The EU, which demonstrates so clearly the vital link between democracy and prosperity, will become an even more dynamic entity and partner for the United States as it welcomes new members and projects increasing stability throughout the Continent.

We will strengthen our overall cooperation through these institutions and other mechanisms to enhance European security. We will consult closely on the most effective ways to prevent new conflicts and address threats to security that do arise, as we have done in Bosnia and Albania and are doing now in Kosovo. We agree that the situation in Kosovo is increasingly serious. The decisions taken by the Contact Group in Rome must be implemented. Absent dialogue, the conflict will only deepen and spill over, threatening regional security. We will continue raising the pressure on Belgrade if it continues to obstruct a political resolution. We will also continue efforts under way to promote stability in Southeastern Europe through the Southeast Europe Cooperation Initiative and other means.

We are committed to expanding the spectrum of our bilateral cooperation in the years ahead. We will increase already strong efforts to stem the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Our cooperation on law enforcement and judicial matters, particularly in the fight against organized crime, terrorism, illegal arms trading, drug trafficking and alien smuggling, is exemplary. Our statement today on increased efforts to combat international trafficking in women and children launches our intensified cooperation in these areas. We will also increase our efforts to promote safety on the high seas through the International Maritime Organization.

We agreed to begin negotiations next month in Washington aimed at concluding an Open Skies and aviation agreement as soon as possible. We have also created a joint working group to enhance U.S.-Italian aerospace cooperation and take advantage of opportunities that will benefit both countries.

One of the strongest pillars of our science and technology relationship has been space cooperation. We welcome recent achievements in this area, including the successful launch of the Cassini mission to Saturn and agreements for cooperation on the International Space Station. We look forward to new initiatives in astronomy, planetary exploration, earth science, biomedical research and commercialization of space.

We also have made significant efforts to expand our long-standing collaboration in biomedical sciences and to jointly address global health concerns. Our respective institutes for health have recently committed to measures which will enhance opportunities for inter-institute collaborative projects in a range of fields, including HIV/AIDS, aging and cancer. We look forward to the implementation of these projects as well as to joint efforts in the fight against malaria, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.

Noting our shared objectives to protect the global climate and environment, we are proud of recent agreements to foster joint development of geothermal, biomass, solar and other applied technologies to reduce emissions, improve air and water quality and conserve scarce natural resources. Mindful of the recent declaration of the G-8 environment ministers at Leeds, we will together address the risks posed by climate change, enforce multilateral environmental agreements, protect marine diversity and reduce threats to the health of our children.

Together the United States and Italy, working with our partners in Europe and elsewhere, have the opportunity to shape a future that is more secure, peaceful, free, and brighter for all. We pledge to do all we can to make the most of this chance to build an enduring legacy of peace and prosperity for the 21st century.

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