THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Aboard Air Force One en route to Seattle, Washington) ________________________________________________________________________ For Immediate Release May 14, 1999
STATEMENT BY THE PRESS SECRETARY
U.S. Ports No Longer Closed to Vessels Owned and Operated by the Government of Montenegro
National security interests require that measures be taken on an ongoing basis to control the access of certain foreign flag vessels to U.S. ports and territorial waters. The principal objective of this control has been and remains the protection of U.S. vessels, ports, harbors and waterfront facilities from sabotage or other unlawful activities. In addition, the specific measures taken protect sensitive operations and defense facilities in waterfront areas from espionage and foreign intelligence gathering.
In light of the ongoing NATO military operations being conducted in relation to the crisis in Kosovo, effective April 5, vessels flying the flag or under the effective control of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) were prohibited from entering U.S. ports and territorial waters, subject to certain exceptions covering emergency circumstances and the right of innocent passage.
Effective today, U.S. ports and territorial waters are no longer closed to vessels owned and operated by the government of Montenegro, provided that such vessels meet certain security requirements established by the Coast Guard. This action is being taken to support the democratic government of Montenegro, while at the same time safeguarding U.S. ports and waterways.