THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of Press Secretary
JOINT UNITED STATES - NORWAY STATEMENT
The President and the Prime Minister met today at the White House to review the many accomplishments of the enduring U.S.-Norwegian partnership and to explore new areas of cooperation.
Transatlantic solidarity and mutual security in NATO form the core of the U.S.-Norwegian relationship. President Clinton reaffirmed the strong U.S. commitment to the security and defense of Norway. The two leaders reiterated their commitments to the Washington Summit's vision of an Alliance devoted to collective defense, capable of addressing current and future challenges, strengthened by and open to new members, and working with others in a mutually reinforcing way to enhance Euro-Atlantic security and stability. They also reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen European security and defense capabilities for crisis management.
The Prime Minister and the President expressed satisfaction that the concerted action of the NATO Alliance achieved an end to Milosevic's campaign of ethnic cleansing in Kosovo and created the conditions for the safe return of refugees. They reaffirmed their strong commitment to democracy and the rule of law in Kosovo, and their support for the Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe as a means of achieving lasting peace and stability in the region.
The President congratulated the Prime Minister on Norway's essential contributions as Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE. The two leaders underscored the importance of arms control, in particular the 30-nation Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE). The United States and Norway agreed to intensify their efforts, together with other Treaty partners, to reach agreement on adaptation of the CFE Treaty for signature by Heads of State and Government at the November 18-19 OSCE Summit in Istanbul.
The United States and Norway share a vital interest in the development of a democratic, prosperous, and stable Russia. Russia has an opportunity to further entrench its transition to democracy by ensuring free and fair elections in the coming months for its parliament and president. The President and the Prime Minister recognized Russia's struggle against terrorism and reaffirmed their support for Russia's territorial integrity. They urged a constructive dialogue between the Russian government and legitimate leaders in the North Caucasus that could lead to peaceful resolution of conflict, and called on all concerned to avoid indiscriminate use of force and to respect human rights. The Prime Minister and the President agreed that increased international efforts are called for to deal with the problem of nuclear waste in Russia, including that from decommissioned nuclear submarines. The two leaders called on Russia to accept the 1993 amendment to the London Convention that establishes a mandatory moratorium on all dumping of radioactive waste at sea. They welcomed increased international cooperation through the Arctic Council and the Arctic Military Environmental Cooperation Program. Working closely with local governments and communities, they pledged to promote sustainable development and protection of the fragile Arctic environment.
The two leaders expressed satisfaction with the work of the Barents and Baltic Sea States Councils and the extensive U.S.-Norway cooperation under the U.S. Northern European Initiative. They underlined the importance of fully integrating the Baltic countries into the European and trans-Atlantic community, and agreed to continue support for language training programs in Latvia and Estonia to foster social integration.
The Prime Minister and the President share concern over the growing dangers to international security posed by the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in areas of conflict and post-conflict. They announced the establishment of a Norway-U.S. working group to marshal support for nations which agree to destroy surplus small arms.
The two leaders noted the extensive U.S.-Norwegian commercial relationship and affirmed that the United States and Norway attach great importance to the upcoming WTO round in Seattle. They recognized Norway's role as a major international supplier of oil and gas to the world, and agreed U.S. industry will remain a key partner in petroleum production on the Norwegian continental shelf.
The President expressed his appreciation for Norway's strong support of the Middle East peace process through the Oslo process, and saluted Norway's leadership role in the Palestinian donor effort. The two leaders agreed to intensify their efforts to achieve a lasting settlement in the Middle East and other conflict areas. They stressed the need to strengthen the United Nations' capabilities in responding to the challenges of a new Millennium. They agreed that the protection of human rights and dignity, eradication of poverty, and the safeguarding of the global environment were crucial to continued progress. The two leaders agreed to work together to reduce the debt of heavily-indebted poor countries and increase the support among creditors to maximize the benefits of the debt reduction initiative.
Finally, the two leaders agreed to continue the excellent cooperation between the two countries through ongoing dialogue on the full range of bilateral, regional and global issues that join the United States and Norway.