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                     Office of the Press Secretary
                          (New York, New York)
For Immediate Release                                     March 30, 2000


I want to congratulate the countries of Southeast Europe, the Stability Pact, the European Commission, and the World Bank on the success of the Regional Funding Conference for Southeast Europe in Brussels.

Last year we launched the Stability Pact with a common understanding that an undivided, democratic and peaceful Europe can only be built when the countries of Southeast Europe are integrated with the rest of the continent. For that to happen, the countries of the region have to accelerate their political and economic reforms, and the donor community needs to support the region's efforts.

I am very pleased by the progress that has been made on both fronts. The governments of Southeast Europe have begun to take steps to implement the reforms they have promised, including those that will improve their investment climate and strengthen the rule of law. And today, the donor community, including the United States, has reaffirmed its support for the region. We have agreed to fund Quick-Start projects ready to begin this year that will improve regional infrastructure, fight corruption, and advance reform. Countries have pledged $2.3 billion for these projects, out of a broader package of total assistance to Southeast Europe in 2000 estimated at over $6 billion. Over 85 percent of this assistance is being provided by European countries and institutions together with international financial institutions. I congratulate our European partners for their leadership.

The message today from Brussels is clear. A democratic Southeast Europe is on the road to a better future. While Serbia was represented at this conference by the opposition, we look forward to the day when it will be represented by a democratic government.