THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT
Today I have signed into law H.R. 4425, which includes emergency supplemental funding to bolster democracy and battle drug-trafficking in Colombia, and to keep the peace and build stability in Kosovo.
Colombia is a strong ally of the United States and the oldest democracy in Latin America. Today it is under attack -- from civil conflict and drug trafficking that fuels violence, undercuts honest enterprise, and undermines public confidence in democracy.
President Andres Pastrana has worked with experts in his country and elsewhere to put together "Plan Colombia" -- a comprehensive plan to seek peace, fight drugs, build the economy, and deepen democracy. The legislation I signed today represents America's contribution to the struggle. It includes a ten-fold increase in U.S. funds to promote good government, judicial reform, human rights protection, and economic development. It will increase incentives for the peaceful resolution of the civil war, while helping the government staunch the flow of drugs to our shores.
As Colombians fight to build their democracy and block the illegal drug trade, they are fighting for all of us. If they are willing to take up the fight, we should be willing to take on some of the cost. I am proud to sign legislation that appropriates funds for doing that.
This legislation also funds our request for military operations in Kosovo. NATO forces won the war in 78 days; it will take longer to secure a stable peace. I applaud Congress for sending a message that we will stand by our troops until the job is done.
While I am pleased with Congressional action on Colombia and Kosovo, this legislation is disappointing for what it leaves out. It undercuts U.S. interests by omitting funding for U.N. peacekeeping operations in Southeast Europe, assistance for economic and democratic reforms, and support for civilian infrastructure. Such support is critical not only to advance long-term stability in Southeast Europe, but also to create the conditions for the eventual withdrawal of U.S. troops.
I am also disappointed the bill does not include requested funding to relieve the debts of the world's poorest countries, delaying relief for nations that have implemented far-reaching economic reforms. Additionally, the bill offers inadequate funding for Mozambique and other Southern African nations devastated by recent flooding.
Finally, I am pleased the bill provides needed home energy assistance for low-income families, which will be essential in the event of a dangerous heat wave this summer, and provides further assistance, including housing construction and repair, to the victims of Hurricane Floyd, some of whom still lack permanent shelter.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON
THE WHITE HOUSE July 13, 2000