THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
STATEMENT OF THE UNITED STATES AND EUROPEAN UNION ON SOUTHEAST EUROPE Washington, December 18, 2000
At a time when democracy is taking root throughout the region and when it should be consolidated for the benefit of all, the very successful cooperation to date between the United States and the European Union in the South East Europe region must continue to be close and sustained.
The year 2000 began with democratic change in Croatia. It comes to a close with the victory of democratic forces in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY). These are heartening developments that offer significant new prospects to all of the countries of the region.
Recent historic changes pave the way for regional reconciliation and cooperation. They allow all the countries in the region to establish new relations that are beneficial to each of them as well as for the stability of the region, the development of their economies, and peace, prosperity and stability on the European continent. They give a fresh impetus to a policy of good neighborliness based on the negotiated settlement of disputes, respect for the rights of persons belonging to minorities, respect for international obligations, including vis-a-vis the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia, the lasting settlement of the issue of refugees and displaced persons and respect for the international borders. They reinforce regional security and should promote the conclusion by the countries concerned of negotiations for weapons control and reduction at regional level, as envisaged by the Dayton Agreements.
We give our full support to this process of reconciliation and regional cooperation, which offer new prospects for the countries in the region. We welcome the results of the Zagreb Summit on November 24. The Summit underlined the connection between the progress of the countries of the region towards democracy, the rule of law, regional reconciliation and cooperation, on the one hand, and the rapprochement of each of these countries with the European Union on the basis of an individual treatment, in the framework of the European Union's stabilization and association process, on the other hand. In this regard, we welcome the commitments undertaken by the five countries of the stabilization and association process in the Zagreb declaration.
We also emphasize the importance of the Stability Pact for South East Europe as a means to accelerate the integration of the region into the Euro-Atlantic mainstream. The inclusion of the FRY in the Stability Pact will make it possible for the Pact to reach its full potential. The Stability Pact deserves our continued political and financial support. We welcome the call of the High Level Steering Group, which met in Paris on November 14, 2000, to organize a second Stability Pact Regional Funding Conference as early as feasible in 2001.
The United States and the European Union have mobilized considerable resources to support the consolidation of democracy in the FRY. We look forward to continued democratic progress in Serbia's elections on December 23. We also welcome the initiative shown by the European Commission and World Bank in hosting the donors' coordination meeting on December 12, 2000, in response to the most urgent needs of the FRY/Serbia. The European Commission and the World Bank should ensure that, in the framework of the High Level Steering Group, the efforts being made by Europe, the United States and all the other donors are coordinated and contribute to the consolidation of democracy and to the economic development of that country. We welcome the decisions already taken by the High Level Steering Group at its meeting in Paris on November 14, 2000, in particular to pursue a funding conference for the FRY as early as feasible in 2001.
We strongly condemn the outbreak of violence in the Presevo area of southern Serbia, and call upon all parties to exercise maximum restraint and to resolve differences exclusively through peaceful, transparent dialogue.
We welcome the progress made in Kosovo in the implementation of UNSC Resolution 1244: the setting up of an interim administration has taken place in a satisfactory manner, reconstruction is continuing, municipal elections have taken place in a peaceful and democratic fashion and security conditions have improved. We vigorously condemn the use of violence, any form of extremism and any act which makes the co-existence of communities more difficult and which adversely affects regional stability. We fully support the right of all displaced Kosovars to return in peace and security. We confirm our full support to the implementation of Resolution 1244. In this regard, we fully support the efforts of the UN Special Representative of the Secretary General to establish democratic, self-governing institutions in Kosovo based on clearly enunciated principles in accord with Resolution 1244.
We thank and congratulate Mr. Kouchner for the remarkable work he has done in difficult circumstances. We welcome the action jointly carried out by UNMIK and KFOR. We pledge our full support for Mr. Haekkerup who has recently been appointed the UN Secretary General's Special Representative in Kosovo.
In Bosnia and Herzegovina we welcome the constructive contributions of the High Representative and of SFOR to the building of a functioning State. We note with satisfaction that those parties committed to Bosnia and Herzegovina's European orientation received the majority of the votes in the recent general election. We expect the new authorities to demonstrate their commitment to Bosnia and Herzegovina's European reform agenda by taking the necessary urgent actions on key political and economic issues. Any government, at State or Entity level, must base its action on strict compliance with the Dayton Agreements and the ensuing obligations, in particular the conclusions of the Ministerial Conferences for the implementation of those Agreements.
We welcome the continued progress made elsewhere in the region. However, we are concerned at increased political violence in Albania and support the Albanian Government's efforts to uphold the rule of law.
We call upon all States in the region to continue and intensify efforts to resolve bilateral differences and internal ethnic minority issues exclusively through peaceful, democratic dialogue, and to show full respect for international obligations including cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia.
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