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Balkans: Fact Sheet on Stability Pact

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary (Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina)

For Immediate Release July 30, 1999

FACT SHEET

Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe

Today President Clinton joined over forty leaders from across Europe and North America in reaffirming our shared commitment to support the reconstruction, development, democratization, stabilization and integration of southeast Europe, in the wake of victory in Kosovo, by formally launching the Stability Pact.

The Stability Pact, signed last month by representatives of over 27 democracies, including the United States, is an initiative to prevent regional crises such as the Kosovo conflict from repeating in the future. It seeks to help build a Southeast Europe animated by cooperation and democracy rather than further conflict and ethnic cleansing. Its goal is to stabilize, transform and eventually integrate the region into the European and transatlantic mainstream.

-- It reflects a vision, shared by our European friends and allies, that the President articulated in San Francisco on April 15, to "do for Southeast Europe what we helped to do for Western Europe after World War II, and for Central Europe after the Cold War: to help its people build a region of multiethnic democracies, a community that upholds common standards of human rights, a community in which borders are open to people and trade, where nations cooperate to make war unthinkable."

-- The Pact was adopted last month by foreign ministers from eight countries of the region (Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Romania, Slovenia, Macedonia); as well as the European Union; the United States; the Russian Federation; Canada; and Japan; along with representatives of the United Nations, NATO, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the Council of Europe and of several other international political and financial international organizations. A number of other countries participated as observers and have asked to join the Pact. It excludes the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia whose government has contravened the Pact's basic principles. The FRY can become a full and equal participant provided it continues to support full implementation of Kosovo settlement and once it demonstrates its respect for the principles of this Pact.

The European Union in its leading role in implementing the Stability Pact and will provide the lion's share of necessary resources. The United States will also play a major role, providing direction and a fair share of the resources, in service to our national interests. The Pact acknowledges NATO's leading role in the security field as the OSCE will play in the democratization working table.

-- The Pact signals a strong, long-term political commitment to integration of South Eastern Europe into the Euro-Atlantic mainstream. It establishes a set of principles to guide future cooperation and some mechanisms to facilitate coordination of action.

-- Under the Pact, the countries of the region pledge to work more closely together to reduce barriers to trade and investment, respect human rights, build democracy and create a sense of common security - all critical steps for eventual integration into the European and transatlantic mainstream. The United States and our European partners, in turn, pledge to work closely with the countries of the region to facilitate these efforts.

-- The Stability Pact establishes a "Regional Table" to coordinate "Working Tables" for democracy and human rights, economic reconstruction, development and cooperation, and security issues. These tables will help participants identify new opportunities for cooperation and enhance coordination of existing efforts. The Pact does not seek to create new structures; rather, it builds on good cooperation already underway in the region.

-- The important roles of the Southeast European Cooperative Initiative (SECI) in fostering regional economic cooperation and the Southeast Europe Defense Ministerials (SEDM) in fostering regional military cooperation are also recognized.

-- Bodo Hombach, former Chief of Staff to German Chancellor Schroeder, will serve as Special Coordinator for the Pact and overall facilitator of the process. He will have an American deputy, Donald Kursch, a senior Foreign Service Officer.

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