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July 30, 1999: Promoting Stability for Southeast Europe

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PRESIDENT CLINTON:
PROMOTING STABILITY FOR SOUTHEAST EUROPE

"We want to promote the integration of all the democracies within the region, and then the integration of the region with Europe. I am committed to doing what I can to see that the United States remains a good partner, with this nation and with the European Union, in continuing to work toward the future."

President Bill Clinton
July 30, 1999

Today, in Sarajevo, President Clinton joined over 40 leaders from Europe and North America in reaffirming our shared commitment to support the reconstruction, development, democratization, stabilization and integration of Southeast Europe by formally launching the Stability Pact. The President and the other leaders agreed to two significant initiatives to promote trade and investment in the region. The President also announced that his Administration is setting aside $10 million to promote democracy in Serbia. The Summit testified to Bosnia's recovery 3 years after the Dayton Peace Accords were signed.

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 recurring. Its goal is to stabilize, transform and eventually integrate the region into the European and Transatlantic mainstream. Under the Pact, the countries of the region with assistance from the United States and our European partners 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.

Promoting Trade and Investment. President Clinton and the other Stability Pact leaders, recognizing that trade and investment are the keys to long-term economic growth in Southeast Europe, agreed to two significant initiatives reflected in the Summit Declaration:

  • An Investment Compact. Countries of the region pledged to improve the investment climate by working to create a predictable and fair business environment; fight corruption and crime; and implement market-oriented reforms.
  • A Trade Expansion Initiative. All leaders committed to pursue increased access to global markets in order to spur development and growth in the region. They also agreed to bolster assistance to regional countries seeking to enter the World Trade Organization.

Promoting Democracy in Serbia. President Clinton pledged to set aside $10 million in assistance to promote democracy in Serbia. This money, drawn from currently available assistance funds, will be used to resume democratization programs that were in place prior to the Kosovo conflict, including assistance to democratic opposition, non-government organizations, and independent media. The President pledged to work with Congress to authorize a significant expansion in such funding over the next two years.

Building a Durable Peace in Bosnia. Today's Summit highlighted the successes of the Dayton Peace Accords that ended the war in Bosnia 3 years ago. The peace has held; ethnic reconciliation has begun; moderate political leaders have risen to power after free and fair elections; and multiethnic government institutions are in place. Other indications of Bosnia's recovery include:

  • After 3 years of assistance, Bosnia has made progress towards economic reconstruction;
  • Refugees displaced by the Bosnia conflict are returning to their homes in increasing numbers; and
  • Significant reductions have been made in the NATO-led peacekeeping force -- U.S. participation has decreased by more than 60 percent.


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