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Statement of the United States and European Union on Southeast Europe

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                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release
December 18, 2000

                            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-?-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

     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

     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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