Cyprus and the Aegean
Tensions on Cyprus, Greek-Turkish disagreements in the Aegean, and Turkey’s relationship with the EU have serious implications for regional stability and the evolution of European political and security structures. Our goals are to stabilize the region by reducing long-standing Greek-Turkish tensions, pursuing a comprehensive settlement on Cyprus, and supporting Turkey’s full integration into European institutions. A democratic, secular, stable, and Western-oriented Turkey is critical to these efforts and has supported broader U.S. efforts to enhance stability in Bosnia, the nations of the former Soviet Union and the Middle East, as well as to contain Iran and Iraq. The President’s trip to Turkey and Greece in November 1999 highlighted encouraging signs of progress for reconciliation in the region, including talks on the Cyprus dispute that are being held under the auspices of the UN in New York and Geneva. The EU’s historic decision in December 1999 at its Helsinki Summit to grant candidate status to Turkey — which the United States strongly encouraged — reinforced the development of Greek-Turkish rapprochement, while encouraging Turkey to expand its democracy and observance of human rights for all its citizens.
The Baltic States
The special nature of our relationship with Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania is recognized in the 1998 Charter of Partnership, which clarifies the principles upon which U.S. relations with the Baltic States are based and provides a framework for strengthening ties and pursuing common goals. These goals include integration of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia into the transatlantic community and development of close, cooperative relationships among all the states in Northeastern Europe. Through the Northern European Initiative we seek to strengthen regional cooperation, enhance regional security and stability, and promote the growth of Western institutions, trade and investment by bringing together the governments and private sector interests in the Baltic and Nordic countries, Poland, Germany, and Russia.
Historic progress was achieved in implementing the Good Friday Accord when, on December 2, 1999, an inclusive power-sharing government was formed in Northern Ireland, the principle of consent was accepted with respect to any change in the territorial status of Northern Ireland, new institutions were launched for North-South cooperation on the island of Ireland, and the Irish Republican Army named a representative to the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning (IICD) of paramilitary weapons (loyalist paramilitaries named their representatives to the IICD soon thereafter). Although differences over the arms decommissioning issue led to suspension of the new institutions on February 11, 2000, the institutions were restored on May 27 following agreement between the British and Irish governments and political leaders. On June 25, the IICD reported that international inspectors visited several IRA arms dumps and concluded that the weapons were secure and could not be used without the IICD becoming aware that this happened. The IRA announced on June 26 that it had reestablished contact with the IICD. These developments followed continued progress in promoting human rights and equality in Northern Ireland, including the introduction of legislation to implement the important recommendations put forward for police reform in the Patten Report issued on September 9, 1999. Disagreements over progress on decommissioning of arms have affected progress.
The United States continues to work with the British and Irish governments and the political leaders in Northern Ireland to achieve full implementation of the Good Friday Accord. Working through the International Fund for Ireland and the private sector, we will help the people seize the opportunities that peace will bring to attract new investment and bridge the community divide, create new factories, workplaces, and jobs, and establish new centers of learning for the 21st century.
Russia and the Newly Independent States (NIS)
There is no historical precedent for the transition underway in Russia, Ukraine, and other NIS. The United States has core national interests at stake in those endeavors and has acted quickly to help people across the NIS to break the back of the Communist system. But the USSR’s collapse created new challenges. In Russia, for example, rigidity often gave way to laxness and disorder — too many rules were replaced by too few. The United States’ engagement with each of the NIS recognizes that their transformation will be a long-term endeavor, with far-reaching implications for regional and global stability, as well as disappointments and setbacks along the way.
Open elections are now commonplace in Russia, Ukraine, and most other NIS. We will continue to engage with all these countries to improve their electoral processes and help strengthen civil society by working with grassroots organization, independent media, and emerging entrepreneurs. Though the transition from communism to market democracy is far from complete, the NIS have reduced state controls over their economies and instituted basic protections for private property. It is in our national interest to help them develop the laws, institutions, and skills needed for a market democracy, to fight crime and corruption, and to advance human rights and the rule of law. The conflict in Chechnya represents a major problem in Russia’s post-Communist development and relationship with the international community; the means Russia is using in Chechnya are undermining its legitimate objective of upholding its territorial integrity and protecting citizens from terrorism and lawlessness.
The United States strategy toward Russia and the NIS has made every American safer. Threat reduction programs have assisted in the deactivation of former Soviet nuclear warheads and greatly decreased the possibility of sensitive materials, technology, expertise, or equipment falling into the wrong hands. We are working aggressively to strengthen export controls in Russia and the other NIS and to stem proliferation of sensitive missile and nuclear technology, as well as other WMD or advanced conventional weapons to potential regional aggressors such as Iran. The Administration has supported the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the NIS, including through agreement on the adapted CFE Treaty, which was made possible by agreed schedules for the withdrawal of Russian forces from Georgia and Moldova. The integration of Russia, Ukraine, and other NIS with the new Europe and the international community remains a key priority. Despite disagreements over NATO enlargement and the Kosovo conflict, Russian troops serve shoulder-to-shoulder with U.S. and NATO forces in Kosovo and Bosnia. The United States remains committed to further development of the NATO-Russia relationship and the NATO-Ukraine distinctive partnership.