A final challenge will be to encourage Serbia to join its neighbors in this historic journey to a peaceful, democratic, united Europe. But as long as Slobodan Milosevic remains in power we will not provide support for the reconstruction of Serbia. We are providing humanitarian aid, and will be willing to help build a better future for Serbia when its government represents tolerance and freedom, not repression and terror. We are also providing support for democratic forces in Serbia to strengthen independent political parties and a free media, and to accelerate Serbia’s transition to democracy.
Bosnia and Croatia:
Full implementation of the Dayton Accords is the best hope for creating a self-sustaining peace in Bosnia. NATO-led forces are contributing to a secure environment in Bosnia and providing essential support for broader progress in implementing the Dayton Accords. However, further progress is necessary to create conditions that will allow implementation to continue without a major international military presence. We continue to support the efforts of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia by assisting in the location, detention and transfer of suspected war criminals, and supporting the international community’s efforts to eliminate corruption, expose outside influence, facilitate the return of refugees, and promote justice and reconciliation in Bosnia. We are working to accelerate market economic reforms in Bosnia and Croatia and support a transition to democracy in Croatia.
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 and pursuing a comprehensive settlement on Cyprus. 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 recent trip to Turkey and Greece 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. The EU’s historic decision at its Helsinki Summit to grant candidate status to Turkey reinforced this positive trend.
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 of paramilitary weapons (loyalist paramilitaries named their representatives to the commission soon thereafter). These developments followed continued progress in promoting human rights and equality in Northern Ireland, including the important recommendations put forward for police reform in the Patten Report issued on September 9, 1999.
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 twenty-first 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 Soviet regime. But the Soviet system’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’ strategy of 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.
Russia, Ukraine, and most other NIS are now electoral democracies, although 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 largely dismantled state controls over their economies and liberalized prices. It is in our national interest to help them build 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 pursuing in Chechnya are undermining its legitimate objective of upholding its territorial integrity and protecting citizens from terrorism and lawlessness.
The United States strategy in Russia and the NIS has made every American safer. Threat reduction programs have helped deactivate former Soviet nuclear warheads and make it far less likely that sensitive materials, technology, expertise, or equipment do not fall 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 to countries of concern such as Iran. The Administration has supported the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the NIS,