The United States will continue its strong support for the Stability Pact and broader stabilization efforts. In October 2000, the FRY was formally admitted to join the Stability Pact. The critical challenge for the Stability Pact in the coming months is to persuade the international community and Southeastern Europe that it is in their mutual interests to follow through on important commitments that each has made to the other.
Now that the government in Belgrade has changed, the United States is promoting reintegration of the FRY into regional and international organizations. The energy embargo and travel ban have been lifted, and we are working with the Europeans and other donors to identify priorities for assistance and reconstruction, including Danube River cleanup.
As in other areas in Central and Eastern Europe, as well as the NIS, the United States will continue helping former planned economies integrate into international economic and other institutions and develop healthy business climates. We will continue to promote political and economic reform in Russia, working to create a thriving market economy while guarding against corruption. By supporting historic market reforms in these areas, we help new democracies take root by avoiding conditions, such as corruption and poverty, that can weaken democratic governance and erode the appeal of democratic values.
We are working with many NIS countries to promote their accession to the WTO on commercially fair terms. Building on successful accession of Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Estonia, Georgia, Albania, Croatia, and Moldova, we have made significant progress on the accession of Armenia and Lithuania. We also have held fruitful discussions on WTO with Russia and Ukraine. We will continue to mobilize the international community to provide assistance to support reform and to help the Central and Eastern European and NIS countries stimulate foreign and domestic private investment. We are also encouraging investment in these countries, especially by U.S. companies.
We focus particular attention on promoting the development of Caspian energy resources and their export to world markets, thereby expanding and diversifying world energy supplies and promoting prosperity in the region.
Getting Caspian energy to world markets will help achieve important goals. It will help enhance prospects for prosperity and independence of the Caspian states. It can help support the development of stable democratic countries, and bolster relationships among the states. Development of Caspian energy resources will improve our energy security, as well as that of Turkey and other allies. It will create commercial opportunities for U.S. companies and other companies around the world. Throughout the region, targeted exchange programs have familiarized key decision makers and opinion molders with the workings of our democracy.
The independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, and democratic and economic reform of the NIS are important to U.S. interests. To advance these goals, we are utilizing our bilateral relationships and our leadership of international institutions to mobilize governmental and private resources. But the circumstances affecting the smaller countries depend in significant measure on the fate of reform in the largest and most powerful — Russia. The United States will continue to promote Russian reform and international integration, and to build on the progress that already has been made. Our economic and political support for the Russian government depends on its commitment to internal reform and a responsible foreign policy.
Promoting Democracy and Human Rights
Democratic reforms in Central and Eastern Europe and Eurasia are the best measures to avert conditions that could foster ethnic violence and regional conflict. Already, the prospect of joining or rejoining the Western democratic family through NATO, the EU, and other institutions has strengthened the forces of democracy and reform in many countries of the region and encouraged them to settle long-standing disputes over borders and ethnic minorities. Together with our West European partners we are helping these nations build civil societies.
We continue to promote the integration of Southeastern Europe’s democracies into the European mainstream by promoting democratic, economic and military reforms, deepening regional cooperation, and supporting regional efforts to fight organized crime. The opening of a Southeast Europe Cooperation Initiative (SECI) information clearinghouse in Bucharest in the spring of 1999 highlighted efforts by SECI to integrate the efforts of national law enforcement agencies in the fight against cross-border crime. The UN, EU, and NATO operations in the area focused on developing professional civil and military institutions that are respectful and promote human rights and respect for civil authority. Landmark democratic elections in Croatia at the beginning of 2000, and important regional elections, such as those held in Montenegro in June 2000, showed promise for the process of democracy. Where the democratic transition is still in progress, or threatened by external influences, the situation bears continued vigilance. In Kosovo, where violence continued to plague efforts to restore stability, promote tolerance, and begin the establishment of a Kosovar capacity for substantial self-rule, we are determined to succeed in the protection of the rights of individual minorities and the implementation of an ambitious democratic framework for the people of Kosovo.
Municipal elections in Kosovo have paved the way for the establishment of local institutions as the international community encourages the creation of a constitutional framework for Kosovar autonomy called for under the Ramboulliet Agreement and UN Security Council Resolution 1244. As local Kosovars accept responsibility for the process of democracy and protection of minority rights, our efforts in Kosovo will shift from a focus on military security and the training of international and indigenous police forces, to deepened support for those civil efforts that promote democracy, the rule of law, and respect for human rights.
We continue to support the efforts of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia. In 2000, the pace of detention, transfer, and prosecution of indicted war criminals remained brisk, especially as the new government in Croatia reaffirmed that country’s support for the implementation of the Dayton Agreements. New opportunities have also opened with the change of government in Belgrade. We and our European allies have made clear to President Kostunica his obligation to cooperate with the ICTY and our expectation that all indicted war criminals, including former President Milosevic, will be held accountable.
East Asia and the Pacific
Our regional strategy is based on the premise that a stable and prosperous East Asia and Pacific is vital to our own national security interests. United States leadership in expanding mutually beneficial economic relationships and U.S. security commitments within the Pacific rim are central to stability, and even more importantly, they foster an environment within which all Asia/Pacific nations can prosper. We continue to advance this vision of the Asia/Pacific by promoting democracy and human rights, advancing economic integration and rules-based trade, and enhancing security. These three pillars of our security strategy for Asia are mutually reinforcing, and provide the framework for our bilateral and multilateral initiatives. Cooperation with our allies and friends in the region to achieve our common goals remains a cornerstone of our strategy.