THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
|For Immediate Release
||November 18, 1999
Achievements of the Stability Pact for Southeast Europe
States participating in the Stability Pact launched by President Clinton and
European leaders at the Sarajevo Summit last July met today to assess progress
made towards building a more stable and prosperous Southeast Europe. Initiated
by the EU with strong U.S. support and placed under the auspices of the Organization
for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Pact aims to strengthen democracy,
economic development and security throughout the region. Efforts to translate
the principles endorsed at Sarajevo into substantive work began in September
with a successful Regional Trade meeting. It was followed by Working Table meetings
to develop specific initiatives on democratization, economic revitalization
At the invitation of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, Norwegian Foreign Minister
Vollebaek, and in preparation for the Summit, Ministers endorsed the accomplishments
of the Stability Pact thus far and discussed priorities for the next six months.
Key achievements include:
Advancing Economic Development
Improving the Investment Climate
- Recognizing that trade and investment, even more than donor assistance,
will fuel long-term economic growth in Southeast Europe, Stability Pact participants
developed an "Investment Compact" to assist countries in the region
in promoting private sector development and attracting foreign investment. Under
the Compact, countries in the region pledge to intensify efforts to create a
predictable and fair business environment, fight corruption and crime and implement
market-oriented reforms. In exchange, countries outside the region commit to
work with international financial institutions (IFIs) to mobilize private finance.
Stability Pact participants, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
(OECD) and other international institutions, in conjunction with Economic Task
Forces in each country comprised of donors and host country officials, will
analyze existing policies on investment and formulate recommendations for reform.
The United States plans to contribute $100,000 to the OECD to jumps
tart the implementation process; other OECD members are also contributing.
Strengthening Regional Infrastructure and Private Sector Development
- Donor nations and IFIs have launched a process to review, prioritize
and mobilize financing for viable regional projects aimed at strengthening the
infrastructure and economies of southeastern Europe. Sectoral experts will review
the projects and report their recommendations by the end of the year to the
High Level Steering Group of donors and international financial institutions.
A Regional Donors' Conference will be held in February/March 2000.
Tapping Private Sector Expertise
- A Business Advisory Council (BAC) to the Stability Pact is being established
to advise the Economic Working Table on a variety of issues, including steps
to improve the investment climate and eliminate corruption. The Council will
be composed of leading executives from U.S., European and Southeast European
countries. The inaugural meeting of the Council will take place before the end
of the year.
Reducing Regional Trade Barriers
- The countries of Southeast Europe, led by Macedonia, have launched
an initiative aimed at reducing trade barriers in the region. Work is under
way and an action plan will be announced at the next meeting of the Economic
Fighting Crime and Corruption
- Stability Pact countries have developed the Southeastern Europe Anti-Corruption
Initiative. Governments in the region have agreed to pursue a wide range of
anti-corruption objectives, including bringing domestic government procurement
laws in line with WTO standards, taking specific measures to promote public
service integrity and establishing review bodies to monitor integrity in the
administration of foreign aid programs and national anti-corruption efforts.
Governments outside the region have agreed to coordinate their technical assistance
programs to help implement these anti-corruption programs.
Cooperating Regionally to Fight Organized Crime
- The countries participating in the Southeast European Cooperative Initiative
(SECI), which signed an agreement in May to cooperate with each other in combating
cross-border crime, have established a center in Bucharest to facilitate the
sharing of relevant information. Stability Pact participants have agreed to
use this Center as the central regional clearinghouse on cross-border crime.
Construction of the Center has been completed, and it is expected to be operational
by March 2000.
Promoting Democratization and Human Rights
Examining the Teaching of History
- Southeast European and other countries have agreed to form a Regional
Coordinating Committee on History and the Teaching of History. The Committee
will be comprised of distinguished historians and other notable personalities
from the region, other parts of Europe and the United States. It will facilitate
cooperative efforts among the countries of the region to examine their history
materials and teaching materials. The first meeting of the group will take place
Developing an NGO Partnership
- Efforts are being made to develop a strong partnership between the
Stability Pact and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), in recognition of
the contributions they are making to the goals of the Stability Pact. Such cooperation
can lead, for example, to the development of a network of NGOs throughout Southeast
Europe committed to the promotion of democracy, human rights, tolerance and
other foundations of civil society.
Encouraging and Protecting a Free Media
- Regional and international media representatives have worked with the
Stability Pact Task Force on Media Issues to draft a charter on the protection
of free media in the region. The Charter commits the countries of the region
to: (a) defend freedom of expression and information; (b) encourage the development,
both in the public and private sector, of media that is independent of governments
and operates according to high standards of professional journalism and impartial
and objective rules; and(c) provide a legal environment that is compatible with
the needs of free and independent media. The draft will be finalized before
the end of the year, after further consultation with media associations.
Promoting Democracy in Southeast Europe
- An October Stability Pact conference in Szeged, Hungary, with opposition
mayors from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) launched an effort to promote
"Sister City" relationships with Serb cities governed by the democratic
opposition. Hungary has earmarked $1.5 million for this effort. A follow-up
meeting is planned for the first half of 2000.
Promoting Cooperative Security
Reducing Small Arms and Light Weapons
- Countries of the region agreed to intensify efforts to seize illicit
transfers of small arms and light weapons, destroy weapons seized by interdiction
or that exceed legitimate defense needs, and take all necessary measures to
secure small arms and light weapons stockpiles necessary to their defense. They
invited the OSCE to monitor destruction of these weapons and agreed to work
together to identify assistance requirements for destruction and storage.
Implementing CWC Commitments
- Countries of the region agreed to identify chemical weapons as a security
concern in the region, to implement fully their commitments as states party
to the Chemical Weapons Convention, and to urge the FRY to accede to that Convention.
Supporting Humanitarian Demining
- The Stability Pact endorsed the Slovenian Humanitarian Demining Trust
Fund, and donors have committed to fulfill approximately $14 million in pledges
to the fund. Over $10.7 million of these pledges have already been received
by the Trust Fund. The United States will match the first $14 million of donations
received by December 9, dollar for dollar. The same amount of matching U.S.
funds will be available next year, not to exceed the total amount matched in
Regulating Arms Sales
- The Stability Pact endorsed a Regional Conference on Arms Transfer
Issues, which will be hosted by the United States and Bulgaria in December 1999,
to identify methods of strengthening and implementing responsible arms transfer
policies. The Conference will work towards producing a regional declaration
establishing standards of restraint on arms sales and development of a common
The Way Forward
Today's meeting of Stability Pact participants reaffirmed their strong support
for the goals of the Pact and set the stage for intensified work during the
next few months. With evaluation of regional infrastructure, energy and environmental
projects under way and the development of a comprehensive regional development
strategy begun by the World Bank and the EU, adequate preparation for the Regional
Donors' Conference in February/March 2000 is now essential. Successful development
of these projects, as well as initiatives in the democratization and security
area, can make a visible difference in the daily lives of people in the region.
The growing availability of financing and insurance for the region from the
IFIs, the European Union, United States and others, combined with implementation
of the Investment Compact and the Anti-Corruption Initiative, including the
political and economic reforms they entail, can attract the private investment
needed for long-term economic growth. Faster trade liberalizatio
n, both in terms of reducing barriers within the region and with Europe and
the United States, can also spur such growth. Perhaps most important, Southeast
Europe's own efforts in these areas will forge the kind of regional cooperation
that is essential to lasting stability and prosperity.