|Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
Remarks at Stability Pact Breakfast, Ciragan Palace
Istanbul, Turkey, November 18, 1999
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State
[As Prepared for Delivery]
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Good morning. I want to begin by thanking Knut Vollebaek for hosting this meeting. I congratulate our colleagues on the excellent package of measures they have prepared, which we and our leaders can and should endorse.
The Stability Pact has helped us move beyond our shared opposition to Milosevic and all who would rule through violence and hate. We have built a powerful positive vision -- of a Southeast Europe at peace, democratic, stable and increasingly integrated into the continent's mainstream.
And in the short time since the Sarajevo Summit, we have put together strong programs to make our vision a reality. They include a region-wide fight against the corruption that is stifling growth; and a common effort, through our new investment compact, to make the region a better host to private enterprise.
The states of the region themselves are leading the way. They have committed to strong safeguards on small arms and light weapons, and to destroying illicit stocks of such weapons. They are close to completing a groundbreaking charter on the protection of free media. By adopting a region-wide commitment to the Chemical Weapons Convention, they have placed pressure on Belgrade to follow suit. And, as both a professor and a student of the region, I particularly welcome their recommendation for a regional coordinating committee on the teaching of history.
I congratulate the states of the region for all they have accomplished; and I want to say a special word of thanks to Bodo Hombach for his leadership.
The challenge before us now is maintaining our momentum, and meeting the expectations we have raised.
When the snow melts next spring, we must have projects ready to put the people of the region to work. That means helping the region get ready to do business -- including through our new Business Advisory Council, which I am pleased to say will have four American executives among its members.
Through the South East European Cooperative Initiative (SECI), the states of the region have come together to design ways to link their infrastructure to each other, and to Europe's mainstream. Now we must commit the funds that will make this vision a reality.
With that in mind, let us look ahead at the work to be done between now and early February, when we hope a financial resources conference for the region will take place.
The United States welcomes Europe's commitment to take the lead both in organizing the conference and in identifying funding. I want to assure you that we will do our part. We have worked hard to fulfill the pledges President Clinton made in Sarajevo; and we have had good news from our Congress this week.
And we are looking for new and innovative ways to provide support. For example, we expect that a new foundation, endowed with $150 million from the Polish-American Enterprise Fund, will enable Polish NGOs to put their expertise to use in the region.
Almost a decade ago, that fund was founded to make a significant American investment in the future of Central European democracy. It has been so successful that it has returned money to the U.S. Treasury -- and provided funds that will help Poland help others.
In sum, if we apply the same ingenuity and determination to finding funds that our colleagues from Southeast Europe have used in getting programs under way, we cannot help but succeed. I look forward to working with all of you toward that end in the weeks ahead.
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