|Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
Remarks at the Unity Day Celebration
Dresden, Germany, 10/3/2000
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Chancellor Schroeder, President Rau, President Chirac, President Halonen, Mr. Chairman Stroyev, distinguished Prime Ministers, colleagues, excellencies, guests and friends, Guten Tag.
I am very pleased to participate in this year's tenth Unity Day celebration. President Clinton wanted very much to be here, and asked that I convey a message to President Rau, and you all. It reads:
This afternoon, I want to echo the President's words, and to say that on this day and in this place, we are deeply conscious of the lessons of history.
In 1945, when the guns finally fell silent, people everywhere yearned to build a new world of freedom and peace. This did not happen. Although the war was over, the peace was not secure. For decades, a divided Germany remained within a divided Europe, within a world divided by the Cold War.
Our predecessors—German, American, and Allied—recognized that true peace would not be possible until there was an undivided and democratic Germany in the midst of an undivided and democratic Europe.
For forty-five years, the United States committed itself to the preservation of democracy in Western Europe, and to its ultimate triumph throughout the Continent. For forty-five years, the Western Alliance held together, welcomed a democratic West Germany as a full partner, and awaited the day when the peoples of Central and Eastern Europe would also be free to choose their own destinies.
Over the years, some in my country questioned the cost and duration of this commitment, and the realism of this goal. But we persevered, and ultimately, democracy prevailed.
Today, a similar drama is underway in Europe's Southeast corner. Here again, the guns of war have fallen silent, but peace has not yet been secured.
We in this room, and the government and peoples we represent, are all determined to do more than accept the status quo. Our common goal is to seize the opportunity history has presented to help this region of chronic instability enter Europe's democratic mainstream.
Again, there are those who question the cost and duration of this commitment, and the realism of this goal. But again, we have maintained our commitment. As have all of you. And again, the walls are coming down.
Nine days ago, the people of Yugoslavia went to the polls in record numbers, despite intimidation, harassment and fear. They went despite the cynics whose vision of the future is but a mirror of the past. They went in faith, because they could not know whether the world would see through Milosevic's lies.
The days immediately ahead in Yugoslavia will not be easy. But the momentum is clear. Milosevic has been defeated. The Serb people have voted for freedom, justice, a normal economy, an end to corruption, and a place in Europe's democratic mainstream.
Together, we must support their struggle, and persist in our commitment until they prevail.
But even after Milosevic departs, and the newly elected government takes office, our work will not be done.
The past has taught us that ending a war or replacing a tyrant is not enough. We must continue to build and tend the foundation of a secure peace.
The people of Germany may be proud of the role they are playing in this latest effort, as they did in overcoming their own division, and that of Europe ten years ago. No country is better positioned to help nations to the east and southeast become full participants and partners in the new Europe.
Today, we celebrate the coming together of Germany, Europe and the entire Euro-Atlantic Community.
We reaffirm our friendships.
And we rededicate ourselves to the principles of human liberty—the most powerful and positive force for political change on the face of the globe. And the unshatterable foundation of the unity we celebrate today.
Thank you once again, particularly to Chancellor Schroeder and Mrs. Schroeder-Koepf for this wonderful lunch, and for the chance to share with you this very special occasion.
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