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[frwais.access.gpo.gov] [Page 732-733] Monday, May 3, 1999 Volume 35--Number 17 Pages 705-771 Week Ending Friday, April 30, 1999 Remarks at the Meeting of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization-Ukraine Commission April 24, 1999 Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary General. Like all the NATO leaders, I am very pleased to welcome President Kuchma to this first summit meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission. When we launched this commission 2 years ago in Madrid, we hoped it would lead to a pragmatic and truly distinctive working partnership. Ukraine is a nation critical to our vision of an undivided, peaceful, democratic Europe. The experience of the last 2 years has vindicated our hopes. Our Armed Forces are working together well in Bosnia. Ukraine played a vital role in Kosovo in the verification mission until it was driven out by the regime in Belgrade. I appreciate President Kuchma's efforts to persuade Mr. Milosevic to end his campaign against the Kosovar Albanians so that the Kosovar people can come home with security and self-government. Ukraine has also proposed an ambitious program of cooperation with NATO, and the Alliance has agreed to establish our very first Partnership for Peace training center in the Ukrainian town of Yavorov. Our nations also will support Ukraine's efforts to reform its economy, deepen its democracy, and advance the rule of law, all vital to Ukraine's security and the success of our partnership. When we act to maintain peace and security in Europe we will strive to do so with our partners, including Ukraine. That is what we hope to do with Ukraine and other nations in Kosovo once peace is restored there. We have taken many practical, good steps toward realizing the promise of our partnership. But we should also not lose sight of the larger significance of what we are trying to do here, in light of the history of Ukraine and the history of Europe. For the people of Ukraine have felt the horrors of communism and fascism and famine. At different points in this century, the flags of five outside powers have flown over Ukrainian territory. Now Ukraine flies its own flag, and it is incumbent upon all of us to support Ukraine's transition and what its people have called their European choice. Ukraine still faces large challenges: political, economic, environmental. But now it is free to choose its destiny. And it has used that freedom to choose democracy and tolerance and free markets, integration, and the choice to dismantle its nuclear arsenal. [[Page 733]] President Kuchma's presence here is a reminder that most of Europe is coming together today; most of Europe has rejected the idea that the quest for security is a zero-sum game in which one nation's gain is another's loss. So most of all, I want to take this opportunity on behalf of the people of the United States to express my respect and gratitude to President Kuchma and the people of Ukraine for the choices they are making, and to ensure them that all of us and our partners will stand with them as they work for a better future. Thank you very much. Note: The President spoke at 4:25 p.m. at the Mellon Auditorium. In his remarks, he referred to Secretary General Javier Solana of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization; President Leonid Kuchma of Ukraine; and President Slobodan Milosevic of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro). The transcript made available by the Office of the Press Secretary also included the remarks of Secretary General Solana and President Kuchma. <DOC> [Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents] [frwais.access.gpo.gov] [Page 733] Monday, May 3, 1999 Volume 35--Number 17 Pages 705-771 Week Ending Friday, April 30, 1999 Remarks at a Dinner Honoring the Leaders of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council April 24, 1999 Thank you very much. Please be seated. Mr. Secretary General, Mrs. Solana; allies and friends: It's a great honor for Hillary and for me to welcome the largest group of world leaders ever to assemble in Washington here to the White House on this beautiful spring evening. Just a few years ago, a gathering of all the nations here in partnership would have been unthinkable. But we are all here tonight because we are thinking--we are thinking of a future brighter than the past; a future of shared values and shared visions; a future in which we define national greatness by its commitment to human rights and mutual respect, not to ethnic and religious bigotry; in which we measure the success of nations by how well we lift people up, not by how much we tear them down. In a world full of both promise and peril, where for good or ill our destinies are more and more linked, we have chosen to be allies, partners, and friends. In an age most observers define by the rise of modern technology, modern scientific breakthroughs, a modern global economy, it is ironic and painful that all over the world and, of course, especially in Kosovo, the peace is threatened by the oldest demon of society: the fear and hatred of the other, those who are of a different race or ethnic background or religion. Just a few days ago, a voice from the age we honor at this 50th anniversary summit spoke to us from his home in Poland. Marek Edelman, a hero of the Warsaw ghetto uprising, published a letter here in an American newspaper urging all of us to persevere in Kosovo. ``I know,'' he wrote, ``like all of my generation, that freedom has and must have its price.'' Tonight we remember that the burden of defending freedom and peace is lighter when it is shouldered by so many. And we remember that the cause of freedom and peace is stronger when it is embraced by a group of nations as great and diverse as those who are joined together in this Council. And so I ask all of you to join me now in a toast to the leaders and the people of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council. And thank you very much. [At this point, a toast was offered.] Mr. Secretary General. Note: The President spoke at 9:27 p.m. in the pavilion on the South Lawn at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to Secretary General Javier Solana of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and his wife, Conception. The transcript made available by the Office of the Press Secretary also included the remarks of Secretary General Solana. <DOC> [Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents] [frwais.access.gpo.gov] [Page 733-734] Monday, May 3, 1999 Volume 35--Number 17 Pages 705-771 Week Ending Friday, April 30, 1999 Remarks at the Opening of North Atlantic Council Meeting With the Frontline States April 25, 1999 Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary General. We want to welcome the leaders of all the frontline states here and say that we are very grateful for what you have done. The people of Albania and Macedonia have welcomed almost half a million refugees to their [[Page 734]] countries, often, literally, into their homes. You have shared what you have, though the strains are immense. NATO is working to relieve your burden with the United Nations by building camps, providing supplies, helping to bring more refugees to other countries until they can return to Kosovo. We must do more, intensifying our relief operations, taking our share of refugees. The nations of the region have risked and even faced armed confrontation with Serbia, by facilitating and supporting our campaign to end the bloodshed in Kosovo. Yesterday--or Friday, NATO made its position very clear. We said, unambiguously, if Belgrade challenges its neighbors as a result of the presence of NATO, we will respond. The nations of the region have faced enormous economic dislocation and losses. We are committed to working with you and with multilateral institutions to ease your emergency needs and help you with your debts. You want a better future for your nations and your region, and there, as well, we are committed to help. Many of us have tried to lay out a vision for the region, a positive alternative to the violence and ethnic hatred, a vision of people and nations working together, bridging old divides, forging a common future of peace, freedom, and prosperity. How do we get there? First of all, we must prevail in Kosovo. A just end to the conflict is essential to putting the entire region on the path to stability. Second, we must strengthen our efforts to support economic development and deeper democracy, ethnic and religious tolerance, and regional integration in southeastern Europe. We must build on the many positive ways in which the nations of the region, often with our support, already are bringing change at home, in cooperation across borders. In that regard, I want to especially commend Slovenia's strong efforts in recent years to reach out to its neighbors. We will work toward the day when all the people of the region, including the Serbs now suffering under reckless tyranny, enjoy freedom and live together. This will require a commitment by nations of the region to continue political and economic reforms. And I particularly respect the efforts of Bulgaria and Romania in this regard, to stick with their programs under very difficult circumstances. It will require that we sustain our engagement. I welcome the suggestion of the German-EU Presidency to hold a conference in Bonn next month to advance these common efforts. I hope our finance ministers, when they meet here next week with international financial institutions, will explore imaginative and aggressive ways for us to help. Finally, we must continue to strengthen the security bonds between your countries and NATO. Five of the nations here are NATO partners. Yesterday NATO and its partners agreed to deepen our security engagement. We will continue to work with Bosnia and Croatia on implementation of the Dayton accords, looking toward eventual partnership. And yesterday NATO adopted a robust membership action plan to help aspiring nations strengthen their candidacy so they can enter NATO. New members will bolster our Alliance and Europe's security. In all the countries present here today, leaders and citizens are working to realize a vision just the opposite of Mr. Milosevic's, reaching across the divides to pursue shared dreams of a better life. All of them are on the right road, and we must travel it with them to ensure that they succeed. Thank you very much. Note: The President spoke at 9:14 a.m. at the Mellon Auditorium. In his remarks, he referred to Secretary General Javier Solana of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization; and President Slobodan Milosevic of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro). The transcript made available by the Office of the Press Secretary also included the remarks of Secretary General Solana. <DOC> [Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents] [frwais.access.gpo.gov] [Page 734-735] Monday, May 3, 1999 Volume 35--Number 17 Pages 705-771 Week Ending Friday, April 30, 1999 Remarks at the Opening Session of the Summit of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council April 25, 1999 Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary General. First of all, I would like to join you in welcoming all the members of our Partnership Council. From Central Asia to North [[Page 735]] America, from the Mediterranean to the Baltic, this Council and the Partnership for Peace are building a region of shared values and shared endeavors. Many nations in this room, indeed, are accepting risks and hardships to support the peace in southeastern Europe. To be sure, there are challenges to our common vision of a Europe undivided, democratic, and at peace: the challenge of overcoming instability and economic hardship in the Balkans; of defeating those who employ ethnic hatred in the service of power; the challenge of integrating a democratic Russia into the European mainstream; the challenge of averting a gulf between Europe and the Islamic world; the challenge of resolving tensions in the Aegean. We must see reducing conflict and tensions and increasing prosperity and integration as two sides of the same coin. Therefore, as we fight against ethnic hatred in Kosovo, we must fight for the rebuilding of southeastern Europe and the integration of the region into the larger European community. We must continue to strengthen the Partnership for Peace and deepen the role that our partner countries play in the planning and execution of the missions we undertake together. We must continue to build on our cooperation with Russia, with Ukraine, with all the members of this Council, to advance the interests and ideals we share. We must continue the enlargement of NATO, the Partnership for Peace, and the Partnership Council. All of these things, I am convinced, will make Europe stronger and freer and more stable. And I think that I can speak for my friend Mr. Chretien, when I say that those of us in North America strongly support it. As I said last night at our dinner, if you look around this room, the idea that all of us could be sitting here together around one table would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. We are here around this table together because we are thinking about our common future. And that is the best thing to say about this meeting today. Note: The President spoke at 12:08 p.m. at the Mellon Auditorium. In his remarks, he referred to Secretary General Javier Solana of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization; and Prime Minister Jean Chretien of Canada. The transcript made available by the Office of the Press Secretary also included the remarks of Secretary General Solana. <DOC> [Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents] [frwais.access.gpo.gov]
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