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[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>
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[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]
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[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.


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