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June 23, 1999

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Last week, President Clinton and other world leaders convened for the 25th annual G-8 Summit in Cologne, Germany. A number of important agreements were reached during the Summit, including maintaining peace in Kosovo; strengthening trade between the U.S. and the European Union; assisting poor countries which are heavily in debt; and fostering political and economic stability in the Balkans.

Winning the Peace in Kosovo. This week, President Clinton and other NATO leaders accomplished several important goals towards maintaining peace in Kosovo:

  • Oversaw the total withdrawal of Serb military and paramilitary forces from Kosovo ahead of schedule;
  • Reached an important agreement with Russia enabling Russia to cooperate in the Kosovo peacekeeping effort;
  • Negotiated an agreement with the KLA ensuring that the KLA demilitarizes and cooperates with KFOR; and
  • Marshaled support among G-8 leaders for an economic reconstruction aid package for Southeastern Europe.

Strengthening the US-EU Trade Partnership. The U.S. and EU took steps to strengthen trade relations by agreeing to:

  • exchange information on food safety to ensure high levels of protection while reducing potential trade barriers;
  • develop guidelines to improve regulatory cooperation; and
  • develop a framework for mutual recognition of licenses and certifications.

Helping Heavily Indebted Poor Countries. G-7 leaders endorsed the Cologne Debt Initiative to enable Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPCs) to receive deeper, broader and faster debt relief in exchange for commitments to channel the benefits into improving the lives of all their people. The initiative:

  • calls on international financial institutions to link debt relief with poverty reduction;
  • reduces up to 70% of the outstanding debts for HIPCs;
  • speeds up availability of relief;
  • increases the number of countries qualified to participate; and
  • reduces debt payments by HIPCs so funds can be used for priority needs.

Strengthening the International Financial Architecture. G-7 leaders agreed on new measures to strengthen the international financial architecture, including:

  • strengthening the IMF and World Bank by giving them more power to prevent and respond to crises;
  • improving disclosure of economic policies by governments and financial institutions;
  • helping emerging markets deal better with risk by encouraging better financial practices; and
  • requiring that the private-sector share responsibility for crisis resolution.

Endorsing a Balkan Stability Pact. G-8 leaders negotiated a Balkan Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe to help countries in that region achieve political and economic stability. The pact is designed to:

  • promote stronger democracies and the further development of civil societies;
  • advance tolerance and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the rights of minorities;
  • encourage the growth of vibrant market economies dedicated to improved living standards;
  • foster regional political, economic and social cooperation; and
  • facilitate, for those who seek it, full integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions.

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