THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
|For Immediate Release|| ||April 25, 1999|
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
AND SECRETARY GENERAL SOLANA
AT OPENING SESSION OF THE
SUMMIT OF THE EURO-ATLANTIC PARTNERSHIP COUNCIL
12:08 P.M. EDT
SECRETARY GENERAL SOLANA: Let me welcome all of you tothis summit meeting of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council.Today's meeting underscores the importance we all attach to thisunique forum. Since the EAPC was launched two years ago, its focushas been on forging stronger cooperative ties among our countries.Over the last two years the EAPC has shown a remarkable capacity toadapt and evolve with the new security challenges. Our agenda hasbecome more elaborate, more comprehensive. Our politicalconsultations have become more substantive and more focused.
Today the Euro-Atlantic area is still troubled byviolent conflict. Nationalism and ethnic strife exist and pose adirect challenge to the values and to the principles we all share andwhich are the basis for the Euro-Atlantic culture of cooperation. Bystrengthening our ties further we can move closer to our goal of adurable Euro-Atlantic, at peace. A cooperative approach to securityremains our only viable option.
I want to thank all the partners for being here todaywith us, for working with us to build our common culture ofcooperation in the positive atmosphere of this forum.
Let me now pass the floor to our host of the WashingtonSummit, President Clinton.
President Clinton, you have the floor.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, Mr. SecretaryGeneral. First of all, I would like to join you in welcoming all themembers of our Partnership Council. From Central Asia to NorthAmerica, from the Mediterranean to the Baltic, this Council and thePartnership for Peace are building a region of shared values andshared endeavors.
Many nations in this room, indeed, are accepting risksand hardships to support the peace in Southeastern Europe. To besure, there are challenges to our common vision of a Europeundivided, democratic, and at peace -- the challenge of overcominginstability and economic hardship in the Balkans; of defeating thosewho employ ethnic hatred in the service of power; the challenge ofintegrating a democratic Russia into the European mainstream; thechallenge 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, andincreasing prosperity and integration, as two sides of the same coin.Therefore, as we fight against ethnic hatred in Kosovo, we must fightfor the rebuilding of Southeastern Europe, and the integration of theregion into the larger European community.
We must continue to strengthen the Partnership forPeace, and deepen the role that our partner countries play in theplanning and execution of the missions we undertake together. Wemust continue to build on our cooperation with Russia, with Ukraine,with all the members of this Council, to advance the interests andideals we share.
We must continue the enlargement of NATO, thePartnership for Peace, and the Partnership Council. All of thesethings, I am convinced, will make Europe stronger and freer and morestable. 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 aroundthis room, the idea that all of us could be sitting here togetheraround one table would have been unthinkable just a few years ago.We are here around this table together because we are thinking aboutour common future. And that is the best thing to say about thismeeting today.