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Statement by the President: Establishing Formal Diplomatic Relations with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (11/18/00)

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                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary
                             (Hanoi, Vietnam)

For Immediate Release
November 18, 2000

                        STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT

     On November 17, the United States joined France, Germany, and the
United Kingdom in establishing formal diplomatic relations with the Federal
Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY).

     We take this action in response to the remarkable changes in
Yugoslavia following the democratic election of President Vojislav
Kostunica and the ouster of Slobodan Milosevic.  We and our allies are
committed to supporting  this historic democratic transition. As a first
step, the United States will provide about $45 million in emergency food
aid to help the people of Serbia through the winter.  We are also
consulting with Congress on how to utilize the $100 million in assistance
appropriated for Serbia, as well as $89 million appropriated for assistance
to the people of Montenegro.

     President Kostunica and his government have already made dramatic
progress in reversing the brutal policies of the old regime.  And by taking
membership in the United Nations and other international organizations on
an equal status with other successor states of the former Yugoslavia,
President Kostunica has signaled that his country is ready to play a
constructive and stabilizing role in the region.

     The democratic transition in the FRY, however, is far from over.  The
new government is faced with an economy destroyed by years of
mismanagement.  Members of Milosevic?s regime are still in positions of
power. Indicted war criminals continue to escape justice for their heinous
crimes.  But President Kostunica and leaders of the democratic forces have
clearly put their country on a new path, one that includes a commitment to
the rule of law and peaceful relations with its neighbors.  By establishing
diplomatic relations and ending the FRY?s isolation, the United States and
other western countries are demonstrating our commitment to supporting the
new leaders of the FRY on this journey.


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