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 You are in: Under Secretary for Political Affairs > Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs > Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Releases > Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Remarks > 2004 > March

The Administration's Priorities in Europe

A. Elizabeth Jones, Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs
Testimony Before the House International Relations Committee Subcommittee on Europe
Washington, DC
March 3, 2004

Mr. Chairman, Members of the Committee, I am pleased to be with you today to review the Administration’s priorities in Europe, including Russia and the Caucasus. I would like to take this opportunity to compliment you, Mr. Chairman, for your inspired and dedicated leadership of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. I would also like to welcome Congressman Blunt who has returned to this Committee. We look forward to working closely with all of you.

We have made real progress with our European allies since I appeared before you last March. The differences of last year have given way to a firm conviction on both sides of the Atlantic that we must and can succeed together in Iraq, as we do when we close ranks to address other challenges to our shared values. We share with our European partners a conviction that global threats are most effectively met when we act in concert.

The greatest challenge our societies face today is the nexus of terrorist and WMD threats, facilitated by failed states, dictatorship, and violent extremism. That is why we are working with our European partners – in the G-8, through U.S.-EU relations, and through NATO – to support the long-term transformation of the Greater Middle East through freedom-based reform.

Our relations with Europe are extensive, multilayered and multifaceted. We consult regularly on virtually every issue. We work with our European friends not only bilaterally but multilaterally as well. The President will have summits with NATO, EU, and G-8 partners this June, which will present valuable opportunities to move forward on a wide range of pressing issues. We also work with the Europeans in the UN, the OECD, the OSCE, and in countless other institutions and organizations.

NATO

NATO, the core of the transatlantic security relationship, is transforming itself into an Alliance for the 21st century and is playing a major role in the War on Terrorism. For the first time in its history, NATO is conducting operations outside Europe. Our Allies clearly agree that we face common threats that must be addressed globally. In Afghanistan, NATO forces have taken over command of the International Security Force in Afghanistan and expanded ISAF operations beyond Kabul. Six thousand troops from 17 NATO countries are now on the ground there. In Iraq, NATO is supporting the Polish-led Multinational Division.

Our intent is for NATO to do even more to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan and Iraq. Afghanistan is the immediate priority. We would like to see NATO establish several new Provincial Reconstruction Teams by this summer. Within 12-18 months, serious consideration should be given to bringing Operation Enduring Freedom and the International Security Assistance Force together under a single NATO command. In Iraq, as sovereignty is transferred to the Iraqi people this summer, NATO should consider options for a broader role.

NATO is increasingly able to respond to global threats wherever they arise. The Alliance has established a standing NATO Response Force designed to deploy in five days, and it has streamlined the command structure, slashing the number of command headquarters. Capabilities, however, remain an issue. NATO’s members must commit the forces needed to meet today’s increasing demands.

This spring NATO will celebrate another milestone in its transformation when seven new members join the Alliance. As NATO’s membership expands, the Alliance’s engagement with neighbors to the south and east widens. By the NATO Summit in June, we hope the Alliance will be ready to offer practical cooperation to interested governments in the Greater Middle East to address common threats. This would be one key component in the President’s broader initiative, on which we are working in close coordination with the National Security Council and my colleagues in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs.

With seven members of the Partnership for Peace (PfP) about to join the Alliance, NATO is also working to refocus PfP on the Caucasus and Central Asia, front-line regions in the War on Terrorism where PfP’s culture of cooperation and inter-operability can make a greater contribution to our common efforts.

We are also working hard to develop further other key NATO partnerships with the European Union and Russia. The NATO-Russia Council is only two years old, but has already taken relations to a new level, as Russia interacts with the Allies as an equal at the table, discussing security issues and seeking solutions. NATO-EU relations are key to the transatlantic community’s ability to act collectively. By June, NATO should be ready to announce that its Stabilization Force in Bosnia will complete its mission successfully by the end of the year. The EU has agreed to deploy a mission to help that country continue to stabilize and integrate into Europe. This will be a major test of the EU’s ability to work in tandem with NATO, which will retain a presence in Bosnia, to protect our common security.

European Union

We seek a partnership with the European Union that enables us, together, to take concrete action on international problems. This partnership must necessarily evolve as the EU enlarges. On May 1 the European Union will welcome ten new member states. The United States enthusiastically supports this historic step. The consolidation of Central Europe’s journey to free market economies and democracy through membership in the European Union will deepen our relationship with the new members states as well. For these countries, “more Europe” will also mean “more America,” as our bilateral dialogue will expand to encompass the breadth of the U.S.-EU relationship. All European Union members – old and new – understand the strain the growing membership places on governance structures. For two years the EU has been working on a new constitutional arrangement to help meet the needs of an enlarged Union, and they continue to work out the critical remaining issues.

We work energetically with the EU to help raise the quality of life and spread the principles of democracy and free markets world-wide. We are encouraging the EU to place greater emphasis on its “new neighbors” in the Caucasus, and the Europeans have been taking up the challenge. Our interests in this important region – democracy, human rights, regional security, and energy – are the same, and our programs complement one another.

In the past year, the European Union has made progress in developing its European Security and Defense Policy (ESDP). Last year saw the first successful test of the cooperative arrangement for NATO to provide support to EU-led military operations, known as “Berlin Plus,” in Macedonia. That mission has now been successfully concluded and replaced by an EU civilian mission. As I mentioned earlier, this year’s proposed transfer of security responsibilities in Bosnia, with the EU drawing on NATO assets and capabilities, will be a larger and more significant test of these arrangements. We believe that focusing on the practical ESDP issues involved in a Bosnia mission will help us move beyond last year’s theological debates over separate planning headquarters.

Economically, the U.S.-EU relationship is strong and mutually advantageous. Transatlantic trade and investment totals nearly two trillion dollars, and the United States and the European Union are the largest investors in each other’s markets. Of the $5 trillion in foreign assets owned by U.S. companies, nearly 60% are in Europe. Similarly, nearly three-quarters of all foreign direct investment in the United States comes from EU investors. U.S.-owned affiliates in Europe employ six million workers; over four million Americans work for European companies. These are clearly ties that bind us together.

U.S.-European Collaboration in the Wider World

U.S.-European relations have advanced, and will continue to advance, U.S. foreign policy interests not just in Europe, but beyond. Increasingly, our work with Europe focuses on meeting global challenges. As we look ahead, we see even more U.S.-European collaboration in managing transitions both inside and outside the region. The United States sets ambitious goals and takes a leadership position on many issues, but we are most effective when we work together with friends and Allies.

While differences remain over the Kyoto Protocol and the International Criminal Court, positive trends are also clear.

We injected new energy into our security cooperation with the EU by signing a joint statement on non-proliferation, resulting in closer coordination on multilateral export control regimes and safeguarding of nuclear materials in the former Soviet Union. Several members of the European Union have joined the Proliferation Security Initiative to interdict the illicit transfer of nuclear equipment.

The EU and member states coordinated closely with us in the IAEA to put pressure on Iran to bring its nuclear program into compliance with IAEA rules. Together with the IAEA, we are working closely to verify Iran’s commitment to suspension of enrichment-related activity and transparency. We will continue to stress to our EU partners and to Russia that any nuclear cooperation with Iran remain on hold until Iran’s commitment has been carried out and verified.

Libya’s about-face on its weapons of mass destruction programs and renunciation of terrorism is the prize for keen, quiet diplomacy we conducted with help from the United Kingdom and Italy. The significance of this reversal and of Libya’s efforts to rejoin the community of nations cannot be overstated. We welcome Libya’s change of course and encourage other countries to follow Colonel Qadhafi’s example.

Following our success in Libya, the EU is seeking similar pledges from Syria, tying progress on this issue into the Association Agreement they are presently negotiating with Syria. Syria’s access to EU markets would then depend on such pledges. We think it is important that improvements in economic relations between Syria and western countries be accompanied by meaningful steps to move Syria away from proliferation and terrorism. More broadly in the Greater Middle East, we hope to work with the G-8 and the EU to implement the President’s vision of bringing more prosperity and open political participation to the region.

In military affairs, U.S.-European cooperation is contributing to stability in Europe and beyond. After American forces, European and Eurasian nations constitute the bulk of the coalition forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Of the 34 countries with troops on the ground in Iraq, 22 are from Europe and the Caucasus, including 17 current and future NATO members. Poland commands the 17-nation multinational division in Iraq’s south-central sector. Spain hosted the October Madrid Donors’ Conference, where 41 international donors pledged over $37.5 billion in assistance for Iraq. In Afghanistan, 30 out of 38 troop-contributing countries are from the region, including France and Germany. On March 31, Germany will host a donors’ conference for Afghanistan.

Europe is a vital partner in the war on terrorism. We collaborate intensively on transportation security, including inspection of cargo containers destined for the United States and sharing data on airline passenger manifests. The number of arrests of suspected terrorists in Europe underscores the value of intelligence sharing. We work closely with our European partners in international fora to obstruct terrorist financing, such as in the UN Counterterrorism Committee, the G-8 Counterterrorism Action Group, and the Financial Action Task Force.

In light of the new threats posed by the post-Cold War world, we are taking a fresh look together at one of the oldest aspects of our relationship – the U.S. military presence in Western Europe. The goal of our global review of our military presence is to align our European defense posture with the flexibility and rapid response required for a 21st-century national security strategy. Many of our large, permanent-station bases are vestiges of the Cold War and its corollary military strategy. What we need today are lighter, more deployable forces, not new Ramstein-style bases with heavily garrisoned troops. We are proactively consulting with our European Allies and partners to explain to them the rationale behind our global review, as well as the potential implications for the U.S. defense posture in Europe. That is why Under Secretary Marc Grossman led a delegation to Berlin, Moscow, Brussels, Ankara, Paris and London in December to kick off a series of consultations, with DOD Under Secretary Feith traveling to Warsaw, Bucharest, Sofia, Rome, Madrid, and Reykjavik simultaneously. No final decisions will be made until full consultations are completed; feedback from Allies is critical to our decision-making process.

Russia

With the Russians, we have made remarkable progress on a range of issues on which we share a vital common interest: in the war on terrorism, in countering the proliferation of dangerous weapons in North Korea and Iran, in combating trafficking in persons, and in fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic. And we are headed in the same direction on major geopolitical issues in the Middle East, in South Asia and North East Asia. The fundamental U.S.-Russian relationship is strong, and there is potential for an even more productive strategic partnership. At the same time, certain developments in Russia’s domestic politics and in its relations with neighboring states have raised concerns in many quarters.

On the Russian domestic scene, the Yukos/Khodorkovskiy case, the pattern of pressure on journalists and the independent broadcast media, the conduct of December’s Duma elections and of the October presidential election in Chechnya – all these observable facts raise questions about the strength and depth of Russia’s commitment to democratic reform and the rule of law. Reports of continued violence and human rights abuses in Chechnya remind us that there are those in the federal and local security forces – and among the separatists – who are still resorting to unacceptable methods of resolving a conflict that ought to be dealt with by civilized political means.

On the external scene, pressures exerted on Georgia through the separatist regimes there and overheated rhetoric directed at the Baltic States have caused concern, and not only in Washington.

Secretary Powell paid a highly successful visit to Moscow at the end of January both to strengthen relations with the Russians and to address these concerns. Secretary Powell emphasized to the Russian leaders – President Putin and his chief ministers – that we want a robust partnership with Russia. He stressed, though, that without a basis of common principles, the U.S.-Russian relationship would inevitably run into difficulties. The Secretary underscored the importance of rule of law, freedom of the media, and transparent and fair judicial procedures as core democratic values.

The Secretary emphasized to President Putin that our aim was to cooperate, not to compete, with Russia in the former Soviet space. Our programs in Eurasia aim to promote economic, political and military reform, encourage democratic habits and practices, and help the people of the region build their own civil societies. Ultimately, the goal is to create stable and prosperous partners – a goal that should be as much in Russia’s interest as it is in ours.

What was the Russian response?

The Russian leaders heard Secretary Powell’s message loud and clear. On certain issues, they were able to provide immediate responses, for example, they volunteered that they recognized Georgia’s sovereignty and supported its territorial integrity. On other issues, they clearly understood what we were saying, but had a different view. But in all cases, the exchange was open and honest; given the gradual transformation of the relationship from one of competition to one of partnership, this was as it should be.

Let me also update you on Georgia, Moldova and Russia’s so-called Istanbul commitments.

Georgia

Just before the Moscow visit, both Secretary Powell and Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov attended the inauguration of President Saakashvili in Tbilisi. This sent a strong signal of support to the new government there. President Saakashvili shortly thereafter made an official visit to Moscow and held productive discussions with President Putin. Last week he was here in Washington. His commitment to democracy, market economic reform, and anti-corruption provides a hopeful formula for a stronger Georgian partner, which will contribute to peace and stability throughout the region. We believe that Russian-Georgian relations should now take a turn for the better. I might add that we hope Russia’s relations with Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania will also improve. The successful integration of the Russian-speaking minorities there is key.

Moldova

Of all the frozen conflicts in the former Soviet space, the Moldova/Transnistria dispute offers the best hope for early resolution. The Russians attempted to broker a solution last fall outside of the established OSCE mediation mechanism; in the end that effort produced a proposal we could not endorse and the Moldovan government did not accept. The Russians have since told us they are still committed to the existing mediation process, and we look forward to moving beyond the current impasse.

Istanbul Commitments

We have been actively encouraging Russia at every opportunity to take the steps necessary to fulfill the commitments it undertook at the 1999 OSCE Istanbul Summit to remove materiel and forces remaining in Moldova and to agree with the Georgian government on the duration and modalities of the functioning of its remaining military bases in Georgia. We have made it very clear that ratification of the Adapted CFE Treaty requires Russia first to meet these obligations.

Just a word about U.S.-Russian economic relations. The trends are essentially positive, although Russia remains a difficult place to do business. Bilateral trade is improving, and our FREEDOM Support Act assistance on economic reform is a success story: increasingly we will target assistance projects to democracy-building and civil society rather than economic reform programs. Russia wants to join the World Trade Organization. The United States supports Russia’s membership and has offered to help the Russian Federation improve its record on Intellectual Property Rights and attracting foreign direct investment. The energy sector in particular, while great in potential, has been full of surprises, and we are keeping a watchful eye on developments in that area. We support bringing more Russian energy resources to world markets to diversify sources of supply. The U.S.-Russia energy dialogue was created to develop bilateral cooperation in energy, encourage new commercial partnerships and expand energy investment in Russia. In sum, as American business-people will tell you, Russia is gradually improving as an economic partner. We hope the changes that began with the surprise dismissal last week of the Russian Government will accelerate positive reforms in President Putin’s second term of office.

Ukraine and Belarus

Ukraine is scheduled for a leadership change, and we will closely monitor the run-up to October’s presidential election. We have been working closely with the Europeans to be clear with the Ukrainian Government on the importance we attach to a free and fair presidential campaign and election, in keeping with OSCE principles. This message appears to be getting through. The Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, has dropped plans to amend the constitution to eliminate popular election of the president, and President Kuchma has confirmed on nationwide television that he will not run for a third term. Nonetheless, the Government of Ukraine continues to restrict political and civil liberties, especially media freedom. We continue to urge the Government to respect its international commitments to democracy and to create the conditions for a free and fair presidential election. The demonstrated depth of Ukraine’s commitment to democracy will have a major – indeed, a decisive – impact on Ukraine’s ability to realize its Euro-Atlantic aspirations and draw closer to institutions such as NATO and the European Union.

On the economic front, we applaud Ukraine’s decision to favor the original plan for the Odessa-Brody oil pipeline to pump oil westward from the Black Sea to Poland. With our assistance funds, twenty “one-stop shops” for business registration opened in Ukraine, reducing registration time for new businesses from 30 to 14 days. Over 300 community roundtables and public hearings offered citizens the chance to voice complaints about bureaucratic burdens on small businesses. Their comments led to the adoption of a progressive national law on business regulation. Our commitment to the growth of small and medium enterprises in Ukraine shows promise for the future.

Belarus is holding parliamentary elections in October. Over the last several months, the Government of Belarus has intensified its repression of civil society, resulting in the closure of more than 50 NGOs and numerous independent media outlets. We continue to press the government in bilateral meetings and through multilateral organizations to uphold its international commitments to democracy and human rights. The United States and the EU work closely on policy towards Belarus and plan to co-sponsor a resolution at the upcoming session of the UN Commission on Human Rights. The United States is funding a variety of programs to advance democracy and human rights in Belarus. We agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments in the Belarus Democracy Act of 2003 as incorporated in the House version of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act. We will continue to work with the EU to press for democracy and human rights in Belarus, but we oppose legislated sanctions. The Secretary needs flexibility to implement the Administration’s foreign policy, and we restrict backsliding and undemocratic practices by judicious use of assistance funds.

Eastern Mediterranean

For Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, Cyprus’s accession to the European Union on May 1 is a watershed moment in the decades-long conflict. The breakthrough in negotiations brokered by Secretary General Annan on February 13 brings a final settlement within reach. By March 22 Turkish and Greek Cypriots are to agree to the final text of an agreement. Should differences persist, the parties have agreed to allow the Secretary General to use his discretion to finalize the plan that will then be put to separate, simultaneous referenda on the island on April 21. The President and the Secretary of State both have been engaged in this process and we will continue to support strongly the Secretary General’s efforts to reach a final settlement so that a united Cyprus can join the European Union on May 1.

Turkey’s constructive attitude toward reaching a Cyprus settlement has improved its prospects for obtaining a firm date to begin EU accession talks in December, a priority U.S. goal. Turkey has also made enormous progress in improving its democracy and respect for human rights, underscoring its commitment to EU accession. If Turkey implements the necessary political reforms, the EU’s beginning accession talks with Turkey will send a strong, positive signal that European and Muslim societies share deep interests in advancing democracy, fighting terrorism, broadening prosperity, and promoting peace. The NATO Summit in Istanbul in June is another important milestone on this path. We intend to use the Summit both to showcase Turkey’s importance to Europe, and to the Greater Middle East as a reforming, secular society.

The results of Parliamentary elections in Greece on March 7 should not have an impact on the increasingly close, productive relations we have with Athens. Greece has been a strong ally in fighting terrorism, including in its energetic prosecution of the November 17 group. As the largest international media event since the September 11 attacks, the Athens Summer Olympic Games pose a daunting security challenge. We estimate that 300,000 to 500,000 Americans will attend the Games. We are working closely with the Greek Government to do everything possible to make these Games the safest possible. The Greek authorities are aggressively addressing security issues.

The Caucasus

Georgia’s “Revolution of Roses” in November demonstrated the pressures for political change that build when governments fail to keep their promises to their citizens. Newly-elected President Saakashvili has just completed his first official visit to Washington, where he met with the President, Secretary Powell, other Cabinet members, and of course, members of the House and Senate. In Georgia, our investment in exchange programs over the past ten years to promote democracy and the rule of law has paid off in a big way. President Saakashvili earned a law degree at Columbia University while on a Muskie/Freedom Support Act graduate fellowship. Fourteen other members of his cabinet also visited the United States or studied there under U.S.-funded exchange programs. Now, these men and women are putting that experience to work in the exciting and arduous endeavor of transforming a former Soviet republic into a modern, western-oriented state.

Throughout 2003, the United States worked actively with both the Georgian Government and Georgia’s political opposition in pursuit of free and fair parliamentary elections in November. In July, we helped broker an agreement between the government and opposition leaders on a series of procedural benchmarks that would ensure either that the election was free and fair, or that attempts to manipulate election results would be exposed. The United States provided over $2 million in assistance for election monitoring, voter education, voter lists, and poll-worker training for the November 2003 Georgia parliamentary elections. Georgia’s numerous and active non-governmental organizations, many of which have benefited from U.S. assistance, played a critical role in providing an independent assessment of the November parliamentary election and exposing falsified results released by the Government. The independent media, also supported by U.S. programs, are among the strongest in Eurasia.

Before last fall’s revolution, we had spent a great deal of effort helping reformers in Georgia. Once the revolution took place and real, rapid reform became possible, we immediately sent a senior delegation to Tbilisi to work out a plan of action with the new authorities. We accelerated some spending and redirected other program funds to help stabilize the new government and to launch its ambitious reforms. We haven’t slowed the pace. Our message is clear – if you reform, we’ll be there to support your efforts.

We have also been working intensively with the other Caucasus states, Armenia and Azerbaijan. We are striving to reduce tensions between them in order to open up new possibilities for regional cooperation and trade. The key to doing this is to find a solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh crisis. The United States continues its role as Co-Chair, along with France and Russia, of the OSCE Minsk Group, whose objective is conflict resolution between Armenia and Azerbaijan. New leadership in those nations may break the deadlock on the politically difficult compromises necessary to negotiate a peace agreement for Nagorno-Karabakh.

The Balkans

We are committed to accelerating the Balkan countries’ integration with Europe. We want to hasten the day when NATO’s forces can go home, when nations can take responsibility for internal and regional security, and when the region takes its rightful place in a Europe whole, free and at peace.

In both Bosnia and Kosovo, the international community is working on creating the conditions for diminishing its role and giving control to indigenous authorities. In Macedonia, this process is complete.

The NATO-led Stabilization Force (SFOR) in Bosnia has nearly completed its mission. A generally stable security situation is enabling SFOR to draw down to 7,000 troops in June, a long way from the nearly 60,000 troops first deployed in late 1995. With membership in NATO’s Partnership for Peace as their goal, the Bosnians have embarked on an ambitious program of defense reform, agreeing to create a single military establishment where once there were three. The U.S. will assist Bosnia in implementing defense reform both through a bilateral assistance program and through a future NATO headquarters in Sarajevo. Centrifugal political forces remain in Bosnia, but they are ebbing. High Representative Paddy Ashdown’s strong leadership has pushed the governments in Bosnia to adopt the reforms necessary for the country to join the Euro-Atlantic community.

In Kosovo our focus is on standards of good governance and multi-ethnic democracy. In mid-2005, Kosovo will be formally evaluated on these standards and, if sufficient progress has been accomplished, a process will start to address Kosovo’s status. The people of Kosovo know that the international community will pay particular attention to those standards dealing with cooperation among ethnic groups and tolerance, such as freedom of movement and return of displaced persons. Provisional Institutions of Self-Government are assuming specified responsibilities in Kosovo, and a multi-ethnic police force has earned the community’s respect. The Kosovo Police Service increasingly assumes responsibilities formerly handled by the UNMIK international police.

Macedonia is now reeling from the tragic death of President Boris Trajkovski in a plane crash February 26. Thanks to his years of work building strong government structures and fostering interethnic understanding, the Macedonian leadership and people have the necessary tools to weather this tragedy and keep moving forward.

Just three short years ago, the situation in Macedonia was much bleaker; an ethnic Albanian insurgency threatened the cohesion of the state. The U.S. and EU combined efforts to support the terms of the Ohrid Framework Agreement, which ended the insurgency. The Agreement is now nearly fully implemented, thanks to U.S.-EU teamwork. Stability and security have improved to the point that with the departure of the EU’s “Concordia” military mission in December – the first ESDP mission – Macedonia has assumed complete responsibility for its internal security.

Progress in this region hinges on full implementation of the Dayton Agreement, which includes refugee returns and cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. These criteria apply to Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia and Montenegro. The capture and transfer to the Tribunal of fugitive war criminals, especially Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic, remain a top priority for the United States and SFOR.

Efforts to improve rule of law and law enforcement, and to fight transnational crime, also remain high on our list of priorities in the Balkans. U.S. assistance to the Bucharest Regional Anti-Crime Center in Southeastern Europe (SECI Center) is showing results and enhancing the region’s ability to combat cross-border organized crime cooperatively. Law enforcement cooperation with the EU in southeastern Europe shows promise. We are working closely with the Europeans to help the region develop its Witness Security capacity. In Albania, our assistance resulted in recent successes in fighting corruption and human trafficking, and stemming the flow of other types of illicit trafficking. In the coming year, the United States, in coordination with Italy and Greece, will engage Albania in a major anti-trafficking initiative focused on children and co-funded by five international NGOs.

All of the countries in the region have Euro-Atlantic aspirations. Romania and Bulgaria will formally join NATO prior to the Istanbul Summit in June, while Croatia, Macedonia and Albania are working together toward this goal through the Adriatic Charter.

Northern Ireland

Voters in Northern Ireland provided a new mandate to political parties last November, and they are now proceeding with a planned review of the Good Friday Agreement. Our Policy Planning Director, Mitchell Reiss, is engaged with both governments and the parties and we are hopeful that the review can lead to what we all seek, devolved governing institutions working to bring about the peaceful, prosperous society Northern Ireland's people want and deserve.

Global Issues

We remain deeply engaged with our European partners to resolve legacy issues from World War II, the Holocaust and the Communist era. The United States engages with 15 other nations in the International Task Force on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research to improve education about the Holocaust and encourage respect for all religions. We are pressing hard for resolution of Holocaust-related insurance claims and property restitution cases.

The Administration shares Congress’s concern about an apparent rise in anti-Semitism in Europe. We conveyed that concern to European leaders who have focused on this problem in their nations. In particular, French and German leaders are taking steps to denounce anti-Semitic incidents and protect synagogues and Jewish communal buildings.

Former Mayor of New York Rudolf Giuliani provided dynamic leadership at the OSCE Anti-Semitism Conference in June 2003 in Vienna. The conference’s recommendations on tolerance were approved by the December OSCE Ministerial at Maastricht. Germany will host a second conference in Berlin in late April, where delegations will share ideas on best practices for dealing with anti-Semitism. Former Mayor Ed Koch will head the U.S. delegation.

European and Eurasian states in concert with NGOs took the offensive on trafficking in persons in 2003. The Russian Government passed amendments to its criminal code on human trafficking and forced labor, and instituted criminal liability for pimping and for distribution of child pornography. Armenia launched investigations into seven trafficking cases. Ukraine convicted over 50 people last year. Over a two-week period in September 2003, “Operation Mirage” targeted traffickers in 12 states in southeastern Europe: the law enforcement operation netted 595 traffickers and identified over 450 victims. Criminal procedures were filed in 319 cases and over 200 traffickers were arrested. Thirty-one have already been convicted. In each nation, U.S. Government technical assistance and diplomatic pressure were instrumental in achieving this progress. Each of our embassies in Europe and Eurasia has a country-specific action plan to attack trafficking in persons.

United States Government health programs are having a direct and tangible impact in Eurasia and Southeast Europe. These countries face the twin challenge of antiquated and deteriorating Soviet-era public health infrastructures and the spread of serious infectious diseases.

The Enhanced Partnership in Northern Europe provides a forum to combine resources and ideas to tackle cross-border issues, such as trafficking in persons and infectious diseases.

Engaging former weapons and defense industry scientists is crucial to the success of our non-proliferation efforts in Europe and Eurasia. Our assistance programs for Eurasian scientists are progressing toward the goal of commercial support for a civilian scientific sector in nations of the former Soviet Union. In Russia, former weapons scientists are developing a cancer diagnostic and treatment instrument with venture capital funding. In Ukraine, retrained scientists focus on advanced cryogenics with private sector funding.

The Administration’s push for innovative high tech research and development as a response to global warming has received European ministerial-level attention and participation. Our European partners share our interest in using technology to address stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations, and their experts are part of the team in developing new technologies. Clearly the United States is in the lead position, but we need the Europeans as shared stakeholders in this endeavor with global consequences.

Resources

Your investment in the Department of State has been a wise one. The infrastructure improvements we have been able to make in Washington and in the field have dramatically increased our ability to implement and advance U.S. foreign policy. The staffing we have received through the Diplomatic Readiness Initiative has given us greater flexibility to meet the new program demands in Europe and Eurasia. The safety of our colleagues overseas continues to improve, with the construction of more new facilities this year. American and Turkish lives were saved in November in Istanbul because we had relocated our consulate general to a secure new facility only months before the devastating bombings in Istanbul. U.S. facilities would have been targeted had we not taken the precaution of securing these facilities. We opened a new embassy in Zagreb, and new embassies in Dushanbe and Sofia should be finished this year. Improvements in information technology and communications mean that we have better access to more information than ever before, and we are able to work more efficiently. We have significantly improved and expanded our training curricula and more of our people than ever are regularly receiving the professional training that is essential if we are to serve the American people as effectively as possible.

Conclusion

In the past year the United States achieved significant successes in Europe and Eurasia. A freely elected government in Georgia is actively retiring agents of corruption and heeding the Georgian people’s call for democratic processes. After four decades of division and strife, Cyprus is on the threshold of a negotiated agreement and popular referendum for reunification, in time for a unified island to join the European Union. The European Union assumed responsibility for security in Macedonia and a Bosnia hand-over is planned. Working closely with our British and Italian partners, we created an about-face in Libya, one that will enhance stability in the region. No longer a pariah in the community of nations, Libya is forging a new path toward economic development and a better life for the Libyan people. Our concerted efforts with European and Eurasian partners to combat terrorism, trafficking in persons, and anti-Semitism led to concrete, proactive engagement on both sides of the Atlantic. We are also working with our European partners, including Turkey playing a unique role, to transform the Greater Middle East through freedom-based reform. Our goal now is to harness our synergy and commitment to shared democratic values to ensure the success of the major transitions ahead, not only in Iraq reconstruction, but also in the expanded transatlantic rapport built on the enlargement of NATO and the European Union.


Released on March 3, 2004

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