Declaration of Belgrade

Meeting of the Socialist International Committee for Central and Eastern Europe, Belgrade, 17-18 September 2001


Original: French

1. Voicing deep feelings of distress in the face of the appalling acts of terrorism against the United States:

expresses its full solidarity with the people and government of the United States of America;

stresses that the battle against terrorism and all forms of violence must be the point of departure for the international community and that every country must unambiguously assume its full responsibilities;

stresses the contribution which religious authorities can make and asks those authorities to place the battle against terrorism at the centre of dialogue between religions;

expresses its support for all initiatives to facilitate the identification and punishment of those responsible for such criminal acts;

stresses the importance of developing with the Islamic countries all forms of dialogue and cooperation;

calls on all the parties involved and on the international community to commit themselves to put a stop to violence in the Middle East and to resume the peace process;

reiterates - as the SI did at its last Congress - its will to work to make freedom, democracy, justice and solidarity the principles with which to face the challenges of this era of globalisation.

2. Considering the situation in the Balkans:

welcomes the remarkable progress achieved by the FRY on its road to democracy;

stresses the need for the international community to strengthen the investment and economic aid which are essential for building a solid market economy and promoting social development and economic growth in Yugoslavia;

stresses also the importance of supporting all activities tending to reinforce the democratic institutions in the FYR;

reaffirms that the international institutions must support and encourage the return of all refugees to their homes;

urges all international organisations to bring the FRY into membership;

welcomes the fact that Mr Milosevic has been brought before The Hague Tribunal and urges the Tribunal to pursue its actions against all those who have committed war crimes and bring justice to all the victims;

welcomes the talks begun by the authorities of the FRY, of Serbia and Montenegro to renew the foundations of the Yugoslav Federation;

welcomes the opening between the government of Serbia and the authorities of Vojvodina and other regions to achieve the decentralisation and regionalisation of Serbia;

expresses its satisfaction with the Agreements signed in Macedonia, urges all parties concerned to implement them without delay and

stresses the importance of supporting the peace process in the country;

stresses the importance of the forthcoming elections in Kosovo and - taking into account resolution 1244 of the UN Security Council - urges all the parties concerned, as well as the international institutions, to ensure that these elections are free and fair, with respect for the rights of every man and woman and of all ethnic communities and with concrete conditions which allow all the citizens of Kosovo to freely participate in the elections;

welcomes the progress made in Bosnia-Herzegovina in the implementation of the Dayton Agreements and urges the international community to continue all its efforts to consolidate peace and cooperation between the communities of which Bosnia-Herzegovina is made up;

reaffirms that in order to bring peace and stability to the region, it is necessary to ensure that the national, cultural, ethnic and religious identity of every man, every woman and every community is recognised and respected;

stresses the fact that the regulation of immigration and of free circulation and the fight against the illicit traffic and of all forms of criminality is essential to secure stability, security and growth;

urges the European Union to strengthen its relations with the countries of the region and to begin the process of their gradual integration into the rest of Europe;

urges all the countries concerned to strengthen, without delay, their action within the Stability Pact;

expresses its gratitude to the soldiers and officers of the international forces working to promote disarmament, peace and security in the region;

reaffirms the importance of the international community, its institutions and each country concerned continuing their full engagement in the region;

calls on all the parties of the Socialist International to support the political forces of social democratic inspiration in implementing all actions aimed at strengthening democracy.

3. Considering the progress of negotiations on the enlargement of the European Union:

welcomes the remarkable progress achieved in the negotiations and urges all the candidate countries to pursue the work of compliance with European norms;

urges the European Union to implement all the concrete measures and financial assistance necessary to promote policies of convergence in the candidate countries;

reaffirms the importance of confirming the decision taken by the European Council concerning the negotiations and the timetable for membership;

urges the European Union to also pursue the policy of building a relationship of association with countries - such as Croatia and other countries in the region - which wish to join the EU in the future;

reaffirms that the full respect of the rights of minorities, based on the acquis communautaire, is an essential criteria in order to be part of the European Union;

expresses its satisfaction with the forthcoming completion of the launch of the Euro as a single currency - a process which can strengthen the economy of all the EU countries, as well as the candidate countries;

welcomes the support given by the Party of European Socialists and its Parliamentary Group to the social democratic and socialist parties of the candidate countries to meet the challenges linked to enlargement.

4. Expressing full solidarity with the region's parties of social democratic and socialist inspiration, SICEE and its member parties reaffirm their commitment to supporting all the initiatives necessary to implant in the region democracy, freedom, respect for human rights, solidarity, justice and sustainable development