Statement on the Balkans

Meeting of the Socialist International Committee on Local Authorities, Cartaxo, Portugal, 10-11 September 1999

Original: French

Having heard the reports from several mayors of the Balkan region, notably those from cities in Serbia led by the democratic opposition and from Montenegro,

Noting that the considerable damage caused by the war, in Kosovo as in Serbia, risks having catastrophic repercussions on the populations once winter arrives,

Noting the specific situation of Montenegro which is suffering both the effects of the economic sanctions and the repression of the Milosevic regime, as well as the presence of many refugees and displaced persons,

Noting that the war, particularly due to the destruction of bridges on the Danube and the railways, has prevented economic exchange between several countries of South Eastern Europe and the rest of Europe from operating under favourable conditions,

Noting that the only means of re-establishing lasting peace and security in this region is to build true democracies which respect the rights of all the inhabitants.

The Socialist International Committee on Local Authorities, meeting in Cartaxo on 10-11 September 1999,

strongly appeals to cities throughout the world to show their solidarity by giving help in the reconstruction and democratisation of the Balkans, particularly by setting up partnerships with local authorities to work for peace, democracy, social justice and the respect of human rights, and

also considers it urgent, in the economic interest of the region as a whole, to take up the necessary measures in order to allow traffic to flow once again on the river Danube.