Declaration on South-East Europe

GENEVA COUNCIL - Making global markets work for all, 23-24 November 1998

The Council of the Socialist International, meeting in Geneva,

After analysing the crisis in Kosovo:

expresses its concern for the persistence of a situation of violence, instability and tension in Kosovo which has serious consequences for the living conditions of hundreds of thousands of people and reiterates that the protection of human rights and the mitigation of suffering must become a priority of any action undertaken by any of the parties concerned;

stresses that the international community should facilitate agreement within the Albanian community on the course and content of negotiations and discourage all parties from restarting armed conflict;

calls on both the Serbian forces and Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) to cease all military activities and all oppression of citizens in Kosovo, ensuring the safe return of the refugees, recognising that the way forward is through peaceful and democratic means;

considers the understanding promoted by Richard Holbrooke's action as a first and useful step to start negotiations between Pristina and Belgrade and urges the parties to continue with full commitment along the same lines;

stresses once more that the crisis in Kosovo can find a lasting solution only on the basis of a recognition of forms of self-government for Kosovo within the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia;

underlines the importance of international actions to oblige the Yugoslav authorities to immediately open Kosovo and Montenegro to all humanitarian organisations helping the refugees and their safe return;

similarly underlines the importance of the presence in Kosovo of 2,000 OSCE observers and appeals to the Serbian authorities to fulfil their commitments to provide security for the observer mission allowing, in cases of immediate threat, actions by the NATO Extraction Force based in Macedonia.

After analysing the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina:

notes with satisfaction that parliamentary and presidential elections were held in a proper manner in Bosnia and Herzegovina and stresses the good results achieved by social democratic forces. All of this encourages and strengthens the action of those who believe in the Dayton Accords and in a united, multi-ethnic, multi-cultural Bosnia and Herzegovina;

stresses the commitment of all signatories of the Dayton Accords to recognise the sovereignty of Bosnia and Herzegovina and to strengthen the unity of the state and the cohesion among the communities and entities that constitute it;

emphasises the responsibility of Bosnian authorities and communities to continue with determination and consistency to implement the Dayton Accords and to promote, in particular, the return of refugees in conditions of safety and dignity. Multi-ethnic and multi-cultural living together should also be increased and strengthened in every possible way through the urgent establishment of governmental institutions at all levels in Bosnia and Herzegovina;

urges the international financial institutions to implement aid and reconstruction programmes for Bosnia and Herzegovina and urges the European Union to implement the cooperation programmes agreed upon and signed by the EU and Bosnia;

gives full support for the development of the social-democratic option and social democratic forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina in each entity and will give support for the establishment of closer relations among all parties fighting for a united, independent, free, democratic and multi-ethnic Bosnia and Herzegovina.

After analysing the situation in South-East Europe more generally:

expresses concern about some authoritarian tendencies and urges development towards full democracy in Croatia which would ensure the application of the democratic standards recommended by the Council of Europe, and guarantee freedom by the media against every form of limitation to its actions;

expresses its deep concern about political developments in Serbia, and the oppressive actions of the Milosevic regime and the growth of the influence of extremist forces within the Serbian government, and expresses its support of democratic forces and the independent media and the universities against any form of repression;

welcomes the result of the elections in Montenegro and the formation of a new government of which the Social Democratic Party of Montenegro is part, and expresses its hope that will have a positive influence on political developments in Serbia and the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia;

expresses its satisfaction at the overcoming of the September crisis in Albania and at the positive result of the constitutional referendum, and urges all Albanian political forces to act in a more consistent and useful way in order to stabilise democracy;

urges the international community to fulfil, in the timescale agreed, the commitments taken on during the Ministerial and Donors Conferences;

highlights the importance of encouraging stability in Macedonia;

stresses the usefulness of fostering every form of regional cooperation - such as the Central Europe Initiative, South-Eastern Cooperation Initiative (SECI), Royaumont, and the Black Sea Cooperation Council - with the aim of creating an increasing number of occasions for interdependence and integration among peoples and countries which have been historically in conflict.

Finally, the Council:

stresses that political stabilisation in Central and Eastern Europe is a pre-requisite for stability and security of the whole continent;

underlines the strategic nature of European integration which can offer Central and Eastern Europe an essential reference point to aid the completion of its political and economic transformation in a Europe which will be democratic, peaceful, socially just and based on principles of mutual solidarity and cooperation among regions;

welcomes the beginning of negotiations with Slovenia, Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Estonia and Cyprus, and urges that negotiations be started as soon as possible with Bulgaria, Romania, Latvia, Lithuania and the Slovak Republic, and emphasises that the European Union must pursue an integration strategy also with countries which are not yet candidates through the signing of a cooperation agreement;

stresses its commitment to supporting all social democratic political forces in Central and Eastern Europe and urges the member parties of the SI to continue to support the development of the democratic process in the region through all possible technical and political means.

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