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United States:
Objectives for the Summit
(1997 Denver Summit)

Objective Ambition Assessment
1. NATO-Russia B B+
2. Africa B B
3. Environment D- B+
4. Hong Kong C A
5. Crime D B

1. NATO-Russia

“As a follow-up to the Founding Act concluded between the US and Russia, President Clinton will confirm his support for the admission of three East European countries into NATO: Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic.”


NATO expansion was not on the agenda. Other issues involving Russia were found in the Communiqué. Those which are significant include the Chernobyl sarcophagus, ascension to the Paris Club and a plan for membership in the OECD and WTO, based exclusively on economic criteria.

2. Africa

“The Administration has focused much of its second term foreign policy agenda on the "Africa Initiative." The goal is to transform the relationship from one of donor/recipient to one of partnership through trade and investment. The Initiative includes elements of debt relief and loan refinancing and the US will attempt to secure Summit approval for its agenda. A second element relates to infectious diseases in general and AIDS in particular. President Clinton has committed the US to finding a vaccine for AIDS in the next 10 years. He will seek Summit ratification of his timetable.”


A large portion of the final Communique was devoted to Africa. Partnership for Development was a thorough approach to a diverse problem. The Summit addressed the possibility of including African nations in the WTO, partnerships with the OAU on peacekeeping issues and a recommitment to aid.

The United States was successful in including AIDS on the Summit agenda and was able to secure approval for a commitment to find a vaccine in the near future. This issue is particularly significant for Africa, which currently suffers from the most rapid spread of this horrible disease. AIDS and other infectious diseases have become a significant barrier to African development.

3. Environment

With the Five Year Anniversary of the Rio Summit on the Environment coming up less than a week after the Denver Summit, President Clinton will make the environment a priority at the Denver Summit of the Eight. The US will make Oceans and their protection a priority and will attempt to secure Summit endorsement for that aim. A second environmental objective will relate to the reduction of greenhouse gas emission, which the US wants to put at the top of the agenda for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Kyoto, Japan this coming December. The US will try to rally international support for this goal in Denver.


The issue of protecting oceans appeared in the Communiqué in a manner that reflects US objectives. The leaders discussed targets for significant reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The Communique language on Climate Change strongly reflects the objectives of the US delegation.

4. Hong Kong

“The sovereignty of Hong Kong will be transferred to the People's Republic of China less than nine days after the Denver Summit of the Eight concludes. The United States will attempt to secure Summit approval for a resolution supporting the continuation of civil liberties in Hong Kong after the transition to Chinese rule.”


The Summit addressed the question of Hong Kong in terms almost identical to those sought by the US government.

5. Crime

“The US has been praised for its efforts to curb money-laundering. It will press for further Summit action in this area with a particular emphasis on cooperation in apprehending suspected criminals. Continued support for anti-drug policies among the Summit nations will also be an American focus.”


While the discussion of organized crime, drugs and terrorism did figure prominently on the Summit agenda, the traditional problem in these issue areas was not adequately addressed: the role of rogue states. Significant statements were made on bribery issues and drug trafficking while terrorism merely reaffirmed the Lyon Statement. Until the Summit leaders are able to effectively address the problems posed by rogue states in the area of drugs, crime and organized crime.

Contributors: Mike D'Abramo, Stephen Snell, Darren Foster, and Wendy Kwok.

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