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From Birmingham 1998 to Köln 1999
~ Country Objectives ~
The top priority for the United States at the Köln Summit will be to work on a diplomatic resolution to the conflict in Kosovo and to establish new foundations for a lasting peace. The resolution will be fully consistent with the terms of the Chernomyrdin-Ahtisaari agreement and with the conditions established by NATO and the international community. Several major US concerns include resolving the issue of Kosovo's status; the safe return of the Kosovar refugees and the safety of all of the people of Kosovo and the deployment of an international security force to the region with NATO at its core and command structure. The United States also wants to discuss a strategy to fully integrate Southeast Europe into the continent's democratic mainstream.
2. International Financial Architecture
The strengthening of the international financial architecture will also be an important issue for the United States at Köln. The overall outlook of the US economy remains favourable - the United States has had solid growth and low inflation. The United States has underscored the need for ongoing, urgent efforts to address the difficulties faced by a number of economies and to stem further contagion.
A number of issues that the United States will be pushing for at the Köln Summit include: the promotion of soundly based capital flows; improvements in transparency and disclosure of international financial institutions (a substantial expansion in the types of economic and financial data made available); the strengthening of financial institutions (both globally and nationally), including ways to motivate countries to adopt and enforce international standards; the maintenance of sustainable exchange rate regimes backed by consistent macroeconomic policies and the development of new ways to prevent and to respond to financial crises including appropriate participation by the private sector. International financial reforms are essential in order to deal with new risks in financial markets and in the world economy and to better prevent crises and to manage them when they occur.
3. Transnational Crime
Combating the growing threat to US national security and international security posed by international crime, particularly drug trafficking and money laundering, is also a priority for the United States. Organized crime groups from the former Soviet Union, Asia and Italy are forming partnerships among themselves as well as with the drug barons of Latin America. Their activities pose major challenges to global security.
The US State Department is working with other countries through extradition treaties, mutual legal assistance agreements (the most recent treaty was signed between the US and Greece on May 26,1999), information exchanges and law enforcement training and technical assistance to fight transnational criminal activities. In 1999, the United States has allocated an estimated $25 million to anticrime programs. The United States is continuing its Drug Certification policy and joining other countries in counternarcotic cooperation. A major US objective is to assist emerging democracies to strengthen their national judicial and law enforcement institutions' capabilities to counter illegal criminal activity through training, equipment and technical assistance and by sponsoring coordination task forces. Another priority for the United States is to provide sophisticated high-tech and technical assistance to combat new financial crimes and money laundering.
In addition, against the backdrop of the high school massacre in Colorado and the tough measures that President Clinton has taken to decrease violence among the youth, at Köln President Clinton may push for greater discussion on the illegal manufacturing and trafficking of small firearms and measures to combat youth violence.
4. Climate Change
Increasing developing country participation in efforts to combat global warming will be an important issue for the United States at Köln. During the Buenos Aires conference, on November 12, 1998, the United States signed the Kyoto Protocol at the United Nations in New York. This decision by the world's largest polluter has given a major boost to negotiations on implementing the Protocol. Signing the protocol demonstrates the United States' commitment to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, however, signing does not impose an obligation on the United States to implement the Protocol. President Clinton has stated that he will not submit the Protocol to the US Senate without the meaningful participation of key developing countries in efforts to address climate change. Thus, facilitating developing country participation in order to secure greater participation remains a top priority for the United States.
5. Nuclear Non-Proliferation
Nuclear non-proliferation is also an important issue for the United States. Through the START treaties, the United States and Russia are on their way to cutting nuclear arsenals by two thirds from their Cold War height. Two years ago, President Clinton was the first to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) which bans all nuclear explosions, making it more difficult for nuclear powers to produce more advanced weapons and for non-nuclear states to develop them. Within the context of recent Chinese nuclear espionage in the United States, the United States will be in the forefront of efforts to prevent proliferation and the strengthening of international nonproliferation regimes at the Köln Summit.
Prepared by Litza Smirnakis,
University of Toronto G8 Research Group,
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