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G8 Statement on Regional Issues

Köln, Germany, June 20, 1999


We welcome the decisive steps already taken and now underway to end violence and repression in Kosovo, to establish peace and to provide for the safe and free return of all refugees and displaced persons to their homes. In this regard, we particularly welcome the adoption on June 10 of United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1244, and commend the intensive efforts of our Foreign Ministers and others, including the Special Envoys of the European Union and the Russian Federation, to restore peace and security.

We reaffirm strong support for the international civil and security presences in accordance with UNSCR 1244. We welcome the leadership of the United Nations in the international civil presence, and pledge to collaborate closely to ensure the United Nations’ success in carrying out its complex mission. We also welcome the agreement reached between NATO and Russia on the international security presence, and the relevant Military Technical Agreement. In that regard, we insist that all parties to the conflict in Kosovo respect the cease-fire and fully abide by the terms of UNSCR 1244 and the Military Technical Agreement concerning the withdrawal of all Yugoslav and Serb military, police, and paramilitary forces from Kosovo and the demilitarization of the KLA and other armed Kosovo Albanian groups.

We expect all residents of Kosovo to contribute to the creation of a democratic, multi-ethnic Kosovo. The return of refugees and displaced persons to their homes, and the assurance of security for all persons including Serb and all other minorities in Kosovo will be high priorities of the international community. To ensure the wellbeing of the refugees and displaced persons, their return must be undertaken in a safe, orderly, and organized fashion. We will work cooperatively with each other, the United Nations, the European Union, the OSCE, and other international organizations to facilitate safe return including demining.

We will fully cooperate with the work of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia. We affirm our commitment to a meeting of the international donor community in July to address short-term humanitarian and other needs for Kosovo, and a subsequent meeting in the fall after a full assessment of needs has been developed pursuant to the assistance coordination process chaired by the European Commission and the World Bank.

We stress the importance of the civil implementation and, given the key role the G8 has played in the Kosovo crisis, we invite our Foreign Ministers to review on a regular basis the progress achieved thus far in this process and to provide further guidance.

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South Eastern Europe Stability Pact and Donor Coordination

We welcome the adoption of the Stability Pact on June 10 in Cologne, an initiative of the European Union which will continue to play the leading role. This Stability Pact has launched a process for South Eastern Europe with the objective of a positive mid- and long-term perspective for the countries in the region to achieve lasting peace as well as political and economic stability. We take note that countries in the region participating in the Stability Pact commit themselves to continued democratic and economic reforms, as well as bilateral and regional cooperation amongst themselves to advance their integration, on an individual basis, into Euro-Atlantic structures. We consider this stabilization process to be one of the major political and economic challenges ahead of us. We declare our readiness to take strong action to achieve all the objectives of the Stability Pact. In regard to the above, the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia must demonstrate a full commitment to all of the principles and objectives of the Pact.

We underline that, in order to achieve the goals of the Stability Pact, the countries of the region bear a primary responsibility. Assistance from outside can help, but not replace the countries’ own efforts. Therefore we call on the countries of South Eastern Europe to cooperate with each other and within the international community to develop a shared strategy for stability and growth of the region. In recognition of the principle of fair burden sharing, we also call on the international donor community to undertake the necessary measures in order to give the countries in the region a strong signal of active international support and solidarity and to organize donor conferences as early as feasible.

We welcome the progress made through the chairmanship of the European Commission and the World Bank towards establishing a donor coordination process to develop a coherent international assistance strategy for the region opening the door for all donor opportunities as well as to mobilize additional financial support for reconstruction, regional integration, economic recovery and reform and to promote sound macroeconomic and structural policies by the countries concerned. This process will be guided by the High Level Steering Group, in which the Special Coordinator of the Stability Pact will play an important role.

The High Level Steering Group will be co-chaired by the European Commission and the World Bank and include the Special Coordinator of the Stability Pact, the IMF, the EIB and the EBRD which will be active in the region, plus one UN representative and the Finance Ministers of major donor countries and, where appropriate, Development Ministers.

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Middle East Peace Process

We reaffirm our support for a negotiated settlement in the Middle East, that should be based on the full implementation of existing commitments and on the principles of land for peace, UNSC resolutions 242 and 338, the Madrid and Oslo Agreements, UNSC resolution 425, and secure and recognized boundaries. We welcome recent encouraging statements by the Prime Minister-elect of Israel and call upon all parties to pursue the Middle East Peace Process with resolve, renewed efforts and good faith, leading to a comprehensive, just and lasting peace.

We urge both Israel and the Palestinians to implement fully and promptly the Wye River Memorandum, to combat terror, to fight violence and incitement to violence and to refrain from all activities that prejudge the outcome of the Permanent Status negotiations. We call upon both sides to resume immediately the Permanent Status negotiations. We believe that the parties should set a goal of concluding the Permanent Status negotiations within a target period of one year.

We also call for an early resumption of negotiations between Israel and Syria and Lebanon in order to achieve peace agreements. In the meantime, we urge all parties concerned strictly to respect the provisions of the April 26, 1996, understanding and to contribute actively to the work of the monitoring group in South Lebanon.

We equally underline the importance of resuming the multilateral track of the peace process and encourage the working groups and steering group to pursue their activities, supporting the bilateral negotiations and enhancing regional cooperation and economic integration.

We remind all parties that sustained economic development and improved living standards for the Palestinian people are real factors in securing peace and enhancing stability in the region.

We are convinced that peace and security and the fulfillment of the rights of all the people of the Middle East, including the Palestinians, are vital to a lasting, just and negotiated settlement that provides for the Palestinians to live as a free people on their own land.

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We welcome King Abdullah's reaffirmation of Jordan's long-standing support for the Middle East Peace Process. We are committed to enhancing stability by supporting Jordan's economic reform during this critical period. We recognize the importance that Jordan attaches to alleviating its debt burden and call on the international community to provide economic assistance, including, where appropriate, debt relief.

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The G8 warmly welcomes Nigeria’s return to civilian rule and democracy. It recognizes that the strong backing of the international community will be needed to help the new government implement the necessary political and economic reforms. The G8 will assist positive change in Nigeria by continued support for democracy and human rights, good governance, transparency and accountability and the reduction of poverty.

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We are deeply concerned about the continuing military confrontation in Kashmir following the infiltration of armed intruders which violated the Line of Control. We regard any military action to change the status quo as irresponsible. We therefore call for the immediate end of these actions, restoration of the Line of Control and for the parties to work for an immediate cessation of the fighting, full respect in the future for the Line of Control and the resumption of the dialogue between India and Pakistan in the spirit of the Lahore Declaration.

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The Cyprus problem has gone unresolved for too long. Resolution of this problem would not only benefit all the people of Cyprus, but would also have a positive impact on peace and stability in the region.

Both parties to the dispute have legitimate concerns that can and must be addressed. The members of the G8 are convinced that only comprehensive negotiations covering all relevant issues can do this.

The members of the G8, therefore, urge the UN Secretary-General in accordance with relevant UN Security Council resolutions to invite the leaders of the two parties to negotiations in the fall of 1999. They call upon the two leaders to give their full support to such a comprehensive negotiation, under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General.

In accepting this invitation, the two parties/leaders should commit themselves to the following principles:

The members of the G8 undertake to give their full and sustained backing to the negotiating process and hope that it will prove possible for its outcome to be reported to the meetings of Heads of State and Government at the OSCE Summit this November.

Source: Released at the Köln Summit 1999

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