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Statement on Balkan Security Summit, Greek-Turkish Discussions

By John Sitilides1 <>, Executive Director, The Western Policy Center

For Immediate Release
Contact: Maro Verrios 916-383-7000
Friday, November 7, 1997

"Security and cooperation in the Balkans and the Eastern Mediterranean are critical to our national interest in regional stability, the attainment of which compels the American military presence in Bosnia and in the Aegean and Adriatic Seas."

"As such, Athens should be commended for convening the first gathering of Balkan and regional leaders since the fall of Communism and the outbreak of war more than five years ago. Peace, security and friendly relations, premised on the rule of law and respect for human and civil rights in free-market democratic systems, can best assure that our foreign policy objectives in the region are met.

"By its emphasis on these fundamental Western values, Greece's initiative demonstrates its leadership potential in a critical area thus far beset by war, militarization and anarchy.

"Similarly, bilateral relations between Greece and Turkey must be strengthened in accordance with international law and international treaties, respect for territorial integrity and national sovereignty, and the peaceful settlement of disputes. As with the July convergence of ideas signed in Madrid, it is imperative that this regional security and cooperation agreement be fulfilled in actual deeds, not just pleasant words and warm wishes.

"Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke's visit to Cyprus can provide the first real test of commitment to the principles agreed to in Crete. Last month's belligerent violations of Cypriot and Greek airspace by Turkish fighters engaged in dangerous and life-threatening maneuvers point to the need for strict compliance. Otherwise, the atmosphere of trust necessary for peace and security in the region will remain out of reach.

"Appropriately, we will closely monitor related developments and statements in the weeks and months ahead."

1[The Western Policy Center is a public policy corporation monitoring U.S. geostrategic interests in southeastern Europe.]