OPINION

A letter from the Stability Pact

As the article by Stavros Tzimas (October 4) is full of errors and inaccuracies, I would take this opportunity to react. The article states that the Stability Pact is in danger of falling apart as donor countries are not willing to provide funding any longer. It says that the upcoming Regional Conference in Bucharest has been downgraded as a consequence. These so-called uncertainties are linked to the fact that Special Coordinator Hombach is leaving office at the end of 2001. Our response to these false allegations is the following: 1) No word was received from donor countries, that they were no longer prepared to fund projects within the Stability Pact, as the article wrongly states. Quite to the contrary! At the upcoming Bucharest Regional Conference donor countries and International Financial Institutions will present major projects, which have received fresh funding since the first Donor’s Conference in March 2000. Invitations for the upcoming Bucharest Conference went out on ministerial level and many countries have already announced their participating with ministers. 2) Unlike the article states, there was never a Donors Conference in Slovenia, but it was held in Brussels, and totaled 2.4 billion euros in commitments. This financial commitment translated into 244 projects of the so-called Quick Start Package. By March 2001, one year after the formal launch, 82 percent of these projects were started. Some of them will take months and years more to finish, especially the infrastructure project for which 1.2 billion euros were committed. 3) We can fairly expect the amount of this additional project funding (committed since March 2000) and to be presented in Bucharest to amount to a similar result as at the first conference. 4) Consequently there was no downgrading of the Bucharest Conference, as the article wrongly states, as the Conference was never designed as a pledging conference. It is meant to a) present additional, fully financed projects; b) explore ways to promote stronger private sector activity and investments; c) to further intensify regional co-operation; and d) to offer the Stability Pact as means for integration of the countries into Euro and Euro-Atlantic structures. 5) The article mentions a Stability Pact Regional Bank. There is no such thing, in fact the Pact does not engage in any banking at all. 6) It is true that Bodo Hombach will not extend his contract at the end of the year. This might be regrettable, but it does not jeopardize the Pact nor does this create a risk of the Pact falling apart, as the article erroneously states. Simply because the Stability Pact is an initiative carried by over 40 countries and institutions, and is therefore not dependent on one person or post alone. 7) It is up to the EU to propose a successor to Bodo Hombach, after consultation with all members of the Pact including USA, Russia Japan or NATO. The OSCE chairman in office will then endorse this nomination, according to Article 13 of the Cologne Document of June 1999. Consultations within EU member state are ongoing. We would be happy, if you could share this information with your readers and thereby help to correct the erroneous contents. Roland Bless Spokesman of the Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe Editor replies: We thank Mr. Bless for his comments and corrections. The mention of Slovenia was a mistake. As for reporting on the Stability Pact, this is the finding resulting from interviews with officials in the Balkan capitals who are directly affected by the Pact. The Turkish propaganda against Cyprus has had little effect in helping Denktash’s cause. The Security Council, in a unanimous resolution on September 26, condemned him for refusing to resume negotiations with Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides on the future of the island. Denktash may find that the new international climate will mean that those in a position to influence the fate of smaller countries will have less time for histrionics and will push for solutions to these untidy regional problems. (On the other hand, such solutions usually breed further conflict, as shown by Britain’s romp through the Middle East and the peace treaties after the shaky start to the last century.)