logoUsdpt.gif (5626 octets)

Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright

Statement before the House Foreign Operations Appropriations


Washington, D.C., April 15, 1999

As released by the Office of the Spokesman

U.S. Department of State



Good morning, Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee. I am pleased to be here, although I must say that if I had my choice of dates to come and ask you for money, I'm not sure I would have picked April 15th.

You have my written statement, which I urge you to review. It covers important subjects and parts of the world that I will not be able to discuss orally and still honor your time for questions.

Mr. Chairman, events of the past year, especially in the Balkans, the Gulf, Asia and Africa, illustrate the range of perils that exist as we approach the new century. I come before this Subcommittee in search of the resources and tools we need to respond to those perils and to seize opportunities for ensuring our security, promoting our prosperity and upholding our values.

This Subcommittee has generally supported adequate funding for international programs and for that, I salute you.

However, this year the proposed Congressional Budget Resolution would require a reduction of 15 percent in the amount requested by the President for international affairs. This is tantamount to the surrender of American leadership around the world.

Anyone who says we should do more to counter terror, or fight drugs, or halt proliferation, or promote American exports, or prevent the abuse of human rights should agree that it is not possible to accomplish any of these goals without resources.

This is not a partisan issue. The call for a strong U.S. foreign policy comes from leaders in both parties. So I hope that we can work together, Mr. Chairman, not only on our overall FY 2000 request for international affairs, but also on our supplemental request for Jordan and to aid the recovery of hurricane victims in Central America and the Caribbean. And we need to find a way to do this without raiding other priority programs.

In addition, the President will submit shortly an emergency supplemental request to cover costs related to the crisis in Kosovo.

This request will include funds for lifesaving humanitarian relief, assistance to the embattled front-line states, and other urgent requirements. If ever there were an emergency, Mr. Chairman, this is one. We are not in this alone, for we have friends in Europe and elsewhere who are providing large quantities of help. But we must do our part. So I will be urging the Subcommittee's support for prompt action on the portions of the request that will fall within your jurisdiction.

I also ask your support for our policy on Kosovo, for we are confronting an outrage we cannot accept and only we and our allies have the muscle to oppose.

President Milosevic has unleashed a rampage of ethnic cleansing and genocide directed at the expulsion or total submission of the Kosovo Albanian community.

We have all seen the images of families uprooted and put on trains, children crying for parents they cannot find, refugees recounting how their loved ones were led away, and ominous photos from the sky of freshly-upturned earth.

Behind these images is a reality grimmer than any seen in Europe in more than half a century. And make no mistake, this campaign of terror was not the result of NATO action. It is a Milosevic production.

The region-wide killing, raping, shelling, burning and deporting were as meticulously planned as they are being ruthlessly carried out. That is why force became NATO's only option after the diplomatic solution we offered and re-offered at Rambouillet was rejected over and over again by Belgrade.

Today, our values and principles, our perseverance and our strength, are being tested. We must be united at home and with our allies overseas.

We must do all we can to ease the suffering of refugees and other victims. We must and will persist in gathering evidence and documenting the truth to help the War Crimes Tribunal hold perpetrators accountable.

And while continuing to strive to minimize civilian casualties, we must strike and strike again until an outcome that meets the demands of the international community is achieved.

These demands are as simple as they are just. There must be a verifiable stop to Serb military action against the people of Kosovo. Belgrade's military, police and paramilitary forces must leave so that refugees can return safely. An international military presence must be permitted. And the people of Kosovo must be given the democratic self-government they have long deserved.

In addition, as President Clinton has made clear, we insist that the three American soldiers now in the custody of Belgrade be released immediately and without conditions.

The current crisis highlights the need to integrate the Balkans more fully into the Euro-Atlantic Community of democracies. We have made a start in this direction, but one outcome of the current fighting must be a comprehensive, multi-year, multi-national approach. We do not want this conflict to serve as a prelude to others.

In the weeks ahead, we will be consulting with you, and working with regional leaders, our allies and international financial institutions to develop a strategy for bringing Europe's southeast corner into the continent's mainstream.

As we look ahead, we know that the prospects for long-term peace in Europe also depend on the success of democracy in the Baltics, Ukraine, Russia, the Caucasus and Central Asia. For this reason, I strongly urge your backing for the SEED and Freedom Support Act programs.

These democracy-building initiatives are good investments. Already, a number of countries have graduated and no longer need our aid. But the region is vast and the dangers posed by corruption, criminals and Communist backsliders are great.

We need your help in funding these initiatives fully and flexibly so that the forces of freedom may be bolstered and their enemies held at bay.

Our efforts to promote lasting stability across Europe are mirrored in our own hemisphere through the Summit of the Americas process. Here our challenge is to translate the promise of reform into the reality of prosperity that is broadly shared, and to strengthen fragile democratic institutions. One major test is in Colombia, where we are committed to helping President Pastrana reestablish the rule of law and secure a future of peace for his people.

Similarly, in Asia, we are working with allies and partners to improve security cooperation, restore economic momentum and build democracy.

In this region, there is no greater threat to peace and stability than the situation on the Korean Peninsula. With our Korean and Japanese allies, and China, we are seeking ways to reduce tensions.

To this end, we have vigorously pressed our concerns about North Korea's long-range missile program. We have reached an agreement that will allow U.S. inspection of suspicious underground construction at Kumchang-ni. And we continue to insist that North Korea meet its obligations under the Agreed Framework.

That Framework succeeded in freezing North Korea's plutonium production and separation facilities at Yongbyon, and in bringing those facilities under rigorous IAEA monitoring. Pursuant to the Framework, those facilities will eventually be dismantled and the nuclear fuel shipped out of North Korea.

As long as North Korea is abiding by its terms, our support for the Framework is vital. I urge members to provide that support by approving the President's request for $55 million for the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization.

Meanwhile, former Secretary of Defense William Perry is conducting a comprehensive review of the U.S. approach to North Korea. He is seeking extensive input from the Congress, and is working closely with our allies. He will complete his recommendations later this spring.

Also in East Asia, we have continued our strategic dialogue with China. Since that dialogue began, China has taken positive steps on proliferation; moved ahead on economic reform; and played a responsible role during the Asia financial crisis.

We need to recognize this progress, even as we press for more.

During Premier Zhu Rongji's visit to Washington last week, President Clinton raised matters where the U.S. and China disagree. These include our decision this year to pursue vigorously a China-specific resolution at the UN Human Rights Commission. This reflects our condemnation of widespread human rights violations, including the arrests of Chinese who sought peacefully to establish an opposition political party.

Before and during Premier Zhu's visit, significant progress was made towards an agreement that would allow China's accession to the World Trade Organization on commercially viable terms. Because such an agreement would clearly benefit U.S. interests, we will resume negotiations later this month in an effort to resolve remaining issues.

As I have said before, in our relations with China, engagement is not endorsement. We continue to have sharp differences with Beijing. But we also believe that the way to narrow those differences, and to take advantage of the many areas where U.S. and Chinese interests coincide, is through debate and dialogue.

In the Middle East, we continue to work with regional leaders on behalf of peace. We are in regular contact with Israeli and Palestinian officials, encouraging them to carry out the Wye River Memorandum. We have expressed our support and friendship to Jordan's new King Abdullah, and we consult frequently with leaders in Egypt.

As we pursue our diplomatic efforts, I hope we can count on the Subcommittee's backing for those programs that help our partners and support the peace process.

In the Gulf, we have responded to flagrant Iraqi violations with forceful measures to reduce the aggressive potential of the Baghdad regime. We continue to defend pilots patrolling the No-Fly Zones and to work with the Security Council to develop a basis for resuming inspection and monitoring of Iraq's remaining WMD capabilities.

Our policy is to counter the threat Saddam Hussein poses to Iraq's neighbors, our allies and our interests. And to support the Iraqi people's desire to reintegrate themselves internationally and free themselves from a leader they do not want, do not deserve, and never chose.

Mr. Chairman, the new century will demand from us a fresh approach to the dangers and opportunities of Africa.

Today, with regional leaders, we are searching for ways to end bloody conflicts from the Sudan and Horn of Africa to the Congo and Sierra Leone. However, these immediate crises must not cause us to neglect long-term goals.

I urge your backing for our efforts to assist the fragile transition to democracy in Nigeria; to help extend the rule of law throughout the continent; and to advance the essential human goal of sustainable development.

Mr. Chairman, many of the measures we take to protect American security and prosperity are directed at particular countries or parts of the world. But others can best be considered in global terms.

These include our international economic leadership; the war against terror, drugs and crime; and initiatives to promote democracy and human rights.

They also include our strategy for safeguarding American security by preventing weapons of mass destruction and the missiles that deliver them from falling into the wrong hands.

The economic crisis in Russia and elsewhere in the New Independent States adds urgency to the need for effective action. Thousands of scientists with WMD expertise are facing increased temptations to sell their know-how to the highest bidder.

This year, we are requesting $250 million for State Department programs under the President's Expanded Threat Reduction Initiative. These programs seek to enhance our security by engaging weapons scientists to prevent proliferation, halt smuggling and tighten export controls.

Fifty years ago, only a short distance from where we are now, President Harry Truman delivered his first and only inaugural address.

In what came to be known as the Four Point speech, he challenged Democrats and Republicans alike to lend a hand to those struggling for freedom and human rights; to continue programs for world economic recovery; to strengthen international organizations; and to draw on our country's expertise to help people help themselves in the fight against ignorance, illness and despair.

Today, we are summoned to meet similar responsibilities in a far different time--and to honor principles that will endure for all time. To that mission, I pledge my own best efforts, and respectfully solicit both your wise counsel and support.

Thank you very much. And now I would be pleased to respond to your questions.