[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1998, Book I)]
[February 10, 1998]
[Pages 203-204]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Joint Statement on the United States-Bulgarian Partnership for a New Era
February 10, 1998

    President Clinton and President Petar Stoyanov met at the White House today to discuss the 
strengthening of U.S.-Bulgarian relations as well as mutual efforts to 
enhance cooperation in Southeast Europe and advance Bulgaria's 
integration into the European and transatlantic communities, including 
    President Clinton noted the historic changes that have taken place 
in Bulgaria over the last year and the key role played by President 
Stoyanov. During his tenure, Stoyanov's 
Bulgaria has aligned itself firmly with the family of democratic 
nations, moved forward with difficult economic reforms, strengthened its 
civic institutions, stepped up its fight against organized crime and 
enhanced cooperation with its neighbors. The two presidents committed 
themselves to building a partnership that reflects a new era in 
Bulgarian-American relations.
    President Clinton reaffirmed America's commitment to NATO's ``Open 
Door'' policy and welcomed Bulgaria's aspiration to NATO membership. The 
two Presidents agreed that Bulgaria's engagement in the Partnership for 
Peace, enhanced dialogue with NATO and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership 
Council were key tools to making Bulgaria the strongest possible 
candidate for NATO membership.
    The United States will continue to support Bulgaria's efforts to 
consolidate its democratic and free market reforms, including Bulgaria's 
engagement with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The 
United States and Bulgaria are committed to reinforcing implementation 
of the Dayton Accords. They also have a common interest in expanding 
mutual trade and investment and encouraging the development of multiple 
routes for energy from the Caspian Basin.
    The centerpiece of the visit was the announcement of a new U.S. 
Action Plan for Southeast Europe. The Action Plan will give further 
dynamism to U.S. cooperation with countries in the region in such areas 
as promoting peaceful resolution of disputes, combating organized crime 
and consolidating democratic and economic reforms. President 
Stoyanov expressed full support for the 
Action Plan and committed Bulgaria to doing its part.

U.S.-Bulgaria Work Program

    The two presidents noted with approval the detailed U.S.-Bulgaria 
work program that will translate the Southeast Europe Action Plan into 
concrete projects in the areas of economic and commercial concerns, 
political-military affairs and law enforcement cooperation.
    President Stoyanov welcomed continuing 
U.S. assistance which plays a key role in facilitating Bulgaria's 
transition to democratic and free market structures. President Clinton 
applauded Bulgaria's commitment to accelerating privatization and 
affirmed continued U.S. support through

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various bilateral assistance programs. Over the past seven years, the 
United States has provided Bulgaria with over $235 million in assistance 
under the Support for East European Democracy Program (SEED) to advance 
fundamental economic and political reforms.
            The program for this year, budgeted at $31 million, will 
            focus on ensuring the development of a free-market economy 
            and strengthening democratic institutions.
    In view of the improved reform environment in Bulgaria, the United 
States and Bulgaria have identified several new priority areas for 
cooperation: reinforcing the rule of law, strengthening financial 
markets and encouraging the development of civil society. In this 
regard, the two Presidents agreed to:
            Deepen cooperation between their countries' respective law 
            enforcement agencies in the struggle against terrorism, 
            narcotics trafficking, money laundering and illicit arms 
            transfers. The United States announced an increase in funds 
            dedicated to providing criminal law enforcement training.
            Project intellectual property rights, including a commitment 
            by President Stoyanov to seek strict enforcement of 
            Bulgarian legislation and strengthen cooperation among 
            relevant Bulgarian institutions in the fight against 
            intellectual property piracy.
    Develop a new education curriculum in Bulgaria to promote 
            democratic values with a grant of $250,000 from the United 
            States Information Agency.
    On the military front, the Department of Defense has 
            developed a number of programs to support the reform of the 
            Bulgarian military along Western lines, including for this 
    A $900,000 International Military Education and Training 
            program that has eleven Bulgarian cadets studying at U.S. 
            military academies;
    A $3.2 million dollar Foreign Military Financing program; 
    A military liaison team resident in the Bulgarian Ministry 
            of Defense to organize staff and information exchanges.

Regional Cooperation

    In an effort to breakdown barriers and encourage regional 
cooperation, the United States and Bulgaria, together with several other 
stable democracies, are engaged in a number of cooperative efforts such 
as the Southeast European Cooperative Initiative, the South Balkan 
Development Initiative and the annual Southeastern European Defense 
    The Southeast European Cooperative Initiative (SECI) aims to 
            enhance regional cooperation, commerce and development. It 
            is pursuing plans for improvement of operations at border 
            crossings, models to finance energy efficiency projects, and 
            promotion of small and medium-sized enterprise development.
    The $30 million South Balkan Development Initiative (SBDI) 
            seeks to energize the efforts of Albania, Bulgaria and the 
            FYR Macedonia to upgrade their transportation systems and 
            develop a regional approach to transport planning.
    The Southeastern European Defense Ministerial brings the 
            Defense Ministers of the region together with other 
            interested countries to discuss issues of common concern and 
            develop projects for the year aimed at promoting regional 
            cooperation and confidence building. Bulgaria hosted the 
            last Ministerial in October 1997, which resulted in 27 
            follow-on activities.
    These bilateral and multilateral initiatives will advance our shared 
goal of a Europe whole, free and at peace. They will also promote the 
integration of Bulgaria and the other stable democracies of Southeastern 
Europe into the European and transatlantic mainstream.

Note: An original was not available for verification of the content of 
this joint statement.