September 11, 2001 : Attack on America
John F. Tefft, Ambassador to Lithuania - Council Of The Baltic Sea States Ministerial; March 6, 2002

U.S. Department of State
Washington, D.C.
Council Of The Baltic Sea States Ministerial
John F. Tefft, Ambassador to Lithuania
Svetlogorsk, Russia
March 6, 2002

Mr. Chairman, it is my great pleasure to be here representing Secretary Powell and the United States. I know that the Secretary highly values his relationship with you, and he is pleased to send his regards.

Allow me first to convey the congratulations of my government to the member states and other participants of the CBSS, on the occasion of this 10th anniversary celebration. It is a credit to the vision of Mr. Genscher and Mr. Ellemann-Jensen that the CBSS has, as they foresaw, come to play an indispensable role in integrating this part of Europe across the fault lines that once divided it. One only has to read the long list of accomplishments in today's Communique to see how valuable it has been. I would also like to express my thanks and appreciation for the hospitality which our Russian hosts have shown us.

The U.S. has been an official observer in the CBSS for the past four years, but we have supported the CBSS since its inception. Our participation here, and our longstanding cooperation with CBSS institutions, reflect the importance we attach to this part of Europe.

It is quite natural for the United States to work closely with the CBSS: the successes of this region, in which the CBSS has played a central role, have helped move us toward our shared goal of a Europe whole, free, and at peace. Our cooperation -- implemented in the framework of our Northern Europe Initiative -- reflects the wide-ranging nature of the CBSS itself. We have worked with the Baltic Sea States Task Force on Organized Crime to combat illegal immigration, smuggling, and drug trafficking. We have provided professors and materials to the EuroFaculty to help modernize university education. We have worked closely with the Task Force on Infectious Diseases to fight HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. We have cooperated with several member states to address environmental problems. And we have supported numerous programs to strengthen civil society and develop cross-border cooperation in the same spirit as the CBSS. We greatly value this cooperation and look forward to continuing it well into the next ten years.

Ladies and gentleman, next week we will note the six-month anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks. I want to highlight again how deeply my government and the American people have appreciated the expressions of sympathy and support from northern Europe. The terrorist attacks killed people from nearly 80 nations, including from CBSS member states. The candlelight vigils in Hamburg, in St. Petersburg, in Vilnius; the fire brigade salutes in Copenhagen; the minute of silence across Europe -- we will not soon forget these.

Equally important have been the contributions from every country here to the broader campaign against terrorism. Together we have launched a concerted international effort to combat terrorism on all fronts -- military, diplomatic, financial, and social. In this campaign the participation of every civilized nation in every region is critical. For this reason we were pleased at the invitation by the Russian chair to take part in recent discussions on how the CBSS can contribute to the international fight against terrorism. We welcome the Ministerial's expressed support for this fight and encourage the Council, and particularly the Task Force on Organized Crime, to do everything possible to ensure that terrorists are denied financing, safehaven, and other forms of support here and elsewhere. In all of this, we stand ready to continue cooperating with the CBSS and its institutions.

Ladies and gentleman, it was no accident that during his first trip to Europe last June, President Bush came to this region and reached out to leaders of countries represented around this table. The progress that we have witnessed here over the past ten years stands as an example for all of Europe of how to create stability and prosperity through integration and cooperation, rather than confrontation.

In his Warsaw speech, President Bush said "our goal is to erase the false lines that have divided Europe for too long." That is exactly what is happening in the Baltic Sea region; the historic decisions that NATO and the EU are likely to take later this year will confirm this. As we look ahead, in fact, we believe that we can put the experience gained in this region to practical use in other parts of Europe. In the United States, we are looking at how to shape our programs in the region to support this ambition. As the CBSS enters its second decade, we encourage its member states and institutions to do likewise and look forward to continued close cooperation.

Thank you!

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