United Nations


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

16 July 1996



GENERAL ASSEMBLY                                            SECURITY COUNCIL
Fifty-first session                                         Fifty-first year
Items 21 (b), 38, 41, 97 (a), (c), (d)
  and (e), 98 and 101 (b) of the
  preliminary list*

*    A/51/50.

                Note verbale dated 11 July 1996 from the Permanent
                Mission of Bulgaria to the United Nations addressed
                           to the Secretary-General

     The Permanent Mission of the Republic of Bulgaria to the United
Nations has the honour to request that the annexed Sofia Declaration
on Good-Neighbourly Relations, Stability, Security and
Cooperation in the Balkans, adopted at the meeting of the
Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the Countries of South-Eastern
Europe, held at Sofia, on 6 and 7 July 1996 (see annex I), as well as
the address by H.E. Mr. Jean Videnov, Prime Minister of the Republic
of Bulgaria to the participants in the meeting (see annex II) and the
Chairman's summary (see annex III) be issued as an official document
of the fifty-first session of the General Assembly, under the
items 21 (b), 38, 41, 97 (a), (c), (d) and (e), 98 and 101 (b), of the
preliminary list, and of the Security Council.

                                    ANNEX I

            Sofia Declaration on Good-Neighbourly Relations, Stability,
            Security and Cooperation in the Balkans, adopted at the
            meeting of the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the
            Countries of South-Eastern Europe, held at Sofia, on 6 and
                                  7 July 1996

     The Ministers for Foreign Affairs and heads of delegations of
countries of South-Eastern Europe met at Sofia on 6 and 7 July 1996. 
Ministers Theodor Melescanu, Milan Milutinovic, Theodoros Pangalos,
Gueorgui Pirinski, Under-Secretary Onur Oymen, Deputy-Ministers
Dr. Hasan Dervishbegovic and Arian Starova attended.

     Representatives of Austria, as Chairman-in-Office of the Central
European Initiative (CEI); Croatia; France; Germany; Hungary; Ireland,
as Presidency of the European Union (EU); Italy; Russian Federation,
also in its capacity of Chairman of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation
(BSEC); Slovenia; Switzerland, as Chairman-in-Office of the
Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE); United
Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland; United States of
America; the High Representative Carl Bildt, the Secretary-General of
the Council of Europe, Daniel Tarschys, representatives of the United
Nations, the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE), the European
Community (EC), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
(EBRD) and the World Bank also attended.

     The Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria, Mr. Jean Videnov,
addressed the meeting.

     Messages to the meeting were received from Russian President
Boris Yeltsin, United States President William Clinton, United Nations
Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali, French Prime Minister
Alain Jupe', President of EC Jacques Santer, Russian Minister for
Foreign Affairs and Chairman of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation
(BSCE) Region Evgueni Primakov, Austrian Minister for Foreign Affairs
and Chairman-in-Office of the Central European Initiative (CEI)
Wolfgang Schu"ssel.

     The Ministers for Foreign Affairs convened their meeting at a time
of crucial importance for the future of the region.  Time has come for
a new beginning of inter-State relations between the countries of the
region and for developing a comprehensive multilateral cooperation. 
They pointed out that as a result of the profound changes in Europe,
which started in 1989, the principles of democracy and market economy,
respect for fundamental human rights and freedoms and the rule of law
have become common values.  With peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a
window of historic opportunity opens to fulfil the hopes and
expectations of their peoples to live in lasting peace and prosperity.

     The Ministers pointed out that multilateral cooperation in the
Balkans has its pre-history and traditions.  The meetings of the
Foreign Ministers of the Balkan countries in Belgrade in 1988 and in
Tirana in 1990 indicated substantial interest and introduced prospects
to engage in a broad range of activities in the political, economic
and humanitarian fields.

     Taking into consideration positive past experience and new
developments, the Ministers committed themselves that every effort
shall be made to transform the region into an area of stability,
security and cooperation in line with the general developments
throughout Europe.  These endeavours are aimed at contributing to the
construction of a new Europe - a Europe of democracy, peace, unity and
stability, thus enabling all nations in the region to live together in
peace with each other as good neighbours.

     The Ministers agreed to launch a comprehensive process of
multilateral cooperation in the following areas:

     -   Enhancing good-neighbourly relations including confidence-
         and security-building measures;

     -   Development of economic cooperation through cross-border
         cooperation, upgrading transport, telecommunications and
         energy infrastructures, trade and investment promotion;

     -   Development of humanitarian, social and cultural contacts;

     -   Cooperation in the field of justice, the combating of
         organized crime, illicit drug and arms trafficking and the
         elimination of terrorism.

     The Ministers stressed the importance of the improvement of
multilateral political dialogue and cooperation at all levels and on
all issues of common interest.  They took note of the idea to
establish a consultative assembly of the parliaments of the
participating States.

     The Ministers considered the prospects for multilateral
cooperation in European perspective and as deriving from the common
aspirations of each country of the region to integrate into Europe. 
In this connection they expressed their readiness to interact with
other initiatives for regional cooperation in South-Eastern Europe
with mutually reinforcing effect, stressing particularly the
significance of the initiative of the European Union as well as the
South-East European Cooperative Initiative.  They also stated their
willingness to develop cooperation on matters of common interest with
the countries of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation and the Central
European Initiative.


                          Good-neighbourly relations

     The Ministers pointed out that lasting good-neighbourly relations
between the countries of the region based on universally recognized
principles of inter-State relations set forth in the Charter of the
United Nations, the Helsinki Final Act and the Paris Charter for a New
Europe, are indispensable prerequisites for promoting the
comprehensive process of multilateral cooperation.  In this respect
they expressed their determination to respect and put into practice
all 10 principles - sovereign equality, respect for rights inherent in
sovereignty, refraining from the threat of use of force, inviolability
of frontiers, territorial integrity of States, peaceful settlement of
disputes, non-interference in internal affairs, respect for human
rights and fundamental freedoms, including the freedom of thought,
conscience, religion or belief, equal rights and self-determination of
peoples, cooperation among States, fulfilment in good faith of
obligations under international law.  They stressed that all
principles apply equally and unreservedly, each of them being
interpreted taking into account the others.  They focused on the
importance of implementing General Assembly resolutions 48/84 B and
50/80 B on developing of good-neighbourly relations among Balkan

     They also expressed support to the ongoing process of full
normalization of the relations between the countries of the former
Yugoslavia and the favourable conditions it creates for promoting
good-neighbourly relations.

                  Confidence- and security-building measures

     The Ministers shared the view that confidence- and security-
building measures are of particular importance for enhancing peace and
stability in the Balkans.

     They stressed the significance of bilateral confidence- and
security-building measure agreements signed so far, complementary to
the Vienna Document 1994.

     They agreed on the need for exploring the potential for developing
confidence- and security-building measures with a regional scope of

     They expressed support for a meeting of the Ministers of Defence
of the Balkan States to be held at Sofia.

                 Overall implementation of the peace agreement

     The Ministers stressed the importance of the General Framework
Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina for enhancing stability
and security in the region and the need for its full and strict
implementation by the signatory parties.  They confirmed the
willingness of their respective countries to contribute to the
consolidation of the peace process in all its aspects.  They shared
the view that multilateral cooperation in the Balkans will effectively
contribute to the success of the peace implementation process.  They
expressed their understanding that constructive joint efforts by both
the international community and the countries of the region, give new
prospects for solving unsettled issues and differences and for
transforming this part of Europe into a region of lasting peace and

     The Ministers emphasized that rapid reconstruction and economic
recovery, with equal respect for interests and needs of all parties,
is of prime importance for the lasting peace and stability in Bosnia
and Herzegovina.

     The Ministers stressed the importance of holding the elections in
Bosnia and Herzegovina within the deadline set in the peace agreement. 
Free and democratic elections represent a foundation of bodies and
institutions, rebuilding confidence and common life in Bosnia and

     The Ministers commended the signing of the Agreement on the
Subregional Arms Control in Florence on 14 June 1996, which they
assessed as a major contribution to the implementation of the Dayton
Agreement and the strengthening of the peace process.

     They stressed that the countries of the region have the potential
to contribute to the success of the economic reconstruction through
appropriate arrangements.


     The Ministers noted the existing potential for developing
multilateral economic cooperation, despite the difficulties of
economic transition or post-conflict reconstruction that various
countries of the region are facing today.  They emphasized the
importance of accelerated development of regional economic cooperation
for achieving lasting stability in the whole region.  Efforts should
be made for introducing European norms and standards in the field of
production, investment, transfer of technologies, financing and trade
with the objective of integrating most of the economies of their
countries into the European economy.

                           Cross-border cooperation

     The Ministers agreed to promote the development of cross-border
cooperation on a bilateral and multilateral basis in the framework of
the relevant EU programmes, including the elaboration of a regional
programme for its development with the assistance of EU and other
international organizations and institutions.  Such a programme will
be directed towards the implementation of projects for improving
border infrastructure, including road and railway communications with
the border-crossing points, opening new border-check points, promotion
of cross-border trade and tourism, protection of the environment. 
This cooperation will be developed on three different levels:  State
to State; region to region; people to people.  The Ministers
recommended to hold a meeting of the aid coordinators from their
countries to analyse the state of implementation of existing
programmes, identify priority projects of trans-regional dimension,
identify the national contributions of the different countries and
elaborate new joint projects to be submitted for possible financing to
the European Community.

            Transport, telecommunications and energy infrastructure

     The Ministers stressed the necessity of accelerated infrastructure
development in the region as an important factor for trade expansion,
economic growth, as well as for overall regional stability.  They
reaffirmed the readiness of their countries to upgrade and modernize
the transport, telecommunications and energy infrastructure in the
region in interaction with the countries of the Black Sea Economic
Cooperation and the Central European Initiative.

     To this end they expressed their support for setting up a Trans-
regional Centre for Transport Infrastructure in Sofia.

     They also stressed the importance of the meeting of the Ministers
of Transport of the BSEC participating States and the countries of
CEI, which will be held in November 1996, according to the decisions
of the BSEC Ministerial Meeting in Bucharest.  They focused on the
importance of the European Crete corridors passing through the region. 
They agreed to work jointly with the EU, G-24 and ECE on the issues of
infrastructure development, attracting investments and integrating the
region in the Trans-European Networks.

     The Ministers also noted the importance of developing the
transport infrastructure of the region and expressed their
appreciation to the relevant ECE agreements; harmonizing the transport
legislation of the countries of the region with EU legislation in that
field, facilitating transport operations on bilateral basis, etc.

     The Ministers took note of the idea for the establishment of a
Balkan Agency for Transport Safety, which would be based on the
European policy of integration and harmonization of the system of
flight control.

     The development of cooperation in the field of telecommunications
and postal services, was defined as encouraging, as well as the steps
to set up a Telecommunications coordination committee, a Balkan Postal
Pool and other initiatives, undertaken at the April 1996 meeting of
the Ministers of the Balkan countries responsible for posts and

                      Promotion of trade and investments

     The Ministers discussed questions related to the promotion of
trade and investment.  They recommended the elaboration of measures
for further trade facilitation, harmonizing of trade practices and in
general encouraging regional trade.

     The Ministers agreed to improve customs authorities cooperation
through the conclusion of relevant agreements in order to establish
more efficient customs clearance procedures.  They also noted that a
positive contribution to further promotion of regional cooperation
could be the conclusion of bilateral agreements on free trade areas in
conformity with EU regulations as applicable, and in line with the
provisions of the World Trade Organization's agreements.

     The Ministers agreed to support the activities of the Association
of the Balkan Chambers of Commerce as an important venue for promoting
the common interests of the business community in the region to expand
and liberalize trade and for economic cooperation.  The idea of
creating a Regional Centre for Trade Promotion in one of the
participating countries, to analyse trade policies in view of their
harmonization and further liberalization was supported.

     The Ministers confirmed the necessity for joint efforts aimed at
creating a climate more conducive to attracting investments to the
region, encouraging and promoting economic growth throughout the
region.  They underlined the importance of concluding agreements in
the fields of protection and encouragement of investments and
prevention of double taxation among the countries of the region.

     The Ministers called for the international financial institutions,
the EU and individual countries with a considerable investment
potential to take part in this process through joint initiatives
including economic conferences, business forums, etc.

                         Protection of the environment

     The Ministers confirmed the necessity of promoting regional
cooperation in the environmental protection on the basis of bilateral
and multilateral instruments as well as the Declaration of the
Ministers of environment from the region of the ECE, adopted by the
Third Ministerial Conference on "Environment for Europe" of
October 1995.  The need for common endeavours was noted with regard to
the transboundary impact of air pollution and the effects of
industrial and nuclear accidents as well as transshipment of hazardous
wastes.  In this respect the importance of assessing the transboundary
environmental impact was emphasized.

     In this context the Ministers called on the international
financial institutions, G-24 and other relevant international
organizations to support initiatives and projects of the countries in
the area.


     The Ministers expressed their conviction that the protection of
human rights and the promotion of free personal and professional
contacts, represent an essential element for lasting stability and a
climate of confidence in the region.

     The Ministers stated their readiness for the promotion of social
and cultural cooperation, for widening the scope for humanitarian
cooperation and personal human contacts on the basis of their
international obligations and universally recognized human rights and
principles such as:  freedom of travel for personal or professional
reasons, free access to and dissemination of information, freedom of
contacts on the basis of family ties, facilitating the reunification
of divided families and promotion of free individual contacts in the
field of science, culture, sports and tourism.  Examining ways towards
the elimination of visas in all South-Eastern European countries would
be a positive step in this direction, taking into account their
international obligations.

     The Ministers recalled their statement in the Tirana Joint
Communique' that persons belonging to national minorities have the
right, within the existing constitutional order of their country,
which guarantees equal rights and status for all, to freely express,
preserve and develop their ethnic, cultural, linguistic and religious
identity, and to enjoy all human rights and fundamental freedoms in
full equality with other citizens.

     Desire was expressed for promoting and expanding the cultural,
scientific and educational cooperation between the countries in south-
eastern Europe and their institutions, competent in those spheres, not
only in multilateral projects and initiatives within the region but
also under the aegis of intergovernmental organizations in the spheres
of culture, science and education.

     Particular interest was expressed in the various forms of exchange
in the areas of the arts and education.

     The Ministers underlined the importance of youth exchange as well
as the development of direct contacts between cultural, scientific and
educational institutions and the setting up of networks for
cooperation in specific fields.

     The respect for the cultural heritage and the exchange of
information on the illicit traffic of objects of cultural value were
also taken into consideration.

     The important role of the mass media for overcoming the negative
stereotypes of the past, for free flow of information and for better
mutual acquaintance with the cultural diversity of the region was

     The Ministers agreed to encourage the involvement of
non-governmental organizations and unions on the basis of
professional, cultural and scientific interest into this process with
the participation of representatives of all countries of the region.

                           ELIMINATION OF TERRORISM

     The Ministers stressed the need for closer cooperation in the
field of justice, combat of organized crime, illicit drug and arms
trafficking and elimination of terrorism.  They agreed to elaborate a
regional programme which will complement national efforts in this

     This programme should envisage, inter alia, the accession of all
countries of the region to the relevant international conventions and
their effective implementation; exchange of information on the
legislation of the countries and the changes taking place in them;
creation of modalities between the competent institutions for a quick
response to requests for legal assistance.

     The Ministers expressed their condemnation of all acts, methods
and practices of terrorism, regardless of their motivation, in all its
forms and manifestations and pointed out the need to take all
necessary and effective measures, in accordance with relevant
provisions of international law and international standards of human

     The Ministers underlined the importance of strengthening border
controls and called for joint action against illegal and irregular
migration.  They proposed a semestrial review of the cooperation in
this field.  They encouraged the conclusion between States of the
region of agreements concerning the readmission of persons, illegally
residing in each State's territory.

     A common concern was expressed with regard to the proliferation of
drug-related criminal activities adversely affecting the countries of
the Balkan region.  A regional conference on combating the illicit
cultivation, production, processing, trafficking, trade and use of
narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances was proposed as a starting-
point for a more comprehensive cooperation among the participating
countries and with the involvement of the relevant international
bodies and programmes such as the United Nations International Drug
Control, the relevant Poland and Hungary Assistance for Economic
Restructuring (PHARE) programmes and the Council of Europe Pompidou

                                    *  *  *

     The Ministers expressed their belief that the above agreements
shall contribute to the overall objective of stability, security and
cooperation in Europe.  They are convinced that they are in consonance
with the EU Platform for action and the Royaumont process and
accordingly expect that they will be fully supported by the European

     The Ministers expressed satisfaction with the results achieved and
constructive spirit of their meeting.  They shared the view that this
represents a new beginning of multilateral regional cooperation.  With
that in view the Ministers decided to hold a meeting of their
representatives in Sofia to examine the proposals presented during
their meeting as well as to coordinate future action.  It was agreed
to hold the next meeting of the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the
Countries of South-Eastern Europe in 1997 in Greece.

Sofia, 7 July 1996

                                   ANNEX II

          Address by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria,
           H.E. Mr. Jean Videnov, to the participants in the meeting

     May I express the gratitude of the Government of the Republic of
Bulgaria for the support rendered by the States and international
organizations and institutions that you represent to our initiative to
launch a new all-out process of stability, security and cooperation in
South-Eastern Europe.

     The conference which Bulgaria hosts became possible owing to the
joint constructive efforts of the countries of the region; these
efforts received the wide support of the international community,
among others.  It is an expression of the political will to open up
new prospects to strengthen regional stability, security and
cooperation along the lines of good-neighbourliness.  We hope the
Sofia conference in compliance with the European criteria and
standards will test a new approach, namely the pooling of the
countries' efforts for the implementation of economically significant
projects in the area of infrastructure.  It will be an omission if I
fail to underline our ambition to give a further impulse to the peace
process on the territory of the former Yugoslavia.  In short, the
purpose of this conference as we see it is to outline the ways and
actions to establish a new process of multilateral cooperation in the
region of South-Eastern Europe with the involvement of all countries.

     The Government of the Republic of Bulgaria believes, and I am sure
the belief is shared by all of us, that the stability, security and
cooperation among us should be in the foreground, and that naturally,
we should take specific actions for our common interests and for what
we have in common to materialize.  This is the shortest way to find a
deserving place in united Europe to which we aspire.

     The Republic of Bulgaria has always been an adherent to a
constructive and good-willed approach in the State-to-State relations. 
Bulgaria was and will be in favour of the promotion of good-
neighbourliness and cooperation and finding a peaceful, just and
lasting solution to all disputes.  Guided by this principle-abiding
position, throughout the Yugoslav conflict our country was
consistently pursuing a line of refraining and non-interference,
placing all parties involved in the conflict on a par, a parallel
approach to the lifting of the economic sanctions regime along with
progress made in the peaceful settlement.  That policy of our country
was one of the essential stabilizing factors in the region and
received recognition of the international community.  However, the
cost was particularly high in the hard period of transition we are
going through.

     We count on the solidarity and support of the international
community which is able and I believe, willing, to help not just in
the economic reconstruction and development of the countries that were
directly involved in the conflict but also to assist the countries
that sustained an equally heavy burden which was not their fault.  It
will be difficult to achieve the general stabilization of the
situation in the region and the establishment of good-neighbourliness
and cooperation in State-to-State relations bilaterally and
multilaterally that we and all of Europe seek unless there is economic
stability and viable and prospering market economy in all Balkan

     The full peace implementation of Bosnia and Herzegovina would
create preconditions to stabilize the situation in the conflict-hit
regions and even farther.  It would open up prospects on the basis of
the combined efforts of the international community and of the
countries of the region to overcome the recurrences of chronic
instability in the Balkans and make the Balkans a region of real
possibilities and prospects of fruitful and mutually advantageous
cooperation.  From this viewpoint it is particularly important to give
support to the ongoing process of the complete normalization between
the States, emerging after the collapse of the former Yugoslavia.

     The new situation in Europe freed of the spirit of confrontation
and division creates even broader opportunities for the development of
multilateral regional cooperation.  This new situation gives rise to
the hope that we are not far from the day when each country in the
region will see its neighbour first and foremost as a partner.  I
think this conference corresponds completely to this aspiration and
hope.  Moreover, multilateral cooperation in the Balkans has history
and traditions.  In the course of decades the States of this region
promoted State-to-State cooperation on a bilateral and multilateral
basis.  There were two meetings of the Balkan countries' Ministers for
Foreign Affairs:  in 1988 in Belgrade and in 1990 in Tirana.  The
joint communique's that they adopted contain specific agreements on
joint action in the political, economic, cultural and humanitarian
areas.  Steady dialogue was maintained on a wide range of problems of
common interest.  No doubt it had an exceptionally important role in
the maintenance of political stability in the region at a good level.

     The idea of seeking common interests and points of contacts in the
implementation of large-scale projects - cross-border cooperation and
communication infrastructure - is exceptionally topical today.  Within
a year alone Sofia was the venue of highly representative
international meetings on trans-European infrastructure and
telecommunications.  The Balkan Energy Centre is already operating. 
The Ministers of Transport are to meet in November 1996.

     The humanitarian, social and cultural component of interrelations
is not the least.  Regardless of the existence of serious problems we
believe there exists significant communication potential which can
play a stabilizing role in the region.

     We are satisfied that Sofia was chosen to be the venue of the next
meeting of the Defence Ministers on strengthening security and
confidence in the Balkans.

     By intention and nature the regional forms of cooperation in the
Balkans are called to additionally strengthen and diversify
integration processes in Europe.  In this context the States of South-
Eastern Europe have an interest not to set up an isolated club but be
open and create and expand and, naturally, use the potential of
cooperation in various areas with other regional and pan-European
structures.  Our position, which I believe is shared by other States
in the region is that multilateral cooperation can and must develop as
part of pan-European integration processes.  The European target of
regional cooperation only emphasizes its open nature.  This target
presupposes cooperation with adjoining regions and with leading world
and European political and economic factors alike.

     The Bulgarian Government hopes that the outset of an all-out
process of multilateral cooperation in south-eastern Europe will have
a powerful positive impact to overcome the negative idea of the region
as a zone of insecurity and conflicts, a zone substantially falling
short of European criteria of democratic and stable development.  I
would like to reiterate that we will count on the active support of
international institutions and countries outside this region.

     We have reasons to count on such a support.  The result of the
last meeting of the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the European
Union and of the associated countries in Florence clearly and
unambiguously determine the development of the regional forms of
cooperation as a step towards the building of a united Europe.  This
is why this conference alike is an open initiative with special
representative international participation which we welcome.

     While I stress the need for the promotion of multilateral
cooperation, I would not belittle the potential and prospects for the
promotion of bilateral relations.  These two forms are not in
contradiction, they complement and enrich each other.

     States in the region will only stand to gain if they approach the
solution of the problems with pragmatism, good will and common sense,
if they avoid differences and disputes and stake on the community of
interests rather.  It is true the problems left over from the past are
not few, nor are they easy to solve.  But it is also true that the
Balkan nations have many values, history and culture in common.  The
Balkans are one of the cradles of European and world civilization;
democracy was born here in antiquity.  Other regions became within a
short time an example of rapid development and a paragon of civilized
State-to-State relations.  Let us follow them.  Together let us change
the stereotypes which attach the attributes difficulty, risk and
conflict to our region.  Multilateral cooperation will help us in this
respect and provide further possibilities for development prosperity,
security, stability, confidence and respect.

     We do believe that despite the difficulties the goals we set are
realistic and feasible.  The wishes for success, the solidarity of our
friends in other parts of Europe, the United States of America and the
Russian Federation and the opportunities afforded by the fact that the
starting process is in consonance with the present lasting interests
of the Balkan countries are the guarantees.  Together we can and must
use them.

Sofia, 6 July 1996

                                   ANNEX III

                              Chairman's summary

     On 6 and 7 July 1996, a Conference on Stability, Security and
Cooperation in South-Eastern Europe was held in Sofia.

     A thorough exchange of views was held, with the participation of
Ministers and heads of delegations from countries of the region, the
High Representative, representatives of interested countries and
international institutions.  It focused on security and cooperation in
South-Eastern Europe, the interaction between different regionally
oriented initiatives and the impact of regional cooperation on peace
implementation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

     A common view was shared that the initiative to convene the Sofia
meeting was a timely one and of particular significance since it
originates from the region, with substantial potential for improving
regional stability, increasing economic prosperity and enhancing
overall integration with European institutions and organizations.  It
was stressed that efforts should focus on issues that bring countries
together and do not set them apart, drawing on the historic lesson of
Europe on achieving greater security and stability through cooperation
and integration.

     The participants pointed out that the meeting contributes to
mutually complement and reinforce different regionally oriented
initiatives, especially the common platform of EU and the South-East
European Cooperative initiative of the United States Government.  They
noted that the processes initiated in Royaumont and Sofia are now at a
stage when projects need to be identified, endorsed and supported. 
Readiness to develop cooperation on matters of common interest with
the countries of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation and the Central
European Initiative was expressed.

     It was stated that healing the wounds in Bosnia and Herzegovina
shall bring the region together.  The importance of reconciliation and
reconstruction was particularly stressed.  The countries of the region
have the potential to contribute to economic reconstruction through
appropriate arrangements.  The participants reiterated their support
to the activities of the High Representative.

     The regional dimension was recognized as a key element for a
return of all States to stability and prosperity.  Democratic
security, mature democratic institutions and respect for human rights
are major factors enhancing development and social cohesion.  A number
of delegations noted that the full reintegration of the Federal
Republic of Yugoslavia in the international community is of vital
importance for lasting stability and cooperation in the region.  One
delegation pointed out that further steps are still needed to achieve
this reintegration.

     All participants stressed their firm commitment to contribute to
the success of the process initiated in Sofia providing multilateral
forms of cooperation in the following areas:  enhancing good-
neighbourly relations including confidence- and security-building
measures; development of economic cooperation through cross-border
cooperation, upgrading transport, telecommunications and energy
infrastructures, trade and investment promotion:  development of
humanitarian, social and cultural contacts; cooperation in the field
of justice, combat of organized crime, illicit drug and arms
trafficking; and elimination of terrorism.

     The Ministers agreed that the concrete ideas and proposals which
were submitted to the meeting will be duly examined at a meeting of
their representatives in Sofia.

     All participants expressed their gratitude to the Government of
Bulgaria for launching the initiative and organizing the meeting.

     It was agreed to hold the next Meeting of Ministers for Foreign
Affairs of Countries of South-Eastern Europe in 1997 in Greece.

Sofia, 7 July 1996


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