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Switzerland hosts Balkan Stability Pact talks on human rights

About 60 delegations from member states of the Balkans Stability Pact and from international organisations are meeting in Geneva for two days of talks on how to promote and secure pro-democracy reforms and human rights in the Balkans.

This content was published on October 18, 1999 - 16:09

About 60 delegations from member states of the Balkans Stability Pact and from international organisations are meeting in Geneva for two days of talks on how to promote and secure pro-democracy reforms and human rights in the Balkans.

The pact, which is officially known as the South-Eastern Europe Stability Pact, was launched on July 30 at a European Union summit meeting in Sarajevo. The pact is aimed at securing long-term peace, stability and economic prosperity in the Balkans.

The pact process, led by German diplomat Bodo Hombach, is divided into three areas – economic, security and human rights – all of which have working groups.

In Geneva, Swiss Foreign Minister Joseph Deiss and Max van der Stoel, Commissioner on National Minorities of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe are discussing pro-democracy reforms and human rights.

"We must fight the only battle worth fighting, and that is the battle against hatred, violence and injustice," Deiss said in his opening address.

He said that peace in the Balkans will only really take hold if people respect minority rights and build a civil society that upholds justice.

The general thrust of the pact is to encourage cooperation between the various countries in the region, namely by opening up the prospect of better integration into Europe.

The European Union and the United Nations have said repeatedly that real peace can come to the Balkans only if all countries – including those like Romania, Bulgaria and Macedonia indirectly affected by the fighting of the past decade – are brought into the peace effort.

From staff and wire reports.

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