Response to Report of Mr. Goran Svilanovic, Secretary General, Regional Cooperation Council

As delivered by Ambassador Ian Kelly
to the Permanent Council, Vienna
May 2, 2013

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

We welcome you, Secretary General Goran Svilanovic, back to Vienna and the Permanent Council in your new capacity with the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC), and we appreciate your thorough report.

Improving regional cooperation is critical to ensuring that the Balkan region realizes its full potential. The United States is pleased to be a full participant in the RCC, as well as a board member, and we fully support the priority areas of the RCC’s work, including economic and social development, energy and infrastructure, justice and home affairs, security cooperation, building human capital, and parliamentary cooperation.

While still a young organization, the RCC is already a force multiplier in the region’s progress toward greater European and Euro-Atlantic integration.  Its coordinating role in implementing the European Commission’s new Instrument of Pre-accession Assistance can help ease the transition between the region’s conflict-ridden past and its European and Euro-Atlantic future.  Given the key role economic development can play in reducing tensions and facilitating progress towards European integration, we strongly support the organization’s new focus on aligning its priorities with South East Europe 2020 Regional Growth Strategy.  The RCC’s decision this year to welcome Kosovo as a full participant was a critical milestone in confirming the RCC’s status as an all inclusive organization, and is indicative of the kind of concrete contribution the organization can make to improving cooperation throughout the region.  All this tells us that the RCC is and will continue to be an important partner of the OSCE in achieving our collective goals for that region.

Secretary General Svilanovic, we appreciated your work here in Vienna as Coordinator of the Economic and Environmental Activities, and we appreciate the vision and energy that you have brought to the RCC.  Again, we thank you for your presentation today, and we look forward to an even stronger and more fruitful relationship between our organizations in the future.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.