'Now is the time to revitalise our partnership': Extracts from President Clinton's speech in Brussels

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The Independent Online
Following are extracts from President Clinton's speech in Brussels:

I have come here at this time because I believe that it is time for us together to revitalise our partnership and to define a new security at a time of historic change. It is a new day for our transatlantic partnership: the Cold War is over; Germany is united; the Soviet Union is gone; and a constitutional democracy governs Russia.

The fall of the Soviet empire and Western Europe's integration are the two greatest advances for peace in the last half of the 20th century.

We must build a new security for Europe. The old security was based on the defence of our bloc against another bloc. The new security must be found in Europe's integration - an integration of security forces, of market economies of national democracies.

For the peoples who broke Communism's chains, we now see a race between rejuvenation and despair. And the outcome will be bound to shape the security of every nation in the transatlantic alliance. That race is being played out from the Balkans to Central Asia. In one lane are the heirs of the enlightenment, who seek to consolidate freedom's gains by building free economies, open democracies and tolerant civic cultures. Pitted against them are the grim pretenders to tyranny's dark throne - the militant nationalists and demagogues who fan suspicions that are ancient, and parade the pain of renewal in order to obscure the promise of reform.

We, none of us, can afford to be bystanders of that race. The coming months and years may decide whether the Russian people continue to develop a peaceful market democracy or whether, in frustration, they elect leaders who incline back toward authoritarianism and empire. This period may decide whether the states of the former Soviet bloc are woven into the fabric of transatlantic prosperity and security, or are simply left hanging in isolation as they face the same daunting changes gripping so many others in Europe.

These pivotal decisions ultimately rest with the people who threw off Communism's yoke. They must make their own decisions about their own future. But we in the West can clearly help to shape their choices.

The integration of the former Communist bloc with the rest of Europe will be gradual and often difficult, as Germany's bold efforts demonstrate. We must not now let the Iron Curtain be replaced with a veil of indifference. For history will judge us as it judged with scorn those who preached isolationism between the world wars, and as it has judged with praise the bold architects of the transatlantic community after World War II.

I have come here today to declare and to demonstrate that Europe remains central to the interests of the United States, and that we will help to work with our partners in seizing the opportunities before us all.

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