Press Availability
William J. Burns
Under Secretary for Political Affairs
Dubrovnik, Croatia
July 8, 2011


Under Secretary Burns: I’m delighted to be here in Dubrovnik for this very important event. I had an excellent meeting with President Josipovic. I look forward to a whole series of other conversations with Croatian as well as other leaders from the region over the next two days.

I was very pleased to have the opportunity to offer American congratulations once again to Croatia, its leadership, and its people for the extraordinary achievement of completing negotiations for accession to the European Union. Croatia really is a model of what is possible when leaderships and peoples are prepared to make hard choices, and are prepared to act on their commitments to reform and reconciliation.

I am also pleased to have the opportunity to once again emphasize the deep and enduring American commitment to this region, as well as our determination to work with the European Union and key regional partners like Croatia to help complete the unfinished business before us, and to help complete the integration of all of the Balkans into Euro-Atlantic institutions. Croatia is showing the way to achieve that important goal and the way to realize the enormous promise of this region, even with the difficulties that lie ahead. And the United States, just to repeat, is committed to doing everything we can to help.

Question: How important is it to stablize the Balkans, considering the global scene?

Under Secretary Burns: There is no shortage of challenges around the world today, but the Obama Administration remains firmly committed to doing everything we can to help stabilize this region. The United States, our European partners, and the people of this region have invested an enormous amount and endured an enormous amount over the years. It’s extremely important for us to work together to complete the unfinished business before us.