Friday, June 11, 1999 Published at 04:52 GMT 05:52 UK
Business: The Economy
Now the task of rebuilding Kosovo has to begin
Western donor governments, Russia and south east European countries have agreed a 'stability pact' to help rebuild the region in the aftermath of the conflicts in former Yugoslavia.
Some commentators have billed the project as the 'Marshall Plan for the Balkans'.
The creation of the right conditions for an economic recovery is an integral part of the UN Security Council resolution, in which the UN calls on all parties to support "the reconstruction of key infrastructure and other economic reconstruction".
German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer, who chaired the meeting, said: "We want all countries in the region to develop toward an integrated Europe."
The Balkan countries are expected to sign up to Western-style economic reforms. In return, the world's richest countries promise economic aid and access to their markets.
The hope is that the aid will trigger an economic recovery and bring stability to the region, just like the Marshall Plan did after World War II.
Named after the US Secretary of State who devised it, the plan channelled grants and loans to European countries to revive their economies after the war.
The World Bank has suggested that it could take up to $100bn to do the job. European Union officials have suggested a figure of about $30bn.
Western estimates suggest that Kosovo alone may need at least as much as the $5bn it took to rebuild Bosnia after the four-year war there.
The stability pact has two pillars - one political, one economic.
Aid money will be complemented by a forum to promote economic co-operation.
UK Foreign Minister Robin Cook called the stability pact a "new deal" for the region.
He said Nato would launch a security forum "to make sure we have greater security in the region".
The European Union, meanwhile, would "open up (its) markets for trade" so that Balkan countries "have a better opportunity at prosperity".
The conflict has had a dramatic impact on the region.
The disruption of shipping lines on the Danube, the drop of investor confidence in the region, the closure of air routes and finally the military conflict itself have all contributed to the setback of economic growth in the Balkans.
Mr Cook hinted that the aid package would be something of a reward for Yugoslavia's Balkan neighbours, who he said had been very supportive of Nato's military campaign.
And he made it clear that Serbia was unlikely to benefit from any aid package as long as President Milosevic and his political friends remained in power.
The 'new deal' could be available to Serbia, he said, "if and when it does get a regime that's willing to share the same values".
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