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Remarks by Secretary Cohen at the Southeast Europe Defense Ministerial, Skopje, Macedonia

Presenter: U.S. Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen
September 26, 1998

Minister Kitanoski, fellow Ministers of defense, distinguished guests and observers, ladies and gentlemen. First allow me to thank Minister Kitanoski for hosting this very important meeting here in Skopje. It is a great privilege for me to be here among so many who have done so much in the name of a peaceful and stable Europe.

Indeed, our efforts call to mind the words of the historian Edward Gibbon: It is the duty of the patriot to promote the exclusive glory of his own country. But it is the duty of the philosopher to ponder the glory of his own country. I am honored to be here among this group of philosophers.

When speaking of southeast Europe, an American President once said. "At the present moment in world history, every nation must choose between alternative ways of life." "One way of life is distinguished by free institutions, guarantees of liberty and freedom from oppression." "The second way of life is based on terror and oppression and the suppression of individual freedoms."

The U.S. President who spoke these words was Harry S. Truman as he declared American support for the sovereignty and freedom of this region in 1947.