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Houston Economic Summit Political Declaration: Securing Democracy

July 10, 1990

1. We, the Leaders of our seven countries and the Representatives of the European Community, salute the men and women around the world whose courage and wisdom have inspired and brought about the historic advances of democracy we have witnessed over the past year. As we enter the final decade of this century, which we intend should be a Decade of Democracy, we reiterate our commitment to support the strengthening of democracy, human rights, and economic reconstruction and development through market-oriented economies. We emphasize the important opportunity provided in this forum for representatives from Europe, Japan, and North America to discuss critical challenges of the coming years.

2. Europe is at the dawn of a new era. We welcome enthusiastically the profound and historic changes sweeping the continent. The London Declaration on a Transformed North Atlantic Alliance provides a new basis for cooperation among former adversaries in building a stable, secure, and peaceful Europe. We are determined to seize all opportunities to achieve a Europe whole and free and recognize the European Community's contribution to that effort. We applaud the unification of Germany, which is a tangible expression of mankind's inalienable right to self-determination and a major contribution to stability in Europe.

We welcome the replacement of repressive regimes in Central and Eastern Europe by governments freely chosen by their peoples. We applaud the introduction of the rule of law and the freedoms that are the bedrock of a democratic state. We urge Romania, following recent events, to adhere to the positive trend taking place in other countries of Central and Eastern Europe.

3. We welcome the intention of the Soviet Union to move toward a democratic political system, as well as Soviet attempts to reform their economy along market principles. We commit ourselves to working with the Soviet Union to assist its efforts to create an open society, a pluralistic democracy, and a market-oriented economy. Such changes will enable the Soviet Union to fulfill its responsibilities in the community of nations founded on these principles. We are heartened by indications that a constructive dialogue is underway between the Soviet government and the Baltic states, and we urge all sides to continue this dialogue in a democratic spirit.

4. The advance of democracy accompanied by market-oriented economic reforms is not just a European phenomenon. Since we last met, we have witnessed the spread of democratic values in many parts of the world.

In Asia, there are encouraging signs of new political openness in Mongolia and Nepal. In the Philippines, the government continues to engage in courageous efforts to consolidate democracy.

We acknowledge some of the recent developments in China, but believe that the prospects for closer cooperation will be enhanced by renewed political and economic reform, particularly in the field of human rights. We agree to maintain the measures put into place at last year's Summit, as modified over the course of this year. We will keep them under review for future adjustments to respond to further positive developments in China. For example, in addition to existing lending to meet basic human needs, we will explore whether there are other World Bank loans that would contribute to reform of the Chinese economy, especially loans that would address environmental concerns.

5. In Africa, we hope that Namibia's attainment of independence and democracy will be a positive example for freedom, pluralism, and market-oriented economic reform throughout the continent. We also welcome the positive developments that have taken place in South Africa, especially the launching of talks between the government and representatives of the black majority. We hope this will lead to a peaceful transition to a non-racial democracy and the complete dismantlement of the apartheid system. We will continue to support this process and we call on all parties to refrain from violence or its advocacy.

6. In Latin America, we welcome the re-establishment of freedom and democracy in Chile. We applaud the recent fair and free elections in Nicaragua, as well as progress on the path to peace through dialogue in El Salvador and Guatemala. We encourage the efforts of the Panamanian government to re-establish democracy and the rule of law. We note with satisfaction the positive evolution in Haiti. We hope that Cuba will take steps to join the democratic trend in the rest of Latin America.

7. While we applaud the reduction of ideological conflicts that have divided much of the world since the end of the Second World War, we note with deep concern the reemergence of intolerance affecting ethnic and religious groups. We agree that such intolerance can lead to conflicts, which can threaten fundamental human rights, as well as political and economic development.

8. We reaffirm our commitment to the fundamental principles we seek to realize in our own societies, and we underscore that political and economic freedoms are closely linked and mutually reinforcing. Each of us stands ready to help in practical ways those countries that choose freedom, through the provision of constitutional, legal, and economic know-how and through economic assistance, as appropriate.

In drawing from our different constitutional and historical experiences, we stand ready, individually and jointly in relevant fora, to:

-- assist in the drafting of laws, including bills of rights and civil, criminal, and economic framework laws;

-- advise in the fostering of independent media;

-- establish training programs in government, management, and technical fields;

-- develop and expand people-to-people contacts and exchange programs to help diffuse understanding and knowledge.

In the same spirit, the recent G - 24 Ministerial agreed to extend its assistance in Central and Eastern Europe in parallel with progress in political and economic reform.

We agree the challenge facing the industrialized democracies is to continue the effort already underway in Europe while expanding efforts to support political reform and economic development in other parts of the world. We call on our people and the people of other democracies to join in this great endeavor.

Note: The declaration was made available by the Office of the Press Secretary but was not issued as a White House press release.

George Bush, Houston Economic Summit Political Declaration: Securing Democracy Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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