RCC Secretary General discusses regional affairs and organization’s activities with senior U.S. and World Bank officials

Hido Biscevic, Secretary General of the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC), met yesterday in Washington D.C. with Phil Reeker, United States Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, and a number of senior U.S. officials; as well as with Philippe Le Houerou, Vice President of the World Bank for Europe and Central Asia Region.

Secretary General Biscevic informed in detail about RCC activities and implementation of the organization’s Strategy and Work Programme 2011-2013, which were deemed important for a lasting consolidation of peace and stability, economic and social development of South East Europe.

The U.S. officials – who also included Dan Rosenblum, Coordinator for Assistance to Europe and Eurasia; Jennifer Brush, Director of South-Central Europe Office; and Raffi Gregorian, U.S. National Coordinator for the RCC – confirmed a continued U.S. support to the RCC. They stressed that South East Europe remains high on the agenda of their government’s administration, especially in view of wider changes in international relations.

Deputy Assistant Secretary Reeker expressed particular interest in the current affairs in the region and the state of EU and Euro-Atlantic integration which were jointly assessed as an indispensible tool for a durable stabilization of the region. In this context, importance of further enhancement of RCC role and mandate was particularly stressed.

Secretary General Biscevic also underlined that everyone in the region should benefit equally from regional cooperation in the interest of its stability. He confirmed that all-inclusiveness remains the principal norm of RCC work.

The officials agreed that infrastructure development should continue to be in the region’s focus, with expected more active involvement of the governments of South East Europe.

The meeting with Vice President Le Houerou discussed possible World Bank contribution to the implementation of the RCC Strategy, with a special focus on infrastructure development.

Secretary General informed of the RCC Annual Meeting and related South-East European Cooperation Process (SEECP) events in Budva, Montenegro, in June this year, when a notion on the importance of regional infrastructure projects was met with high interest.

Both officials agreed that projects to reconstruct and modernize railways networks in South East Europe carried high potential for revival of national economies and inclusion of the region into broader European networks, as shown by a recent World Bank study on railway reform in South East Europe, presented to the public this June.

In this context, the World Bank and the RCC will continue joint activities with the governments in the region in concretizing the projects.