Prague, 11 July 1997 (RFE/RL) - U.S. First Lady Hillary Rodham-Clinton, addressing a conference in Vienna today, said that advancing the rights of women and securing democracy are inseparable aims.
Speaking to more than 300 at the conference called "Vital Voices: Women in Democracy," Clinton said that central and eastern Europe had seen great progress on both fronts. She said women in the region have new opportunities, but were also seeking new responsibilities and where working to further the cause of democracy.
Clinton said that the old order in central and eastern Europe is being replaced by democratic institutions, free markets, a free press, and functioning parliaments. But she said that democracy depends ultimately on whether democratic values are rooted in the hearts of men and women.
She noted that her husband, U.S. President Bill Clinton, was spending today in Poland and Romania following a NATO summit earlier this week that invited Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic to begin accession talks. She said the summit had made clear that the invitations were the first and not the last.