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The Dutch fight alone: The principle of self-determination

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The article sheds light on the powerful political legacy of Foreign Minister Max van der Stoel. One of his most remarkable achievements was the wording of the principle of self-determination of people at the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe. Principle VIII of the Declarations of Principles of the Helsinki Final Act acknowledged for all peoples in Europe the right to choose their internal regime or policies. The innovative wording successfully pursued by the Dutch delegation under Van der Stoel's guidance undermined the very basis of the Soviet empire and emboldened dissidents in Eastern Europe to fight for democracy and change.

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