by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
Bled, 4 October 2001
We, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the "Vilnius Group", have gathered at Bled, Slovenia, on the eve of the Sofia Summit, in order to demonstrate our solidarity with the United States and the Alliance and once again to assess our cooperation as well as exchange experiences as concerns our efforts to join NATO.
The recent terrorist attacks in Washington and New York have deeply shaken us. These atrocious acts were both an attack against the USA as well as a serious blow to the entire community of democratic nations that share common values of democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law.
Terrorism has evolved as one of the main threats to stability. The Alliance is faced with new challenges to which, we firmly believe, it will find effective responses. We are committed to fulfill our role in the spirit of the Washington Treaty and as members of the international anti-terrorist coalition.
We are convinced that NATO will remain the most important guarantor of peace and stability.
Following the tragic events that have so deeply affected the United States, we express our full solidarity and support to the American people and the Government of the US. To the bereaved families of the victims we offer our deepest sympathies.
We believe that our activities in the past year have led to significant progress towards reaching our goal at the next NATO Summit in Prague. Our cooperation and endeavors are in line with the vision of the new Euro-Atlantic community, based on common values and open to new members. We see our countries in a Europe whole and free.
The statements of the leaders of the United States and other Allies confirm our expectations regarding invitations for NATO membership to be issued in Prague, which fills us with confidence and optimism as well as with resolve to fully implement the Membership Action Plan.
Cooperation of the "Vilnius Group" has been successful at various levels. We are glad to note that joint activities of our Ambassadors in the capitals of NATO member states have born fruit.