NATO enlargement discussion

02.12.2014. 19:09

NATO enlargement discussion

On 24 July 2003 the Chamber of Deputies of the Czech Parliament  approved NATO enlargement to include Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. In the Chamber, 158 of 193 deputies voted for the ratification and 19 were against.

On 9 July 2003 The Sejm (lower house of parliament) adopted seven bills authorizing  the ratification of the North Atlantic Treaty protocols on accession of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania and Slovenia to NATO.The adoption of the laws concerning the ratification of the protocols was recommended unanimously by the Sejm defence and foreign affairs committees.

On 8 July 2003 affirmative votes in relation to the Accession Protocols of the seven invited countries have been made in the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of Italy. In accordance with the national legislation of this country, the draft law remains to be approved by the Upper Houses (Senate) of Italian parliament. 

On 5 June 2003, the German Bundestag in the second and third reading approved a law on the Protocols of Accession to the North Atlantic Treaty of the seven countries invited to join NATO - Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.

With the law approved, the ratification process for the Protocols on Accession to NATO has now concluded in the German Bundestag. In accordance with German law, the legislation still needs to be approved by the Bundesrat, or Upper House of Parliament. This could take place at one of its forthcoming sessions, most likely on 20 June. The law will only enter into force upon its promulgation by the German President, following the approval of the Bundesrat.

On 9 May 2003 the German Bundestag accepted the draft on the Accession Protocols of the North Atlantic Treaty signed in 1949 in its first reading. All factions of the Bundestag supported the document.

On 30 April 2003, the US Senate Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously (19-0) backed the admission of seven invited countries to NATO. It is stated in their Resolution, that the Senate recognises that an attack against any of the seven countries would threaten the stability of Europe and jeopardise vital United Sates national security interests. Also, the new members would acquire all rights, obligations, responsibilities and protections that are afforded to all other NATO members. The document admits that invited countries are ready to support the principles and values of the North Atlantic Treaty and to contribute in strengthening NATO and enhancing security and stability in Central Europe. The Senate concludes that all seven have been acting as de facto NATO allies and accentuates their support for the international community-s efforts to disarm Iraq.

It is planned that Senate will vote on the accession protocols on May 8 2003.

Both the US Senate Foreign Affairs Committee and the Subcommittee on Europe of the US House of Representatives hold the hearings on NATO enlargement on April 29 2003. In his opening statement, Doug Bereuter, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Europe, noted that all invited countries already before the Prague Summit have acted as "de facto allies". Robert Bradtke, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia and Ian Brzezinski , Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for European and NATO Affairs, testified in this hearing and pointed out the contribution each of the invited countries have made to the transatlantic security. Referring to Latvia, both speakers highlighted Latvia-s participation in the peacekeeping missions and its potential in developing niche capabilities. All speakers urged the Senate to support accession of invited countries to the alliance.

State Secretary Colin Powell testified in the hearing at the US Senate Foreign Affairs Committee. When talking about NATO enlargement, he positively assessed the support of the invitees to the Iraq disarmament issue.

It is scheduled that voting on the accession protocols at the Foreign Affairs Committee is going to take place on April 30 and it has been planed that Senate will vote on them on May 7.

Full text of the Opening Statement of the Chairman of the US Senate Foreign Affairs Committee and the Statement of Secretary of State Colin Powell

Full text of the Opening Statement of the Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Europe Doug Bereuter

Statement by Robert Bradtke

Statement by Ian Brzezinski

The Danish Parliament discusses NATO enlargement

On April 24 2003 the discussions on the ratification of the NATO accession protocols took place in the Danish Parliament. After the first reading at the Parliament the Danish Ministries of Defence and Foreign Affairs have to prepare answers to the issues raised during this first reading. The second and last reading is planned to take place on May 8 2003.

The discussion on NATO enlargement continues in the US Senate

On April 8 2003 Marc Grossman, Under Secretary for Political Affairs of the State Department, testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on NATO enlargement. The Under Secretary stressed that the accession of seven invited countries will strengthen democracy and stability in Europe, revitalize NATO, benefit the United States and will encourage and consolidate reforms in the seven invitees. M.Grossman argued that seven states are committed to the Trans-Atlantic Alliance and they are Allies in the War on Terror. When talking about Latvia, he highly evaluated support for NATO which has reached 70% in this country.

N. Burns, B. Jackson and R. Asmus recommend to ratify the accession protocols of the seven invited countries

On 1 April 2003 the US Ambassador to NATO Nicholas Burns, the President of the US Committee on NATO Bruce Jackson and the Senior Transatlantic Fellow of the German Marshall Fund Dr. Ronald Asmus testified at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on NATO enlargement. All speakers highlighted the political, military and historical significance of the accession of the invited countries.

Referring to Latvia, N. Burns noted that Latvia makes a remarkable contribution by participating at the NATO peacekeeping operations, joining the coalition to disarm Sadam Hussein and supporting the fight against the global terrorism. In addition to mentioned, B. Jackson addressed Latvia's achievements on the society integration and corruption prevention policies.

The Norwegian Government urges the Parliament to ratify the accession protocols of the seven invited countries

On 28 March 2003 the Government of Norway urged the Parliament to ratify the accession protocols of the seven invited countries. The Government expressed its willingness to contribute to the speedy ratification process, thus, pointing that NATO enlargement is considered to be the main priority of its foreign policy. The parliamentary debates on the accession of the seven invited countries are planned on 7 April 2003.

On 25 March 2003 the President of US George Bush submitted to the Congress an updated report regarding each country being actively considered for NATO memebrship

The report focuses on an analysis of each country's ability to meet the full range of the financial burdens of NATO memebrship and the likely impact upon the military effectiveness of NATO on the country invited for accession talks.

Bush is going to urge the US Senate to ratify Latvia's accession to NATO

0n 17 February 2003 Latvian President Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga met with US President George Bush in Washington DC. While talking about NATO related issues, the US President Bush pointed out that in spring he is going to urge the US Senate to ratify the accession protocols of Latvia and other Baltic states.

 Latvia is invited to join NATO during the Prague Summit

On 21 November 2002 seven NATO aspirant countries - Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Rumania, Slovakia and Slovenia - were invited to join the Alliance in Prague. ". From this day on, Latvia is linked to NATO members with ties of allied relationship. The Prague Summit decisions are a watershed for Latvia's strive for security. The invitation to join means a recognition by our Western allies of the maturity of Latvia's state. It is a recognition of Latvia's full-fledged role in the transatlantic community of nations. Finally, NATO's decision truly leaves behind historic injustices and legacy of the Cold War.

 Documents, Speeches, photos of the Prague Summit:

On 19 November 2002 the NATO Parliamentary Assembly adopted a Declaration on NATO Transformation, which recommends during the Prague Summit to invite the seven NATO aspirant countries - Bulgaria, Rumania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania - to join the Alliance. It is declared that enlargement is concurrent part of the transformation process of NATO. The national parliaments of the current member states of the Alliance are urged to ensure smooth passage of ratification. Also the invited countries are recommended to continue their efforts in implementing their Membership Action Plans (MAPs) as outlined in the Reykjavik communiqué.

Full text:

On 7 October, the US House of Representatives approved resolution HCONRES 116, which recommends that the three Baltic States - Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania - be invited to join NATO as early as this year. The resolution evaluates highly political and economic developments in the Baltic States and affirms that the three states, on becoming members of NATO, will be capable of making a real contribution to the Alliance.

In another resolution - HRES 468 - also adopted by the House of Representatives on 7 October, support is expressed for a wide NATO enlargement during the Prague Summit in November of this year. The resolution was put forward on behalf of the US House of Representatives Committee on International Relations Sub-Committee on Europe by its Chairman Mr Elton Gallegly, who visited Riga this August, and it mentions that the NATO candidate countries - Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia - have attained sufficient criteria for NATO membership through participation in the MAP process.

These resolutions bear witness to the support of US legislators - both Republican and Democrat - for the policy of the Bush Administration on NATO enlargement. The resolutions attest to the achievements of the Baltic States in their progress toward NATO and offer hope for a successful ratification of decisions on NATO enlargement by the US Congress.

Full Text of HRES 468:

The Debate on HRES 468:

On October 6 2002 the Standing Committee of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly agreed to the Decleration on NATO Transformation presented by President of the Assembly, Rafael Estrella. The paper recommends that invitations be issued to the seven aspirant countries - Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Rumania, Slovakia and Slovenia - at the Prague Summit. The Assembly calls upon the NATO national parliaments to esnure smooth ratification process and admits that the Standing Committee is ready to include in its work the representives of the new members as soon as the protocols of accession have been signed.

Full text:

Jewish Survivors of Latvia, Inc. endorses Latvia-s entry into NATO

In a letter addressed to the ambassadors to the United Nations of the nineteen NATO member states and sent on 4 September 2002, the President of the Jewish Survivors of Latvia, Inc., Steven Springfield has expressed his organization-s support for Latvia-s entry into NATO.

In the letter, Mr Springfield stresses that the government of Latvia and its President, Vaira Vike-Freiberga, cooperate fully with the Jewish Community in Latvia to make the country a hospitable place for Jews to live. The letter also points to the sincere efforts that the government is making "to confront events that transpired in Latvia during the Holocaust."

On 30 August 2002 the US Senate Staff submitted report to the Committee on Foreign Relations stating that Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Rumania and Bulgaria are serious candidates for NATO membership. The report on the aspirants- preparedness to join NATO was made after the visits of the Senate Staff members to the aspiring countries. During each visit the following questions were asked - would that country be able to meet its military obligations to the NATO Alliance and did it share the democratic values of its future NATO allies? The answers to these fundamental questions were qualified yes for each visited country. However, it was also admitted that the remaining months before the Prague Summit might be critical for the candidates and they actively have to continue their work.

On 12 - 13 August 2002 Elton Gallegly, Chairman of the Subcommittee on the European Affairs of the US House of Representatives, met with several Latvian officials. During his meeting with the Prime Minister of Latvia Andris Bēriņž he highlighted the importance of NATO enlargement issue in the US and acknowledged that NATO enlargement would facilitate stability in Europe. While focussing on the high standards of the Alliance and on the necessity to maintain its integrity E. Gallegly admitted that of the 10 candidate countries currently seeking to join NATO, several will be invited and Latvia will definitely head the list. In Chairman's opinion, this is an historic time for the entire Baltic region.

He added that when an aspirant is assessed on its readiness to join NATO, a particular attention is paid on country's wishes and commitments, as well as contribution - in Latvia's case - achievements of divers and explosive ordnance disposal units.

The American Jewish Committee is the first organisation in the United States that has declared its support for a second round of NATO enlargement.

On 30 July 2002 the Executive Director of the American Jewish Committee David Harris speaking on behalf of the Committee urged 19 NATO Member states to formally invite Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Rumania, Slovakia and Slovenia to become full-fledged members of NATO. The Committee appealed to NATO to explicitly confirm that NATO enlargement will continue also after Prague. The American Jewish Committee is the first US organisation to announce its support to the enlargement process.

Full text:

Senator Lott supports entry of the Baltic States into NATO
On July 4 2002 The Presidents of the Baltic States met with the US Senators Trent Lott, Benjamin Nelson, Craig Thomas, Jim Bunning, Robert Bennett and representatives of the White House in Riga to discuss NATO enlargement and the progress made by Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia in a way to NATO. Senator Trent Lott, US Senate Minority Leader, expressed his strong belief that Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia will be invited to join NATO and said that he personally believes that this proposal will receive a positive vote in the United States Senate. However Senator Lott pointed out that any decision on entry must first be taken by the alliance's member states.

On June 27 2002 Elton Gallegly, Chairman of the Subcommittee on the European Affairs of the US House of Representatives, submitted the "Transatlantic Security and NATO Enhancement Resolution of 2002" to the House of Representatives. The Resolution focused on the further development of the Alliance, including NATO enlargement issue. It is stated that those aspiring countries, which will make a significant progress towards achieving their objectives in the Membership Action Plan, established by NATO and will be invited to join the Alliance in Prague, should have to join NATO at the same time and prior to the next summit following Prague. In addition, it is accentuated that NATO enlargement process should continue also after the Prague Summit and those candidate countries invited to join the Alliance in Prague should continue to participate in the Membership Action Plan until accession. The accession process should take into account work conducted under the Membership Action Plan.

Full text:

U.S. Senate approves Freedom Consolidation Act.

On 17 May 2002 the Senate approved a bill endorsing NATO expansion and giving $55.5 million in security assistance to seven countries that hope to join the military alliance.
"This bill is a symbolic one," Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said on debate, noting that a spending bill approved the money last year for the seven nations, all former Warsaw Pact members.

"Symbolism, however, matters," he said. "Millions of Central and East Europeans, and millions of Americans of Central and East European descent, will welcome this restatement of NATO's so-called 'Open Door' policy, which was the policy of the Clinton administration and which has been continued by the current Bush administration."
Sen. John Warner, R-Va., said he supports the outlay but not the rhetoric accompanying it, which he said "could send the wrong message" by failing to say how the countries would be judged for admittance to the military alliance.

Sen. R.Lugar stressed that " (...) this legislation makes important contributions to the future of European security and trans-Atlantic relations by endorsing the continued enlargement of the NATO alliance and assisting potential members in meeting membership criteria. (...) The defining issue will be the Baltic States, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia. They are among the great success stories of Europe's post-Communist transition. Their illegal annexation by the former Soviet Union 60 years ago should not determine Western policy today. If the Baltic States continue to perform and meet our standards, we should bring them in, all of them, at the Prague summit. (...)"
The security assistance in the bill: Estonia, $6.5 million; Latvia, $7 million; Lithuania, $7.5 million; Slovakia, $8.5 million; Slovenia, $4.5 million; Bulgaria, $10 million; and Romania, $11.5 million.

The Debate:

"The Freedom Consolidation Act":

On 26 April 2002 the German Bundestag adopted a resolution on NATO expansion, which praises the role of NATO expansion in stabilising the common Euro-Atlantic space. German legislators believe that all European Union applicant countries must be given the opportunity to join NATO, and they express the opinion that Slovenia, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria and Romania have conclusively proved their preparedness.

Concerning separate applicant countries, the Baltic States were particularly emphasized during the discussions with regard to the positive evaluation of fulfilment of the accession criteria, as well as Germany-s historical responsibility towards the Baltic States within the context of the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. (more)

From testimony on future of NATO and NATO enlargement at the House International Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Europe by William E. Odom, Lt. Gen., USA, Retired, Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute. 17 April, 2002.

"(...)The Baltic states have been very successful in their political and economic transition programs. Latvia, having the largest Russian minority, faces more difficulties but has made impressive progress. Bringing them into NATO will help sustain what is being accomplished in these countries. Some observers insist that the Baltic countries are militarily indefensible. This judgment is wrong on two counts, technical and strategic. On the first count, given the great lethality of US and NATO forces against the greatly deteriorated Russian military, a local defense is highly feasible in Estonia, the most exposed of the three countries. On the second count, Berlin was indefensible during the Cold War, but the strategic context prevented a Soviet attack on it. The same holds for the Baltic states today. If Russia invaded them, it would risk general war with Europe and the United States. The strategic question, therefore, is the defensibility of Europe, not the Baltic states. Thus the indefensibility objection is a red herring, not to be taken seriously (...)."

Full transcript:

Hearing on the fiscal 2003 budget request for foreign affairs at the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, 5 February 2002.

Answer by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell to the question of the U.S. Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC) concerning issue of NATO enlargement:

" (...) I'm absolutely sure that a number of nations will be invited at the Prague summit to become members of NATO. I'm not prepared to say today how many of the aspirants will be invited, but I think it's going to be a pretty good -- pretty good size addition to the membership. And the standard will be, do they contribute to the alliance; have they met the standards of the Membership Action Plan. And nobody will have a veto over whether they are in or out; it's up to the members of NATO to decide how to expand the club. (...) At the same time, the NATO-Russia "at 20" piece of it I think will give Russia some reassurance about the expansion of NATO as being something that is not threatening to them because it gives them a voice in NATO without any veto over NATO activities.

And so that's why we're anxious to put together NATO-Russia "at 20" by the time of the Reykjavik ministerial in May, to set ourselves up for the president's trip to Moscow, also in May, and then the Prague summit in the fall. (...)"

Full transcript:

"(...) We hope that a courageous decision to enhance security in Europe will be taken and we advocate that the most advanced candidates should be invited to start negotiations on membership at the Summit in 2002. Slovenia, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania will have met the requirements by 2002. All five have successfully transformed into stable democratic and free market societies. (...)

We are aware that many wonder whether the idea of NATO membership for the Baltic States shouldn't be postponed or abandoned considering Russian opposition. However, we are convinced that the integration of the Baltic States in the EU and NATO will ensure long-term stability for Russia on its Western border. (...) Upon NATO's advice the three Baltic states have tried to provide for their security in the framework of common institutions. They have pooled their resources and formed joint military units, airspace surveillance, and military procurement projects. Tearing these institutions apart by inviting them to join in a piecemeal manner would be counterproductive. Treating them differently could be misinterpreted by Russia as horse trading and might lead to a destabilization of those left outside. (...)"

From statement by NATO European parliamentarians. (11.12.2001)

Statement (English, Latvian)

U.S. House of Representatives Endorses NATO Expansion 07.11.2001

The House on 7 November, 2001 endorsed NATO enlargement and approved "The Freedom Consolidation Act" giving $55.5 million in security assistance to seven countries that once were part of the Warsaw Pact and now want to join NATO.
It rejected criticism that the organization is no longer needed and its growth will only stir paranoia in Russia. "The modest cost of this assistance is a very small price to pay for the potential gaining of long-term allies in a formalized way in this critical region of the world,'' Rep. Porter Goss, R-Fla., the Intelligence Committee chairman, said before the House passed the bill.

As Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Republican Jesse Helms stated on 24 October 2001 introducing the bill: "The Freedom Consolidation Act" reaffirms a strong and bipartisan Congressional commitment to NATO enlargement. Focusing on the NATO Alliance's Prague summit in November of 2002, the bill endorses the vision of a Europe whole, undivided, free and secure." He also stressed that despite events of 11 September NATO "remains vital to the interests and values of the community of democracies" and new members should be admitted during the Prague Summit.

"The Freedom Consolidation Act":

Dr. Ronald Asmus, Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations on NATO enlargement. 01.11.2001.

Joint Baltic American National Committee (JBANC) organized live interactive program on issues concerning United States relations with the Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania with Dr. Ronald Asmus, Senior Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. Dr. Asmus served in President Clinton's Administration as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs.

Speaking about successful development of the Baltic States and NATO enlargement process R.Asmuss stressed: "I think as historians look back over the last decade they will conclude that the Baltic States are one of the true success stories of the post-Cold War period and I think we should congratulate the leaders and people for that accomplishment. I think that you at JBANC as well as other Americans can be proud of the role the United States has played in supporting that process. I think that today for the first time it is within our grasp to bring the Baltic States into NATO, which would be a historic accomplishment. We are talking today at a time when the United States is at war and our alliances are being tested like never before, but I think that the value of a strong and enlarged NATO is becoming clear to Americans like never before. I think the likelihood of NATO enlargement going forward at the Prague summit is very high. President Bush made a clear commitment to that goal in his speech in Warsaw in June. It appears that that commitment has been strengthened not weakened after September 11th. I also believe that the very strong performance of the three Baltic States has allowed them to move toward the top of the list of the candidate countries. As a result we have seen a very important shift in attitude hear in the U.S. in favor of bringing the Baltic States into NATO at Prague."

Full transcript of November 1, 2001 Webcast with Ron Asmus:

"The fight against terrorism won't influence enlargement and the decision must be between the applicant country and NATO -- no third party has a role. (...) We have the impression that the Baltic States have progressed extremely, this gives hope, that a decision will be made [in Prague] to satisfy everyone. Germany, just as other alliance countries, would like all three Baltic States to be invited together for NATO membership in Prague."

From remarks by German Defence Minister Rudolf Scharping at a press conference during visit to Latvia, November 1, 2001.

Turkey fully supports soon and effective NATO enlargement, including to the Baltic States. This was stated by Mr.Ahmet Necdet Sezer, President of Turkey, Mr.Omer Izgi, Speaker og the Grand National Assembly, Mr.Ismail Cem, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey and Mr.Tunca Toskay, State Minister in the Ministry of National Defence of Turkey. Turkish support in 2001 has become stronger if compared to that in year 2000 when Turkish Ministers of Foreign Affairs and National Defence and Turkish parliamentarians visited Latvia.

Statement to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Brian E.Carlson, Ambassador-Designate to the Republic of Latvia, October 17, 2001.

"France can only express support for Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania's desire to join NATO and support their aspirations at the NATO summit in Prague."

From President of France Jacques Chirac press conference during visit to Latvia, July 27, 2001.

"Our goal is to erase the false lines -- our goal is to erase the false lines that have divided Europe for too long. The future of every European nation must be determined by the progress of internal reform, not the interests of outside powers. Every European nation that struggles toward democracy and free markets and a strong civic culture must be welcomed into Europe's home. All of Europe's new democracies, from the Baltic to the Black Sea and all that lie between, should have the same chance for security and freedom -- and the same chance to join the institutions of Europe -- as Europe's old democracies have.

I believe in NATO membership for all of Europe's democracies that seek it and are ready to share the responsibilities that NATO brings. The question of "when" may still be up for debate within NATO; the question of "whether" should not be. As we plan to enlarge NATO, no nation should be used as a pawn in the agendas of others. We will not trade away the fate of free European peoples. No more Munichs. No more Yaltas. Let us tell all those who have struggled to build democracy and free markets what we have told the Poles: from now on, what you build, you keep. No one can take away your freedom or your country.

Next year, NATO's leaders will meet in Prague. The United States will be prepared to make concrete, historic decisions with its allies to advance NATO enlargement. Poland and America share a vision. As we plan the Prague Summit, we should not calculate how little we can get away with, but how much we can do to advance the cause of freedom. The expansion of NATO has fulfilled NATO's promise. And that promise now leads eastward and southward, northward and onward."

From remarks by US President George W.Bush in Address to Faculty and students of Warsaw University, 15.06.2001.

"In Prague, we will honor our newest NATO members and take up the fifth challenge, the further enlargement of the Alliance. We should continue to include new members able and willing to strengthen our Alliance. No state should be excluded on the basis of history or geography. And no third state should have a veto," excerpted remarks to the North Atlantic Council by US President George W.Bush. 13.06.2001.

NATO leaders agreed on 13 June, 2001 to proceed with enlargement in 2002. "There will be an enlargement at the Prague summit in November next year", said Lord Robertson. Heads of state and government decided that the 'zero option' (of inviting no candidate country to join the alliance) is off the table. Lord Robertson stressed that "the onus remains on the candidate states to bring their young democracies, their free-market economies and their erstwhile Soviet-era armed forces up to NATO standards. Those countries which join NATO must be contributors of security, as well as consumers of security."

Poland is a determined supporter and advocate of the further enlargement of NATO to embrace the Baltic republic. "I am sure that NATO's enlargement will expand the zone of security and stability in Europe." From remarks by President of Poland Aleksander Kwasniewski during visit to Latvia, May 28, 2001.

"(...) Thus, NATO is beginning to change from the principal instrument of defence of the democratic world against Soviet expansionism into a security organisation of a truly regional character, one of the many components of a future multipolar world order. In other words, NATO recognises its present identity, as well as the territory across which it can and should expand. This territory - the one that we call the "West" - extends from Alaska in the west to Tallin in the east. This is by no means a small piece of land. (...) The Baltic states, on the other hand, make it clear that - not only geographically, but also through their history and culture - they consider themselves to be part of the West and, therefore, have an eminent interest in joining NATO. We all know that they were independent states before the war and the Soviet Union annexed them by force on the basis of the criminal Ribbentrop-Molotov pact. I fail to understand why these three free countries should not be offered membership as soon as possible, especially as they are working hard to be ready for it. Yielding to some geopolitical or geostrategic interests of Russia, or perhaps merely to its concern for its prestige, would be the worst thing that the Alliance could do in this respect. It would amount to returning to the Ribbentrop Molotov pact; to confirming its legitimacy; to recognising Russia's right to surround itself with a cordon sanitaire, or with a sphere of its interests euphemistically called near abroad; in short, to rededicating ourselves to the old principle of dividing the world and nations irregardless of their will. It would, in fact, be a denial of the underlying concept of the Washington Treaty, NATO's fundamental document, that is, of the conviction that democratic countries of the Euro-Atlantic region have the right to freely choose the way in which they wish to protect their freedom and that the Alliance should be made accessible to them if they opt for collective defence. There is not much time left: any further delay would make admission of these countries more difficult. I therefore believe that the invitation to join the Alliance should be extended to them at the next NATO summit in Prague."

From address by Vaclav Havel, President of the Czech Republic at the Conference "Europe's New Democracies: Leadership and Responsibility", Bratislava, 11 May 2001.

"(...) Following the collapse of the Soviet Union over a decade ago, the cornerstone of our policy has been the premise that the extension of the NATO Alliance to new democracies of Europe is fundamental to the strategic and moral objectives of the United States. We note that during the 2000 Presidential campaign, you promised that you "will lead our European allies to advance the process of NATO enlargement at the next Alliance summit in 2002." We applaud this statement and urge you to make NATO enlargement an early priority of your Administration. We agree that the United States must work to ensure that NATO invites qualified European democracies to begin accession negotiations at the 2002 Summit in Prague."

From letter by seventeen U.S. Senators, on April 5 sent to President George W. Bush advocating further NATO enlargement.

Speaking at NATO Headquarters on 27 February 2001, US Secretary of State Colin Powell said: "NATO enlargement is a key part of the process of uniting all of Europe. A decision to invite in qualified new members is among the most serious the alliance could make. It threatens no one, the enlargement of NATO, and contributes concretely to stability in Europe. At the same time, we will work to strengthen NATO's other partnerships. We hope Russia will become a more active participant in alliance activities and objectives. We welcome a European security and defense policy that strengthens both the alliance and the European Union, just as President Bush is committed, after a thorough review of our national goals and means, to seeking new resources for America's security."