Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright|
Estonian President Lennart Meri, Latvian President Guntis Ulmanis, and Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus
Washington, DC, April 22, 1999
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State
Secretary Albright, Estonian President Meri, Latvian President Ulmanis, and Lithuanian President Adamkus, meeting on the eve of the Washington NATO Summit, reiterated their strong support for the U.S. Baltic - Charter of Partnership and its shared goal of the full integration of each Baltic State into all European and transatlantic institutions, including NATO. The Secretary welcomed the progress Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have made since the NATO Summit in Madrid to meet the criteria set out in the 1995 NATO Enlargement Study and their actions to prepare for Alliance membership. The Secretary assured the three presidents of the United States' commitment to a Washington Summit outcome that will approve additional programs to assist aspirant countries strengthen their candidacies. The three presidents welcomed these practical steps.
The Secretary noted the strong statements of support by Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania for NATO's actions in the Kosovo, thanked each for their assistance to refugees, and encouraged the Baltic governments to find additional ways to assist. The Secretary also noted other contributions to regional stability made by the three Baltic countries, including sending peacekeepers to the region, and underscored that these and other actions will be considered as the U.S. assesses the future qualifications of aspirants for NATO membership.
Presidents Meri, Ulmanis and Adamkus stated their readiness to assume the responsibilities and obligations of NATO membership, and their confidence that their memberships in NATO will serve European stability and the interests of the Alliance. They further stated their governments' intentions to increase defense expenditures for defense modernization. Secretary Albright welcomed these signs of commitment by Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania to support Alliance goals.
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