|Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright
Intervention at 9+3 Meeting, NATO Headquarters
Brussels, Belgium, December 15, 2000
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State
[As Prepared for Delivery]
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Good morning. I am pleased to be here. Although brief, this is an important opportunity to get together with NATO's newest members, and those who aspire to become members when the next round of NATO enlargement occurs.
Since 1994, when President Clinton first outlined his vision of a new NATO for the 21st Century, America has welcomed and encouraged those European democracies who have expressed an interest in adding their strength to ours in the NATO Alliance.
As I will affirm later today at the EAPC Ministerial, America's commitment to NATO's open door has not changed. Nor has our commitment to help countries that want to become allies develop the capabilities that would enable them to walk through that door.
I am encouraged by the progress many of the countries represented here are making to improve your candidacies and implement your Membership Action Plans. And I am very impressed by the spirit of teamwork and cooperation the nine aspiring partners have shown toward each other and their openness to cooperation with others.
As you know, the exact timing and scope of the next round of NATO enlargement is not yet certain. What is certain is that the first round has led to a stronger, more capable and more dynamic Alliance. There is every reason to believe that further enlargement, if carefully planned and prepared, will yield the same result.
So I encourage your continued efforts, and look forward to a positive result.
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