NATIONAL FEDERATION OF CROATIAN AMERICANS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Erik Milman, 202-331-2830
"Resolution Marking the Significance of the United States - Adriatic Charter
Signing Passes U.S. House of Representatives with NFCA Support"
(Washington, D.C. June 30) The National Federation of Croatian Americans
(NFCA) heralds the passage of Engel Resolution (H. Con. Res. 209) commending the
signing of the United States-Adriatic Charter, a charter of partnership among
the United States, Albania, Croatia, and Macedonia, on June 23rd in the U.S.
House of Representatives. This legislation expresses the support of the U.S.
Congress for this Sense of Congress Resolution which was reported out the House
International Relations Committee on June 12 with the support of nearly
U.S. Secretary of State Powell and the foreign ministers of Croatia,
Macedonia, and Albania signed the Charter on May 2, 2003, in the Albanian capitol of
Tirana. The Adriatic Charter and Engel Resolution were strongly supported by
the diplomatic community in Washington, including Dr. Ivan Grdesic the current
Ambassador to the U.S. and Mexico from the Republic of Croatia. NFCA President
John Kraljic's letter in full support of passage of the Resolution was
included in the debate in the Congressional Record by Rep. Elliot Engel (D-NY) as an
expression of Croatian-American support for the legislation. The Resolution
passed 381 - 1.
Under the Charter the nation-state signatories pledge to support the efforts
by Albania, Croatia, and Macedonia to join Euro-Atlantic institutions like
NATO and the European Union. The debate on the Floor of the U.S. House of
Representatives noted that the three aspiring nations commit themselves to accelerate
their democratic and defense reforms, protect human rights, implement
market-oriented economic policies, upgrade their border security so they can further
contribute to regional stability, and generally enhance their mutual
cooperation by signing this agreement. A copy of the Engel Resolution follows this
press release or can be obtained by contacting the NFCA Office in Washington,
D.C. The entire June 23, 2003, debate in the Congressional Record can be viewed
at www.gpo.gov/gpoaccess .
In the debate record, NFCA's John Kraljic noted that the "NFCA has long
supported the Republic of Croatia's request for membership in the North Atlantic
Treaty Organization (NATO). We believe it is a natural and important extension
of Croatia's integration into important western security and related alliances
since the Republic's reestablishment as a viable nation-state over ten years
ago. Croatia is the most stable and economically developed country in the
southeastern Europe. Its democratic structure has been strongly established as
evidenced by three national elections since 1990. Croatia has a wide range of
political parties and a free and independent press. Economically, Croatia's Gross
Domestic Product is greater than that of most of its neighbors, some of whom
have already joined NATO. Furthermore, since the time Croatia claimed its
independence in the early 1990s, it has adopted American and NATO military
techniques. Croatia currently participates as full partner in the U.S. and NATO war on
international terrorism." Mr. Kraljic has vowed that the NFCA will continue
to strongly support Croatia's inclusion in NATO at the very first opportunity
that presents itself.
The NFCA is a Washington, D.C.-based national umbrella organization that
represents over 20 Croatian American groups and 130,000 members.