(E) CROATIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S. TESTIFIED
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Veleposlanstvo Republike Hrvatske u Sjedinjenim Američkim Državama Embassy of the Republic of Croatia to the United States of America
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2343 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W., Washington D.C. 20008
Press office, Phone: (202) 986 9476 Fax.: (202) 588 8938
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CROATIAN AMBASSADOR TO THE U.S. TESTIFIED BEFORE THEHOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES COMMITTEE ON INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
The Vilnius group Ambassadors testified on Subcommitteeon Europe hearing, NATO Enlargement: A View from the Candidate Countries
WashingtonDC, May 1, 2002 – Dr.Ivan Grdesic, Ambassador of Croatia to the United States, expressed today theCroatian views on the NATO enlargement during the U. S. House of RepresentativesCommittee on International Relations Subcommittee on Europe hearing.
Asa newly independent state, Croatia did not have the burden of the Communiststyle army, but rather established its armed forces modeled on the NATOprinciples. Faced with Communist Yugoslav army aggression in the early 1990s,Croatia demonstrated its military and strategic capabilities to defend itselfand win the war, said Grdesic.
Inthe aftermath of September 11, Croatia demonstrated its commitment to act as ade facto ally of the United States, defending the values shared by thedemocratic world, said Grdesic and continued: The threat of global insecuritythat emerged after September 11 has taught us clearly that it is necessary toexpand the institutional framework of mutual cooperation. All NATO aspirantcountries expect to contribute and participate in the process of building asafe, free and democratic Europe. There is no place for new division lines inEurope.
Croatiawelcomes the approach that would stimulate and award individual performances ofevery NATO aspirant. All countries that follow the path of irreversibledemocracy and commitment to share the common values of freedom have thepotential to contribute to the regional and global stability. Croatia is awarethat NATO membership is conditioned by strict criteria which brings additionalcosts and responsibilities. An admission to the Membership Action Plan, that weexpect to be approved at the Reykjavik NATO Ministerial in May 2002, would allowCroatia to advance preparations for the Alliance and be recognized as a crediblecandidate for the post-Prague round of enlargement, said Grdesic and continued:In the period after the Prague summit, Croatia will be strongly committed to aNATO open-door policy and encourage the strengthening of institutional linkswith all countries that share the common vision of security, cooperation, andsolidarity as the principles of the North Atlantic Alliance, said Grdesic.
Thishearing was the first opportunity for the Republic of Croatia and other V-10countries to voice their will and readiness to join NATO in front of both U. S.House of Representatives as well as American public. The other V-10 Ambassadorstestified as well. The V10 comprises Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia,Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
The nextkey-V-10 event to take place in 2002 is V-10 meeting during the Speakers andPresidents of the Euroepan parliamentary assemblies conference in Zagreb,Croatia, May 10-11. Croatia is expected to join NATO’s Membership Action Planat NATO Foreign ministers meeting at Reykjavik, Iceland, May 13-16.TheVilnius Group process was launched in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius in May2000, when the foreign ministers of the countries aspiring to join NATO gatheredfor the first time in the context of the alliance's enlargement to expressmutual support and solidarity and signed the Statement from Vilnius. Croatiajoined the Vilnius Group at the first prime ministerial meeting in Bratislava inMay 2001 and is being an active member
Mediacontact: Alan Vojvodić, (202) 986 9476, firstname.lastname@example.org