(E) New U.S. Ambassador Robert A. Bradtke To Be Sworn-in on July 3rd
New U.S. Ambassador Robert A. Bradtke To Be Sworn-in on July 3rd
National Federation of Croatian Americans Press Release
from left to right: NFCA Government Affairs Director Joe Foley, NFCA President Ed Andrus, Ambassador Designate Robert A. Bradtke, NFCA Vice President Steve Rukavina, NFCA National Treasurer Zvonko Labas)
For Immediate Release â€“ June 28, 2006
â€œNew U.S. Ambassador Robert A. Bradtke To Be Sworn-in on July 3rdâ€ť
(Washington, D.C.) A National Federation of Croatian Americans (NFCA) delegation visited the U.S. State Department on Wednesday, June 21, to meet the newly appointed U.S. Ambassador to The Republic of Croatia Robert Bradtke and Croatia Desk Officer Bradford Bell. The group led by NFCA President Ed Andrus, Eastern Vice President Steve Rukavina, National Treasurer Zvonko Labas, and Government and Public Affairs Director Joe Foley had a very substantive 100 minute working lunch meeting with the American diplomat. Ambassador Bradtke will be sworn in during a July 3rd U.S. State Department ceremony headed by Secretary of State Condolezza Rice.
This meeting was an ideal opportunity for the Ambassador Designate to become better acquainted with the activities of the National Federation of Croatian Americans, the Croatian Fraternal Union, and to hear more detailed specifics about the activities, accomplishments, and many dimensions of the Croatian
American community. Ambassador Bradtke has been in the U.S. Foreign Service for thirty three years. He was based in the Zagreb Consul during the 1976-1980 time period and later worked for and visited Croatia with Secretary of State Warren Christopher in 1996.
The meeting was centered on the topic of NATO membership for Croatia as the key discussion subject. Ambassador Bradtke feels Croatia has made much progress in its pursuit of membership in this Euro-Atlantic alliance. The diplomat was quick to point out that the upcoming NATO Summit in Riga, Latvia is
not the enlargement meeting. Enlargement would most likely occur at the 2008 NATO Summit. Ambassador Bradtke as a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State was intricately involved in the 2002 NATO Enlargement process. This American diplomat with all his NATO experience will be a great addition to the American diplomatic corp working directly with Croatian government officials over the next few years. Ambassador Bradtke believes the Croatian Defense Minister understands all he needs to know about some necessary requirements and reforms needed to better ensure NATO membership. The new Ambassador is clearly committed to discussing the benefits and requirements of NATO membership during his term in Croatia. He hopes that the Croatian
citizenry will better appreciate the significance of NATO Article 5, which clearly states that an attack against any NATO member is an attack against all of them. The Ambassador believes that the Croatian public, like the Slovenes about four years ago, will clearly favor NATO membership as debate continues
through the next 12 to 18 months regarding the long term security benefits of membership in this alliance.
Ambassador Bradtke was very impressed with the role of the NFCA in the creation of the Congressional Croatian Caucus. He believes that this type of bi-partisan political leverage will be instrumental when it comes time for the U.S. Senate to vote on NATO enlargement in 2008. He was also pleased to hear how the NFCA has worked positively with the AmCham in Zagreb, the U.S. State Department with the Brcko project, Eastern Slavonia re-integration, economic development initiatives, de-mining fundraising, hosting Croatian visitors to the U.S., investor organizing, and sponsoring many Croatian-related educational symposia. Also, the Ambassador thought the involvement of Croatian American individuals and community in the development of Croatia's democracy and free market could be very instrumental over the years ahead.
Ambassador Bradtke mentioned that he will be very busy in his first month. He will attend an early July Dubrovnik symposia with a NATO focus, participate in a Nikola Tesla 150 year birthday salute, and will also visit Vukovar within his first 30 days to pay his respects to the Croatians who lost their lives during the recent war in the Homeland.
The Ambassador Designate mentioned that he had a very productive meeting and lunch with Croatian Ambassador Nevin Jurica on Thursday, June 15. The diplomat was openly very excited about his appointment and confirmation to be the next Ambassador to The Republic of Croatia. The diplomat feels strongly that the next few years for Croatia are crucial in its evolution to be a model democracy and force for stability in Southeast Europe.
Ed Andrus spoke for all NFCA members when he congratulated Ambassador Bradtke, wished him well, and offered NFCA support for his diplomatic efforts to help with Croatia's pursuit of NATO membership. NFCA representatives will attend his swearing-in ceremony on July 3rd.
The NFCA is a national umbrella organization of Croatian American groups that collectively represents approximately 130,000 members. For additional public affairs information, please call Mr. Joe Foley, NFCA Government and Public Affairs Director, at (301) 294-0937, or Mr. Ed Andrus, NFCA President, at NFCA Headquarters at (301) 208-6650, or by email at NFCAhdq@verizon.net . For recent NFCA newsletters, important NFCA membership and chapter information, and other Croatian American news please visit the NFCAâ€™s Web Site at WWW.NFCAONLINE.COM .
National Federation of Croatian Americans (NFCA)
2401 Research Blvd, Suite 115
Rockville, MD 20850
PHONE: (301) 208-6650
FAX: (301) 208-6659
WEB SITE: www.nfcaonline.com