U.S. Senate wants Croatia in NATO
"U.S. Senate Resolution Introduced Regarding Important NATO Membership Invitations for the Republics of Albania, Croatia, and Macedonia at Approaching April Summit in Bucharest "
For Immediate Release - February 29, 2008
Washington, DC, USA: The National Federation of Croatian Americans (NFCA) commends U.S. Senators Richard Lugar of Indiana and George Voinovich of Ohio for their leadership in introducing S. Res. 459 calling for NATO membership for the Republic of Albania, the Republic of Croatia, and the Republic of Macedonia. This resolution emanating from the United States Senate is truly another important indication of U. S. support since ratification by the U. S. Senate will ultimately be required if full membership in NATO is to be granted to these three "U.S. Adriatic Charter for Partnership" nation-states. Invitations to join NATO are expected when the Alliance meets this year in Bucharest, Romania, during April.
NFCA President Ed Andrus noted: "It is important for all NFCA members and other Croatian Americans to call and write their U.S. Senators in Washington (202-224-3121) and ask them to co-sponsor this important ‘Sense of Congress' Resolution expressing their ongoing support for the pending NATO expansion. Croatia has made many transforming changes over the past decade in order to qualify for this invitation. NATO membership will provide Croatia a powerful defense against external incursions like those that have been such a big part of the country's past. At the same time, Croatia's contributions to NATO will strengthen the Alliance and help bring stability to the problem-prone region of South East Europe. Croatia also continues to support NATO in it's participation against the Taliban in Afghanistan and in recent joint military exercises along the Dalmatian Coast. Please make those calls and write those letters today."
The NFCA sincerely thanks Senators Lugar and Voinovich for continuing to promote this important expansion of membership for NATO and for having the United States take the lead in awarding these invitations at the approaching Alliance Conference in Bucharest. The NFCA is providing the text of this new "Sense of Congress" Resolution introduced by Senators Lugar and Voinovich -- S. Res. 459. Also included after the text of the Resolution is Senator Lugar's remarks before the U.S. Senate upon the introduction of this important Resolution on February 26, 2008.
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 NFCA’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 SENATE RESOLUTION 459EXPRESSING THE STRONG SUPPORT OF THE SENATE FOR THE NORTH ATLANTIC TREATY ORGANIZATION TO EXTEND INVITATIONS FOR MEMBERSHIP TO ALBANIA, CROATIA, AND MACEDONIA AT THE APRIL 2008 BUCHAREST SUMMIT, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES
Mr. LUGAR (for himself and Mr. Voinovich) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations:S. RES. 459
Whereas the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) will hold a Heads of State and Government summit at Bucharest, Romania in April 2008;
Whereas NATO has successfully defended the territory and interests of its members for more than 50 years and contributed to the spread of freedom, democracy, stability, and peace throughout Europe;
Whereas Albania, Croatia, and Macedonia have been preparing for NATO membership for more than 8 years and are undergoing a historic process of democratic and free market transformation after emerging from decades of occupation;
Whereas Albania, Croatia, and Macedonia have made important progress toward establishing civilian control of their militaries and demonstrating their ability to operate with the military forces of NATO nations at Alliance standards;
Whereas Albania, Croatia, and Macedonia continue to make important contributions to the United Nations-mandated International Security Assistance Force, operating under NATO leadership to assist the Government of Afghanistan in extending and exercising its authority and influence throughout Afghanistan, creating the conditions for stabilization and reconstruction;
Whereas Albania, Croatia, and Macedonia have made important improvements in their democratic processes, including-
(1) embracing ethnic diversity;
(2) respecting human rights;
(3) building a free market economy; and
(4) promoting good neighborly relations;
Whereas NATO conducted military operations against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia to further the objective of a lasting peace in Kosovo;
Whereas the United States has diplomatically recognized the independence of Kosovo and should support the integration of Kosovo into international and Euro-Atlantic institutions;
Whereas lasting stability and security in Southeastern Europe requires the military, economic, and political integration of emerging democracies into existing European structures;
Whereas Albania, Croatia, and Macedonia can play important roles in NATO activities in Southeastern Europe, through their unique geostrategic position and by deterring and disrupting any efforts by any party to destabilize the region through violence;
Whereas Article 10 of the North Atlantic Treaty, done in Washington on April 4, 1949, states: "any other European state in a position to further the principles of this Treaty and to contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area" may be granted NATO membership; and
Whereas the Riga Summit Declaration, issued by NATO in November 2006, reaffirms that "NATO remains open to new European members": Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That it is the sense of the Senate that-
(1) the political independence and territorial integrity of the emerging democracies in Southeastern Europe are vital to European peace and security and to the interests of the United States;
(2) the expansion of NATO contributes to the Alliance’s continued effectiveness and relevance;
(3) the Senate reaffirms its support for continued enlargement of NATO to include qualified candidates; and
(4) the United States should take the lead in supporting the awarding of invitations to Albania, Croatia, and Macedonia to join the Alliance at the NATO Summit at Bucharest, Romania in April 2008.SENATOR RICHARD LUGAR'S REMARKS IN THE 'CONGRESSIONAL RECORD'Mr. LUGAR.
Mr. President, I rise today to introduce a resolution expressing the strong support of the Senate for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to extend invitations for membership to Albania, Croatia, and Macedonia at the April 2008 Bucharest Summit.
The goal of this legislation is to reaffirm United States support for continued enlargement of NATO to democracies that are able and willing to meet the responsibilities of membership. In addition, it represents a call to the administration to provide leadership at the upcoming summit to secure this important step in the development of the NATO Alliance. Albania, Croatia, and Macedonia have clearly stated their desire to join NATO and are working hard to meet the specified requirements for membership.
The Governments in Tirana, Zagreb, and Skopje have been preparing for NATO membership for more then 8 years. Each of them is undergoing a historic process of democratic and free market transformation after emerging from decades of occupation. They have made important progress in establishing civilian control of their militaries and demonstrating their ability to operate with the military forces of NATO nations at alliance standards. Albania, Croatia, and Macedonia continue to make important contributions to the United Nations-mandated International Security Assistance Force, ISAF, operating under NATO leadership to assist the Government of Afghanistan in extending and exercising its authority and influence across the country and creating the conditions for stabilization and reconstruction. In addition the three candidates have made important improvements in their democratic processes; toleration of ethnic diversity; respect for human rights; building a free market economy; and promotion of good neighborly relations.
On February 18, 2008, the United States and many of our European allies diplomatically recognized the independence of Kosovo. This was an important step in putting the bloody history of the Balkans in the past, but our work there is not done. The United States and our allies must support the integration of Kosovo into international and Euro-Atlantic institutions. We must also be prepared to work closely with Serbia and assist with their goals of joining the European Union and engaging European institutions. In my view, lasting stability and security in southeastern Europe requires the military, economic, and political integration of emerging democracies into existing European structures.
Albania, Croatia, and Macedonia can play important roles in NATO efforts in Southeastern Europe. These three countries occupy critical geostrategic locations and are best situated to deter and disrupt any efforts by any party to destabilize the region through violence. NATO membership for these countries would be a success for Europe, NATO, and the United States by continuing to extend the zone of peace and security into a region that produced a world war and numerous regional conflicts that have cost the lives of hundreds of thousands, including Americans.
Bruce Jackson, president of the Project on Transitional Democracies, wrote in the Washington Post on February 4 that "the transatlantic allies face two critical questions when they gather for their summit in Bucharest in April. The first is whether to invite Albania, Croatia and Macedonia to join NATO, a decision that is the culmination of a 15-year effort to end the wars that followed the breakup of Yugoslavia." Mr. Jackson points out that "critics say that Albania, Croatia and Macedonia are not ready for NATO membership... But the fact is that Albania, Croatia and Macedonia have spent more than eight years in rigorous preparation for NATO membership."
Albania, Croatia, and Macedonia are not perfect, and there is more each of them needs to do economically and politically. Nevertheless, all three countries bring important backgrounds to the table: "Croatia has the most impressive economic performance, and real estate prices, of any country in southern Europe. In recent years, Albania has contributed more soldiers to missions in Iraq, Afghanistan and international peacekeeping than most NATO allies. And since the end of the Balkan wars in 1999, Macedonia has covered more ground in building an integrated, multi-ethnic society in a short time than any other European nation. We now have a chance to bring Catholic Croatia, secular-Islamic Albania and multi-ethnic, Orthodox Macedonia into the Euro-Atlantic community of democracies. Not bad."
Mr. Jackson concludes by asking an important question. "Imagine if [the Alliance] had waited until Greece and Turkey had completed their internal debates before inviting them to join NATO. Any further delay on the candidacies of Albania, Croatia and Macedonia will diminish regional stability just as Kosovo begins its extended period of supervised independence, and will confuse and undercut the European Union as it takes over chief security responsibilities from the United States and NATO throughout the region. An inability to close this chapter in the Balkans would also dangerously slow our engagement with Europe's East."
Now is the time for NATO to invite these three important Balkan leaders to join the alliance. If NATO is to continue to be the preeminent security alliance and serve the defense interests of its membership, it must continue to evolve and that evolution must include enlargement. Potential NATO membership motivates emerging democracies to make important advances in areas such as the rule of law and civil society. A closer relationship with NATO will promote these values in Albania, Croatia, and Macedonia and contribute to our mutual security.
Five years ago, the U.S. Senate unanimously voted to invite seven countries to join NATO. Today, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia are making significant contributions to NATO and are among our closest allies in the global war on terrorism. It is time again for the United States to take the lead in urging its allies to bring in new members and to offer timely admission of Albania, Croatia, and Macedonia to NATO. [Page S1144] Formatted for CROWN by Marko Puljić
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