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 Home > News & Policies > April 2003

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
April 11, 2003

Message to the Senate of the United States

April 10, 2003


I transmit herewith Protocols to the North Atlantic Treaty of 1949 on the accession of Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia. These protocols were opened for signature at Brussels on March 26, 2003, and signed that day on behalf of the United States and the other parties to the North Atlantic Treaty. I request the advice and consent of the Senate to the ratification of these docu-ments. I also transmit for the information of the Senate a report submitted to me by the Secretary of State regarding this matter.

The end of communism and the consolidation of freedom and democracy in Central and Eastern Europe have been among the great developments of human history. NATO played a vital role in defending freedom and promoting this peaceful change for over 50 years. I am pleased that, with the advice and consent of the Senate, these new democracies can soon join us as members of this great Alliance.

As the threats to the Alliance have changed, NATO itself has adapted to face them. At the Prague Summit in November 2002, I joined the leaders of NATO not only in inviting these nations to join us as members, but also in calling for a transformation of NATO's military capabilities and structures to meet the threats of the 21st century. NATO is proceeding with that agenda. Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia are already making real contributions to the common security of the NATO Allies, including the United States, and I am firmly convinced that their full membership in NATO will strengthen our Alliance further.

I ask the Senate to join me in advancing the cause of freedom and strengthening NATO by providing its prompt advice and consent to these Protocols of Accession. My Administration stands ready to assist you as best we can in your deliberations.

April 10, 2003.

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