For Immediate Release
March 30, 2004
From remarks by President Bush, 3/29/04
President Bush welcomed seven nations -- Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia -- into the ranks of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
When NATO was founded, these seven nations were captives to an empire. They endured bitter tyranny, they struggled for independence, and they earned their freedom through courage and perseverance.
Since NATO's founding, the assurance of mutual defense has been a safeguard for peace. NATO's core mission remains the same: the defense of its members against any aggression.
Today, our alliance faces a new enemy, which has brought death to innocent people from New York to Madrid. Terrorists hate everything this alliance stands for. They despise our freedom, they fear our unity, and they seek to divide us. They will fail.
All seven of these nations are helping to bring lasting freedom to Afghanistan and Iraq.
As witness to some of the great crimes of the last century, our new members bring moral clarity to the purposes of the Alliance. They understand our cause in Afghanistan and in Iraq, because tyranny for them is still a fresh memory.
These nations know that when great democracies fail to confront danger, far worse peril can follow. They know that aggression, left unchecked, can rob millions of their liberty and their lives.
NATO members are reaching out to the nations of the Middle East, to strengthen our ability to fight terror, and to provide for our common security.