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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release February 12, 1996


President Clinton Meets with Central and East European Coalition

President Clinton met today with the Central and East European Coalition, comprised of eighteen national organizations representing millions of Americans who trace their heritage to Central and Eastern Europe. The President stressed America's support for the security, sovereignty and independence of Europe's new democracies and their integration with the growing Euroatlantic community.

The President praised the free market and democratic transformation undertaken by many of Central and Eastern Europe's newly free countries and expressed confidence that this process will continue. He expressed the hope that relations among the states of Central and Eastern Europe will continue to improve as these countries turn to the future with hope and cast off residual quarrels of the past.

The President affirmed his support for the steady, careful and determined process of NATO's enlargement to include Europe's new democracies. He underscored that NATO, which is not directed against any country, can help bring to the emerging democracies of Central and Eastern Europe the security and stability it brought to the nations of Western Europe following World War II. The President discussed ongoing efforts by the United States to assist the reforming nations of Central and Eastern Europe to continue their free market transformation.

The President and the leaders of the CEE Coalition agreed that the security of Central and Eastern Europe and the success of its democratic and free market reforms remain key American interests.

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