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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release June 25, 1996


               President Clinton's Meeting with
          Presidents of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania

President Clinton met today at the White House with President of Estonia Lennart Meri, President of Latvia Guntis Ulmanis and President of Lithuania Algirdas Brazauskas.

The President expressed America's support for the sovereignty, independence and security of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. He unserscored his admiration for the progress these nations are making toward rejoining the Western democratic community. He praised the courage and determination with which Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians, in their homelands, in America and around the world, fought for and regained independence.

The four leaders discussed the impressive progress made by the Baltic states in their free market and democratic transformation and expressed determination to keep working together to support this process. They discussed deepening security ties between their countries and expressed satisfaction with their growing cooperation through the Partnership for Peace, IFOR in Bosnia, the President's Warsaw Initiative for security cooperation, the Baltic Peacekeeping Battalion and other programs.

The four Presidents reaffirmed their commitment to the integration of Europe's emerging democracies with the Transatlantic community and its institutions. They underscored that NATO's enlargement constitutes a key element of Europe's integration and will increase security for Europe as a whole. They expressed satisfaction that NATO enlargement remains on track and will take place in a steady, deliberate and determined manner over time, open to all of Europe's new democracies and threatening no one.

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