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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release December 10, 1996


NATO Agrees to Hold Summit

Today, America and its NATO Allies agreed to hold a NATO Summit on July 8-9, 1997 in Madrid to take the crucial next steps on the enlargement and adaptation of the North Atlantic Alliance for the 21st Century. This marks an important milestone on the road to an integrated, democratic and secure Europe.

The Summit will seek to advance a strong and enduring NATO-Russia partnership; to strengthen partnership with all of Europe's new democracies; to approve adaptations within NATO to prepare the Alliance to meet the challenges of the coming century; and to invite the first aspiring NATO members to begin accession talks to join the Alliance. My goal is to see NATO take in its first new members by 1999, the 50th anniversary of NATO's founding and the 10th Anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.

From the beginning of my Administration, I have worked hard to end the Cold War division of Europe and to create, for the first time in history, a Europe united in democracy, security and free market prosperity. Now, we must continue to reach out to Russia, and include this great nation in the fabric of Europe's emerging community of democracies. We must open the doors of Europe's institutions that nurtured peace, prosperity and security throughout the Cold War to Europe's new democracies, excluding no nation that shares our values and is willing and able to shoulder our common responsibilities.

NATO has never threatened any other nation, nor will an enlarged NATO do so in the future. While NATO's new members will be full members of the Alliance, NATO has no intention, no plan and no reason to deploy nuclear weapons on the territory of new members.

We have made tremendous progress over the last four years in realizing our vision of an undivided Europe at peace, and no one deserves more credit than Warren Christopher. Thanks to his efforts, Secretary-designate Madeleine Albright and my new national security team will have a strong foundation on which to achieve that important goal.

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