THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Vice President
STATEMENT BY THE PRESS SECRETARY
Vice President's Meeting with Romanian Prime Minister Ciorbea
Vice President Al Gore met with Prime Minister Victor Ciorbea of Romania today to discuss plans for developing the long-term partnership between the United States and Romania.
They agreed that this partnership is a natural product of the long-term objectives both countries share in Central and Southeast Europe: the achievement of democracy, security, stability and increasing prosperity based on market economic reform. The Vice President noted that a strong and developing U.S- Romanian partnership has become possible in great measure due to Romania's extraordinary recent achievements, including the acceleration of economic reform, Romania's historic outreach to the ethnic-Hungarian community, her breakthroughs in relations with neighbors Hungary and Ukraine, and her contribution to European security through IFOR/SFOR in Bosnia and the Multilateral Protection Force in Albania.
The Vice President and Prime Minister Ciorbea discussed NATO enlargement. The Vice President explained the basis for the decision by the United States to support a small group of three countries to begin NATO accession talks this year. He made clear, as has President Clinton, that this decision was not a rejection of Romania's NATO aspirations nor of Romania. Indeed, the Vice President and Prime Minister Ciorbea agreed that Romania is on the right track. They expressed confidence that the Romanian people will continue on their current reformist, democratic course. This determination by the Romanian people only reinforces the commitment of the United States to work with Romania in support of Romania's effort to become integrated into transatlantic and European institutions, including NATO.
The Vice President stressed that NATO enlargement will be an on-going process and that the United States is unshakably committed to maintaining a true open door to accesions new members and to seeing that this commitment is reflected in the decisions NATO will make at Madrid.
The Vice President noted that President Clinton looks forward to a visit to Washington by Romanian President Constantinescu later this year. The Vice President and Prime Minister agreed that President Constantinescu's visit and other high-level contacts would be important steps in developing and strengthening the U.S.-Romanian partnership.
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