THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Vice President
STATEMENT BY THE VICE PRESIDENT ON ADOPTED VILNIUS STATEMENT I welcome the statement adopted in Vilnius today by the governments
of Albania, Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia and the reaffirmation of their commitment to a Europe whole and free. This gathering of nations, held under the sponsorship of Lithuania and Slovenia, represents another important milestone in these countries' reintegration into the Euro-Atlantic community.
Along with European leaders, I have been impressed by the scope of domestic political and economic reforms in these countries and by their bilateral and regional efforts to enhance European stability. Together, these nations have resolved border disputes, begun new regional trading relationships, encouraged cross-border contacts between ethnic groups, provided humanitarian assistance to each other when necessary, and adopted programs to ensure the rights of national minorities. These achievements have been possible because of the common vision held by Vilnius Statement signatories of a Europe in which democracy, free markets, and peace stand as guiding principles.
I also take special note of the aspirations articulated by these nations to join NATO and the European Union and encourage them to stay the course. Having strongly endorsed the enlargement of NATO as the three new members formally acceded last year, I want to underscore my support for the Alliance's Open Door policy. I believe that the matter of new memberships should be kept at the forefront of the business of NATO, and look forward to further opportunities to consult closely with the Vilnius Statement signatories in the next months.