Washington, 8 January 1997 (RFE/RL) - U.S. President Bill Clinton's nominee for secretary of state -- Madeleine Albright -- says the expansion of the NATO alliance into central and eastern Europe will integrate new democracies, defeat old hatreds and deter conflicts.
In short, says Albright, expanding the alliance to include former communist countries in the region will further the development of democracy and prosperity in Europe.
Albright met the members of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee today. The committee is expected to decide later today whether to recommend approval of Albright's nomination to the full 100-member Senate. The recommendation is almost a certainty, and so is her confirmation by the entire Senate.
The Czech-born Albright will become the first woman ever to serve as secretary of state. She was the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations during President Clinton's first four-year term. Albright is succeeding Warren Christopher, who is returning to private life.
In her remarks today, Albright said the expansion of NATO will not preserve the Iron Curtain as Europe's eastern frontier. Instead, she says NATO will hold open the door to membership to every European country and build a strong partnership among all nations, including Russia.