Washington, 30 September 1997 (RFE/RL) - U.S. National Security Adviser Sandy Berger says the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland are making serious efforts to prepare for NATO membership.
Berger made the comment yesterday following a 45 minute meeting at the White House with Foreign Ministers Laszlo Kovacs of Hungary and Darius Rosati of Poland, and Deputy Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic, Karel Kovanda.
Berger said they discussed the rationale of NATO enlargement as a way to build a democratic, peaceful and undevided Europe. He told reporters they also discussed what each of the three countries is doing to prepare for NATO membership.
In turn, the diplomats told the reporters that the three countries are not coming empty handed to NATO but are bringing with them their contribution to regional stability.
The three officials are also in Washington for meetings with leading members of the U.S. Congress to argue in favor of NATO enlargement. The legislatures of NATO's 16 members must approve the amended NATO treaty that will bring in the new members.
U.S. Senator Richard Lugar, who already met the three diplomats yesterday, told them he is certain the U.S. Senate will approve the amendments that will enable those three former communist countries to become full members of the alliance.