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Baltic States: Congressmen Seek Wider NATO Expansion

Washington, 25 April 1997 (RFE/RL) - A group of American congressmen says Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania should be invited to join the NATO alliance as soon as possible.

They introduced legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives today calling on President Bill Clinton to support NATO membership for the Baltic States and Romania.

They said the United States must make clear that NATO expansion will not end in July, when the alliance is expected to invite the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland to join. The chief sponsor of the legislation is House International Relations Committee Chairman Benjamin Gilman (R-New York), one of the most influential legislators in the 435-member House.

At a news conference yesterday, Congressman Gerald Solomon (R-New York), said the Baltic nations and Romania would make outstanding contributions to the alliance and should be invited to join at the earliest possible date. Solomon said that as far as he is concerned, that date is now.