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Europe: Albright Says NATO Expansion Will Erase Dividing Line

Washington, 6 June 1997 (RFE/RL) - U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright says NATO expansion will erase what she called "an unfair and unnatural line" dividing Europe.

She spoke about the NATO enlargement plan in a prepared speech at Harvard University. The occasion celebrated yesterday's 50th anniversary of the Marshall plan to rebuild Europe after the Second World War.

Albright said NATO enlargement will allow Central and East Europeans "to rejoin in practice the community of values they never left in spirit." And she said it will give Russians "something they have not had in centuries -- a genuine and sustainable peace with the nations to their west."

Albright said NATO expansion will not create new divisions in Europe as some fear but is a unifying force. She said the expansion process gives nations an incentive to settle territorial disputes, respect minority and human rights and complete reforms.