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Central Europe: Albright Says New Members Can Meet NATO Commitments

Washington, 21 October 1997 (RFE/RL) - U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright says Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic are well on their way to meeting the military and financial commitments associated with NATO membership.

Albright said today the three are on their way to achieving a military capability required of NATO members. She said no massive infusion of assistance from the U.S. and its allies will be necessary for the Central Europeans to meet their new obligations.

Albright made the statement in testimony in Washington today before the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee considering the costs of NATO expansion.

The Appropriations Committee is holding hearings all this week to look into aspects of the cost to the United States of NATO expansion.

Defense Secretary William Cohen who spoke after Albright, said current estimates of U.S. costs are lower than a February estimate that said the U.S. share would be $200 million annually over the next ten years.

Cohen said the costs will be lower because the military forces of the three Central European nations are more advanced than initially appeared and because they have undertaken many modernizing investments themselves.