On February 7, 2014, a bipartisan group of forty members of the U.S. House of Representatives sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry encouraging continued efforts to make enlargement a key priority for the United States and the Alliance for the upcoming NATO Summit hosted by the United Kingdom in September 2014.
The members of Congress urged Secretary Kerry to support membership for Macedonia and Montenegro at this year’s summit, encourage continued progress in implementing the Membership Action Plan (MAP) for Bosnia-Herzegovina, and to advocate granting of MAP to Georgia. Additionally, they urged work to be done for Kosovo to join the Partnership for Peace program leading to a pathway for eventual membership into NATO.
The letter, signed by twenty-one Republicans and nineteen Democrats, was spearheaded by Macedonia Caucus member and Chairman of the U.S. Delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly Congressman Michael Turner of Ohio with strong backing and leadership by Albania Issues Caucus Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Congressman Eliot Engel of New York. Macedonia Caucus Chair Congresswoman Candice Miller of Michigan, along with other Macedonia Caucus members were among the signatories.
“Failure to recognize and reward their significant efforts could discourage aspirant countries from pursuing further democratic reforms and weaken their commitment to partnering with Euro-Atlantic institutions,” argued members of Congress.
“It is our firm belief that the genuine prospect of NATO membership for the current group of aspirant states will further strengthen democratic institutions and values and increase stability and security in the region… The United States and its Allies have reached a critical point in which action is necessary to ensure NATO’s future relevance and viability,” continued the letter.
“We cannot thank enough the leadership of Congressmen Turner and Engel, two strong friends of Macedonia and the region, but most importantly, huge proponents of NATO enlargement for keeping this important issue alive and pushing for U.S. administration leadership so early on prior to a NATO Summit,” said UMD President Metodija A. Koloski. “The fact that fifteen Foreign Affairs Committee, seven Europe Subcommittee, and ten Armed Services Committee members signed on to this letter shows the growing support for NATO enlargement during a time when the U.S. and NATO are reevaluating NATO’s future.”
UMD strongly believes that NATO’s future must be a Europe, whole, free, and at peace, with all of these aspirant countries as members of NATO. Furthermore, there is no time for complacency on Macedonia and holding back nations from joining NATO due to bilateral non-military disputes.
Click HERE for full letter.
A statement by House Foreign Affairs Committee Ranking Member Congressman Eliot Engel can be found by clicking HERE.
The Hill newspaper reported about the letter in an article by Julian Pecquet. Click HERE to read the article.