Updated: 29-Nov-2002 NATO Speeches


21 November

Opening remarks

by Mr. Balkenende, Prime Minister of the Netherlands

Few meetings are really historic. This one is. Never before has NATO invited so many new nations to join the Alliance. By enlarging the Alliance we are seizing a unique and historic opportunity to put the post-war partition of Europe behind us. And by doing so NATO enlarges the zone of peace and stability.

By acceding to the Alliance these countries will become part of a community that is based on deeply rooted, shared values on democracy, rule of law and human rights. We are convinced that through this enlargement our community of values will be strengthened. We very much welcome the seven new members.

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