Updated: 21-Nov-2002 NATO Speeches


21 November


by H.E. Mr. Valdas Adamkus
President of the Republic of Lithuania at NAC meeting with Invitees

Mr. Chairman,

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to express my deep appreciation for the decision taken today by Heads of State and Government of the NATO Member States to invite Lithuania to become a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation. This historic decision brings us closer to our common vision of a Europe whole and free, a Europe with a strong and sound transatlantic link. As the last round of NATO enlargement demonstrated, a stable democratic Europe is the best neighbour anyone can have. Security and stability benefits all.

Today you have recognised Lithuania's transformation to an open society and market economy. You have sent a powerful message to the Lithuanian people, who have been striving to reach their integration goals. You have acknowledged my country as a credible ally. This historic recognition not only consolidates our democracy, but inspires us to keep working shoulder to shoulder -as a true ally - in the interest of peace in Europe and the world.

We fully understand that today's decision marks not the end, but rather the beginning of a new era. No matter how convincing our achievements are to date, there is still much to be done. Let me reassure you that internal reforms will continue and they will be matched by strong political will and adequate resources.

Lithuania wants to become a member of a strong and effective Alliance. We will make sure that our membership strengthens the Alliance's capability to perform present tasks and take on new ones. This remains the focus of our defence reform. We are committed to developing more flexible, adaptable and mobile forces, which will be part of the future NATO Response Force and will continue to contribute to the full spectrum of Alliance missions.

We recognise the importance of NATO's transformation efforts, including the "Prague Capabilities Commitment". We support the implementation of this initiative, which will give the Alliance the tools it needs to adapt to new security challenges, to respond to new threats, to create new capabilities and to project stability wherever it is needed. Lithuania stands ready to contribute.

Finally, allow me to underline the political importance of the open door policy. It is in our strategic interest to increase stability and security in the Euro-Atlantic area. We look forward to co-operating with countries aspiring for membership and sharing the experience and spirit of solidarity, which served us so well in the Vilnius Group.

Thank you.

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