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13 June 2001
Remarks by President Bush
at the NATO Headquarter
(...) As one of our close allies noted, the world is changing around us, and NATO's great strength has been a willingness to adapt and move forward. Another noted, NATO is a defensive alliance and, thus, an increasingly important role should be played by defensive systems to protect all our citizens from terrorist blackmail.
Secondly, we agreed that we must reach out to Russian leaders, and to a new Russian generation, with a message that Russia does have a future with Europe. The United States will seek to build this strategic framework with Russia. Now that Russia has recognized a weapons of mass destruction threat to Europe, future cooperative work on a new strategic framework could be a great task which brings NATO and Russia together.
Third, we agreed on the need to commit the resources that will allow NATO's force to do their jobs. The decline in defense spending amongst NATO nations must be reversed. And when we do spend, we must spend wisely. It shouldn't be a question of whether to buy American or buy European, it should be a question of how to buy transatlantic. North American and European companies should collaborate to produce the most advanced systems at the lowest costs.
We agreed that NATO and the European Union must work in common purpose. It is in NATO's interest for the European Union to develop a rapid reaction capability. A strong, capable European force integrated with NATO would give us more options for handling crises when NATO, as a whole, chooses not to engage. NATO must be generous in the help it gives the EU. And similarly, the EU must welcome participation by NATO allies who are not members of the EU. And we must not waste scarce resources, duplicating effort or working at cross purposes. Our work together in the Balkans shows how much the 23 nations of NATO and the EU can achieve when we combine our efforts.
Our work together in the Balkans reminds me that I'm going to commit to the line that Colin Powell said: We came in together, and we will leave together. It is the pledge of our government, and it's a pledge that I will keep.
We agreed that we must face down extremists in Macedonia and elsewhere who seek to use violence to redraw borders or subvert the democratic process.
Concerning Bosnia and Kosovo, we agreed that this is a major effort, an effort that we will continue to work together on.
Fifth, and finally, we agreed that NATO must prepare for further enlargement of the Alliance. All aspiring members have work to do. Yet, if they continue to make the progress they are making, we will be able to launch the next round of enlargement when we meet in Prague.
We agreed that all European democracies that seek to join our ranks and meet our standards should have the opportunity to do so without red lines or outside vetoes. We must never lose sight of what NATO does and what it stands for, how it safeguards prosperity and protects democracy in an ever-widening Europe. Let us then be true to the great vision of our fathers and grandfathers, is what I said; the preservation of peace by democratic leadership, the defense of freedom through collective strength. (...)