Page:United States Statutes at Large Volume 110 Part 4.djvu/336

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110 STAT. 3009-173 PUBLIC LAW 104-208—SEPT. 30, 1996 NATO TITLE VI—NATO ENLARGEMENT FACILITATION ACT OF Enlai^ement 1996 Facilitation Act 99 imp 1Q9S SEC. 601. SHORT TITLE. note. This title may be cited as the "NATO Enlargement Facilitation Act of 1996". SEC. 602. FINDINGS. The Congress makes the following findings: (1) Since 1949, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has played an essential role in guaranteeing the security, freedom, and prosperity of the United States and its partners in the Alliance. (2) The NATO Alliance is, and has been since its inception, purely defensive in character, and it poses no threat to any nation. The enlargement of the NATO Alliance to include as full and equal members emerging democracies in Central and Eastern Europe will serve to reinforce stability and security in Europe by fostering their integration into the structures which have created and sustained peace in Europe since 1945. Their admission into NATO will not threaten any nation. America's security, freedom, and prosperity remain linked to the security of the countries of Europe. (3) The sustained commitment of the member countries of NATO to a mutual defense has made possible the democratic transformation of Central and Eastern Europe. Members of the Alliance can and should play a critical role in addressing the security challenges of the post-Cold War era and in creating the stable environment needed for those emerging democracies in Central and Eastern Europe to successfully complete political and economic transformation. (4) The United States continues to regard the political independence and territorial integrity of all emerging democracies in Central and Eastern Europe as vital to European peace and security. (5) The active involvement by the countries of Central and Eastern Europe has made the Partnership for Peace program an important forum to foster cooperation between NATO and those countries seeking NATO membership. (6) NATO has enlarged its membership on 3 different occasions since 1949. (7) Congress supports the admission of qualified new members to NATO and the European Union at an early date and has sought to facilitate the admission of qualified new members into NATO. (8) Lasting security and stability in Europe requires not only the military integration of emerging democracies in Central and Eastern Europe into existing European structures, but also the eventual economic and political integration of these countries into existing European structures. (9) As new members of NATO assume the responsibilities of Alliance membership, the costs of maintaining stability in Europe should be shared more widely. Facilitation of the enlargement process will require current members of NATO, and the United States in particular, to demonstrate the political will needed to build on successful ongoing programs such as the Warsaw Initiative and the Partnership for Peace by making