August 9, 2008
We, the leaders of the former captive nations from Eastern Europe and current members of the European Union and NATO- Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland - are extremely concerned about the actions of the Russian Federation against Georgia.
We strongly condemn the actions by the Russian military forces against the sovereign and independent country of Georgia.
Following the unilateral military actions of the Russian military forces, we will use all means available to us as Presidents to ensure that aggression against a small country in Europe will not be passed over in silence or with meaningless statements equating the victims with the victimizers. To this end we intend to urge our governments to take the following positions in discussions and to raise these concerns in the European Union and the North Atlantic Council:
- Can the current Russian authorities be called adequate strategic partners of the EU;
- Can the family of European democratic countries pursue a mutually beneficial dialogue with a country that uses heavy military armour against an independent country;
- It is pointlessness to continue a "visa facilitation" program with a country that does not meet even the minimal requirements set by the EU and which uses visa facilitation to issue Russian Federation passports to foreigners and then abuses this EU given privilege to claim intervention rights such as "we are protecting Russian citizens" in South Ossetia.
- The actions of the Russian Federation in Georgia should influence the talks with the Russian Federation, including negotiations on the new Partnership and Cooperation Agreement.
We underline the obvious bankruptcy of Russian "peacekeeping operations" in its immediate neighbourhood. The Russian Federation has overstepped a red-line in keeping the peace and stability in the conflict zone and in protectingRussian citizens outsideits ownborders.
The EU and NATO must take the initiative and stand-up against the spread of imperialist and revisionist policy in the East of Europe. New international peacekeeping forces should be created as the current setting proved to be ineffective.
We regret that not granting of the NATO's Membership Action Plan (MAP) to Georgia was seen as a green light for agression in the region.
We believe that the EU and NATO as the key organizations for European and Transatlantic stability and security should play a leading and crucial role in securing freedom, security and prosperity of countries not only in the EU but also in the neighboring European area.
It a litmus-test for the credibility of the EU and NATO to solve the conflict in its immediate neighborhood and to prove for all EU and NATO members, aspirant countries and democratic partners that it is worth being members and partners of these organizations.
This Declaration is open for the accession by the leaders of other democratic countries.
President of the Republic of Estonia Toomas Hendrik Ilves
President of the Republic of Latvia Valdis Zatlers
President of the Republic of Lithuania Valdas Adamkus
President of the Republic of Poland Lech Kaczyński
Octobr 17, 2008 - President Bush Discusses the Visa Waiver Program
Office of the Press Secretary/
White House News
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. (Applause.) Please be seated, thank you. Welcome to the White House. I'm pleased to stand with the representatives of seven countries -- the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, and South Korea -- that have met the requirements to be admitted to the United States Visa Waiver Program. Soon the citizens of these nations will be able to travel to the United States for business or tourism without a visa. I congratulate these close friends and allies on this achievement, and I thank you for joining us here.
I also thank Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of the Homeland -- Department of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff for working hard to make sure this day has finally arrived. Appreciate other members of the administration here and members of the Diplomatic Corps.
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