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15th Anniversary of the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland Accession to NATO

15 years ago the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland became members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. On 12 March 1999 in the City of Independence, Missouri, USA, Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic, Hungary and the Republic of Poland deposited Protocols of Accession to the Alliance. It was one of the most important events for the three nations after the Cold War and it opened a new page in the Czech, Hungarian and Polish history.

The entry of the three new member nations into NATO is also a great vindication for the renewed Czech democracy, helped to get on its feet also by the USA, and for the transformation reforms for which the Velvet revolution opened the way almost 10 years ago. More generally, the admission of the first three new NATO members is a recognition of the strategic changes in Central and Eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall and a manifestation of NATO's adaptation to the challenges of the post-Cold War period.
Jan Kavan, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic
12 March 1999

(for the full text of the speech on NATO web page click here)

In the past, Hungarians often complained of abandonment, of standing up alone. At long last, that is over. Hungary has come home, we are back in the family. Together will all of you, we have just started a new chapter of history. From this day on, we are the closest allies in our great endeavour, the quest for peace and prosperity.
Janos Martonyi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Hungary
12 March 1999

(for the full text of the speech on NATO web page click here)

“Today, with joy and pride, we celebrate the end of the bipolar world symbolised by the Iron Curtain. This brings satisfaction especially to those who sacrificed so much in the struggle for freedom over the last fifty years. For the people of Poland, the Cold War, which forcibly excluded our country from the West, ends with our entry to NATO. Poland, as member of the most powerful alliance, bringing together democratic nations of Western Europe and North America, joins the vital process of bridging old divisions and contributes to the security and stability in Europe.
Bronislaw Geremek, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland
12 March 1999

(for the full text of the speech on NATO web page click here)

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