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Georgia and Ukraine NATO Membership

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Madam Speaker, first of all, I would like to thank Chairman Wexler and Chairman Berman for their kind words in their opening statements. I stand here today to rise in strong support of House Resolution 997 which reaffirms the support of the House of Representatives for NATO enlargement.

The resolution also specifically calls on the United States to take the lead in supporting closer integration between Ukraine, Georgia and NATO. I would like to commend Representative Wexler, as I mentioned earlier, the chairman of the Europe Subcommittee, for introducing this measure and for being a strong, consistent advocate for strengthening our bilateral ties with Ukraine and Georgia.

Both of these allies have demonstrated the military capabilities and political reforms required to provide concrete benefits to the alliance. In the past several years, Ukrainian forces have participated with NATO troops in peacekeeping operations in the Balkans and Afghanistan. They have also made important contributions to coalition forces in Iraq in 2004 and 2005.

Georgia has also shown they are ready to take the next step toward NATO membership. Georgia has undertaken a top-to-bottom reform of their military forces, often working closely with U.S. forces in this effort.

As previously mentioned by Representative Ros-Lehtinen, with over 2000 troops in Iraq, Georgia today has the third largest troop contingent in that country after the U.S. and Britain.

Madam Speaker, both Ukraine and Georgia are ready, willing and able to integrate more fully with NATO. Again, I would like to recognize Representative Wexler for his hard work on H. Res. 997 on behalf of a stronger NATO, and I urge passage of this resolution.

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