Mr. GALLEGLY. Mr. Speaker, April 7, 2012, marks the twentieth anniversary of the United States recognition of the Republic of Croatia as a sovereign country.
*Two decades later, the Republic of Croatia has shown its firm and steady commitment to freedom, democracy, and prosperity for all its citizens.
*The United States has been a consistent supporter of these endeavors, to which the House of Representatives, and especially the Croatian Congressional Caucus, have played a crucial role.
*Over the past twenty years, Croatia has come a long way and the House of Representatives has been there to recognize and encourage its integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions. On December 14, 2005, the House of Representatives approved House Resolution 529, which recommended and encouraged Croatia's membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). In addition, House Resolution 529 commended Croatia for its progress in meeting the political, economic, and military requirements. Finally, the resolution recognized Croatia's contribution to the global war on terrorism and for its constructive participation in the United States-Adriatic Charter.
*This was followed up by approval of House Resolution 1266 on July 30, 2008, congratulating Croatia on being invited by NATO to begin accession talks. In the three years since Croatia joined NATO, Croatia has contributed to NATO-led peace-keeping missions and offered its strong support to allied forces, especially in Afghanistan, where Croatian troops are assisting in bringing stability and security to the country.
*Currently, we are witnessing another vital moment for our Southeast European ally. They have entered the final phase in its accession negotiations with the EU. Along with forging its Euro-Atlantic future, Croatia has proven to be an ardent advocate for the rest of the Balkan region. Success for Croatia will be success for the region and a beacon for eventual EU and NATO membership for all these countries, once all the conditions and benchmarks have been met.
*The 20-year relationship between the U.S. and Croatia has been based on shared values and friendship, and I am confident that it will continue.
*I know my colleagues join me in congratulating Croatia on all it has accomplished since becoming a sovereign nation. I look forward to our continuing partnership.