21 November 2002 Statement by Mr. Ion Iliescu, the President of Romania, at the "19+7" Meeting of Heads of State and Government of NATO Countries and Countries Invited to Begin Accession Talks with NATO
Iliescu, Ion, Hampton Roads International Security Quarterly
21 November 2002 Statement by Mr. Ion Iliescu, the President of Romania, at the "19+7" meeting of Heads of State and Government of NATO countries and countries invited to begin accession talks with NATO You have made history today. You have taken decisions on enlargement, capabilities and partnerships, which will shape the future of the Euro-Atlantic area, including Romania. You have opened a new chapter in Europe's long lasting quest for unity and peace.
For Romanians, Prague has a special meaning. It is a place where, in 1968, Romania, alongside other Warsaw Pact countries, was commanded to come with tanks in order to end the "Prague Spring". Romania not only refused but also condemned the invasion of Czechoslovakia. In 1991 member countries decided, in Prague, to dissolve the Warsaw Treaty. Among the other heads of state, that historical document was signed by President Havel and myself. Today, the NATO Allies have issued a different kind of invitation, that of joining NATO in order to defend and promote democratic values and to build a Europe whole and free. We are delighted and honoured to accept it. For Romania and its citizens, it is an invitation to open a new page of history. It is an invitation to join a family to which, culturally and spiritually, we have always belonged. It is an invitation that reconfirms the ideals of the 1989 Romanian revolution- We are deeply committed to the values, principles and common interests of the Alliance.
We look upon this moment with great satisfaction. We view it as a recognition of the efforts made towards attaining one of our fundamental foreign policy goals in the last decade. NATO membership will link our own security and defence interests and responsibilities to those of the Euro-Atlantic community and will reinforce our conviction that we are bound together and will grow stronger together.
On its way towards NATO membership, within the excellent initiative that was the Partnership for Peace, Romania has proven her will and her ability to take the measures needed, sometimes painful, in order to launch and sustain the positive change within the Romanian society as a whole. Romania has made important progress in the economic field, as well as in the reform of the military- Romania has confirmed that it is willing and able to be part not only of an international community of values but also of a community of action.
We are fully aware that Prague does not represent the end of the road for us, but a new and challenging beginning. …