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HUNGARIAN AMERICAN COALITION REPRESENTATIVE TESTIFIES BEFORE THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON FOREIGN RELATIONS ON NATO ENLARGEMENT

On November 5, 1997, the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations held a hearing on the proposed enlargement of NATO.  The Committee invited Frank Koszorus, Jr. to testify on behalf of the Hungarian American Coalition.

In his testimony, Mr. Koszorus expressed the Coalition’s “unequivocal” support for the enlargement of the Alliance to include Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic.  This “historic step will serve the geopolitical interests of the United States” and contirbute to the “general stability and security of the region.”

Mr. Koszorus said that Hungarians “welcome NATO membership because they want to be part of a successful and defensive alliance.  They recall how their quest for independence was brutally crushed by Soviet tanks in 1956 because Hungary was on the wrong side of Stalin’s dividing line.”

He added that, “today there is a security vacuum in Central ... Europe.  That vacuum will be filled.  The question is who will fill it?”

Mr. Koszorus noted that Russian interests “are not threatened by the expansion of a defensive alliance,” and that, in fact, “stability and economic growth on the borders of Russia can only benefit Moscow.”

Mr. Koszorus further testified that although NATO is the “cornerstone” of European stability, enlargement of the Alliance “is not a panacea for ethnic peace... .”  The United States, therefore, can cement long-term stability by not only enlarging NATO, but by promoting the ability of minorities to enjoy the fruits of democracy.”  The “surest way to defuse ethnic tensions ... protect the territorial integrity of states and promote democracy and good neighborly relations is to grant ethnic minorities group rights such as the ones exercised by Western Europeans.”

“NATO enlargement should be ratified quickly and overwhelmingly, and the democratically expressed aspirations of ethnic minorities “to exercise Western style minority rights should be actively and vigorously promoted,” concluded Mr. Koszorus.

The complete text of Mr. Koszorus' testimony can be obtained from the Coalition’s offices or from the Coalition’s homepage.

November 5, 1997 | Washington, DC

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