In a recent statement, President Bush continued his crusade to help advance budding democracies by noting he hoped the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) would offer membership to Croatia, Macedonia and Albania by 2008.

The President went on to state that, "The United States believes in NATO membership for all of Europe's democracies that seek it."

A resolution expressing the further enlargement of NATO, by including the Republic of Croatia was unanimously agreed to last year, H. Res. 529, and a similar resolution was passed in the United State Senate.

As Co-Founder of the Congressional Croatian Caucus, I have worked with my colleagues to ensure Croatia's membership into NATO has been one of the Caucus's key issues. Croatia has been working tirelessly to demonstrate their willingness and desire to be included in NATO. During a time when the support of emerging democracies couldn't be more important, Croatia's admittance in to NATO, no later than 2008, along with Macedonia and Albania, would be a monumental exhibition of international support.

Allowing NATO membership to the developing democracies of Central Europe, particularly countries such as Croatia which have demonstrated support for peace, stability and democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan, will help fortify the efforts against global terrorism.

I would like to commend President Bush for his statement and encourage those who are interested in the Congressional Croatian Caucus to visit the Caucus website.