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AHF, NATO Expansion, and Minority Rights

NATO Logo5/29/2012 - AHF participates in drafting CEEC Policy Brief on NATO expansion and calls on community to Support S. 2177, the NATO Enhancement Act, introduced by Sen. Richard Lugar to encourage further enlargement of NATO and to deepen U.S. strategic partnerships with NATO allies [read more]

U.S. Ambassador to NATO Kurt VolkerNATO Logo4/2/2009 - American Hungarian Federation Actively Participates in CEEC Congressional Policy Reception in Honor of NATO and its Enlargement... AHF secured the US Senate's famous Russell Caucus Room on Capitol Hill for the March 25th policy reception sponsored by the Central and Eastern European Coalition (CEEC). AHF Co-President, Frank Koszorus, Jr., outlined the accomplishments of the CEEC. 2009 marked the 10th anniversary of Hungary's accession to the alliance. [read more]

The American Hungarian Federation Participates in White House Briefing and Ceremony for NATO Accession Protocols for Croatia and Albania10/24/2008 – The American Hungarian Federation Participates in White House Briefing and Ceremony for NATO Accession Protocols for Croatia and Albania.  During a briefing at the White House on Friday, October 24, President George W. Bush thanked leaders from the Central and East European Coalition (the “CEEC”) for their support of NATO enlargement. The briefing preceded a ceremony in which President Bush signed NATO Accession Protocols for Croatia and Albania.  Frank Koszorus, Jr. and Zoltan Bagdy, co-presidents of the American Hungarian Federation (the “Federation”) – an active member of the CEEC – attended both events. [read more]

The American Hungarian Federation of Metropolitan Washington expands report on Hungary's accession to NATO7/17/2007 - Hungary's Accession to NATO: An expanded report. The American Hungarian Federation of Metropolitan Washington, D.C. expands an earlier unpublished report on Hungary's accession to NATO to provide researchers a unique perspective on the key events and successful efforts relating to NATO’s enlargement and the debate to include Hungary in the alliance.

Advocacy focused on three issues: (1) the rapid expansion of NATO to include Hungary; (2) the importance of ensuring that minority rights not be ignored during the accession period and beyond; and (3) the rejection of a policy that would grant Russia a “veto” in NATO matters.

It was also asserted that NATO must neither deviate from its core function of protecting members from outside aggression nor treat its new members, including Hungary, differently when they join the alliance. Finally, because the Committee’s chair believed that the enlargement of NATO was in the interest of the United States and all Hungarians, it cautioned against the expansion process being used to favor partisan political interests in Hungary during the national elections in the spring/summer of 1998. [download the report]

Enduring Strains of Communism in Central and Eastern Europe: A distinguished panel of experts convened by Hudson’s Center for European Studies offered their perspectives.6/14/2007 - Enduring Strains of Communism in Central and Eastern Europe: A distinguished panel of experts convened by Hudson’s Center for European Studies offered their perspectives. With the dedication this week of the memorial to victims of communism in Washington, D.C., and recent friction between Russia and the United States over the placement of missile-defense systems in former Soviet satellites, the issue of communism’s enduring legacy in Central and Eastern Europe is one that has become a renewed focused of the world’s attention. With this as its context, Hudson Institute’s Center for European Studies convened a panel discussion on Russia’s continuing influence in the former Soviet satellites and republics as well as challenges domestically derived from the lingering effects of the communist system. Energy security, the rule of law, and the need to strengthen NATO will all feature as part of our discussion.[read more]

NATO3/29/2004 - Supporting NATO Expansion and Minority Rights... Frank Koszorus, Jr., AHF Co-President and representative to the Central and East European Coalition (CEEC), joins US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and gives speech on NATO expansion on Capitol Hill re-iterating concerns over protection of Hungarians and other minorities in Rumania and the Carpathian Basin. Two events took place in Washington, D.C. related to the latest round of NATO’s enlargement – a White House ceremony and a gala reception.

The White House Event.  President George W.  Bush welcomed seven new nations to the NATO alliance at a South Lawn ceremony.  The prime ministers of the new members and of three aspirant nations as well as senior government officials, including Vice President Richard B. Cheney, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, General Richard B. Myers, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice, NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, and congressional leaders attended the ceremony.  The President’s remarks can be found on the White House’s website.

The Gala Reception.  Later that evening, a gala reception organized by the embassies “in cooperation” with the Central East European Coalition was held at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. The heads of state of the “Vilnius 10” countries, along with other delegation members and a representative from each CEEC member joined Secretary Rumsfeld on the marble staircase in the grand hall of the Corcoran Gallery.  Regina Narusis of the Lithuanian American Community was the master of ceremonies.  Secretary Rumsfeld delivered the keynote address and Mr. Koszorus spoke on behalf of the CEEC.  His remarks focused on the role the CEEC played for over ten years in advocating enlargement to include every country that both wanted to join NATO and satisfied the alliance’s membership criteria.  Mr. Koszorus concluded by noting that, 

“we realize that our work is far from complete. . . . [S]ince an indispensable component of security in Central and Eastern Europe is a commitment to democracy, including the respect for  the rule of law, human and minority rights, we must ensure that those values are strengthened to give NATO not only military personnel and military capabilities, but also the values that defined the Alliance for decades and gave it the moral strength to prevail in the Cold War. [Download the Speech]

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AHF and CHACR Urging Congress to Include Minority Rights as a basis for Rumanian accession to NATO10/27/2003 - AHF and CHACR Urging Congress to Include Minority Rights as a basis for Rumanian accession to NATO...The U.S. Senate passed a resolution on October 27, 2003 on the occasion of Rumanian president Iliescu’s visit to Washington. The Senate expressed its appreciation for the “strong and vibrant relations between the United States and Romania.” The resolution also recognized “ the steps the Government of Romania has taken and continues to take in economic, political, and social reforms, including reforms to improve protections of the rights of minorities.”

In the House of Representatives, however, members of the Hungarian American congressional caucus echoed the concerns of the Hungarian American community when submitting a letter to President Bush on the eve of his meeting with President Iliescu. 

Two Co-Chairs and other Members of the Hungarian American Caucus -- Tom Lantos (D-CA), Ernest J. Istook (R-OK), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) and Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-OH) -- urged President Bush to raise a number of concerns with President Iliescu. These concerns focused on corruption, freedom of the press, independent judiciary and the rule of law issues in Rumania.

In addition, the Representatives urged the quick, fair and complete restitution of hurch properties, the safeguarding of the rights of Rumania's large historic Hungarian community and education about the Holocaust. They concluded by expressing their "conviction that we in the United States consider treatment of religious and ethnic minorities an important measure of democracy."

The letter to President Bush underscores the significance of the Hungarian Caucus. In light of the Senate resolution, the letter of the caucus Members represents the only official statement from the U.S. government that expressed concerns and issues close to the heart of the Hungarian American community.

In addition, AHF-DC further contributed to the debate about the need for Rumania to implement democratic reforms and respect the rights of the Hungarian community.  In addition to minority rights per se, AHF-DC's submission also raised questions concerning fundamental rights and the rule of law since they relate directly to how a society treats its religious and national minorities. See memorandum in the download section on the right.

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