|AHF and NATO: Commemorating the 10th Anniversary of Hungary's Accession|
4/2/2009 - American Hungarian Federation Actively Participates in CEEC Congressional Policy Reception in Honor of NATO and Its Enlargement. The reception, sponsored by the Central and East European Coalition (CEEC), was held on March 25th in the US Senate's famous Russell Caucus Room on Capitol Hill. AHF Co-President, Frank Koszorus, Jr., outlined the accomplishments of the CEEC. 2009 marked the 10th anniversary of Hungary's accession to the alliance.
The CEEC consists of 18 national ethnic organizations representing more than 20 million Americans of Central and Eastern European heritage. The American Hungarian Federation (the “Federation”), an active member of the CEEC, helped to plan and organize the reception. The Federation’s CEEC representative is its Co-President and Chairman of its International Relations Committee, Frank Koszorus, Jr.
Michael Sawkiw, Jr., Director of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America served as the CEEC’s Master of Ceremonies. He began the program by introducing Mr. Koszorus to summarize the CEEC’s substantial contribution to the NATO enlargement debate.
Mr. Koszorus, drawing on his more than 15 year active involvement with the CEEC and advocacy on behalf of NATO’s enlargement, including the accession of Hungary, outlined the accomplishments of the CEEC. He noted that:
The CEEC invited a number of distinguished guests to address the gathering. They thanked the CEEC for its ongoing efforts, expressed their support for NATO and theopen door policy, reviewed U.S. Russian relations and urged the inclusion of Georgia and Ukraine in the MembershipAction Program.
The speakers included, Senator George V. Voinovich (R-OH), Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD), Representative John M. Shimkus (R-IL), Dr. Brzezinski, U.S. Ambassador to NATO Kurt Volker, and Dr. Michael Haltzel.
Dr. Michael Haltzel** astutely observed that “[i]t is not often that foreign policy actions by the United States prove to be completely successful. The NATO enlargement rounds of 1999 and 2004 fall into that category, and I am proud to have been able to play a small part in their realization.”
Marju Rink-Abel, President of the Estonian National Council, gave the closing comments on behalf of the CEEC, noting that a strong NATO should help ensure that those who are its members will not experience such atrocities and loss of freedom [as under the Soviet Union]. As John Beyrle, United States Ambassador to the Russian Federation, stated in his greetings to the CEEC on the occasion of today’s reception, “Our common goal must be to demonstrate, through the strength and solidarity of a transformed alliance that effectively responds to the challenges of the 21st century, that the continued enlargement of NATO over time is a net contribution to global peace and security. With the support and commitment on the part of CEEC, I know we will succeed in this.”
In addition to the two hundred invited guests, also present at the reception were several ambassadors, representatives from various embassies, staff from a number of congressional offices, Zoltan Bagdy, Co-President of the Federation, and Thomas H. Teglassy, Chairman of the Federation’s Membership Committee.
Following the reception, the CEEC issued its April 2009 Statement on NATO Enlargement and Supporting the Open Door Policy.
**Dr. Haltzel served as the senior foreign policy advisor to then Senator Joseph R. Biden, Jr., (D-DE). He was the lead Democratic Senate staffer on NATO and Balkan policy and, as such, was deeply involved in two rounds of NATO enlargement (1998; 2004) and in the Bosnia and Kosovo campaigns. The Senate NATO Observer Group was established in April 1997 and chaired by Sen. William V. Roth, Jr. (R-DE) and co-chaired by Sen. Biden.
- Photos courtesy of Inga Lukaviciute, Embassy of Lithuania and Peter Alunans