of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Vilnius Group
Skopje, 8 March 2002
The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Macedonia, Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia have gathered in Skopje, Macedonia to discuss the prospects for further strengthening of solidarity and cooperation among their countries and to reinforce their common determination to be best prepared candidates to be invited to join NATO at the Prague Summit.
The Ministers reviewed their progress in the implementation of the Membership Action Plan in order to meet the full responsibilities of Alliance membership. They noted the Alliances assessment of the implementation of their Annual National Programs and committed to continue reforms already undertaken. They considered the Membership Action Plan to be an excellent tool in their preparations for accession to NATO and called on NATO Alliance to formally accept Croatia into the process at the NATO Ministerial in May in Reykjavik.
The Ministers reaffirmed their countries' common strategic vision of a Europe whole, free and at peace. They expressed the view that the enlargement of NATO is an integral part of this vision and emphasised a historic opportunity for the Alliance to open for robust enlargement at the next NATO Summit in Prague. The Ministers stressed the importance of the process of NATO enlargement for the Vilnius group countries in contributing to peace and stability in the entire Euro Atlantic region and in strengthening Alliance efforts in the fight against terrorism. The Ministers called on NATO to sustain the credibility of its open door policy beyond the Prague Summit.
The Ministers resolutely condemned terrorism in all its forms and reaffirmed their previous commitment to regard the attack of September 11th as an attack on their own countries, to act as de facto members of the NATO Alliance. They reaffirmed the firm commitment of their countries to play an active role in the anti-terrorist coalition, and they expressed their determination that perpetrators and supporters of terrorist acts must be brought to justice. They expressed their determination to further intensify their cooperative efforts to fight terrorism and its financial links with transnational organized crime, illicit trafficking of drugs and human beings, money laundering, arms trafficking and other crimes, including the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
The Ministers also exchanged views on the improving situation in South East Europe. They welcomed the positive developments in the region aiming at building a peaceful, stable, democratic and prosperous South East Europe. Ministers also expressed their appreciation and support for the efforts undertaken by the Republic of Macedonia in cooperation with the international community with NATO in the forefront to overcome the imposed crisis and the threats for its territorial integrity and sovereignty, and cited the positive effects these actions have had for regional stability.
The Ministers expressed their conviction that the upcoming V10 Summit of the Heads of Government in Bucharest and the Summit "Riga 2002-Bridge to Prague" in July will represent another opportunity to review the progress made in preparation for NATO membership, and to exchange views in NATO enlargement experiences in the MAP implementation and preparation for the next MAP cycle.
The Ministers expressed their high appreciation for the activities carried on by NATO and its member countries which contributed to the promotion of the Vilnius Group goals.
The Ministers expressed their sincere appreciation for the hospitality of the Republic of Macedonia for hosting the Ministerial Meeting of the Vilnius group countries, as an important step on the common road towards full fledged membership of the V10 countries in NATO.