Adriatic-Baltic-Atlantic Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs

Joint Statement
Joint Press Statement
Riga, Latvia
March 24, 2009

The Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Estonia, Macedonia, Latvia, Lithuania and representatives of Minister of Foreign Affairs of Montenegro and of the Secretary of State of the United States of America convened in Riga, Latvia to further our dialogue aimed at supporting the countries of the Western Balkans in their pursuit of Euro-Atlantic integration.

To that effect, we welcomed Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro to their first meeting of the Adriatic-Baltic-Atlantic dialogue as members of the Adriatic Charter. We welcome the active engagement of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro in their cooperation with the Alliance. We also took this opportunity, on the eve of the Strasbourg-Kehl NATO Summit, to congratulate Albania and Croatia on their imminent accession into the Alliance and to celebrate the 5th Anniversary of the Baltic States joining NATO and the EU. These successful efforts demonstrate our continued progress toward a Europe whole, free, and at peace. In that vein, we commend the successful conduct of the democratic elections in Macedonia and look forward to Macedonia joining the Alliance in the near future, in line with the Bucharest Summit conclusions.

We discussed the challenges of and our contributions to NATO’s critical mission in Afghanistan. With regard to Kosovo, we recognize the stabilizing role NATO KFOR continues to play, and reaffirm our view that Kosovo’s development is a key factor for security in the region.

We acknowledged the value of political, defense and economic cooperation among our countries and regions and the particular significance of Adriatic-Baltic-Atlantic dialogue in sharing reform and integration experience. We will continue to be guided by the belief that the integration of Western Balkans countries into NATO and the EU, based on solidarity and democratic values, is a necessity for the long-term stability of the region and the whole continent. Without the inclusion of the Western Balkans, the unification and stabilization of Europe cannot be completed.

With confidence in transatlantic cooperation and a shared commitment to integration, security, and democracy, our countries remain united in the Adriatic-Baltic-Atlantic partnership. In this regard, we look forward to ongoing efforts by the countries of the Western Balkans and pledge our continued support for their progress.