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The Warsaw Voice » Politics » July 29, 2009
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Don't Forget CEE, Leaders Urge Obama
July 29, 2009   
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Former presidents, prime ministers and foreign ministers from Central and Eastern European countries that were once part of the Soviet bloc have written an unprecedented letter to U.S. President Barack Obama appealing to him not to forget about Europe and pursue a firm policy toward Russia.

"Central and Eastern Europe is at a political crossroads and today there is a growing sense of nervousness in the region," reads the letter, which was officially made public in Washington July 17 at a conference organized by political scientist Ron Asmus, co-architect of NATO's eastward enlargement policy.

The signatories of the letter include ex-presidents of Poland (Lech Wałęsa and Aleksander Kwa¶niewski), the Czech Republic (Vaclav Havel), Romania (Emil Constantinescu), Slovakia (Michal Kovac), and Latvia (Vaira Vike-Freiberga); Lithuanian president Valdas Adamkus; ex-prime minister of Estonia Mart Laar; and former foreign ministers of Poland (Adam Daniel Rotfeld), the Czech Republic (Karel von Schwarzenberg and Alexandr Vondra), Hungary (Janos Martonyi), and Latvia (Sandra Kalniete).

All the politicians who signed the letter once played and some of them continue to play an active role in building a new geopolitical order in the region. The United States, as the letter's authors emphasize, was a creator and guarantor of this order for the past 20 years. "Without Washington's vision and leadership, it is doubtful that we would be in NATO and even the EU today," the letter reads. Today however, the signatories say, the new U.S. administration is beginning to disregard the role of Central and Eastern Europe. "...we see that Central and Eastern Europe countries are no longer in the heart of American foreign policy," they say, adding that it's too early to speak of the region's full stability given Moscow's renascent "imperial" policy, as proved by last year's war in Georgia.

The politicians ask Washington not to withdraw from its plan to deploy parts of its missile shield in the region, including a radar station in the Czech Republic and ballistic missile interceptors in Poland. They add that "abandoning the program ... can undermine the credibility of the Unites States across the whole region."
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