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Central And East European Coalition Meets With U.S. National Securit

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  • Central And East European Coalition Meets With U.S. National Securit


    Eesti elu
    29 Sep 2009

    WASHINGTON, DC (EANC) - National Security Council officials from
    the White House met with the Central and East European Coalition
    (CEEC) on Tuesday, September 22, 2009, to provide information on the
    Administration's new plans for a missile defense system in Europe. This
    followed initial discussions on September 17, the day that President
    Obama announced his decision to cancel current agreements with Poland
    and the Czech Republic.

    Both the Estonian American National Council, Inc. (EANC), and the
    Joint Baltic American National Committee, Inc. (JBANC) are members
    of the Central and East European Coalition (CEEC), an assembly of
    18 ethnic organizations representing 22 million Americans of Central
    and East European descent. Both Marju Rink-Abel, EANC President, and
    Karl Altau, JBANC Managing Director, were at the meeting with senior
    members of the Obama Administration Antony J. Blinken, Deputy Assistant
    to the President and National Security Advisor to the Vice President;
    Jeff Hovenier, Director for Central and Southeastern Europe; William
    Schlickenmaier, Director for Eastern and Strategic European Affairs;
    and Jon B. Wolfsthal, Special Advisor for Nonproliferation.

    Antony Blinken stated that the Administration has "moved to a new
    phased approach" in the deployment of missiles aimed at protecting
    the U.S. and its European allies against Iranian missiles. The United
    States has reassessed the threat from Iran, and will deploy "proven
    technology" in the form of multiple short and mid-range missiles
    in various locations, initially ship-based and later land-based,
    beginning in 2011, instead of the small number of long-range missiles
    previously planned to be deployed several years later in Poland and
    the Czech Republic.

    The United States will work through NATO to develop its plans, and
    intends to consult with the Russian Federation in the framework of
    the NATO- ssile defense to on-going negotiations for the Strategic
    Arms Reduction Treaty (START).

    The CEEC voiced concern about the negative perceptions engendered
    by the decision to change course and the manner in which the
    announcement was handled. CEEC members also offered suggestions
    for the Administration to consider that would demonstrate continued
    U.S. support for Central and Eastern Europe.

    One such suggestion, the formulation of a public U.S. policy regarding
    the Central and East European region, including affirmation of the
    delinkage of this policy from that of the U.S. policy toward Russia,
    was raised by Marju Rink-Abel. The policy should discuss security in
    the region, addressing topics such as increased military presence,
    more training and aid, cooperative military exercises, and contingency
    plans. In response, Antony Blinken affirmed the Administration's
    intent to "articulate the basic tenets of the policy" in a robust
    fashion before the year is out, but stated that the policy would
    encompass more than security, including areas such as the economy,
    cultural exchanges, and energy.

    Other topics discussed included enhanced public U.S. support through
    high-level visits and exchange programs, expansion of the visa waiver
    program, NATO expansion and assistance to Georgia and Ukraine, and
    the use of the Baltic and Western NIS Enterprise Funds, as well
    as assistance for Armenia and Belarus. NSC officials referred to
    President Obama's July 2009 speech in Moscow and to Vice President
    Biden's February Munich speech and trip to Ukraine and Georgia in
    July as examples of U.S. commitment to Central and Eastern Europe