Central and East European Coalition Discusses Policy with Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright

February 29, 2008 Fair Treatment on Visas Announced

Washington, DC—On Wednesday, February 27, 2008, the Central and East European Coalition (CEEC), comprised of 19 national organizations representing more than 22 million Americans, discussed a range of policy issues with presidential candidate Senator Hillary Clinton’s advisor, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Also present at the meeting was Lee Feinstein, Senator Clinton’s Campaign National Security Director.

The meeting focused on key areas of concern for the CEEC, including Russia’s actions in the region, energy security and diversification, NATO enlargement, immigration and the visa waiver program, re-affirmation of the Armenian Genocide, as well as other human rights issues. Lee Feinstein, speaking on behalf of Senator Clinton, reinforced the Senator's longstanding support for and co-sponsorship of the genocide resolution.

Secretary Albright noted Senator Clinton’s long record of support for the countries of the region and pointed to the challenges that America and our allies face. Recognizing the strong bonds that exist between the democracies of Central and Eastern Europe, Albright announced Hillary Clinton’s plan to extend the visa-waiver program, in which Clinton stated, “our central and eastern European friends are first-class allies. Americans whose families hail from these countries should not be treated as second-class citizens.”

“We appreciate Senator Clinton’s commitment to these critical issues as demonstrated by her support for fair treatment with respect to the visa-waiver program,” stated Nino Japaridze of the Georgian Association in the U.S. “We will continue our active engagement on these important policy matters,” Japaridze continued.

Albright also expressed confidence that Senator Clinton would continue to advance issues of concern to the Coalition. Albright thanked the CEEC for its important work and urged the group to remain engaged on the issues.

The Central and East European Coalition (CEEC) is comprised of 19 national membership organizations that represent more than 22 million Americans who can trace their heritage to the countries of Central and Eastern Europe.

Octobr 17, 2008 - President Bush Discusses the Visa Waiver Program
Office of the Press Secretary/ White House News

THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. (Applause.) Please be seated, thank you. Welcome to the White House. I'm pleased to stand with the representatives of seven countries -- the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, and South Korea -- that have met the requirements to be admitted to the United States Visa Waiver Program. Soon the citizens of these nations will be able to travel to the United States for business or tourism without a visa. I congratulate these close friends and allies on this achievement, and I thank you for joining us here.

I also thank Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of the Homeland -- Department of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff for working hard to make sure this day has finally arrived. Appreciate other members of the administration here and members of the Diplomatic Corps.

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