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Bush Urges Lithuanian President

January 18, 2002

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Bush urged Lithuania’s president on Thursday to continue making progress on economic and social reforms, and asked him to urge other nations aspiring to NATO membership to ``actually be ready for it.″

Bush greeted President Valdas Adamkus for a meeting originally slated for Sept. 11. Adamkus, who had already arrived in Washington when terrorists struck, spoke on television that day about seeing the Pentagon burn.

Adamkus, former American citizen, recalled ``that awful day″ in his meeting with Bush, White House spokesman Sean McCormack said.

Bush thanked Adamkus for supporting the anti-terrorism campaign and assured Adamkus that he supports extending NATO membership to ``all those nations ready to meet NATO’s requirements and contribute to common security,″ McCormack said.

``The president urged the Baltic nation and all aspirants to NATO membership to keep up their efforts and reforms,″ McCormack said.

Adamkus said Bush told him ``that all ... who would like to join the expansion of NATO should actually be ready for it, there should be no exceptions made, no privileges given to anybody.″

``And that message should be conveyed through me to other participating nations,″ Adamkus said.

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