NATO Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, and the Permanent Representatives of the North Atlantic Council welcomed the two Prime Ministers and their delegations.
The accession of Albania and Croatia is a testimony, not only to the appeal of our Alliance, but also to the vision and courage of its founding fathers , said NATO Secretary General. [It] demonstrates that the idea of freedom is irresistible , he added.
Albania and Croatia became NATO`s newest members on 1 April 2009, after depositing their instruments of accession with the US State Department in Washington. Both countries participated in their first Summit as full members of the Alliance in Strasbourg-Kehl on 3 and 4 April 2009.
Since 1949, NATO`s membership has increased from 12 to 28 countries through six rounds of enlargement.