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The Presidents of the United States, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania signed the US-Baltic Charter in Washington on January 16, 1998. The main goals of this Charter are to support Estonia's, Latvia's and Lithuania's full integration into European and Trans-Atlantic structures, and to establish the general principles and aims for co-operation. The Charter confirms the US support to the endeavours of the Baltic States to join NATO and underlines the importance of political, defence, security and economic co-operation. It is a statement of the United States' real, profound and enduring interest in the security and independence of the Baltic States.

In accordance with the Charter, two working groups have been formed: one for security policy issues and another for economic issues. A Commission of Partnership monitors the Charter's implementation. The Commission's first meeting took place in July 1998, in Riga. The Estonian delegation was headed by Foreign Minister Toomas Hendrik Ilves. In June 2000, the Commission of Partnership met in Tallinn. The US delegation was led by Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott.

United States' Baltic policy is an integral part of the US North-Eastern Europe Initiative (NEI). NEI is a US Government strategy covering Estonia Latvia, Lithuania, northwestern Russia, the Nordic countries, Poland and Germany. Regional and cross border co-operation are fields of special importance in the NEI. The US Government implements its programs in cooperation with several international organizations in this region. The United States also co-ordinates its NEI activity with the European Union's Northern Dimension.

 

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