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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Gore Asserts U.S. Support For Baltics

TALLINN, Estonia -- U.S. Vice President Al Gore paid an emotional tribute to Baltic independence Monday, telling Estonia that Americans would stand by them but stopping short of inviting them to join the NATO alliance.

Gore, addressing 6,000 Estonians in the Tallinn city square, said the U.S. was seeking to integrate newly democratic European countries "into a growing transatlantic community of secure, prosperous and peaceful nations."

"You must not be consigned to a gray zone of fear and uncertainty," Gore told the cheering crowd.

Earlier, Gore told reporters that NATO expansion must take place at the same time as the alliance deepens and clarifies its relations with Russia.

"It is important to understand that the process by which NATO expands is a process that must take place at the same time the relationship between NATO and Russia is deepened," he said. Russia appears to be softening its stance on the alliance's expansion, and NATO sources said last week in Brussels that the Russia will hold talks with NATO in Geneva in two weeks' time.