Bulgarian President Appraises NATO Signal to Western Balkans

Politics | November 29, 2006, Wednesday // 00:00| Views: | Comments: 0
Bulgaria: Bulgarian President Appraises NATO Signal to Western Balkans Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov (1st row, 3rd R) posed with NATO leaders for a family picture during the summit in Riga, the first alliance meeting in an ex-Soviet state, where they discussed its partnership activities. Photo by NATO

The invitation of NATO to Bosnia-Hercegovina, Montenegro and Serbia to join the Partnership for Peace Programme is an important signal to these countries, Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov said.

He is attending the summit in Riga, the first NATO meeting in a former Soviet state, where alliance members are discussing its partnership activities.

In 2008, NATO will open its doors to include Macedonia, Albania and Croatia as fully-fledged members, if the three Adriatic Charter member-countries are ready for membership.

US President George Bush has sent this message at an international conference in Riga, staged before official start of the NATO Summit.

No new member countries were invited to join, but Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said NATO's door remained open - and every effort would be made to assist aspiring members over the threshold.

But the summit communique reiterated NATO concerns that Serbia and Bosnia-Hercegovina should co-operate with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and help to bring alleged war criminals to justice.

They also pledged to boost training with countries around the Mediterranean and in the Middle East.

The NATO leaders hailed the relaxation of curbs on deployment of some members' troops in Afghanistan saying they believe they can move extra 2,500 troops around the country.

Main troops contributors are the US (11,800), UK (6,000), Germany (2,700) Canada, (2,500) Netherlands (2,000), Italy, (1,800) and France (975). Bulgaria also has a unit in charge of the Kabul Airport security.
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