NATO accepts Albania and Croatia
4 April 2008
BUCHAREST – NATO is to be expanded with two new members. At the summit in the Romanian capital Bucharest, NATO leaders decided to open up membership to Albania and Croatia.
Ukraine and Georgia couldn’t count on all members’ approval and will have to show patience a little longer. Heavy pressure by the Americans could not help Ukraine and Georgia in any way.
Germany and France as well as Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg found it too early days for the two countries to obtain full membership.
Kiev and Tbilisi nevertheless will continue their “intensified dialogue” with NATO, it was said.
In order to sweeten the pill, NATO secretary-general Jaap de Hoop Scheffer underlined that NATO’s door is open to all European democracies.
“This has been the case since the very start of the alliance and it has not changed at all”, he said.
Albania and Croatia did meet with full approval and will be given the official status of official candidate member state.
Macedonia, on the other hand, met with an adamant Greek “No”. Greece underlined yet again it will not change its position as long as Macedonia does not change its name.
Belgian prime minister Yves Leterme called the NATO resolution “very much compatible to the Belgian point of view with regards to the Ukraine and Georgia".
“Belgium doesn’t deny them their ambitions but just finds it too soon to give them a prospect of entry already,” he said.
According to Leterme, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation has dealt with the matter in the right way. "We all voiced our opinion and eventually the decision came along by consensus,” he said.
Because it was his first summit as Belgian prime minister, Leterme met up with some of the other leaders before the start of the meetings. On Wednesday evening, he had a short meeting with US president George Bush. On Thursday morning, he joined the other NATO leaders as they paid their respects to the soldiers that were killed during past NATO operations.
[flandersenews.be / Expatica]