Friday, April 4, 2008


BUCHAREST, Romania (April 4,2008) - NATO invited Bosnia yesterday at a summit in Bucharest,Romania, to start an Intensified Dialogue with the military alliance.

"There is agreement to invite Bosnia and Montenegro to begin an Intensified Dialogue on a full range of political, military, financial and security issues relating to their aspirations," NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer told a news conference after meeting with leaders of the 26 NATO members.

The Intensified Dialogue is a stage before the Membership Action Plan (MAP), the gateway leading to NATO membership in five to ten years for an aspirant.

On the same day, the summit formally invited two other southeastern European countries - Croatia and Albania to join the alliance.

Eastward expansion of NATO has been strongly opposed by Russia, which has seen the moves as a threat to its security.

Russia could not stop the military bloc from absorbing Balkan nations as members, but the rejection to start the Membership Action Plan (MAP) for Ukraine and Georgia by the summit has been regarded by observers as Moscow's victory.

Russia has warned that NATO membership for the two former Soviet republics would bring instability, even war in the region.

Despite a strong push from U.S. President Bush, the countries failed to embark on the road to accession as Germany and France, backed by some smaller nations, fear that the move would irritate Russia.

Russia could not feel relaxed as NATO leaders decided to leave the issue to a meeting of their foreign ministers in December 2008,saying in a declaration that the two nations will be NATO members some day.

Aspirant Macedonia was left out because of a name dispute with Greece, which vetoed its invitation. The biggest-ever NATO summit which started Wednesday will end today.

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