WASHINGTON, Oct. 25 – U.S. President George W. BushÂ signed protocols at a White House ceremony in Washington Friday that would allow Albania and Croatia to join NATO.Â
Bush was joined by , Jaap de Hoop Scheffer secretary-general for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Voice of America reported.
“We are now one major step nearer to welcoming into the alliance Albania and Croatia, two more countries who have demonstrated, by word and by deed, that they are willing and able to shoulder the responsibilities of NATO membership,” Bush said.
Hungary and Slovakia were the only two countries to sign the protocols before the United States. All 26 NATO members must sign before Albania and Croatia can join.
Bush said he hoped Macedonia would soon join, bringing all the Balkan nations in, and also suggested that Ukraine, Georgia and other former Soviet Republics should soon become members.