NATO to continue open door policy in Balkans

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Friday in Romania that the Alliance will continue its open door policy as regards countries in the Balkans and would like all the states in the region to join the European Union and NATO.

Rasmussen, who is on a two-day official visit to Bucharest, added that Ukraine and Georgia could also become NATO members if they want to and if they meet the necessary criteria.

“Our position concerning future members, decided at the Bucharest summit in 2008, remains unchanged. The Membership Action Plan, MAP, does not guarantee future NATO membership but it is a framework and an opportunity for a country to take the path of reform to meet the criteria required for membership,” Rasmussen said.

Last month, NATO extended a MAP to Bosnia, but attached conditions to its implementation.

Membership action plans are intended to expedite candidate countries’ progress toward joining the 28-member military alliance and are seen as a key stepping stone on the way towards full membership. Under the plan, the NATO membership aspirants are provided with individually-tailored advice and support. The plan also serves as a means to monitor their progress and provide feedback on reforms.

NATO comprises 28 member states, including the Balkan countries of Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Romania, Slovenia and Turkey.

Bosnia and Macedonia hope to join the alliance in the near future, while Serbia has still not firmly established whether it will seek NATO membership.

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