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Bulgarian FM Mladenov: ‘Nato should send a strong signal to the Western Balkans’

Author: The Sofia Echo staff Date: Thu, Apr 19 2012 1 Comment, 2086 Views
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The preparations for the Nato summit in Chicago should give a clear signal that Nato’s door remains open because this is a strong incentive for countries to reform, Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nikolai Mladenov said at meeting in Brussels of the alliance’s foreign and defence ministers.
Mladenov said that an example was Bosnia and Herzegovina, which had achieved an important domestic political consensus in order to move closer to Nato.
He advocated the speediest possible commencement of a Membership Action Plan for Bosnia and Herzegovina, saying that "now it is our turn to encourage their efforts".
Support for Bosnia and Herzegovina would be good news for the region, Mladenov said.
Bulgaria’s strong commitment to the future Euro-Atlantic integration of the Western Balkans, and of Bosnia and Herzegovina in particular, was confirmed by the meeting of member states initiated by Minister on Bosnia and Herzegovina, a statement by the Foreign Ministry in Sofia said.
"The story of the relationship in the past 15 years between NATO and Russia and the progress seen in our practical co-operation are a sufficiently solid basis for increasing co-operation on all aspects of our partnership, including those on which our opinions differ," Mladenov said at the Nato-Russia Council.
Among these latter areas, he named Georgia and Syria, while noting the overall progress made in Afghanistan.
"We are democratic countries and should therefore support the right of the Syrian people to choose their government," Mladenov said. He called for the full implementation of the Kofi Annan plan for Syria.
At the closing meeting, which included the participation of non-NATO states that are contributing to ISAF, foreign ministers reaffirmed the commitment that they had made in Lisbon to the completion of the transition and the transfer of the responsibility for security to Afghan security forces (ANSF).
Participants in the meeting discussed continuing support for the country after the end of 2014, mainly through education and training of the ANSF and through financial support, the Foreign Ministry said.

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