Wednesday 20th of November 2019, 06:21 CET
Romania, Bulgaria sign NATO-membership treaty
March 26, 2003
Associated Press

Written by Paul Ames
Posted by HW on November 20, 2019

Seven countries
Seven central and east European nations signed treaties Wednesday to become members of NATO, an expansion hailed as a historic reunification of the continent after decades of Cold War division.

Foreign ministers from Romania, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Estonia and Latvia signed the papers at a formal ceremony at NATO headquarters before delegates from the 19 current NATO members.

Atlantic to Black Sea
NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson praised the alliance for opening its doors, saying future historians will recognize the decision as a turning point in building a Europe "reunited and free, a Europe united in peace, democracy and common values from the Baltics to the Balkans, from the Atlantic to the Black Sea."

NATO invited the seven to join at a November summit in the Czech capital, Prague. The countries will become members in May 2004 if their parliaments ratify the treaties. They will be covered by the alliance's core security guarantee that states an attack on one member is an attack on all.

EU membership
French criticism of Romania's strong support for the U.S. position over Iraq will not derail the country's efforts to join the European Union, its foreign minister said Wednesday.

"It would be impossible and extremely unwise to stop this historic process," Mircea Geoana said in an interview.

French warning
Angered by eastern European nations' failure to back France's anti-war stance, French President Jacques Chirac last month warned Romania and Bulgaria their efforts to join the EU in 2007 could be jeopardized.

Geoana said Chirac's comments at an EU summit had been a "dramatic moment" for his country but he was confident Romania's traditionally good relations with France would survive.

Romanian plans
Geoana said Romania's government would push ahead with plans to privatize the economy, fight corruption and other reforms to ensure it meets EU membership standards in time to join in 2007.
 
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