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Balkan Defense Ministers Discuss NATO Ambitions

15 November 2005 -- The defense ministers of Albania, Croatia, and Macedonia met in Skopje today to discuss regional security and their common goal to join NATO.

Afterwards, they issued a joint statement that said the three countries will remain "partners and allies" in the global war against terrorism.

The ministers also said they wanted NATO to keep its "open doors" policy for would-be members. Albania, Croatia, and Macedonia had hoped to be invited to become full members at the military alliance's next summit, expected in 2006. But NATO recently signaled that any further expansion should wait until at least 2008.

Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia-Montenegro, and NATO member Bulgaria also sent their defense ministers to the meeting. The United States and NATO were also represented.

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