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Romania: Chances Of Joining NATO Strong

Bucharest, 25 November 1997 (RFE/RL) - Dutch Defense Minister Joris Voorhoeve says Romania has "a very good chance" of being invited to start NATO membership talks in 1999, when the alliance is expected to assess the expansion process.

Voorhoeve made the comments yesterday after talks in Bucharest with Romania's President Emil Constantinescu, Prime Minister Victor Ciorbea and Foreign Minister Adrian Severin.

Voorhoeve also said Slovenia is a strong candidate, and that in 1999 Austria is also expected to ask for NATO membership.

During his talks with Romanian officials, it was reported that Voorhoeve suggested setting up a joint brigade to support United Nations peace-keeping operations.

Voorhoeve concludes his visit to Romania today.