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Clinton Says NATO Membership Should Grow At Next Summit

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addresses participants at a NATO foreign ministers meeting in Chicago on May 21.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addresses participants at a NATO foreign ministers meeting in Chicago on May 21.
By RFE/RL
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has said that NATO should enlarge at the alliance's next summit.

Clinton spoke during a NATO summit in Chicago on May 21, at the start of a meeting with aspiring members Bosnia-Herzegovina, Georgia, Macedonia, and Montenegro.

Clinton said, "I believe this summit should be the last summit that is not an enlargement summit."

The next NATO summit has yet to be scheduled.

Clinton maintained that prospective members must fulfill the required criteria for joining the alliance.

"As with any country that wishes to join NATO, we look to them to demonstrate that they share our values,: she said. "And [that] they are willing and able to meet the standards for membership, and we promise to help them as they do so, because this is in our interests."

Clinton also emphasized that expansion should strengthen the alliance.

"We know it can be a lengthy and challenging process, but we need to stick with it," she said, adding that the "ultimate goal" was a "stronger, more durable, [and] more effective NATO."

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said NATO and the four nations aspiring to join it shared "common security concerns."

"The nations around this table, allies and partners, share common security concerns.  And it is right that we develop common approaches to deal with those concerns.  Today’s meeting will offer us the opportunity to share views, to discuss what we have done well, and where we can do more," Rasmussen said ahead of the meeting with the four NATO aspirants. 

Macedonia is closest to NATO accession, held back only by a dispute with NATO-member Greece over the name of the country.

Georgia has also made progress toward membership in the alliance, but is still expected to resolve differences with neighboring Russia.

The two countries fought a war in August 2008, after which Russia recognized the breakaway Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent.

Bosnia and Montenegro are working on implementing reforms required by the 28-member alliance.

The Chicago summit declaration praised the aspirant countries for their contributions to NATO operations, but failed to offer concrete hopes for membership.

The last round of NATO enlargement came in April 2009 when Albania and Croatia joined the alliance.

With reporting by dpa
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by: world war one from: balkania
May 22, 2012 01:58
So, what we're saying here is this: Serbia invades Kosovo to reclaim it. Albania then defends Kosovo against Serbia. Then Russia backs up Serbia, and America protects Albania from Russia. Then Russia and America are fighting.

This is stupid. Why are we setting in motion a course of events that will lead to another world war?
In Response

by: Tim from: Las Vegas, United States
May 22, 2012 18:49
Why do you say "we" are setting in motion a war as in Americans, when Serbia invaded Kosovo, and then Russia started fighting too? How could you totally blame the US and leave out all those other nations? Is that smart?
In Response

by: William from: Aragon
May 23, 2012 00:25
Hi World War One, the US Secretary of State would like to end the incessant squabbling that goes on in Europe and build a stronger "organisation", she is concerned because NATO is currently a dwarf and something much bigger awakens in the East - the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation: www.sectsco.org/EN/
In Response

by: Sey from: World
May 23, 2012 01:20
Serbia won't dare to invade Kosovo because it threatens to become an enormous sink whole in the middle of the Balkan peninsula, so when tourists pass Hungary and Croatia they will read "Welcome to the Serbian Canyon"
In Response

by: Kenneth from: Prishtina
May 24, 2012 22:59
Like Kosovo now is ? Serbia doesn't need to liberate Kosovo, the Albanians are already mass migrating in the EU, since there is no perspective down here for ANYONE. All it needs is to wait and buy their land back, if they want to that is, since they sold it. I believe Kosovo is not really a valuable issue for a common Serb else than 'patriotic blabbering' for populist votes. Kosovo is tied to Serbia willy-nilly, without acknowledgment from the Serbs, it will stay a criminal sink hole as long as they wish to.. Albanians will eventually see 'Hell we lived better with them, than without'. I work as a civil worker here in Pristina, I see it first hand. They don't like the Serbs, but will migrate to Serbia proper right away if there is a job opportunity. Serbia will most certainly not start a war because of some Albanians occupying the region, but it will engage combat if Serbs are threatend in north Kosovo right away, since it is still a part of Serbia by UN resolution 1244, like it or not, law is law. Every nation would do the same.

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
May 22, 2012 06:19
"Clinton Says NATO Membership Should Grow At Next Summit" :-))). One more confirmation that the bankrupt geezer-oligarchy leading the US into the wall deserves the name of "George W. Obama": the NATO "expansion" to include Georgia (and Ukraine) has been one of the favourite topics of the previous administration of George W. - all until the Bucharest Summit of 2008, where their ineptitude to push this thing through with their own allies has (yet another time) demonstrated the extent to which the nation of Beavus and Butthead has become harmless :-).
In Response

by: Michael from: NY
June 04, 2012 20:40
Georgians would do better to settle their problems with their neighbors amicably and peacefully and leave these big power brokers out of the equation. In the end, none of them really care about the fate of the Caucasus, but rather what they can get from meddling in the situation. The Georgians should put away their pride, stop believing in lies and propaganda perpetuated by revisionist writers, historians, and fanatics, and take the first step in recognizing the sovereignty of Abkhazia and Ossetia. Case in point: there is already a Georgian campaign since 2007 that seeks to apologize to the Abkhaz for their horrific human rights crimes against them in the past, and mostly recently only 20 years ago. See here: http://www.humanrights.ge/index.php?a=main&pid=8003&lang=eng

There is no other way. Useless and misleading rhetoric about Russia "occupying" these nation states (or "breakaway regions" for the Georgian disillusioned who read these articles) is not going to solve anything. Talk to Abkhaz and Ossetians, not the Russians. You got yourselves into this mess, and it's high time you took matters in your own hands instead of hiding behind the skirts of people like Ms. Clinton and work to solve this problem. Also, they should recognize and apologize for their crimes against the Abkhaz and other North Caucasian peoples during the Russo-Caucasian Wars, and recognize their role in the demographic problems that have plagued Abkhazia till now. We all know that Georgians were not a majority in Abkhazia until the 20th century; therefore, this "Georgia for Georgians" slogan doesn't really work in the case of Abkhazia. If you want to argue and say that it was part of the "ancient medieval Christian kingdom of Georgia" (which we also know is not true; Georgia was never unified before except via this dual kingdom experiment and that failed due to the incompetence of the Qartveli peoples, as well as their being Persian or Islamic emirates for a great majority of their history), well, it won't really work here either because we know that this is not correct. Overall, a good deal of people would respect Georgia so much more if they took these steps, swallowed their pride, and stopped the problems that are plaguing this particular area of the region. God bless.

by: Ray F. from: Lawrence, KS
May 22, 2012 18:37
I wonder which ‘values’ Ms. Clinton is referring to. Starting a war under false pretenses? Transforming conflict (and its prevention) into money-making operations for the elite? Consuming more global resources than one’s fair share? Hypocritically instructing others on political reform while allowing the rich to buy up government in one’s own country? What a grim façade. If I were Secretary of State, I would be much more honest about this proposal, and begin to charge new NATO wannabees by the hour for our protection services.

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