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Council of Europe: Croatia May Get into Council in November

Strasbourg, 26 September 1996 (RFE/RL) -- The President of the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly says that Croatia is likely to become the organization's 40th member state in six weeks' time.

Germany's Leni Fischer says that the Council's Committee of Ministers, its chief executive organ, will meet at the ambassadorial level in mid-October to set the date for granting Croatia membership. "That date, will probably be November 7 or 8, when the ministers themselves are due to meet," Mrs. Fischer said this morning in an interview with our correspondent.

In April, the Parliamentary Assembly approved Croatia's application for membership in the Council, generally a sufficient condition for entry. Two months later, the Committee of Ministers agreed in principle to admit Croatia, but decided for the first time in its history to delay a new member's entry until Zagreb "demonstrated its willingness to honor all its commitments to the Council of Europe."

Croatia's commitments to the Council included respecting its obligations under the Bosnia peace agreement and cooperating in the holding of elections in Bosnia earlier this month.

Council officials tell our correspondent that Parliamentary Assembly election observers who were in Bosnia believe that Croatia did cooperate in the elections. The officials say that influential Council member states such as Germany and France also believe Croatia has fulfilled its commitment.