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Bulgaria: Committee To Pursue NATO Membership

Sofia, 13 March 1997 (RFE/RL) - Bulgaria's interim government today set up a committee to coordinate efforts aimed at gaining NATO membership for the country. The newly created committee will include Foreign Minister Stoyan Stalev and Defense Minister Georgi Ananiev. They were directed to draft, within two weeks, a proposal for financing a national program for preparation for NATO membership.

The interim government proposed a program, which included political dialogue domestically and abroad to support NATO membership, and ways of adjusting to meet NATO security and military operational standards. Budget changes, reform of defense-related industry and a media campaign were also mentioned.

Bulgaria's interim government last month said Sofia wants to become a NATO member. The previous Socialist government had refused to commit to pursuing NATO membership, saying Moscow's security concerns should first be considered.