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Romania: U.S. Says Romania Good Candidate For NATO

Washington, 22 April 1997 (RFE/RL) -- Romanian Foreign Minister Adrian Severin continues talks at the U.S. State Department today to press Romania's case for early membership in NATO.

Romanian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Gilda Lazar said that in meetings yesterday, top U.S. officials at the Defense and State Departments told Severin that Romania is under active consideration as a good candidate to join NATO.

She told reporters that Severin had lengthy and substantive talks over a working lunch with Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott, who also said Romania is a credible aspirant to become a member of the NATO alliance.

Lazar said that at a meeting later with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Severin discussed Romania's security concerns and how his country could contribute to European stability. She said Albright asked about the progress of Romania's privatization program and was particularly interested in the status of Romanian-Ukrainian treaty negotiations. Lazar quoted Severin as saying the treaty, settling long-standing territorial claims between the two countries, will be signed soon.

Today, Severin is scheduled to have another long session at the State Department with U.S. Assistant Secretary of State John Kornblum and officials from the Pentagon and the White House National Security Council.