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Bulgaria/Romania: Presidents To Discuss EU, NATO Today

Sofia, 30 April 1997 (RFE/RL) - Romanian President Emil Constantinescu begins an official visit to Bulgaria today for talks with his Bulgarian counterpart, Petar Stoyanov. The two leaders are expected to focus on the bid by both nations for integration into the European Union and NATO.

Earlier this month, Constantinescu said Sofia and Bucharest are not competitors but partners working together for full membership in both institutions.

In Washington yesterday, U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen said Romania has made great strides in asserting civilian control over its military and in modernizing its armed forces. Cohen spoke at a welcoming ceremony for Romanian Defense Minister Victor Babiuc ahead of talks also likely to focus on NATO's expansion plans.

Bulgaria's Foreign Affairs Minister Stoyan Stalev called last week for a special status for would-be NATO members not gaining admittance in the first wave. Stalev said countries left outside should be accorded a special status differentiating them from partnership nations not seeking full membership.