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NATO: Talbott Reaffirms 'Open Door' Policy

Washington, 21 May 1997 (RFE/RL) - Deputy U.S. Secretary of State Strobe Talbott says the NATO alliance will maintain what he calls an open door policy for the emerging democracies of Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union that might want to become members.

In a speech yesterday to a Washington meeting of the North Atlantic Council -- NATO's governing body -- Talbott said that when the alliance invites its first new members from the region this summer, it will make clear that no emerging democracy that aspires to membership will be excluded.

NATO is expected to issue invitations to the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland when alliance leaders convene a summit in Madrid in July. Talbott said the Madrid meeting will be the beginning of a process, not the end.