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Bulgaria: Minister Says Romania Not A NATO Rival

Prague, 28 May 1997 (RFE/RL) - Bulgarian Defense Minister Georgi Ananiev says his country and Romania are not rivals in the quest to join NATO. He said "sooner or later" the two countries will occupy "their rightful place" in the alliance. Ananiev spoke yesterday in the northern Bulgarian town of Russe after meeting Romanian counterpart Victor Babiuc.

Babiuc said the good-neighborly relations between the two states contribute to the region's political stability. The two ministers agreed to intensify bilateral military cooperation, including an information exchange on the reform of the military forces that both countries are undergoing.