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Bulgaria: Minister Expects NATO Enlargement To Continue

Prague, 23 June 1997 (RFE/RL) - Bulgarian Foreign Minister Nadezhda Mikhailova yesterday told a NATO workshop in Prague that her country's desire to join the alliance is firm.

She also said she expects the doors of NATO to remain open and the process of enlargement to continue rapidly after a first wave of new members are invited. The foreign minister said Bulgaria wants to join NATO at the earliest possible time. But in her 10-minute speech, she did not insist that Sofia be invited in the first wave.

Mikhailova told RFE/RL that NATO's supreme commander in Europe, General George Joulwan, expressed "delight" about Sofia's realistic position on the issue of expansion.

Bulgaria is not expected to be among the countries asked to join NATO when alliance leaders meet in Madrid next month.