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Romania: Senate President Declares NATO Readiness

Crans-Montana, 30 June 1997 (RFE/RL) -- The president of the Romanian senate, Petre Roman, told an international conference Saturday that Romania fulfills the conditions for joining NATO and is ready to do so.

Roman told a business conference in the Swiss resort of Crans-Montana that Romania could make a major contribution to peace and security in south-eastern Europe and the Black Sea region.

Our correspondent says he made clear his disappointment that Romania is unlikely to be among those accepted for membership at the NATO summit in Madrid next month. U.S. President Bill Clinton has said he will travel to Bucharest after the Summit to tell Romanians that they have a good chance of joining in the future if the country continues to make reforms.

Roman stressed the efforts Bucharest has made to settle disputes with neighbouring countries, as required for NATO membership, and its continuing to develop good-neighbourly relations.

He noted the decades of tensions with Hungary and said relations had improved to a level no-one could have anticipated just a year ago. As an example, he said that in October a joint Romanian-Hungarian military unit will begin operations.

He said the improvement of relations with Ukraine had been fraught with political risks but the Government had taken them and secured an agreement, including protection of the rights of minorities on both sides of the border.

Roman also described Romania's participation in the international military operation in Albania and in Bosnia.

He also stressed Romania's good relations with other countries in the Black sea region and was developing relations with the Caucasus.