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NATO: U.S. Says New Members Must Measure Up

Washington, 2 July 1997 (RFE/RL) - U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen says the Central and Eastern European nations which become members of NATO must "measure up to the military alliance's standards."

Cohen says that means that some new members -- he didn't mention names -- will have to improve their armed forces with modern weapons. He says all new NATO members must comply with alliance requirements.

Cohen spoke to reporters yesterday before talks in Washington with Swedish Defense Minister Bjorn von Sydow.

NATO is expected to invite the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland to join next month. Romania and Slovenia also hope to be included in the first group of NATO bids, but the United States has said the first round of expansion should be limited to three countries.

Cohen says President Bill Clinton has made that view very clear and that Clinton remains firm in that conviction.