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Bulgaria: U.S. Defense Secretary Plans Visit

By K. P. Foley

Washington, 8 August 1997 (RFE/RL) - The U.S. Defense Department says Secretary William Cohen plans to travel to Bulgaria this fall for a conference on the NATO alliance Partnership for Peace program.

The Defense Department says Cohen accepted an invitation from President Petar Stoyanov last month and that Cohen intends to honor the commitment. Cohen is due in Sofia on October 3.

Bulgaria has convened the conference to discuss the partnership program with the U.S., as well as NATO members Greece and Turkey and other southeastern European nations in the partnership program. Partnership for Peace is an effort by NATO to increase defense cooperation with non-member states.

Bulgaria has said it wants full membership in NATO, which opened expansion into central and eastern Europe last month by inviting the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland to join.