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Poland: NATO Begins Membership Negotiations

Brussels, 16 September 1997 (RFE/RL) -- Poland began negotiations today on the terms of its entry into the NATO defense alliance.

Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Andrzej Topwik is leading his country's delegation at the Brussels talks. The talks are scheduled to take place in five sessions and will end October 23.

Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic were officially invited to join the alliance during the NATO summit in Madrid in July. Talks with Hungary began September 10. Negotiations with the Czech Republic are due to start next Tuesday.

Our correspondent in Brussels reports negotiations will decide the number of Poles, Hungarians and Czechs to be stationed at NATO headquarters, as well as the number of NATO personnel to be deployed on the territory of new members.

Signing of the entry document for all three countries is expected in 1999, on the 50th anniversary of the alliance's founding.