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NATO: Enlargement Candidates Call On Alliance To Open Doors

Skopje, 8 March 2002 (RFE/RL) -- Foreign ministers of 10 European countries aspiring to join NATO met in the Macedonian capital Skopje today to coordinate their efforts. In a joint statement, the foreign ministers said the NATO summit in Prague in November will be a "historic" opportunity for the alliance to "be open for major enlargement." The ministers are from Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia.

Macedonian Foreign minister Slobodan Casule said during the meeting that the expansion must not leave out the countries of Southeastern Europe. Casule said the exclusion would create "new divisions within Europe and would constitute a growing danger."

The Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland joined NATO in 1999.