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Bosnia Set For New Move Toward NATO Membership This Week

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a media conference at NATO headquarters in Brussels on December 3.

NATO will take a step toward offering membership to Bosnia-Herzegovina this week, as the alliance formally votes to "activate" the country’s Membership Action Plan.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on December 3 that he expected the alliance's foreign ministers to activate Bosnia's Membership Action Plan -- a reform process that prepares countries for membership. Alliance foreign ministers are meeting in Brussels this week.

"I expect ministers to agree that we will be ready to accept the first annual national program of Bosnia, then it's up to Bosnia to decide whether they use this opportunity," Stoltenberg said.

NATO offered the membership plan to Bosnia in 2010 but declined to "activate" it until all conditions were met.

The process held up over the registration of immovable defense property at the federal level, with the ethnic Serb-dominated Republika Srpska -- one of the two entities that make up Bosnia -- opposing the move.

NATO allies have decided to move forward rather than allow the Bosnian Serbs to have a de facto veto over the MAP, but the property must still be registered at a federal level for the MAP process to conclude.

With reporting by AP and Marek Hajduk in Brussels