NATO Chief Reiterates Alliance’s Commitment to Southeast Europe

LJUBLJANA, Slovenia — NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said Tuesday (31 May) that the Alliance anticipates closer co-operation with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia-Montenegro, assuming the two countries fulfil their international obligations. “We are holding out the prospect of enhanced co-operation with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia-Montenegro — provided they meet certain conditions, notably full co-operation with The Hague,” de Hoop Scheffer said at the NATO Parliamentary Assembly session in Ljubljana. Noting that the Alliance is working closely with the three Adriatic Charter states — Albania, Croatia and Macedonia — he stressed that NATO “remains committed to helping all the countries of Southeast Europe to follow in Slovenia’s footsteps” and achieving Euro-Atlantic integration.

In other news, Irish Defence Minister Willie O’Dea visited Sarajevo on Tuesday for a meeting with High Representative Paddy Ashdown. O’Dea said Ireland is determined to keep troops in the Balkans as long as necessary.

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