Turkey, Italy and Hungary reiterate their support of Macedonia’s NATO membership

Zagreb,  – Turkey, Italy and Hungary reiterated Thursday their support of Macedonia’s accession to NATO at meetings with Defense Minister Zoran Konjanovski.

At the sidelines of enlarged Southeast European Defence Ministerial of the countries from the US-Adriatic Charter in Zagreb, Konjanovski held bilateral talks with his Turkish, Hungarian counterparts Vecdi Gonul and Imre Szekeres, as well as Italian Undersecretary for Defense Giuseppe Cossiga, MIA correspondent reported.

– The message has been quite clear, namely (the officials) expect to see Macedonia within NATO as soon as possible, Konjanovski said after the meetings, which also reaffirmed the country’s progress since it joined the US-Adriatic Charter.

Macedonia was also given credit for its contribution to the Afghanistan mission, Konjanovski said.

The Turkish, Hungarian and Italian officials reaffirmed Macedonia’s success to meet the necessary standards for NATO membership, pointing out that the name row, imposed by Greece, presented a sole obstacle to that effect.

Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader will open tomorrow the enlarged Southeast European Defence Ministerial of the countries from the US-Adriatic Charter (Albania, Croatia, Macedonia), which is to review the security challenges in SEE, new possibilities for regional cooperation within the Charter, NATO’s role in the region, the Alliance’s enlargement, contribution of SEE countries to peace and stability via participation in peace missions across the world.

This is the first meeting after Bosnia/Herzegovina has formally joined the US-Adriatic Charter at OSCE Ministerial Conference last December in Helsinki.

The Defense Ministers of Serbia, Slovenia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey, as well as senior EU, NATO officials will attend the meeting in Zagreb.

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