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Home >> World
UPDATED: 08:33, May 08, 2006
U.S. supports NATO membership for three Western Balkan countries: Cheney
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U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney said in Croatia on Sunday that his country strongly supports NATO membership for the three Western Balkan countries of Croatia, Albania and Macedonia, the Croatian HINA news agency reported.

"We deeply appreciate the fact that the three countries have already been engaged alongside forces of the United States and NATO in Afghanistan and Iraq," Cheney said in a summit meeting of the U.S.-Adriatic Charter, which was held on Sunday in the southern Croatian seaside resort of Dubrovnik.

Cheney, the highest U.S. official to visit Croatia since 1996, said the Dubrovnik meeting was an important event for the assessment of the progress they had made in preparing themselves for NATO membership.

The U.S.-Adriatic Charter was signed by the United States and the three Western Balkan countries in 2003. The three countries hope to join the NATO in 2008 while the United States supports NATO membership for the three countries as soon as possible.

Croatian Prime Minister Ivo Sanader, and his counterparts, Sali Berisha of Albania and Vlado Buckovski of Macedonia said they expected that their countries would receive a clear signal from the NATO summit in the Latvian capital of Riga about the timetable for their accession to the alliance.

"NATO membership is a strategic goal of Croatia, that is aware that peace and security cannot be achieved in isolation. We recognize in NATO a unique efficient political and defense alliance based on the values of peace, freedom, democracy and market economy," Sanader said.

Berisha and Buckovski also expressed the readiness of their countries to deploy their forces together with NATO and U.S. contingents anywhere in the world.

Source: Xinhua

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