NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer hopes the alliance's summit in Bucharest will reach a solution for the integration of Croatia, Albania and Macedonia, local press reported Tuesday.
In an interview with the newspaper Romania Libera ahead of the summit, Scheffer hoped "that the result might be an invitation for all three of them," adding that he could not rule out that Skopje's hopes might be dashed.
"A solution, and an invitation for these three nations, would be an important element in bringing further stability to the region," he said.
The major issue clouding the summit is Macedonia's official name. Greece refuses to recognize the former Yugoslav republic's name because it is the same as that of the northern Greek province of Macedonia.
Macedonia's constitutional name is "Republic of Macedonia," and Skopje wants this used in international relations, except with Athens, where a name acceptable to both parties would be used.
Scheffer also said he would like to talk with the Russian partners in realistic terms, without rhetoric, which he said had too often been heard from Moscow.
Kosovo's declaration of independence caused tensions in the Balkans. NATO and Russia should listen to the opinions of one another, he said, adding that the two sides should discuss within the NATO-Russia Council the Kosovo issue and the antimissile shield.