In preparation for the November Summit in Riga, NATO Foreign Ministers, meeting informally in Sofia, Bulgaria, 27-28 April, began discussions on the next round of NATO enlargement.
But Riga will send a signal on enlargement, the Secretary General told reporters.
The nature of this signal will depend on the performance of the aspirant countries, Mr. De Hoop Scheffer stressed.
At present, three countries – Albania, Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia - are part of NATO’s Membership Action Plan, a programme of advice and support for countries wishing to join the Alliance.
“I would like to open this meeting by welcoming Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk to this informal meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission, a bit more than one year after we launched our Intensified Dialogue on Ukraine's membership aspirations and related reforms in Vilnius. Welcome, Borys.
Over the past twelve months, we have held numerous Intensified Dialogue meetings and continued our strong cooperation. I believe that our increased consultations have helped to deepen Ukraine's understanding of NATO, and kept the Allies abreast of Ukraine's reform efforts.
Our commitment to the Intensified Dialogue underscores that NATO’s door remains open, and that Ukraine’s aspirations are, ultimately, achievable.
It is also an indication of the level of commitment of the nations represented around this table to help Ukraine succeed in this effort. But ultimately, the primary responsibility for success rests with the Ukrainian people and their elected leaders,” said Jaap de Hoop Scheffer in his opening remark at the meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Commission in Sofia.
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