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Politics
17.02.2009 14:30
SLOVENIA, NATO, CROATIA
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NATO Concerned about Ratification of Croatia's Membership in Slovenia

Brussels, 17 February (STA) - NATO expressed concern Tuesday at the possibility that Slovenia could hold a referendum on Croatia's membership of the alliance. Hopefully Slovenia will not be the only country unable to complete ratification in time, NATO spokesman James Appathurai told reporters in Brussels, saying Slovenia was in a "a serious race against time".

Appathurai pointed out that ratification of membership protocols was an internal process which NATO cannot and will not influence. But he said NATO wanted all 26 member states to complete the proceedings in time so that Croatia and Albania could join the alliance at the summit in early April.

The protocols have been ratified by the Slovenian parliament, but a nationalist group launched referendum proceedings Monday, unhappy that the Foreign Policy Committee had watered down a "statement on Slovenia's interests in relation to Croatia's NATO membership" which the group had been advocating.

If the referendum proceeds Slovenia would miss the deadline for the submission of ratifications. Yet the outfit, Institute 25 June, has suggested it would halt proceedings if the statement is restored back to its original and form at the emergency session of parliament Wednesday.

sm/pm/ep
17.02.2009 14:30

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