Updated: 30-Jan-2003 January 2003

29 Jan. 2003


NATO begins accession talks
with invitees

Seven invited countries have now formally begun accession talks to join the Alliance. This is the first of five main stages in the accession process.

At the November 2002 Prague Summit, NATO Heads of State and Government invited seven countries -- Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia -- to begin accession talks to join the Alliance.

First stage

The talks are a series of meetings between a team of NATO experts and individual invitees to discuss and formally confirm their interest, willingness and ability to meet the political, legal and military obligations and commitments of NATO membership.

After the conclusion of the talks, foreign ministers of the invited countries are expected to send letters of intent to NATO confirming their interest, willingness and ability to join the Alliance.

NATO will then prepare accession protocols to the North Atlantic Treaty for each one of the invited countries. The protocols are amendments to the North Atlantic Treaty, which once signed and ratified by Allies, will permit the invited countries to become parties to the Treaty and members of NATO.

The entire accession process is to be completed in time for these countries to join the Alliance, at the latest, at the next NATO Summit in May 2004.

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