|Updated: 27-Nov-2007||NATO Update|
|6 Dec. 2006||
President of Croatia looks to 2008 during visit to NATO
The President of Croatia, Stjepan Mesic, visited NATO Headquarters on 6 December to discuss with the NATO Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, his country’s progress towards NATO membership.
Achieving NATO membership
“We will see the day in which Croatia reaches the end of the road,” said Mr. De Hoop Scheffer during a press point, “which is at the same time stepping on the threshold - and past the threshold - of NATO membership.”
President Mesic’s visit follows the Riga Summit, 28-29 November, during which NATO Heads of State and Government indicated that candidate countries, including Croatia, could be be invited to join NATO at the Alliance’s next Summit in 2008, if they meet NATO’s performance based standards and are able to contribute to Euro-Atlantic security and stability.
“We will be able to provide better lives for our citizens if we achieve two of our strategic goals,” said President Mesic, “One of them is NATO membership, and the second one is EU (European Union) membership.”
From security consumer to security provider
Since it joined NATO’s Partnership for Peace programme in 2000, and the Membership Action Plan in 2002, Croatia has moved from a security consumer to a security provider, said the NATO Secretary General.
Croatia currently participates in the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, and is actively involved in an array of partnership and training activities.
Issues currently being addressed by the Croatian authorities, in consultation with NATO, include public support for membership, as well as judiciary and defence issues.
Three countries– Albania, Croatia, and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 1 – are currently participating in the Alliance’s Membership Action Plan, which sets out criteria for countries that aspire to NATO membership.
1 Turkey recognizes the Republic of Macedonia with its constitutional name.