US army chief backs Nato plans

Carlton William Fulford, deputy head of the US armed forces based in Europe, has said Slovakia's military preparations and expertise are at a level that bolsters its Nato membership chances.
Fulford told Mária Kadlečíková, Deputy Prime Minister for European Integration, December 3 that the country has made substantial progress in preparation for Nato membership.
He added the forthcoming 2002 parliamentary elections were important, and expressed concern over the possible misuse of Nato membership ambitions in political parties' pre-election campaigns.

Carlton William Fulford, deputy head of the US armed forces based in Europe, has said Slovakia's military preparations and expertise are at a level that bolsters its Nato membership chances.

Fulford told Mária Kadlečíková, Deputy Prime Minister for European Integration, December 3 that the country has made substantial progress in preparation for Nato membership.

He added the forthcoming 2002 parliamentary elections were important, and expressed concern over the possible misuse of Nato membership ambitions in political parties' pre-election campaigns.

The opposition Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS), which had previously been responsible for Slovakia's being dropped from a 1999 Nato expansion round, has recently come out in full support of the alliance.

Later that day Fulford met Ján Figeľ, the country's main EU negotiator and discussed co-operation between Slovakia and the US on reform of the Slovak armed forces.

Figeľ said he hoped the future co-operation would also include US investments into Slovak defence companies.

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