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NEWS BRIEFS

Powell: Nato entry round to be "robust"

US SECRETARY of State Colin Powell said on May 15 that the Nato Alliance's expected enlargement in November at its Prague summit would be "robust", but refused to say how many new member countries might be admitted.

Slovakia hopes to receive an invitation to join Nato after being excluded from an earlier expansion round in 1999, but has been told by Nato officials that if former leader Vladimír Mečiar and his opposition HZDS party return to power after fall elections, the country could again miss out.

Slovak Foreign Minister Eduard Kukan said of his meeting with Powell and officials from other candidate countries: "We asked him, 'what does robust mean?' And he said, 'robust simply means robust.' So I thanked him for the informative explanation."

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