Bush signs NATO expansion measure

US PRESIDENT George W. Bush signed a measure supporting Nato expansion on June 10. The measure authorises military aid to seven countries that aspire for Alliance membership, including Slovakia.

At Nato's November summit in Prague, the Alliance, which currently has 19 members, will decide whether to expand eastward and southward deeper into the old Soviet bloc. Among the 10 candidates for new membership, Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania and Bulgaria are expected to get the nod.

Slovakia's bid depends on the defeat of authoritarian former leader Vladimír Mečiar in September elections, US officials have said.

The measure Bush signed authorises a total of $55.5 million in military assistance for the seven top hopefuls. Slovakia was signed in for $8.5 million.

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