NATO offers "intensified dialogue" to Serbia

BUCHAREST -- NATO has offered its hand to Serbia, Romanian President Traian Basescu said Thursday.

Basescu, left, seen with George and Laura Bush, and Jaap de Hoop Scheffer (FoNet)
Basescu, left, seen with George and Laura Bush, and Jaap de Hoop Scheffer (FoNet)

Basescu, who is hosting the Western military alliance's summit in Bucharest, was quoting the conclusions of the gathering when he made the comments.

"Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia have received an invitation to raise the level of their cooperation with NATO from Partnership for Peace to intensified dialogue," he said.

"Unlike its neighbors, Serbia made no request for this, but there was insistence inside the alliance to guarantee Serbia ties, once it decides to put an end to its isolation from NATO," Basescu told a news conference.

Considering the precedent Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence sets, Basescu was quoted by Tanjug, NATO has decided to declare its backing for four former Soviet republics: Georgia, Moldavia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.

The final conclusions from the summit will contain special remarks about NATO's support for the four countries' territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence, the Romanian president said.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State with the Defense Ministry Dušan Spasojević, DS, said that Serbia "got the support from its allies concerning Kosovo at the NATO summit in Bucharest".

"Not only did we get the support from our allies, those states that have not recognized the independence of Kosovo, for our stand in connection with the southern Serbian province, but we also got support for the stand that UNMIK is the only legal international presence in Kosovo," Spasojević told reporters in the Romanian capital.

Serbia received this backing from Slovak Foreign Minister Jan Kubiš and from representatives of Spain, Greece, the Czech Republic, and Romania, he specified.

Spasojević also said that the Partnership for Peace program is "for now the real measure for Serbia's cooperation with NATO".