SENATOR LOUGAR SUPPORTED BULGARIA'S FUTURE MEMBERSHIP IN NATO
I am very enthusiastic about Bulgaria's bid and its chances of being invited to join NATO at the next year's summit of the Alliance in Prague. However, the country should be following the course of reforms it has started, especially those in the military sphere, in order to be at the height of standards and requirements, set to NATO member countries. This was stated by the influential US Senator Richard Lougar who paid a one-day visit to Bulgaria last Saturady. The visit was within the programme of his tour around the East European countries, which he believes should be invited to join NATO in 2002. It is known that Senator Lougar is the father and one of the most oustanding advocates of the idea for NATO's enlargement to the east. The idea became real in 1999 when Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary, were accepted in the Alliance.
The Senator delivered a lecture in front of members of the Bulgarian Atlantic Club at the Sheraton hotel in Sofia, expressing his inner conviction that next year NATO should accept as its members countries such as Bulgaria and the Baltic republics. President George Bush himself supports the stance that the borders of the Alliance in Europe should reach the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea, Senator Lougar underlined.
During his visit the US guest met with Foreign Minister Solomon Passy, Minister of Defence Nikolai Svinarov, and Stanimir Ilchev, Chairman of the National Assembly's Committee on Foreign Policy.
Senator Lougar was also accepted by Bulgarian President Petar Stoyanov.