Germany wants NATO to invite three Balkan states -- Croatia, Albania and Macedonia -- to join the alliance but is sceptical about moving Ukraine and Georgia closer to membership, its foreign minister said on Thursday, according to Reuters.

Speaking before a meeting of foreign ministers of the 26-nation NATO defence alliance, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said: "I would hope we could admit all three states." But he said that depended on Greece and Macedonia settling a dispute over the candidate country`s official name.

However, Steinmeier said he had doubts about whether Ukraine and Georgia were ready to receive NATO`s Membership Action Plan, the last preparatory step before joining the U.S.-led defence pact.

"I will not hide that I am sceptical, but we`ll discuss that calmly today," he told reporters before the half-day meeting, at which NATO`s next wave of enlargement was a key theme ahead of an alliance summit in Bucharest on April 2-4.