Romanian officials voiced hope Thursday (March 20th) that the upcoming NATO summit in Bucharest will take the Alliance`s contribution to stability and security a step further, as well as "cast a favourable light" on their country, according to Southeast European Times.

"I see that the preparations are advancing in the right direction, and the level of involvement of the institutions is very good," Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu said, ahead of a meeting to review organisational measures for the event.

The three-day summit, opening on April 2nd, will be the biggest in the pact`s 59-year history.

Its success will depend on the accomplishment of some concrete goals such as the expansion of the Alliance, the strengthening of the Euro-Atlantic partnership, the settlement of the Kosovo issue, as well as other "hot" issues, Foreign Minister Adrian Cioroianu told reporters Thursday.

He voiced hope that the summit will help further enhance NATO`s relations with the Balkan countries, especially with Albania, Croatia and Macedonia, which hope to receive invitations to join the Alliance in Bucharest.

Such a move would "strengthen the southern flank of the Alliance, expanding the security and stability in the Balkans," said Cioroianu.

He also voiced hope that the summit would further strengthen NATO`s relations with Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia.

"In Serbia`s case, we hope that the summit in Bucharest will launch a strong message regarding the willingness of the Alliance to co-operate with Belgrade, as soon as the Serbian authorities are prepared," he said.

Romania, along with Canada and eight Eastern European members of the Alliance -- Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia -- has sent a letter to NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer in support of Georgia and Ukraine`s membership bids. The ten countries have reportedly requested that the two former Soviet republics be offered Membership Action Plans -- a step along the path to the Alliance.

"Romania is directly interested in seeing Georgia and Ukraine get an Euro-Atlantic anchor and backs approaches by the two states in this direction," Cioroianu stressed.

NATO`s operations, including in Kosovo and Afghanistan, will be another key topic of discussion during the summit.

"As far as Kosovo is concerned, the Allies have made it clear that KFOR will remain there on the basis of UN Security Council Resolution 1244, unless the Security Council decides otherwise. KFOR is there to ensure a safe and secure environment -- for all the people of Kosovo," de Hoop Scheffer wrote in a piece published in the latest edition of NATO Review on Thursday.

Cioroianu told reporters that summit participants are expected to also address some of the key challenges facing the pact today, such as cyber attacks and security of energy sector infrastructures.