Bush signs documents for Albania, Croatia into NATO
Bush also renewed U.S. support for Georgia and Ukraine
U.S. President George W. Bush on Friday signed documents to demonstrate American support for NATO membership for Albania and Croatia.
"Albania and Croatia`s entry into NATO is an historic step for the Balkans," Bush said at a White House ceremony to sign the NATO agreements.
"Once Albania and Croatia formally join NATO, their people can know if any nation threatens their security, every member of our alliance will be at their side," Bush noted.
Bush also renewed U.S. support for Georgia and Ukraine to join the NATO alliance. "Today I reiterate America`s commitment to the NATO aspirations of Ukraine, Georgia, Bosnia-Hercegovina, and Montenegro," he said.
The Bush administration has been supporting Georgia and Ukraine`s attempts to join the NATO alliance. "We see no reason that they shouldn`t get MAP (membership action plan) status," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said earlier in the day.
The United States has seen "growing support for Georgia and Ukraine given what happened this summer when Russia invaded Georgia," the spokeswoman said.
While the United States calls for granting NATO membership to Ukraine and Georgia, France and Germany have taken an opposition stand, partly out of concern it will unnecessarily antagonize Russia.
Bush also said that the United States expects to see all nations in the Balkans join NATO -- including Macedonia, whose admission into the alliance has stalled because of its name dispute with Greece.
NATO has already expanded eastward, incorporating former Warsaw Pact countries, including Poland and Hungary. Russia has expressed strong objections to letting either Ukraine or Georgia join the alliance. Both were major components of the former Soviet Union.