Romania and Bulgaria ready to welcome US military bases

Romania and Bulgaria have said they would welcome US military bases when they join Nato in 2004.

The announcement was made by the Bulgarian and the Romanian
foreign ministers on 8 May, when the US Senate unanimously approved
the membership of seven east European countries for Nato
membership, including the two countries.

The new commander of American troops in Europe,
General James Jones, is carrying out a revaluation of the US
military presence in Europe and is expected to recommend that some
of the 80,000 American troops move eastwards from Germany. Bulgaria
and Romania are the leading contenders for new US military bases.
Their Black Sea ports have already been used by the US army during
the Iraq war.

The Romanian Foreign Minister Mircea Geoana said
that moving east would allow the US and Nato to better respond to
"new threats coming from the greater Middle East".

The US is the third Nato member after Canada and
Norway to approve the Alliance's expansion to Romania, Bulgaria,
Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Slovakia and Slovenia. The seven
countries will become fully-fledged Nato members once all 19 Member
States give their approval.

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