NATO doesn’t rule out further expansion — RT World News

The US-led alliance has pledged to leave the door open to potential new members in Europe.

NATO on Wednesday affirmed its open policy, saying it would continue to welcome other countries’ aspirations to join the U.S.-led alliance. NATO leaders set out their policies at a summit in Washington, D.C., that marked the alliance’s 75th anniversary.

“The Western Balkans and Black Sea regions are of strategic importance to the Alliance.” NATO members said in their closing statement that they pledged to help countries in the region to “Combating malign influence, including disinformation, hybrid, and cyber threats, posed by both state and non-state actors.”

“NATO supports the Euro-Atlantic aspirations of interested countries in this region.” Read the ad.

In 2017, the US-led coalition accepted the Balkan state of Montenegro into the alliance, while neighbouring Bosnia and Herzegovina has been in stop-start negotiations on accession since 2008. Milorad Dodik, the leader of the Serb entity in the alliance, recently confirmed that he would block Bosnia and Herzegovina from potentially joining NATO in the future.

NATO commands the peacekeeping force in Kosovo, which was deployed in 1999 after the alliance intervened on behalf of Albanian separatists and carried out air strikes on Serbia.

Russia has stressed that it views NATO's eastward expansion as a threat to its national security, and has cited the alliance's military cooperation with Ukraine as one of the root causes of the conflict.

In December 2021, Russia proposed to NATO that it abandon its open-door approach to accepting new members and instead sign a comprehensive security treaty with Moscow. The alliance rejected the proposal, saying the open-door principle was non-negotiable.

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