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Croatia Conference Focuses on Harmony in Southeast Europe

American Forces Press Service

GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany, Nov. 4, 2003 – Today begins a four-day meeting in Dubrovnik, Croatia, to refine cooperative efforts toward NATO membership.

The Nov. 4-7 conference was organized by the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies here, in cooperation with the Croatian government. Participants will discuss their efforts to complete needed reform and will build partnerships to advance themselves toward NATO accession.

U.S. Ambassador Mary Ann Peters, associate director for international liaison at the center will moderate the conference. It will feature international and regional experts offering concepts and case studies based on past experiences with NATO accession. The presentations will help group discussions on the challenges and opportunities involving regional cooperation issues specific to the leaders of Albania, Croatia and Macedonia.

Participants will evaluate the current state of security-sector reform in their countries and discuss lessons learned from the November 2002 NATO Prague Summit invitees' experience. In addition, they will consider new methodologies on defense reform and recommend actions to increase mutual cooperation.

Senior representatives from among the seven nations invited to join NATO during the Prague Summit will support the Marshall Center conference. Some of them were involved in working toward common objectives that led to needed transformation supporting their NATO accession invitation.

The Marshall Center, a German Ministry of Defense and U.S. Department of Defense educational institution, was dedicated in 1993. More than 2,900 military and civilian officials from 51 nations have graduated from resident courses, and more than 10,500 participants have attended over 180 conferences discussing European and Central Asian security.

(Based on a European Command release.)

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