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NATO gives Bosnia preliminary status

TALLINN, Estonia, April 23 (UPI) -- The foreign ministers of NATO's 28 countries, at a meeting in Estonia, gave Bosnia-Herzegovina preliminary status for membership.

In Tallinn, the ministers agreed Thursday night to grant the former Yugoslav republic Membership Action Plan status, a step toward full membership, the EUobserver reported.

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In a statement on its Web site, NATO said the country's application for MAP status, which was passed over in December, gained merit for its military participation in Afghanistan and stabilization of interior policy.

"Since then, Bosnia and Herzegovina has made significant progress on reform. NATO foreign ministers welcome its decision on destruction of surplus ammunition and arms and its new (Afghanistan) contributions," the statement said.

The invitation came with conditions, which included a federal consolidation and accounting of weaponry.

Bosnia-Herzegovina has a tripartite ethnic-oriented government of Bosnian Muslims, Croats and Serbs. The Serbian contingent is reluctant to cede control of weaponry to a federal level, which is an impediment to NATO's offer.

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