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Bulgaria's Parliament Adopts NATO Declaration after Long Debates
Politics: 28 March 2003, Friday.

Parliament adopted on Friday a declaration on the occasion of the signing of Bulgaria's NATO accession protocol by the ambassadors of the 19 Alliance member countries this week. The text was sponsored by the ruling coalition and rightist opposition United Democratic Forces. 165 lawmakers voted in favor, 38 against and 10 abstained.

The document notes the consistency of Bulgaria's stand on NATO and EU over the past thirteen years. The text recalls Bulgaria's stance on Iraq and expressed support for the government's policy on the conflict.

With the adoption of the declaration, the Bulgarian Parliament expressed Bulgaria's readiness to complete the reforms necessary for its full NATO membership.

The declaration was adopted after long debates as left wing Coalition for Bulgaria and ruling party splinted group National Ideal for Unity moved their own versions of the declaration.

The socialists said that the text in favor of the government's policy on the Iraq crisis should be removed. A left wing lawmaker proposed a referendum to be held on Bulgaria's accession to NATO and suggested that a text on a referendum be added to the declaration.

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