Former Sen. Bob Dole on Sunday praised Romania’s progress toward democracy and encouraged the country to continue its reforms.
Dole, the former Kansas senator who lost to President Clinton in last year’s elections, arrived Sunday for a two-day visit.
The official Rompres news agency also quoted Dole as saying relations between Romania and United States must be strengthened - no matter which country is invited to join NATO.
This former communist country wants to be among the first countries to join the alliance, but the White House is backing three other countries: Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary.
Invitations will be made at a summit meeting next month.
President Emil Constantinescu said the visit should be seen as the first step toward establishing a strategic partnership.
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