Heads of State and Government have
formally invited seven new countries to join the Alliance: Bulgaria,
Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.
The decision was announced at the opening session of the
two-day Summit meeting of NATO Heads of State and Government in the Czech
capital Prague on 21 and 22 November.
The invited countries joined NATO in 2004, after the
North Atlantic Treaty was passed by the parliaments and ratified by the
current 19 member States.
This was the fifth enlargement in the Alliance's history:
Greece and Turkey joined in 1952; Germany in 1955; Spain in 1982; and the
Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland in 1999.
NATO in Afghanistan
On 11 August 2003, NATO took over command and
coordination of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in
The North Atlantic Council, the Alliance’s top decision-making body, agreed
on 16 April 2003 to significantly expand NATO’s support to the international
peacekeeping force in Afghanistan.
NATO has already played a significant role in support of
ISAF, with NATO member countries providing 95% of the troops involved.
Neither ISAF’s name nor mission will change. The
operation will continue to operate under the United Nations mandate and the
ISAF banner, and the Alliance will continue to welcome non-NATO
The Alliance will be responsible for the planning and
command of the peacekeeping force. This will include providing a force
commander and headquarters.
JFC Brunssum's responsibility
The operation will be conducted under the overall command
of the Allied Command Operations and will be run by the Joint Force
Commander, at NATO's Joint Force Command Headquarters Brunssum (JFC HQ