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PM Sanader receives Norwegian foreign minister

ZAGREB, July 3 (Hina) - Prime Minister Ivo Sanader on Thursday received Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store for talks on Croatia's accession to NATO, the course of entry negotiations with the European Union, and the situation in the region, the government said in a statement.

Sanader expressed gratitude for Norway's support to Croatia in the accomplishment of its strategic goals, and stressed that Croatia's progress in Euro-Atlantic integration helped to achieve lasting stability in the region.

Store commended Croatia's progress, and said that Norway appreciated Croatia's active and responsible role in international politics and engagement in peace missions.

He announced that Norway would launch this year the ratification of the protocol on Croatia's NATO accession, so that Croatia could join next year.

The two officials also discussed cooperation in tourism and shipbuilding. The number of Norwegians visiting Croatia is growing, and nearly 100,000 are expected this year.