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Words in the News
Wednesday 27 March 2002
Vocabulary from the news. Listen to and read the report then find explanations of difficult words below.

  Nato jeep
US backs major NATO expansion
Summary: An American Deputy Secretary of State, Richard Armitage, says Washington would like to see NATO admit as many new members as possible and has urged the candidates to redouble their efforts. This report from Barnaby Mason:
The News Listen  
  The aftermath of September 11th has increased the strategic importance of several areas of the world in Washington's eyes, and NATO's south-eastern flank is one of them. Bulgaria and Romania were seen as lagging far behind other NATO candidates like the Baltic states and Slovenia; now they seem more plausible.

Both countries seized the opportunity to show how useful they could be in President Bush's war on terrorism. They have opened their air space and military bases to the Americans for operations in Afghanistan, and the Romanians have sent peacekeeping troops to Kabul.

The two countries argue that their membership would fill the hole in NATO between Hungary and Turkey, help stabilise the Balkans and make it easier to protect oil pipelines. All this has not gone unnoticed. Richard Armitage praised the efforts of Bulgaria and Romania to help.

He said the Bush administration was looking for the widest possible expansion of NATO and encouraged them to sprint to the finishing line. But Mr Armitage also emphasised that no decision would be made until October, the month before the NATO summit in Prague.

Barnaby Mason, BBC

The Words Listen
the effects of a bad event

  in Washington's eyes
in the US government's opinion or view

  strategic importance
if something has strategic importance, then that thing gives a country or a army a military advantage

here - edge, border

  lagging far behind
if you lag behind something, then you are not moving or progressing as quickly as that thing

an explanation that is plausible seems likely to be true or valid

  seized the opportunity
if you seize the opportunity, then you take advantage of the situation

  fill the hole
if you fill the hole, then you fill a gap in something

here - help prevent a future conflict in the area

  sprint to the finishing line
here - to put in as much effort as possible in trying to become a member of NATO, in the short period of time before the summit meeting in Prague

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