Albright thaws out the Moscow chill

The US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright, flew out of Moscow last night after striking up a surprisingly amicable relationship with the Russians, without making much progress in overcoming their fierce objections to the expansion of Nato.

As she left for the Asian leg of her high-speed nine-capital tour, Russia continued to hold out for a legally binding charter governing its relationship with an enlarged Alliance, including a promise that no nuclear weapons will be stationed on the soil of new members.

Although Mrs Albright spoke of making "important progress" in her crucial first meeting as Secretary of State with the Russian Foreign Minister, Yevgeny Primakov, it was clear that no agreement had been reached on a number of key issues during her 24-hour trip. Although Mr Primakov complimented the talks as "fruitful", he said that Russia was "still negatively disposed" to Nato's growth, although it was "doing everything we can conceivably think of in order to minimalise the negative consequences."

However, the arrival of the Albright express in Moscow produced little of the fury that has recently emanated out of Moscow with every mention of Nato's plans to move towards Russia's borders, an issue that many believe threatens stability in Russia. Significantly, a generally amicable relationship appears to have grown up between Ms Albright and Mr Primakov - in contrast to the chill that hung over his dealings with Warren Christopher, her predecessor.

Although Nato has said it will go ahead with its expansion plans without an agreement with Russia, it would prefer to strike an accord before the Madrid summit in July, when it will start the process of admitting new members - probably, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland.

This will be no easy task. Although Russia can do little to stop Nato expansion, it wants to extract the best terms possible. Mr Primakov yesterday reiterated Moscow's demand that any charter with Nato should be ratified by the Alliance's member parliaments, and should include a no-nukes pledge. "Ms Albright confirmed the fact that there is no intention to deploy nuclear weapons on the territory of the countries in Central and East Europe. We feel that that should be reflected in the document," he said.

But Nato is not willing to place itself in a position where it can never deploy nuclear weapons in the region in future. And that, say Russians, means that Cold War sentiments live on.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk