Bonn wants limit to first wave of Nato expansion

Agencies - Nato should invite only three new members when the alliance moves toward eastward expansion this summer, Germany's Defence Minister said yesterday.

"I favour starting carefully and then developing the relationship between Nato and Russia," Volker Ruhe said. "In my view, we should start with three members."

The alliance plans to offer some former Soviet bloc countries membership at an alliance summit meeting in Madrid on 8-9 July. Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary are the most likely candidates. But some countries have plumped for other candidates. Italy has backed Slovenia and France has called for Romania to be invited.

Mr Ruhe's comments made it plain that Germany opposes widening the first group, although he said the allies have not made a final decision. Mr Ruhe added: "There must also be a clear signal that the process will continue."

There is still debate within Nato over whether enlargement will continue to include a second wave of countries.

President Jacques Chirac said yesterday that all European countries had a right to join the Atlantic alliance. Mr Chirac's office said he made the comment in a meeting with visiting Slovakian Prime Minister, Vladimir Meciar, whose country is not expected to be in the first group of countries invited to join the alliance.

There is particular concern amongst the Baltic states, Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, that they will not be included in the first wave of expansion. In Brussels, on Wednesday, Lithuania's Foreign Minister, Algirdas Saudargas, said at least one of the three should be included.

"In order to make the enlargement process a success, it is important that at least one Baltic country should be invited to join the alliance with the first group," Mr Saudargas told a meeting of Nato ambassadors and aspirant members. "We want to be part of the alliance, because both common sense and the success of the alliance members suggest that the best, the most effective, and the least expensive way of building and developing a national defence system is through participation in collective defence arrangements."

In Helsinki yesterday, about 30 Lithuanian students gathered across the street from President Bill Clinton's hotel to press their demand for their country's admission to Nato. The students, chanting "We will be in Nato," to the rhythm of Queen's "We Will Rock You," earlier stood outside Finlandia Hall, one of the press centres set up for the meeting of Mr Clinton and Russia's President Boris Yeltsin.

The students distributed flyers appealing to Mr Clinton to push for Nato membership for Lithuania, because "our security and enhanced stability are not a threat to anybody, neither East nor West".

Suggested Topics
News
news

Lincoln MP Karl McCartney 'denied all knowledge' of the Twitter activity

News
Michael Buerk in the I'm A Celebrity jungle 2014
people
News
The author PD James, who died on 27 November 2014
people

Detective novelist who wrote Death comes to Pemberley passed away peacefully at her home, aged 94

Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
filmDirector said film would 'never have been financed' with ethnic minority actors in key roles
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Life and Style
tech
News
people
Life and Style
tech Manband spurn Spotify to stream album exclusively with Google
News
Irradiated turkey and freeze dried mash potato will be on the menu this thanksgiving
video
News
Andy Murray with his girlfriend of nine years, Kim Sears who he has got engaged to
peopleWimbledon champion announces engagement to girlfriend Kim Sears
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: Finance and Office Administrator

£35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An award winning field marketing agency ...

Recruitment Genius: Part Time Telesales / Appointment Maker

£10000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A professional telesales/appoin...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Execution Trader

£30000 - £250000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A global Rolling Spot FX, Comm...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Day In a Page

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?