Nato tries to impress a reluctant Russia

Yevgeny Primakov, the Russian foreign minister, was last night holding talks in Brussels with Javier Solana, the Nato secretary-general, amid increasing concern about East-West disagreement on Nato enlargement.

The meeting took place following the visit to Moscow by Madeleine Albright, the US secretary of state, during which attempts to ease Russian fears about enlargement of the alliance, including the offer of a joint Russian- Nato brigade, appear to have failed. The Primakov-Solana talks were subject to a news blackout, but it was understood that Mr Solana intended to try to persuade Mr Primakov to back a deal on enlargement to ensure the plans could be finalised at the Nato summit to be held in Madrid in June.

In Moscow, President Boris Yeltsin renewed his attack on Nato expansion, but said he thought a compromise would be reached at a summit next month with President Bill Clinton.