US firm on new recruits for Nato
Thursday 21 March 1996
Central Europe Correspondent
Nato was determined to take in new members from former Warsaw Pact countries and would do so despite strong Russian objections, Warren Christopher, the US Secretary of State, said yesterday.
Speaking in Prague, he said Nato enlargement was on track and that those hoping to come on board would not be kept "in the waiting-room for ever". At the same time, he insisted Russia was not to be excluded from what he hoped would evolve into an undivided Europe and that it too had a "positive contribution" to make to the continent's security.
His remarks came as Nato's Secretary-General, Javier Solana, spent a day trying to put the alliance's case in Moscow, where there is fierce opposition to enlargement. Tomorrow Mr Christopher will seek to reduce Russian anxiety in meetings with President Yeltsin and other officials.
While stressing the desire not to isolate Moscow, Mr Christopher said the integration of Central Europe into Western structures such as Nato and the European Union would neither determine nor be determined by events in Russia. He was critical of what he termed a "dark vision of the future" presented by the Russian parliament, which last week voted in favour of reconstituting the Soviet Union. "History must not be reversed. No nation in Europe should ever again be consigned to a buffer-zone between great powers, or relegated to another nation's sphere of interest."
Mr Christopher's words of reassurance were well received by his Czech hosts and the foreign ministers of 11 other Central and East European countries who had flown to Prague to hear them. Although some would have liked him to have gone further - outlining a timetable for Nato admission - they were relieved to hear that no delays were envisaged.
Having produced a study on the "how" and "why" of enlargement last year, Nato members are this year considering the questions of "who" and "when", with answers expected to be forthcoming at a meeting in December.
Mr Christopher did not specify which countries were likely to join first, but they are widely believed to be Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic.
The prospect of seeing its former vassal states joining the old Nato enemy has horrified many in Russia. President Yeltsin has even said that enlargement could ignite "the flame of war" across Europe.
- 2 This letter from a reader explains why women can’t play football
- 4 Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries
Sean Abbott: Messages of support flood in for bowler after death of Phil Hughes
Black Friday 2014: Opening times for Asda, John Lewis, GAME, PC World and Argos
Dr Lam Hoe Yeoh: Voyeur doctor jailed for eight years after using network of hidden cameras to film patients, colleagues and friends on the toilet
'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
Obama: The only people with the right to object to immigration are Native Americans
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Ukip mocked after mistaking Westminster Cathedral – for a mosque
Sarah Vine criticises lesbian mother Jack Monroe: 'If she was unsure about her sexuality, she should have taken greater precautions'
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's most progressive and innovativ...
£19000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to our clients continuing s...
£15000 - £16800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Tyre Technician / Mechanic is...
£26000 per annum: h2 Recruit Ltd: London, Reading , Southend, Aldershot, Luto...