The issue of NATO’s expansion remained in the news yesterday. In Washington, U.S. secretary of state-designate Madeleine Albright told a Senate confirmation hearing that she will continue to be a forceful advocate for a policy of expanding NATO to all countries in Europe able to "shoulder alliance responsibilities." The Czech-born diplomat and scholar also indirectly rebuffed Moscow’s claims that enlargement into Eastern Europe would lead to new dividing lines in Europe, arguing instead that "NATO cannot and should not preserve the old Iron Curtain as its eastern frontier." The energies of Russian president Boris Yeltsin would be better devoted to "restoring the momentum behind internal reforms" than to opposing the Western alliance’s enlargement plans, Albright added.
Albright, who until her nomination for secretary of state served as U.S. representative to the UN, also voiced NATO’s standard position that enlargement should proceed in a fashion that takes into account Moscow’s security concerns, and referred to the U.S.-Russian "special relationship" and to ongoing negotiations over the conclusion of a NATO-Russian "charter agreement." But she said that this does not mean Russia should be given veto power over the alliance’s broader policy of admitting new members. (UPI, AP, Reuter, January 8) Political observers in Moscow have reacted with some trepidation to Albright’s nomination, describing her as a more forceful personality than her predecessor and identifying her as among the strongest proponents of NATO enlargement in the Clinton Administration. Some of these same observers have also suggested that Albright will spearhead a renewed U.S. effort to dominate world politics and to push Moscow to the margins of the international community.(See Monitor, December 8)
…As Russia Aims to Limit Nato Forces in Eastern Europe.