Lithuanian President Valdas Adamkus disclosed yesterday that the three Baltic countries have decided to avoid racing against each other for admission to NATO. During the Washington summit, Adamkus and his Estonian and Latvian counterparts, Lennart Meri and Guntis Ulmanis, informed U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright of their agreement on two principles: “No Baltic country would object if any one of them is invited to join NATO ahead of the other two. They will not insist on their simultaneous admission as a group” (International agencies, April 26).
The latter point does not renounce the concept of admission as a group, but it does allow for staggered admission. The decision apparently stems, at least in part, from the Baltic experience with the process of admission to the European Union. It decided to treat the three Baltic states individually, rather than as a group. This propelled Estonia to the frontrunner’s position, generating some acrimony in Latvia and Lithuania. The three states would like to prevent another potentially divisive process. Lithuania tends at this stage to be considered the Baltic frontrunner for eventual admission to NATO. NATO’s summit, however, has neither singled out Lithuania in that role nor set a timetable for Baltic accession (see the Monitor, April 26).
TOWARD A BROADER FORMAT FOR KARABAKH AND ABKHAZIA NEGOTIATIONS?