Interviewed on state radio yesterday, Foreign Minister Valdis Birkavs touched on a number of issues in Latvia’s external relations and security policies. As a long-time promoter of a Western orientation, Birkavs made two particularly significant points. He observed that “there are political forces both in Latvia and Russia which do not want a successful development of NATO’s enlargement.” He also urged the government to act “as soon as possible” in order to increase Latvia’s defense spending in 1999 and thereafter. Birkavs, furthermore, called for allocating funds for the overdue step of opening a Latvian mission at NATO (BNS, January 19).
UKRAINIAN INVOLVEMENT IN AFRICAN WARS DENIED.