Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 56

In what U.S. officials described as a major foreign policy speech, U.S. secretary of state Warren Christopher yesterday promised Eastern European countries that NATO "has made a commitment to take in new members and it must not, and will not, keep new democracies in the waiting room forever." His pledge, coming during a meeting in Prague of foreign ministers from the former East Bloc, appeared directed not only at his audience, but also at Moscow. Christopher challenged Russia to accept the inevitability of NATO expansion and to work constructively toward developing its own relationship with the West through special ties to NATO and integration in other institutions. Urging Moscow not to spurn the West’s overtures and thereby "isolate itself," Christopher said that "we must work to avoid the danger of three Europes — a prosperous, stable West, a center on its way to NATO and the EU, and an East consigned to isolation and crisis." (Reuter, March 20)

It was unclear to what extent the speech was influenced by the Russian Duma’s March 17 vote renouncing the disbandment of the USSR, but it marked a sharpening in Washington’s tone on the enlargement issue. Christopher also appeared to reject a compromise option being proposed