Kremlin press spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky announced yesterday that President Boris Yeltsin will travel to Paris on May 26-27 for the signing of the recently concluded NATO-Russia political agreement. But Yastrzhembsky also indicated that Moscow will, as it has in recent days (see yesterday’s Monitor), continue to contest interpretation of the document. "The signing of the agreement is not the end, but the beginning of its life: it begins the struggle over its interpretation," he told reporters. According to Yastrzhembsky, Yeltsin plans also to submit the document to the Russian parliament — for approval and possible amendment — after it is signed. That act is sure to raise objections among NATO member states, who consider the document to have been crafted so as not to require parliamentary approval. Western leaders are likely to be equally unhappy with Moscow’s threat, repeated yesterday, to revise relations with NATO as set out in the document should the alliance choose later to admit countries from the former USSR. (AP, Itar-Tass, May 20)
During a speech in Washington yesterday that was apparently designed at least in part to rebuff Moscow’s recent interpretations of the NATO-Russia agreement, U.S. deputy secretary of state Strobe Talbott warned that, if a new threats develop, NATO could revise its own pledge not to station nuclear arms and "substantial" conventional forces in newly admitted member states. "The alliance reserves the unilateral right to reassess the security environment at any time and, if it felt there was a new challenge, to change deployments accordingly," he said. Notwithstanding Moscow’s threats on the inadmissibility of admitting former Soviet republics into NATO, Talbott also said that "the first [newly admitted] members will not be the last," and that "the door [to NATO membership] is open and no emerging democracy that aspires to full integration is excluded." (Reuter, May 20)
Yeltsin Comes to the Aid of the Airborne Troops.