Russia, which will sit on the newly formed Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council and which itself concluded a sweeping political agreement with NATO in late May, nevertheless continued yesterday to view the summit’s proceedings with something less than enthusiasm. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Gennady Tarasov did suggest that Moscow would look to maintain friendly relations with Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic, despite the fact that the three countries had received invitations to join NATO a day earlier. Moscow has at various times in recent months intimated to its Eastern European neighbors that entry into NATO would harm bilateral relations with Russia. But Tarasov also reiterated Moscow’s contention that the NATO enlargement process would raise tensions while undermining hopes for the creation of a stable and secure Europe. Not unexpectedly, he also commented negatively on a passage contained in the NATO declaration issued a day earlier that pointed positively to possible NATO membership for the Baltic countries. Russian Duma chairman Gennady Seleznev was blunter, commenting that consideration of membership for the Baltic countries in NATO could compel Moscow to renounce the May 27 Russia-NATO Founding Act. (Itar-Tass, Reuter, July 9)
Fraud Charges Fly Anew in the Russian Press.