Russian foreign minister Yevgeny Primakov admitted to journalists in New York on September 28 that NATO enlargement appears to be inevitable. The Kremlin’s chief diplomat also restated both Russia’s opposition to NATO’s plans and Moscow’s threat to reconsider its adherence to the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty (CFE) should expansion become a reality. Primakov nevertheless said that he does not foresee a new Cold War in Europe over the issue, and he expressed his hope that tensions related to NATO would not undermine relations with the U.S. Indeed, following a meeting with U.S. president Bill Clinton, Primakov expressed satisfaction over what he described as Washington’s "balanced policy" toward Russia and its willingness to build relations with Moscow on the basis of equality and mutual advantage. He also suggested that U.S. officials had thanked Moscow for successfully urging restraint on Iraqi leaders during the recent hostilities in the Persian Gulf. Primakov’s relatively cheerful assessment of relations between the two countries was a far cry from that which he used in the immediate aftermath of the Iraqi crisis, when he accused Washington of, among other things, seeking to dominate the post-Cold War world. (Itar-Tass, Interfax, September 29)
On the issue of NATO enlargement, talks in Bergen, Norway between NATO defense chiefs and Russian defense minister Igor Rodionov also ended in a deadlock. U.S. defense secretary William Perry said following his return from Norway that the atmosphere had been a positive one during Rodionov’s first meeting with his NATO counterparts, and that Western defense chiefs were cheered by Rodionov’s pledge that Moscow will continue to work with NATO despite the alliance’s expansion plans. But Perry also admitted that the two sides had made no progress whatsoever on a much hoped for political agreement between Moscow and NATO. He suggested that Russian leaders seem inclined to stonewall that issue until they are "satisfied on the outcome of NATO enlargement." (AP, September 29; Interfax, September 30)
Recriminations Over Victory of Communist-Backed Candidates.