Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 131

As U.S. president Bill Clinton vacationed in Spain over the weekend, leaders of the 16- member NATO alliance prepped for what could be a discordant two-day summit starting tomorrow in the Spanish capital. A disagreement between the U.S. and a group of its European allies over the number of states to be invited to join the alliance was back in the news as Clinton, on the eve of his departure for Spain, reiterated Washington’s insistence that membership invitations be issued to only three candidate countries — Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic. France, meanwhile, has accused the U.S. of arrogance and has spearheaded a European initiative to invite Romania and Slovenia into the alliance as well, insisting that they meet NATO’s admission criteria as fully as do the first three countries. Paris and Washington have also clashed over France’s call for the U.S. to hand over command of NATO’s southern command to the Europeans. Washington has flatly rejected the demand, and it is largely for that reason that plans to overhaul NATO’s military command will not be completed in Madrid. (Western agencies, July 3-6)

The Kremlin is undoubtedly observing such evidence of fractiousness with satisfaction. Russia’s political elite has been virtually unanimous in opposing both NATO’s enlargement and the emergence of the alliance as Europe’s dominant post-Cold War security structure. Although Moscow signed a long-negotiated political agreement with NATO on May 27, Russian political leaders have continued to argue against enlargement not only because they say it is directed against Russia, but also on the grounds that enlargement will undermine rather than promote stability in Europe. That view, which has also been embraced by some in the West who themselves oppose enlargement, was apparently repeated by an unnamed senior Russian official on July 4. He told Western reporters that NATO had become obsolete with the ending of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet military threat. (AP, July 4) The Kremlin had intimated on several occasions in recent months that Boris Yeltsin might attend the NATO event, but last week Moscow announced that it would send a delegation led by a deputy prime minister and a deputy foreign minister. (See Monitor, July 1)

Major Investment Planned for Kazakhstan’s Aluminum Industry.