Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 203

NATO secretary-general Javier Solana has suggested to a Russian news agency that the Western alliance will seek to conclude an agreement on future relations with Russia by the end of this year. Interfax quoted the NATO leader as saying that he would endeavor to "achieve a firm agreement suitable to both Russia and NATO" and that he was optimistic the agreement could be signed as early as late 1996. Solana said that the type of agreement — a charter or a treaty — is not so important at present, but that the document is likely to be comprised of three components: "a declaration, a mechanism for consultation, and a mechanism for collaboration." Solana also offered Moscow assurances that NATO has no intention of stationing nuclear weapons in any new member state, and he suggested that Moscow’s concerns over the extension of NATO’s military infrastructure eastward might be alleviated by unspecified adaptations in the CFE Treaty. (Interfax, October 29)

According to a Russian security council official, Solana’s remarks were an indication that the Western alliance now supports an earlier call by Russian president Boris Yeltsin – -made on September 28 — for NATO to conclude an agreement with Moscow prior to admitting new members. The official also named two conditions that are likely to be at the center of negotiations between Moscow and Brussels on enlargement: the "non-deployment of nuclear arms in new NATO countries" and a "ban on the location of troops of other NATO members" on the territories of new member-states. The official suggested that an interdepartmental working group drawn from the Foreign Affairs Ministry, the Security Council, and various "power" structures and Duma committees would participate in the drafting of any potential agreement between Russia and NATO. (Itar-Tass, October 29) Western leaders have insisted to date that a political agreement between NATO and Russia would confer upon Moscow neither a veto power over new members nor voting rights on alliance matters, a consideration not mentioned in Interfax’s report of Solana’s remarks.

CIS Defense Ministers’ Meeting: A Dud in Dushanbe.