The 16 members of the NATO alliance on May 16 formally approved the political agreement negotiated several days earlier by Russian foreign minister Yevgeny Primakov and NATO secretary general Javier Solana. A communique from the alliance also confirmed that the agreement — officially called the "Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation, and Security between NATO and the Russia Federation" — will be signed by NATO and Russia in Paris on May 27. Diplomatic sources in Paris indicated on May 16 that preparations for the May 27 signing ceremony have already begun, and that a meeting between Russian president Boris Yeltsin and French president Jacques Chirac has been tentatively scheduled for the eve of the summit. Chirac made a brief stop in Moscow on May 17 in order to discuss with Yeltsin the NATO-Russia agreement and preparations for the Paris meeting. (Reuter, AP, Itar-Tass, May 16)
Russia, meanwhile, has not yet formally approved the NATO-Russia agreement. The country’s lower house of parliament on May 16 passed a resolution calling on Yeltsin to provide the deputies with a copy of the agreement for their consideration. The president’s representative to the Duma, Aleksandr Kotenkov, announced the same day that Yeltsin plans to meet with representatives from the Duma’s various factions and groups in order to explain the latest developments in relations with NATO. Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov may also appear before the Duma with the same object in mind. Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov on May 16 told reporters that the NATO-Russian accord seemed to be "more like a treaty on [Russia’s] complete capitulation than an agreement," a sentiment that probably reflects a more general disapproval of the agreement in the Russian parliament. (Itar-Tass, May 16)
Maskhadov Orders Independent Armed Formations to Disband.