Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 38

NATO is set to begin this year discussions on enlargement with individual countries aspiring to become members of the alliance, according to the NATO Secretary General’s senior advisor Christopher Donnelly, who was cited by Baltic media reports. Donnelly said at a briefing in Riga that countries seeking membership should themselves advance talks on enlargement issues. Those countries should substantiate their aspiration to join the alliance by actively working toward that goal, he said, rather than lining up and awaiting their turn to be admitted. NATO is seeking ways to enlarge the alliance without creating risks to the security of countries that will not be admitted in the first wave. A possible Baltic regional defense alliance would not be an obstacle to those states’ quest for NATO membership, Donnelly was quoted as saying. (5)

The NATO advisor’s remarks on enlargement provide welcome reassurance to Baltic governments, concerned lest they be considered for NATO membership only after other countries are admitted. The issue of a Baltic defense alliance has also preoccupied the three countries recently, with influential Estonian and Latvian circles supporting the idea and the Lithuanian government objecting; the latter government has said that a regional alliance would jeopardize the three countries’ efforts to join NATO.

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