Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 119

Speaking at an international seminar in Warsaw on NATO’s enlargement, Estonian prime minister Tiit Vahi and Latvian foreign minister Valdis Birkavs urged NATO to formulate and make public soon a concept for meeting the security needs of countries that will not be included in the first phase of the enlargement. Western policy in the Baltic area and the Baltic states’ security strategy must be clarified before NATO identifies the countries to be admitted in the first group, the Baltic speakers said. They stressed the undesirable consequences of creating a gray or buffer Baltic zone between an expanding NATO and Russia. While paying tribute to Nordic security assistance to the Baltic states, Vahi and Birkavs agreed with the Nordic countries that this could not substitute for NATO guarantees. Lithuanian prime minister Mindaugas Stankevicius covered these points in Vilnius with the visiting U.S. deputy defense secretary John White. (BNS, June 21 and 22) The presidents of the three Baltic states begin today an unprecedented joint visit to the U.S., during which they will focus on security issues in the talks with President Bill Clinton and other top officials.

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