PRESIDENTS PRONOUNCE "LAST WORD" ON YELTSIN’S SECURITY PLAN.
Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 211
Meeting yesterday in Palanga (Lithuania), Presidents Lennart Meri of Estonia, Guntis Ulmanis of Latvia, and Algirdas Brazauskas of Lithuania conclusively declined Russian president Boris Yeltsin’s offer of a security pact as a substitute for Baltic accession to NATO. Yeltsin’s proposal "does not correspond to the spirit of the new Europe. Unilateral security guarantees and regional security treaties are not on Estonia’s, Latvia’s, and Lithuania’s agenda…The security of Europe is indivisible. Our countries’ consistent goal is accession to the European Union and NATO," the three presidents declared in a joint communique. At the same time, the three presidents welcomed and reciprocated the wish for goodneighborly relations, economic cooperation, and political dialogue that had been expressed by Yeltsin in introducing his recent offer. (BNS, Western agencies, November 10)
Originally proposed by Yeltsin last March during his meeting in Helsinki with U.S. president Bill Clinton, the security plan has since been promoted by Russia’s Foreign Ministry in international forums and in discussions with NATO, as well as to the Baltic states themselves. Yeltsin resubmitted it on October 24 to the three Baltic states in a more elaborate version, envisaging also the inclusion of other Baltic Sea countries in the proposed regional pact and adding political and economic dimensions. The Lithuanian, Latvian, and Estonian foreign ministries turned down the proposal in separate but similar statements after October 24. Nevertheless, Russian Foreign Ministry chief spokesman Gennady Tarasov stated last week that "the last [Baltic] word has not yet been spoken" and placed the onus on the three Baltic presidents to speak that word at their scheduled meeting in Palanga. They did so yesterday.
Finland last week also turned down the security aspects of Yeltsin’s proposal. Lithuanian parliament chairman Vytautas Landsbergis yesterday drew attention to the fact that Finland, "which is in effect the fourth Baltic state, albeit with a different fate," cited many of the same reasons as Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania had done in declining the offer. (BNS, November 10)
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