PRIMAKOV: BALL IN NATO’S COURT.
Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 41
Following talks in Copenhagen yesterday, Russian foreign minister Yevgeny Primakov told reporters that the "ball is now in NATO’s court" on the question of future relations between Russia and the Western alliance, and that Moscow awaits a "constructive response" to proposals it passed to the alliance on February 23. Primakov also reiterated Moscow’s continued opposition to NATO’s enlargement and the Kremlin’s long-stated contention that it will deepen divisions in Europe. But, in a further corroboration of the belief in Brussels that Moscow is now willing to deal on the expansion issue, Primakov allowed that "in order to make [these divisions] less deep, we are conducting consultations with NATO and are prepared to sign a corresponding document. (Itar-Tass, February 26)
Following the meeting between Primakov and NATO secretary general Javier Solana that took place in Brussels on February 23, NATO officials revealed that Primakov had produced four draft documents containing proposals that, the officials said, were surprisingly close to NATO’s own thinking on future relations between Russia and the alliance. And although significant differences were said to remain between the two parties — including especially Moscow’s insistence that any political agreement be politically binding and that no sophisticated military equipment be stationed on new member states — one official described Moscow as being for the first time "engaged, constructive, and reasonable" in talking about various issues related to enlargement. "We now know," he said, that "they basically want to cut a deal." (The Washington Post, Itar-Tass, February 25)
Latvia Accommodates Russia in Border Negotiations.