REACTION TO HELSINKI SUMMIT: CAUTIOUS HOPE, CALLS FOR ACTION.
Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 58
Lithuanian president Algirdas Brazauskas said over the weekend that Lithuania’s early accession to NATO would help achieve Clinton’s and Yeltsin’s jointly proclaimed goal — a stable, secure, and indivisible Europe. Lithuania’s own path to security is the path to NATO, Brazauskas reiterated. Foreign Minister Algirdas Saudargas felt encouraged by Clinton’s words that no country may veto NATO’s decisions, but urged NATO to "convincingly demonstrate that Baltic states are on the membership track by admitting at least one of them in the first round of enlargement." The summit at least "did not diminish Lithuania’s chances to join NATO," he noted.
Latvian foreign minister Valdis Birkavs expressed the relief "experienced by all countries aspiring to NATO membership" over the summit’s outcome, "which could not have been better and might have been worse." Birkavs stressed that the summit has upheld each country’s right to choose its allies, and that Latvia has irreversibly chosen NATO. In Tallinn, in the absence of the president and foreign minister, Prime Minister Mart Siimann described the summit’s outcome as "positive" and a justification of Estonia’s "hope that NATO’s door will be kept open." (BNS, Western agencies, March 21-23) Prior to the summit, Riga and Vilnius had expressed apprehensions over a possible compromise at their expense.
Estonian-Russian Cultural Agreement Signed; Looted Art Remains a Problem.