NATO officials in Brussels are reported to be increasingly confident that a NATO-Russian political agreement can be finalized next week and say that the alliance is prepared to offer Moscow a few additional "sweeteners" to ensure that the deal is clinched. Officials were unwilling to say what those inducements might be, but they will apparently be presented to Russian foreign minister Yevgeny Primakov when he holds talks with NATO secretary general Javier Solana on May 13. (Reuter, May 8)
NATO leaders appear to have been encouraged by recent signals out of Moscow, including Boris Yeltsin’s remarks yesterday during a Victory Day ceremony. Yeltsin continued to emphasize Moscow’s bitter opposition to NATO enlargement, going so far as to call it both the worst diplomatic crisis between Russia and the U.S. since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis and a development that should "ring alarm bells in all European countries and the United States." But the Russian president also said he wanted Primakov and Solana to sort out the remaining differences between the two sides during their May 13 meeting, and suggested that he might take part in the talks himself in order to ensure that the document is ready for signing before NATO’s July summit in Madrid. "This would reduce the threat to our national security though would not remove it fully," Yeltsin was quoted as saying. Yeltsin also said that it is "essential" for Russia to take part in NATO decision-making and reiterated Moscow’s demand that NATO not move nuclear or conventional forces onto the territories of new member states. (Reuter, Itar-Tass, May 8)
Russia Claims Increased Foreign Spying on Its Territory.