Publication: Monitor Volume: 3 Issue: 11

Russia’s Foreign Ministry reacted strongly on January 14 to statements by Hungarian prime minister Gyula Horn, published in the German magazine "Der Spiegel," that were sharply critical of Russia’s attitude toward NATO enlargement. Ministry spokesman Gennadi Tarasov said that Moscow found particularly objectionable Horn’s statement that NATO enlargement is none of Russia’s business. He also criticized what he said was Horn’s "attempt to picture Russia as incapable of acting as a guarantor of European security for the sole reason that some still remember the former Soviet Union playing this role." On the first point, Tarasov asserted Russia’s right as a sovereign state to "defend its interests in key areas of European and Russian security." On the second point, he suggested that Moscow’s Soviet legacy is irrelevant today and that Russian foreign policy today is fundamentally different from that of its Soviet predecessor. (Interfax, January 14; Itar-Tass, January 15)

In Budapest, meanwhile, a Hungarian Foreign Ministry spokesman said on January 14 that Hungary had established an inter-ministerial government body to deal with issues related to the country’s entry into NATO. The new agency appears to be similar in function to one announced last week in Poland. Along with the Czech republic, Poland and Hungary are considered to be the front-runners for early admission into NATO. (Xinhua, January 14)

Russia Reports Huge Trade Surplus.