Defense Minister Pavel Grachev said yesterday that he would meet U.S. Secretary of Defense William Perry on Sunday in Switzerland to discuss the Bosnian conflict, NATO’s Partnership for Peace program and prospects of holding joint exercises. Grachev said the meeting had been arranged during a recent telephone conversation between Russian President Boris Yeltsin and U.S. President Bill Clinton. (1)
Russia’s role in the Bosnian peace force no doubt will be the main topic at the meeting. Moscow wants to participate in the force, but Grachev said it would not do so under NATO command and control. Earlier this week, Perry told reporters NATO would find ways to include Russia in the peace force without putting its forces under NATO’s direct authority. Among themselves, Grachev and other senior Russian military officers were surely pleased to learn yesterday that NATO’s decision to postpone action on enlargement of the Western alliance until early 1997. As a consequence, in Sunday’s talks with their American counterparts they will up the ante. The Generals almost certainly will stress that Russia wants cancellation, not suspension, of NATO expansion; express even more misgivings about participation in the Partnership for Peace program; and be even less enthusiastic than before about going ahead with the series of joint military exercises planned with the United States. The Defense Minister and his chief advisers may well have concluded from the general drift of recent NATO pronouncements that their own tough talk and scare tactics have played a key role in transforming Russia’s military weakness into negotiating strength.
More Russian Reaction to NATO Enlargement Plans.