Today’s one-on-one meeting between Kohl and Boris Yeltsin failed to reach a meeting of the minds on NATO enlargement. Previously, during a recent visit to Moscow by Kinkel, Yeltsin proclaimed that the two countries saw eye to eye on virtually all international issues with the exception of NATO enlargement. Following today’s two and one-half hour talk with Kohl, Yeltsin reaffirmed this position by telling reporters, "Our positions [on other issues] practically fully correspond," but that there was a "tonal" difference in their approaches to NATO expansion. "We strictly and firmly speak out against the expansion of NATO to the east, to the borders of Russia," the Itar-Tass news agency quoted the Russian leader as saying. "But my friend Helmut believes it is necessary to put off this problem for a long time, to refrain from talking about it in order to calm people down, and meanwhile think about some other solutions." (4) An unnamed source in the presidential administration said February 16 that this would be the most important issue on the agenda, and that Moscow would urge using 1996 as a waiting period during which options other than expansion might be considered. He charged that many of those countries seeking admission into NATO are doing so on the basis of anti-Russian sentiment, and also declared that NATO expansion would violate the "two plus four" Treaty that brought the unification of the two Germanys. (5)
Atomic Energy Minister Threatens West over NATO Expansion.