"Today, I want to state America’s goal: By 1999 — NATO’s 50th anniversary and ten years after the fall of the Berlin Wall — the first group of countries we invite to join should be full-fledged members of NATO," U.S. president Bill Clinton told an audience in Detroit yesterday. Clinton warned against allowing a "a gray zone of insecurity" to re-emerge in Europe, and said that the West must not "allow the Iron Curtain to be replaced by a veil of indifference." But the U.S. president also held out an olive branch to Moscow, urging those in Russia who "still look at NATO through a Cold War prism" to reconsider their views. "NATO will promote greater stability in Europe," Clinton said, "and Russia will be among the beneficiaries." Clinton restated an American proposal for conclusion of a formal agreement between Russia and NATO.
In his own remarks, Republican challenger Bob Dole tried to put some distance between himself and Clinton on the enlargement issue. Dole called for the alliance to take in additional members a year earlier, in 1998, and criticized the president for "dragging his feet since 1993" on enlargement. He also assumed a more assertive posture toward Moscow, urging that the "cries of extreme Russian nationalists" not be allowed to deflect NATO from its enlargement plans. Dole added that the "framework of peace must include assurances to the Baltic states and Ukraine," particularly given "the ongoing instability in Russia." Both men were campaigning in Michigan and, with the election only two weeks away, were clearly aiming for support from Midwestern voters with ties to Eastern Europe. (Western agencies, October 22) To date the presidential campaign has been notably short of discussion on foreign policy issues.
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