WESTERN LEADERS REAFFIRM IRREVOCABLE EXPANSION OF NATO.
Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 38
U.S. President Bill Clinton and NATO secretary general Javier Solana, meeting in Washington February 20, reaffirmed their support for "steady, deliberate" progress in expanding the NATO military alliance. During a speech at Georgetown University, Solana described the conflict in Bosnia as a "wake-up call" to Europe that stability cannot be taken for granted. Both he and Clinton also emphasized the importance of Russian participation in European security affairs and the construction of a "genuinely substantive NATO-Russian Partnership."
Their remarks on the expansion of the alliance were reinforced a day later by German defense minister Volker Ruehe, who insisted in a newspaper interview that vehement opposition from Russia would not disrupt NATO’s plans to admit new members from eastern Europe. "The process of opening NATO to new members has begun and it is irrevocable," he told the Sueddeutsche Zeitung. Ruehe also said that German chancellor Helmut Kohl’s recommendation, made recently in Moscow, that discussion of enlargement be postponed until after presidential elections in Russia and the United States, in no way altered the alliance’s timetable for admission of new members.
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