Addressing a session of the NATO Council in Brussels, Estonian President Lennart Meri expressed concern over an increasingly apparent “lack of political will” to enlarge the alliance. Meri noted that the theme of enlargement is fading out from political discourse, and that decisionmakers seem reluctant to face up to the fundamental issues involved. Moreover, he said, Russia seems to be inhibiting the enlargement through “harsh statements about a ‘red line’ demarcating ex-Soviet republics. If we fail to demonstrate that Europe has really changed, then we don’t support new thinking in Russia, but confirm instead that the old ways are good enough. Playing the red line game is not the way to help solve Russia’s problems and to avoid their spillover.” Meri identified “lack of political will” as one of the major reasons for the slow pace of the reunification of Europe (BNS, Russian agencies, November 5).
In Washington yesterday, Danish Foreign Minister Niels Ilelveg Petersen issued a strong call for inclusion of the three Baltic states in the next enlargement round of NATO. The Danes–leading advocates of the Baltic states in NATO and the EU–were cited as seeking “a more specific commitment from the United States regarding Baltic membership in the alliance.” U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, however, seemed to pass up the opportunity to take a clear-cut stand (UPI, November 5).
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