Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 116

President Boris Yeltsin took an assertive line as he prepares for a visit to the West, saying a firm "no" to NATO’s enlargement plan and the extension of the nuclear umbrella eastwards. He said Moscow had contributed more than the four other members of the Contact Group–the United States, Britain, France and Germany–to the peace process in former Yugoslavia. Yeltsin also insisted on his proposal to hold an international conference on former Yugoslavia next year in Russia. (1)

Yeltsin is trying to reassure the professional military and opposition politicians that he will take an uncompromising line in upcoming talks with Western leaders. The military is particularly exercised about the likely operational consequences of NATO extension. It wants to thwart any plans to ring Russia with nuclear weapons placed on the territory of some of its former republics and erstwhile east European allies. Conservatives also have accused Yeltsin’s government, especially Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev, of allowing Russia to be sidelined in former Yugoslavia and of betraying Moscow’s traditional Serb allies. Even reformers have charged the ministry with having dropped the ball in allowing the United States to assume the peacemaker’s role in Russia’s backyard. Yeltsin will visit President Chirac in France before going on to address the UN General Assembly meeting in New York, which is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the founding of the world organization.

….Says "No" to NATO Command.