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Russia And Poland Remain Divided On NATO Expansion

Moscow, April 9 (RFE/RL) - Russian President Boris Yeltsin said today he and Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski continue to disagree over NATO's plans for eastward expansion.

But Yeltsin also said that he and Kwasniewski "decided that there is time for this question to be decided and we will not make hasty conclusions." He added that despite their differences on NATO he hoped relations between Poland and Russia would improve.

The two leaders met in Moscow. Kwasniewski is making his first visit to Russia since being elected.

Russian Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov met with Kwasniewski yesterday. Zyuganov said at a press conference in Moscow today that he and Kwasniewski discussed the issue of NATO's eastward expansion as well as Poland's presidential elections last year.

Zyuganov said that the Russian Communist Party opposes any NATO expansion. He also said his party is preparing a proposal suggesting full Russian security guarantees to Central and Eastern European countries in exchange for their refusal to join NATO.

Yeltsin has repeatedly said that expansion of the alliance could result in new tensions in Europe. Zyuganov is Yeltsin's main rival so far for the June presidential elections.

Poland is regarded as one of the leading contenders from among the former Soviet-led Warsaw Pact countries for NATO membership. Russia strongly opposes NATO's expansion eastward.