Washington, 24 October 1996 (RFE/RL) -- The United States says it hopes Russia will eventually come to agree that NATO enlargement makes sense for Europe as a whole.
State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns made the comment yesterday. It follows U.S. President Bill Clinton's speech Tuesday in which Clinton expressed a commitment to bring some of the former Soviet bloc states into NATO by the end of 1999.
Russian foreign minister Yevgeny Primakov later gave what reporters describe as a cool reception to Clinton's speech. He repeated the Russian general position that Moscow views NATO expansion plans negatively.
Burns said Primakov's comments reflect the known Russian position, just as Clinton's speech in Detroit reflected everything the U.S. has been saying in recent years.
"The United States believes that we need to enlarge NATO and create a new relationship with Russia so that Europe can be united and peaceful and stable in the next century," said Burns.