Washington, 9 April 1997 (RFE/RL) - Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien says NATO members must keep their promise of full membership in the alliance to central and eastern European nations in spite of Russian objections to NATO expansion.
At a press conference in Washington following his meeting yesterday with U.S. President Bill Clinton, Chretien says membership in the alliance was offered as an incentive to the former communist countries to encourage them to continue transformations to democratic, free market societies. He says NATO has to deliver on its word.
NATO is expected to invite the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland to become members when the alliance leaders meet in Spain in July.
Canada and the United States are original NATO members. Chretien said Clinton had done a great job in presenting the alliance's case for expansion to the Russian government.