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NATO/Russia: U.S. Sees No Dispute Over Pact Interpretations

  • Kevin Foley

Washington, 16 May 1997 (RFE/RL) - The State Department says the United States does not believe there are any major problems with Russia over the intepretation of the agreement that outlines Russia's relations with the NATO military alliance.

Spokesman Nicholas Burns says the "Founding Act," as it is officially called, is quite clear, and that the U.S. and its NATO partners have what he called a full understanding with the Russian Government.

The accord was reached Wednesday in Moscow. It is intended to ease Russian concerns about the anticipated expansion of the alliance into Central and Eastern Europe, a move that Russia still opposes.

Questions have been raised in Moscow about whether the alliance has promised to never deploy nuclear weapons in any of the new member states, and whether NATO will make use of the military facilities built in any of the old Warsaw Pact states -- Bulgaria, the former Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland and Romania -- when they were military allies of the Soviet Union.

Burns says the agreement is "very clear on these points," and he says that if there are any problems, they will be worked out.

The text of the accord says NATO has "no intention, no plan and no reason to deploy nuclear weapons on the territory of new members." But it stops short of saying this will always be the case.

The document also says that NATO will have to rely on existing military structures in the new member states in order to carry out its mission.