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Russia: Minister Predicts Problems With NATO Enlargement

By Lev Roitman and Giovanni Bensi

Madrid, 9 July 1997 (RFE/RL) - Russia's Deputy Prime Minister Valery Serov predicts NATO countries will encounter many problems as they move ahead with the process of enlargement.

The head of Russia's delegation to the NATO Summit in Madrid today noted the comments of NATO leaders on an open-door policy for those states that aspire to join the Alliance. But, Serov said he wondered what happens after one enters this door, and he said no one yet knows the answer.

Asked by reporters about possible NATO membership for Baltic states in the future, Serov said a great deal will depend on Russia's attitude and behavior and on developing security guarantees in the region. Serov said if Russia can reassure the Baltic states and create an atmosphere of mutual trust, then Moscow can "avoid NATO membership for the Baltic states."