Warsaw, 10 July 1997 (RFE/RL) - U.S. President Bill Clinton received a red-carpet welcome today as he arrived in Warsaw to discuss details of Nato membership with Polish officials. Our correspondent in Warsaw says Clinton went directly into talks with Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski.
Later today, Clinton is scheduled to speak for about 15 minutes to a public gathering at Castle Square in Warsaw's Old Town district. Reuters reports Clinton is to meet with Lech Walesa, the ex-Solidarity leader and former Polish president. Walesa had pushed hard for Poland admission into Nato when Clinton last visited Warsaw in 1994.
Clinton arrived today directly from a summit in Madrid where the leaders of the 16-nation alliance formally invited Poland, Hungary and the Czech Repulic to join.
A beaming Kwasniewski told Clinton that the president's visit represented a "great day for the Polish people."
Clinton's aides say he will deliver a sober message to the three candidate countries today, saying that they must pay their share for the security offered by the alliance.
He is scheduled to travel tomorrow to Bucharest, where he is expected to ensure Romania and other NATO applicants that the door to the alliance will remain open to them for future expansions.
U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is accompanying Clinton. Albright also is scheduled to tour Slovenia, which was named at the Madrid summit along with Romania as a strong future candidate. Albright plans to also visit Lithuania, St. Petersburg in Russia, and next week, Prague.