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Poland: Foreign Minister Says NATO Referendum Premature

Warsaw, 14 February 1997 (RFE/RL) - Polish Foreign Minister Dariusz Rosati, says it would be premature to hold a referendum on Poland's membership in an expanded NATO.

Responding to calls from opposition Social Democrats for a national vote on Nato membership, Rosati told journalists yesterday if a referendum is necessary, it can be held next year. But he believed it is not needed.

NATO is expected to open talks with potential new members after a summit in Madrid this summer. Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic are considered leading candidates. Russia opposes NATO's expansion.

Rosati said Poland is being kept up-to-date on talks between NATO and Russia.

Meanwhile the commander of NATO's joint forces in the Atlantic region said today he was impressed by the state of the Polish army. U.S. Gen. John Sheehan met Polish Defence Minister Jerzy Dobrzanski.