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NATO: Albright Discussing Expansion With British Officials

London, 19 February 1997 (RFE/RL) - U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is due to have talks in London at this hour with British officials on NATO's proposed eastwards expansion. Albright is visiting British Prime Minister John Major at his Downing Street office after spending the afternoon touring the nearby World War II headquarters of Winston Churchill.

In a bid to ease Moscow's concerns over NATO's plans to expand into Central and Eastern Europe, Albright proposed to allied foreign ministers in Brussels yesterday that NATO form a joint military brigade with Russia for peacekeeping operations in Europe.

Albright is to discuss the idea in Moscow tomorrow, the next stop of her current tour. Russian foreign minister Yevgeny Primakov declined comment today on the proposal, saying he had only heard it through the media. But Interfax quotes deputy foreign minister Nikolai Afanasyevsky as saying the idea "would be of interest to us."