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Russia: German Paper Says NATO Agreement To Be Signed In May

Munich, 25 March 1997 (RFE/RL) -- A prominent German newspaper, the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" says it has learned that the cooperation agreement between NATO and Russia will be signed at the end of May.

It said the document would be signed at a special summit meeting of President Boris Yeltsin and the leaders of the 16 NATO countries. The newspaper said neither the location nor the date for the summit had been set but it noted that the NATO council will meet in the Portugese resort of Sintra on May 29

U.S. President Bill Clinton will be in Europe at that time. He is scheduled to have talks in the Dutch capital, The Hague, on May 28 with the current chairman of the European Union, Willem Kok and the president of the European commission, Jacques Santer. .

The newspaper, which has close ties with the German government, did not give the source of its report. It said it had learned the information in Brussels, where both NATO and the European Union have their headquarters.

The "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" said the end of May for signing the document had been agreed by President Clinton and President Yeltsin at their summit in Helsinki. It said Clinton had proposed the date after first discussing it with the NATO allies.

The newspaper said NATO and Russia are now under considerable time pressure because much remains to be done to reach agreement on the document, which is intended to formalize relations between Russia and NATO. It said Clinton and Yeltsin only agreed on the framework of the document at their talks in Helsinki. The details still had to be completed.

The main negotiations have been conducted between NATO secretary-general Javier Solana and Russian foreign minister Yevegeni Primakov. Solana and Primakov are scheduled to meet again in the middle of April.

The "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" said the document will have five articles, of which the first three remain open because of differences between the two sides.

Article One describes the transformation of Europe into a democracy and the need for an all-European security structure. In particular it defines NATO's role in this all-European structure. The "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" says Russia is pressing for NATO to provide precise information about its plans for its future development and its transformation into an organization concerned particularly with securing peace.

Article Two contains the principles of the relationship between NATO and Russia. The newspaper says difficulties have arisen because of Russia's reluctance to accept a statement declaring that every European state has the right to join an alliance of its own choice. A similar declaration already exists in the document agreed by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) at its summit meeting in Budapest in December 1995.

Article Three concerns the instruments which will govern this relationship, particularly the joint NATO-Russia Council and the representative offices of Russia in Brussels and NATO in Moscow.

Article Four describes the areas where cooperation will be required.

Article Five deals with NATO's relationship to its new members in Central Europe.

The newspaper says Clinton and Yeltsin agreed that Article Five should contain the declarations already made by NATO that it has no intention of stationing nuclear missiles or troops from the traditional NATO countries on the territory of new members.

The newspaper said arguments continue over Russia's efforts to control the development of NATO infrastructure on the territory of its new members. This covers such things as airfields, airforce command centers, military storage capacity and pipelines.