Washington, 5 March 1997 (RFE/RL) - U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright says a NATO alliance with new members from Central and Eastern Europe will also strengthen the security and stability of Russia.
She says the United States and its NATO partners believe they are slowly convincing Russia that an enlarged alliance does not pose a threat to Moscow.
Albright appeared before a U.S. House of Representatives budget subcommittee today. She saidt she believes that NATO membership will do for the countries of Central Europe what the U.S. Marshall Plan did for the economic recovery of Western Europe after the second world war.
The secretary of state says NATO will create a web for the new democracies of the region and help bring them back into western institutions, and that it will also provide a security system against internal instability.
NATO is expected to invite the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland to join the 16-nation alliance this summer. Many other former communist countries in the region are also eager to join. Russia is against the expansion plan.