Washington, 18 March 1997 (RFE/RL) - U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright today reiterated that the expansion of NATO will go ahead despite Russian objections.
She told reporters at the White House, however, that NATO is a new and changed organization as Russia is a changed and new country and that there is room to develop a security arrangement acceptable to all.
Albright said the Cold War is over and Russia is now America's friend and that they can work together to build a new structure.
At the same time, Albright denied that the United States and Russia are bargaining away the future of Central and East European countries.
She said the first new members to be invited this summer will be full members and they will not be the last. No European democracy will be excluded from future consideration, she said.
Albright made the remarks in a briefing for reporters in advance of the summit in Helsinki, Finland later this week between U.S. President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yesltsin.