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Russia/US: Congressmen Write Clinton On Yeltsin Summit

Washington, 19 March 1997 (RFE/RL) - The chairmen of the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe have urged President Bill Clinton to seek a reaffirmation from Russian President Boris Yeltsin that Moscow rejects seeking spheres of influence in Eastern Europe, especially over Ukraine.

Commission Chairman Senator Alfonse D'Amato (R-New York) and co-chairman Congressman Christopher Smith (R-New Jersey), in a letter to the President about his summit this week with Yeltsin, said they were concerned that efforts to forge a formal partnership between Russia and NATO would give Moscow an implied veto over new membership or ties with other East and Central European nations.

They said they are particularly concerned over Russia's continued refusal to accept Ukrainian sovereignty over the port of Sevastopol and the division of the Black Sea Fleet headquartered there.

The commission leaders asked Clinton to underscore unwavering U.S. support for Ukraine's sovereignty.