Munich, 15 April 1997 (RFE/RL) - German officials expect this week's new round of talks between NATO and Russia to be "extremely difficult" because they involve key issues of expanding NATO's military infrastructure eastward, a matter on which NATO is not prepared to compromise.
German officials say NATO will try to address Russian concerns in a paper to be presented this week at the negotiations in Vienna on amending the 1990 treaty on conventional forces in Europe (CFE).
It calls for more transparency in military matters to create more confidence. In effect, it means NATO will offer Russia full information about any changes in the military infrastructure in Central Europe, including the development of airfields, military depots, command centers and other facilities. Russia would have the right to satisfy itself that the information supplied by NATO is correct.
These measures, known as Security and Confidence Building Measures (CSBM) are already part of the Treaty on conventional weapons in Europe which Moscow signed in 1990 and the agreement reached at the Stockholm security conference in 1983. In the past Moscow has expressed satisfaction with these type of inspections.
The overall framework of the planned agreement between Russia and NATO was discussed by U.S. President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin at their meeting in Helsinki on March 21.
The outstanding problems in the negotiations are also likely to be discussed during Yeltsin's visit to Germany tomorrow. German Chancellor Helmut Kohl has repeatedly said that NATO must take into account Russia's concerns about NATOUs enlargement in the East.