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NATO: Military Chiefs Discuss Command Structures

Brussels, 22 April 1997 (RFE/RL) - NATO's military chiefs have opened two days of meetings at Alliance headquarters. Today's meeting focuses on streamlining NATO command structures, in anticipation of expansion. Tomorrow, there is a joint session with representatives of states in NATO's "Partnership for Peace" program.

There are disputes among members on adapting NATO's command structure, but military chiefs today are expected to focus on Russia's repeated demands for various assurances on the Alliance's eastward expansion.

Officials tell our correspondent that they are willing to be reasonably flexible over setting limits on the stationing of troops, or even particular weapons systems. But, NATO military commanders say they would draw the line on the modernizing of infrastructure, such as bases and command-and-communications facilities. New members countries, they say, must be able to know that their military capabilities can be efficiently reinforced, if the need should ever arise.