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Baltics: Prime Ministers Fail To Sign Declaration On EU Membership

Tallinn, 12 June 1997 (RFE/RL) -- The three Baltic prime ministers, meeting today in Tallinn, failed to sign -- as expected -- a joint declaration reaffirming their countries' readiness to join the European Union.

Correspondents report that there was a difference of opinions among the three -- Mart Siimann (Estonia), Andris Shkele (Latvia) and Gediminas Vagnorius (Lithuania).

But a spokesman (unnamed) for the Estonian government downplayed this suggestion. He said the three counties have always said they want to be EU members and, in his words, "no new statement was needed."

Siimann delivered an oral join statement saying the Baltic countries are ready to start accession negotiations with the EU immediately. This comes shortly before EU leaders are to meet at a summit next week (June 16-17) in Amsterdam to decide reforms to pave the way for taking in new members.