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Central/Eastern Europe: NATO Costs Expected In December

Washington, 23 October 1997 (RFE/RL) - A senior U.S. military official says the NATO alliance should know by the end of the year how much it will cost to add the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland to the alliance.

General Henry Shelton, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee yesterday that enlargement costs are under intense study. He says the alliance will know how much expansion will cost each of its 16 members and how much it will cost the three prospective new members. The costs will be reviewed by NATO defense and foreign ministers at a meeting in Brussels on December 15.

The full U.S. Senate must approve amendments to the NATO treaty, as do the legislatures of the other members. There is general support in the Senate for enlargement but many senators are concerned about how much of the cost of expansion the U.S. will have to bear.

The U.S. has estimated that it will cost between $27 billion and $35 billion over 10 years to expand NATO. The U.S. share is put at about $200 million over the 10 year period. However, there are other estimates by experts that are both higher and lower.