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East: Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council Foreign Ministers Meet

Luxembourg, 29 May 1998 (RFE/RL) -- Foreign Ministers from the 16 NATO members and from 28 additional states, mostly from Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union, met in Luxembourg today to discuss security issues.

After the meeting of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC), the ministers issued a statement condemning Pakistan and India for conducting nuclear weapons tests this month. They urged the two countries to cease from conducting new tests, and to begin a dialogue to reduce tensions in South Asia.

The ministers also agreed to deepen their military ties with Ukraine. They announced plans to station a permanent NATO liason officer in Kyiv to boost cooperation between NATO and Ukraine's armed forces.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Boris Tarasyuk hailed the accord as a "very important achievement" that he said will contribute to Ukraine's "integration into European and Euro-Atlantic structures."

The foreign ministers also discussed tensions in the Balkans. They were addressed by the International High Representative for Bosnia, Carlos Westendorp, who discussed the worsening conditions there.

More violence was reported in Serbia's troubled Kosova province, ahead of a meeting between ethnic Albanian leaders and U.S. President Bill Clinton in Washington. The semi-official Serbian media center in Prishtina reported that ethnic-Albanian separatists attacked a police escort accompanying a food convoy to the town of Decani near the Albanian border. The report said mortar launchers and automatic weapons were used in the attack.

The ministers statement expressed "serious concerns about the situation in Kosova" and condemned increased violence there. Ministers called for dialogue between Belgrade and leaders of Kosova's ethnic Albanian majority.