Vol. 1, No. 68, 8 July1997
HISTORIC NATO SUMMIT OPENS IN MADRID. Leaders of the 16 NATO countries are
taking part in a historic summit in Madrid on expanding into Eastern and
Central Europe. Opening the summit on 8 July, NATO Secretary-General Javier
Solana called the meeting a "defining moment" for the alliance, saying it will
be remembered as the time when "North America and Europe came together to
shape the course of a new century." The NATO leaders are scheduled to issue
invitations to between three and five Central and Eastern European countries
to join the alliance. The U.S. has backed first-wave inclusion of only Poland,
the Czech Republic, and Hungary. British Prime Minister Tony Blair has
strongly backed the U.S. argument that NATO's eastward expansion should be
limited to just three countries, RFE/RL correspondents in Madrid report. But
France and Italy also want to invite Romania and Slovenia. French President
Jacques Chirac, addressing fellow NATO leaders at the summit, said NATO could
damage its cohesion by refusing to include Romania and Slovenia as new members
in the first wave of expansion. NATO is also to sign an agreement on a special
relationship with Ukraine at the summit.
HUNGARIAN FOREIGN MINISTER APPEALS FOR SLOVENIAN, ROMANIAN ENTRY INTO
Before leaving for Madrid to attend the NATO summit, Foreign Minister Laszlo
Kovacs on 7 July appealed to the alliance to include Romania and Slovenia in
the first wave of enlargement, Hungarian media reported. He said the move
would ensure stability in southeastern Europe and would contribute to the
improvement of bilateral relations. He added that setting up a time frame for
a second wave would prevent a new division in Europe as a side effect of the
SLOVENIA STILL HOPES FOR NATO MEMBERSHIP. Prime Minister Janez Drnovsek wrote
in the "Wall Street
Journal" on 8 July that his country deserves to be invited to join the
alliance at the Madrid summit. Drnovsek noted among the would-be members, only
his country never belonged to the Warsaw Pact and hence Slovenia's admission
could not be regarded as offensive to Russia. He added that Slovenia could
play a stabilizing role in the neighboring Balkans if it were part of NATO.
Drnovsek also pointed out that Slovenia's military already cooperates with its
Hungarian and Italian counterparts and that Slovenia could provide a land
bridge between Italy and Hungary, which currently borders no NATO country.
Italian President Luigi Scalfaro said in Ljubljana on 7 July that Slovenia
should become both a member of NATO and an associate member of the EU.
ALBANIAN DEMOCRATIC PARTY LEADER RESIGNS. Tritan Shehu said in Tirana on 7
July that he is quitting his post as chairman of the Democratic Party
following its overwhelming defeat in two rounds of parliamentary elections.
Latest unofficial figures for the 155-seat legislature give the Socialists at
least 77 mandates and the Democrats only 15. The Socialists and their
coalition partners will probably secure the two-thirds parliamentary majority
necessary to change the constitution. In quitting his post, Shehu blamed what
he called "armed Stalinists" for his party's poor showing. President Sali
Berisha is likely to succeed Shehu on resigning the presidency, which Berisha
has promised to do. Since Balkan political parties have traditionally been
organized around charismatic individuals rather than around programs or
ideologies, it is no surprise that Berisha will stay in charge of his party,
despite its electoral losses.
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