A Finnish Summit (3/20/97)
Albright: NATO Will Expand (3/18/97)
Prepping For Helsinki (3/17/97)
Finland Interested In NATO Role
Finnish Foreign Minister takes her case to Albright
By Judd Ginsberg/CNN
HELSINKI, Finland (AllPolitics, March 20) -- Though the dispute over U.S. plans to expand NATO have centered on former East Bloc states, the host country for this week's Clinton-Yeltsin summit may also be vying for a NATO membership card.
State Department officials say Finland's foreign minister, Tarja Halonen, told U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright today that NATO should continue to admit new members after the first round is named this summer, and suggested that Finland might be interested in membership at a later date.
Russian President Boris Yeltsin told Finland's leading newspaper, Helsingin Sanomat, last Sunday that Finland should not think of joining NATO.
Halonen and Albright met shortly after Albright arrived in Helsinki with President Bill Clinton for the two-day summit.
Their talk this afternoon is believed to be the first bilateral meeting between two female foreign ministers. Albright has met Turkish Foreign Minister Tansu Ciller, but that was part of a larger NATO meeting.
One official said Halonen greeted Albright by saying, "I have been waiting for this moment for a long time." Albright responded, "I am delighted to be a member of the club."
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