Report: Yeltsin to skip NATO expansion summit
June 18, 1997
Web posted at: 5:01 p.m. EDT (2101 GMT)
MOSCOW (CNN) -- Russian President Boris Yeltsin will not
attend a NATO summit in Madrid next month because he
disapproves of NATO expansion into Eastern Europe, the
Russian news agency ITAR-Tass reported Wednesday.
Citing an unidentified source close to the president, the
agency said Yeltsin plans to publicly announce his decision,
possibly as early as Thursday.
The report could not be immediately confirmed. The
Presidential Press service, reached by phone by CNN, said
it had no information about the possible announcement.
At the July 8-9 summit, NATO is expected to announce which
Eastern European nations are invited to join the alliance.
Yeltsin has strongly opposed the expansion effort, saying it
threatens Russia's national security.
Russian officials and political analysts, contacted by CNN
in the past few days, have said it was almost certain Yeltsin
would not attend.
"I am absolutely sure the president would not go to Madrid
because, in this case, that would show that Yeltsin or the
Russian government is supporting this whole concept of NATO
expansion," said Vyacheslav Nikonov, the head of Polity
Foundation, a Russian think tank.
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