Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Saturday, March 13, 1999 Published at 03:53 GMT

World: Europe

Concerns over Nato expansion

Poland's membership now takes Nato forces 400 miles east

Russia has repeated its opposition to the expansion of Nato as three new members - the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland - joined the security alliance.

Shortly before a ceremony in the US officially extending Nato's borders (640 km) 400 miles eastwards, the Russian foreign ministry warned that the expansion would produce new dividing lines in Europe.

"Russia's view of Nato enlargement has not changed and remains negative," the foreign ministry said in a statement

[ image: Many people fear that Nato expansion will divide Europe]
Many people fear that Nato expansion will divide Europe
In the Kremlin the Defence Ministry's head of international relations told reporters he believed the enlargement of Nato to be "a dangerous and historic mistake which could have serious consequences."

Colonel-General Leonid Ivashov said: "European history convincingly shows that as soon as the balance of forces are upset on the continent, the result is instability in political processes, conflicts and wars.".

But he said Russia would continue to co-operate with the alliance under the 1997 Nato-Russia Founding Act.

'Sad event'

"Russia agreed to co-operate with Nato and is developing that co-operation," he said. "But it's a two-way street."

Earlier in the week Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said Moscow regarded the development as "a sad event" and "a movement in the wrong direction".

"All European states must co-operate in creating a joint security system," he said. "All European states must work together in the interests of all countries rather than of separate groups."

On Friday the Belarus President, Alexander Lukashenko, added his concerns at the alliance's eastward expansion and repeated his call for Ukraine to join Belarus and Russia in a pan-Slavic bloc.

Shared border

Speaking in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev, at the start of a two-day visit, Mr Lukashenko said Belarus would consider strengthening its armed forces now that it shared a border with a Nato member.

"We have to take into account that our border with Poland has become a border with NATO," he said

But he added he would not press Ukraine's President Leonard Kuchma to join an alliance to counter the influence of Nato.

Correspondents say that Ukraine, which co-operates with Nato through its Partnership for Peace programme, is reluctant to join an alliance which would limit its ties with its Western neighbours.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©

Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia

Relevant Stories

12 Mar 99 | Europe
Poland's 'greatest prize'

11 Mar 99 | World
Enlarging Nato: Q&A

27 Dec 98 | Europe
Russia deploys new nuclear missiles

Internet Links

Prime Minister of Hungary

Czech Republic

Harry S Truman Library and Museum


The official Website of Poland

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

In this section

Violence greets Clinton visit

Russian forces pound Grozny

EU fraud: a billion dollar bill

Next steps for peace

Cardinal may face loan-shark charges

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

Trans-Turkish pipeline deal signed

French party seeks new leader

Jube tube debut

Athens riots for Clinton visit

UN envoy discusses Chechnya in Moscow

Solana new Western European Union chief

Moldova's PM-designate withdraws

Chechen government welcomes summit

In pictures: Clinton's violent welcome

Georgia protests over Russian 'attack'

UN chief: No Chechen 'catastrophe'

New arms control treaty for Europe

From Business
Mannesmann fights back

EU fraud -- a billion-dollar bill

New moves in Spain's terror scandal

EU allows labelling of British beef

UN seeks more security in Chechnya

Athens riots for Clinton visit

Russia's media war over Chechnya

Homeless suffer as quake toll rises

Analysis: East-West relations must shift