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NATO Expansion Raises Fears

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Issue: 18 Section: International News

May 28, 2004

NATO Expansion Raises Fears

(Oslo) Russian defence minister Sergei Ivanov indicated that Russia and NATO plan this year to sign a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) that would allow the former Cold War rivals to deploy military forces in each other's territory. Konstantin Kosachev, head of the State Duma's International Relations Committee, dismissed speculation that such an agreement would impinge on Russian security saying, "The future agreement in no way hurts our country's sovereignty and does not allow NATO military units to take any steps in Russia without its agreement." A NATO spokesman in Brussels confirmed that the alliance has SOFAs with many nations with which it participates in training exercises. He maintained that it is "a standard technical agreement" and is nothing more than "politically important".

On April 2nd, NATO accepted seven former Warsaw Pact nations into the alliance, including Bulgaria, Lithuania and Romania. NATO has more than doubled the number of its full member nations, now totaling 26, since the fall of the Berlin wall and has begun to work closely with a further 20. Critics suggest that such a large membership defeats the original purpose of NATO as a quick-reaction defence force. They note that every country to join NATO in recent years has committed forces to the "coalition of the willing" in Iraq, with the exception of Slovenia. This trend is raising fears that NATO, to whom membership is largely vetted by the US, UK and France, is seeking to move into roles traditionally occupied by the UN.

» Moscow Times: A NATO Cooperation Pact May Be Signed Soon

» Pravda: Russia-NATO: Too many words, not enough sincerity

» CNN: Bush welcomes NATO's new seven

» Global Security: Non-US Forces in Iraq - 20 May 2004

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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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