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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.S. Signs Baltic Pacts

RIGA, Latvia () -- The United States on Thursday signed a defense cooperation accord with Latvia, one of the three Baltic republics waiting in the wings for NATO membership.

Walter Slocombe, U.S. undersecretary for defence policy, signed a similar pact Wednesday with Estonia. He was due to travel Friday to Lithuania where an accord has already been signed.

Meanwhile, the United States and NATO expect to talk with every candidate for membership, then decide by December NATO's course for expansion toward Russia, the Clinton administration said Wednesday.

And as that process plays out, Washington will discuss with Moscow its position on the question. Russia joined the pre-NATO "Partnership for Peace," but is on record strongly opposed to the Atlantic alliance's absorption of republics from the defunct Soviet Union and other Eastern European countries.