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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

NATO: No Nuclear Arms Plans for East

BRUSSELS -- In a bid to appease Russia, NATO will formally disavow any plans to deploy nuclear weapons in any eastern European states that join the alliance, diplomats said Friday.


That assurance, aimed at countering Russian opposition to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's plans to expand eastward, will be included in a communique to be issued by NATO foreign ministers due to meet in Brussels on Tuesday.


The ministers will reiterate their pledge on Wednesday to Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov during a meeting of NATO's 16 member states and Russia.


One diplomat said that this "positive language" will be accompanied by a stipulation that Russia should not create a situation that would force NATO to reconsider its position.


U.S. Defense Secretary William Perry had told journalists late Wednesday that he felt NATO should make it clear to Russia that the alliance had no plans to expand its nuclear weapons deployment.


"I think NATO can and should make a very direct statement: 'We have no plans to expand the nuclear base in NATO and no need to expand the nuclear base in NATO,'" Perry said.


But the Russian foreign ministry dismissed as "inadequate" the proposed pledge. "Such a declaration will only be an intention, that is inadequate," foreign ministry spokesman Vladimir Andreyev said.


A Kremlin spokesman added that Russia does not consider the debate on the eastward enlargement of NATO as closed.