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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

NATO Talks Go to Overtime

Negotiations between NATO Secretary General Javier Solana and Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov dragged into the night Tuesday as the sides tried to reach agreement on a proposed Russia-NATO charter.

Primakov said the closed-door talks will determine if the accord will be ready by the target date of May 27.

"We would like that to happen," Interfax quoted Primakov as saying. "But not everything depends on us. Let us see what Solana is bringing with him." Despite the sharp dispute between Russia and NATO over plans to invite Eastern European nations to join the alliance, there is little doubt that the charter will be worked out. The question is when.

Primakov says May 27 is not an absolute deadline and Russia that will not sign a raw document.

The minister met Tuesday with President Boris Yeltsin to discuss the talks, presidential spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky said. Yeltsin did not plan to meet Solana but might call him, he said.

At its July summit in Madrid, NATO is expected to offer membership to three former Soviet satellites in Eastern Europe -- the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary -- by 1999.

Russia says the move would jeopardize its security and create new lines of division in Europe, but has no means to stop the expansion and wants to soften its impact.

Yeltsin, meanwhile, started a round of telephone talks with leaders of several NATO countries.

He spoke with German Chancellor Helmut Kohl and British Prime Minister Tony Blair on Tuesday, Yeltsin's press service said. The three leaders stressed the need for a Russia-NATO agreement to strengthen security and cooperation in Europe.