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E-mail From Washington

From: Wolf Blitzer/CNN
In: Washington
Posted: 4-17-97

Subject: Clinton will visit Paris for NATO-Russia agreement

President Bill Clinton is planning to be in Paris on May 27 to participate in an expected NATO agreement with Russia outlining the terms of the alliance's expansion, CNN has learned.

Russian President Boris Yeltsin said today, following a meeting with German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, that he would sign the agreement in Paris. Kohl said important differences still remain to be worked out.

U.S. officials tell CNN they expect those details will be worked out. If Yeltsin is in Paris on May 27 for a signing ceremony, they say Clinton will be there as well.

Logistically it would be relatively easy for the U.S. president to be in Paris. He already is scheduled to attend the European Union summit at The Hague May 28-29. That summit will also commemorate the 50th anniversary of the U.S. Marshall Plan, which promoted European economic development.

The NATO allies are planning to formally announce an expansion at their summit in Madrid in July, with Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic joining the alliance. Yeltsin has opposed the expansion but the allies have been seeking to ease his concerns by drafting a so-called 'Charter' outlining the terms of the expansion.

At the recent summit in Helsinki, President Clinton made clear to the Russian president that the NATO allies were going ahead with expansion whether Russia liked it or not.

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