PARTNERSHIP FOR PEACE

 

A chara, - Mark Brennock (March 29th) accuses me of making an "alarmist" and "patently incorrect" statement by asserting that members of the NATO sponsored Partnership for Peace (PFP) are also allies of NATO. I wish to refute Mr Brennock's accusations, which detract slightly from his otherwise excellent coverage of the debate on the White, Paper on Foreign Policy.

Members of the PFP could be considered allies of NATO as" both are committed to joint military manoeuvres. The manoeuvres which have taken place to date have suggested that boosting arms supplies to Eastern European countries is the hidden agenda behind the Partnership for Peace.

Last year the US undertook nine joint and multilateral military training exercises in Albania. Another exercise is planned for July. The US has become a major arms supplier to Albania. Its defence secretary, William Perry, said recently that it had contributed more than $2 million for equipment to Albania in 1991.

I am fully aware of the Russian president, Boris Yeltsin's recent promise, as quoted by Mr Brennock, of a tougher line against NATO expansion to the east. In many respects Mr Yeltsin's comments, could be taken as mere posturing, as much consensus has built up between NATO and his government.

If that is not the case, why has the West scarcely murmured in protest at Mr Yeltsin's stormtrooper tactics in the Chechnya conflict? Why was there hardly any opposition to Russia recently joining the human rights body, the Council of Europe, despite mounting evidence of Russian atrocities in Chechnya?

If I have been alarmist in warning about the further selling out of Irish neutrality through closer links with NATO and/or the Western European Union (WEU), then so have Fianna Fail, Democratic Left, the former Minister for Foreign Affairs, James Dooge, and many well respected peace, disarmament and development groups. For some the message is unpalatable. Please don't shoot the messengers. - Le gach dea-ghui,

European Parliament Offices,

Molesworth Street,

Dublin 2.