Gorbachev slams NATO’s east European expansion

April 3rd, 2009 - 4:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Brussels, April 3 (IANS) Former president of the erstwhile Soviet Union Mikhail Gorbachev has criticised NATO for its expansion to the east of Europe, Prensa Latina reported Friday.
“Government leaders of Germany, the US and other western countries promised right after the fall of the Wall of Berlin in 1989, that NATO would not move a single centimetre in the direction to the then called Soviet Union,” Gorbachev said in Berlin Thursday.

NATO now includes former Socialist countries like Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, many of which share borders with Russia.

“Perhaps they have rubbed their hands together seeing that they have fooled the Russian government,” Gorbachev was quoted as saying by the Belgian media.

“This contributed to the fact that no one ever more believed in the promises of the western countries,” he stated.

The NATO Summit, to be held Friday and Saturday in the German cities of Baden-Baden and Kehl, and in the French city of Strasbourg, is now facing strong protests and a parallel summit against it, to denounce the wars and the abuses of power of the military bloc.

After the confrontations between demonstrators and the police in Strasbourg, the German police stopped the course of pacifist groups from Germany to France, forcing the demonstrators to hold solidarity marches in Kehl.

“The demonstrators will defend themselves if they are attacked,” said Monty Sachaedel, one of the organisers of the parallel summit.

In the meeting to celebrate the 60th anniversary of NATO, its 28 members might choose the new secretary general to replace Jaap de Hoop Scheffer of the Netherlands.

One of the candidates with more possibilities is former Danish prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, but the names of Norway’s former foreign minister Jones Gahr Stre, and former Bulgarian foreign minister Solomon Passi have also appeared as the front runners for the post.

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