Salting the Mine

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WASHINGTON, D.C: Shades of Boutros-Boutros Ghali. The U.S. insists that the first round of NATO expansion include just three countries: Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. "The United States position is firm," said White House press secretary Mike McCurry. Though most NATO members would prefer to include Romania and Slovenia as well, the dispute is not critical. Fearing that including all five of the key nominees would make it harder to achieve the next round of NATO expansion, leaving countries like Albania out in the military alliance cold, Clinton wants to make two strong candidates wait. At NATO headquarters in Brussels, William Cohen was busy making that case on Thursday to Washington’s 15 NATO partners, who may have thought they had a say in the matter.