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Will summit ease tensions over NATO?

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The White House says Russia's differences with the United States on NATO expansion are likely to persist after President Clinton and Boris Yeltsin meet this week.

In strained pre-summit talks with Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov at the White House on Monday, Clinton urged Russia to soften its resistance to NATO's planned expansion.But before flying home to report to Yeltsin, Primakov said, "Russia will not change its position." And in Moscow, Yeltsin said, "We can't move any further."

The United States and its allies have been offering concessions to Russia to ease its concerns about NATO's absorbing former Soviet allies and creeping up to Russia's western border.

Among the overtures that Clinton took up with Primakov were promises NATO leaders would make that an expanded NATO posed no threat to Moscow and giving Russia a greater voice in the G-7 economic conferences of the world's leading industrialized democracies.

Afterward, White House press secretary Mike McCurry would not say whether the meeting had brought the two sides closer.

Clinton and Yeltsin will do that work at their summit in Helsinki, Finland, on Thursday and Friday.

Meanwhile, Yeltsin told American, Russian and Finnish television networks in Moscow:

"I don't want a return to the Cold War, and neither do our people, but to avoid that there must be equal conditions. I'm for a multipolar world, not one in which the United States will command everyone else."