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May 29, 1998 Web posted at: 8:06 p.m. EDT (0006 GMT)
From Correspondent Walter Rodgers
JERUSALEM (CNN) - The recent nuclear explosions by Pakistan and India have raised Israeli concerns that Iran may be the next to join the nuclear club, sending the arms race spilling over into the Middle East.
Israel is long believed to have a nuclear monopoly in this region. So Muslims are heralding Pakistan's so-called "Islamic bomb," which they say levels the playing field.
"We were dreading the possibility of Israel dropping one nuclear bomb on Cairo or Baghdad or on Amman." says analyst Khalid Suleiman, "Most Muslims will be satisfied seeing a Muslim country becoming nuclear."
Israeli headlines read "Iran is next" after the Indian and Pakistani nuclear explosions.
Could it happen?
In the absence of tough criticism and sanctions, Israeli analysts predict, Iran could now build atomic bombs with much less international condemnation.
"Imagine how unstable the world will be if Iran were to detonate a nuclear device," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said.
After Iran, Israeli analysts warn, Iraq also could become a nuclear power within a year if international sanctions are lifted.
But the government's fears aside, there is no reason to believe that the Pakistani technology will translate into nuclear capability for Israel's enemies.
"Contrary to all other known weapons, (nuclear) bombs are not being handed over from one nation to another nation." said former Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres,
But Iran's quest for missile technology, demonstrated in a recent weapons parade, clearly suggests the specter of "Mutually Assured Destruction" is again very real.
"The fact (that) those hard-liners were able to roll out those missiles in public in Iran sends a signal, I think, to the Iranian public and the rest of the world and Israel that says 'Look out,'" said Gerald Steinberg, an Israeli analyst.
Israel officials say they are not directly threatened by the Pakistani nuclear tests, but they fear those same nuclear secrets might now be quietly sold to the next highest bidder.
ISLAMABAD: Prominent nuclear scientist Dr A Q Khan said Friday that Pakistan's nuclear explosions have created a deterrence in South Asia.
In an exclusive interview to 'The News', Dr Khan said India tried to call Pakistan's bluff by exploding its devices but "we have given them an appropriate response."
He said Pakistan had tested fission devices but could also explode a thermonuclear device if the government decided to do so.
Q: What did Pakistan achieve from these tests?
A: This has been a successful nuclear explosion by all definitions. It was exactly as we had planned and the results were as good as we were hoping.
Q: Was it a fission or fusion device?
A: They were all boosted fission devices using uranium 235. We have been manufacturing this at Kahuta for almost 18-19 years. The first enrichment was done on April 4, 1978. The plant was made operational in 1979 and by 1981 we were producing substantial quantities of uranium.
Q: What is the difference between a plutonium and an uranium based explosion?
A: Both are fission materials but the technologies are different. Plutonium needs a more arduous and hazardous procedure. It is a cumbersome and expensive process. Uranium is more difficult but safe. Very few countries have this technology.
Q: How does our nuclear programme compare with India's?
A: I would say that they have used the old technology of plutonium from spent fuel, whereas we have used enriched uranium which is much more sophisticated and a safer process. Devices made from plutonium have a worse fallout but the process is much safer.
Q: What was the total yield of our tests?
A: As the Prime Minister said, one was a big bomb which had a yield of about 30-35 kilotonne, which was twice as big as the one dropped on Hiroshima. The other four were small tactical weapons of low yield. Tipped on small missiles, they can be used in the battlefield against concentration of troops. None of these explosions were thermonuclear. We are doing research and can do a fusion blast, if asked. But it depends on the circumstances, political situation and the decision of the government.
Q: How long can that take?
A: Much quicker than one expects. When the Indians tried to call our bluff, we proved otherwise. When the Indian Prime Minister gave a go-ahead, their scientists took more than a month. Our scientists took 15-16 days.
Q: Has the target been achieved?
A: Research development is a continuous process. There is always a new target. You can reduce the size of the weapon, increase its yield and the storage life. We can make them more effective.
Q: How long is the storage life?
A: Enriched uranium's decay is almost negligible. It has unlimited life. Explosives used in them last for 10 years but are conventional and can be replaced.
Q: How many bombs does India have?
A: The numbers are less important than their effectiveness and sophistication. If there is a war, you need only a few. Deterrence is the main advantage. Now they know we also have nuclear weapons, they will think ten times before invading us.
Q: Who supervised the team that exploded the devices?
A: The team is very good and very competent. They are highly educated and courageous people. My presence was not necessary.
Q: Can our programme continue despite sanctions?
A: Yes, we can. Sanctions do not affect our programme. We are totally independent, self-reliant and make everything here.
Q: Have changes of government ever affected your programme?
A: It is a national project and no government ever caused any obstacle. Former president Ghulam Ishaq Khan was associated with it since Z A Bhutto's days. General Ziaul Haq also retained Ghulam Ishaq Khan. He later formed a board which included Agha Shahi, AGN Kazi, Sahebzada Yaqub and Gen K M Arif.
Ghulam Ishaq Khan took a very keen interest. He visited Kahuta every month and would see progress. Since General Zia's period was the longest, we made greater progress during his government. We achieved our goals. Prime Minister Junejo also extended full support and allowed Ghulam Ishaq Khan to continue. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif also supported the programme fully. So did Benazir Bhutto when she was the prime minister. Each government considered it a national priority.
Q: When did we achieve the capability to explode a nuclear device?
A: We attained this capability at the end of 1984. Pakistan never wanted to make nuclear weapons. It was forced to do so. In 1971 when East Pakistan was separated, it weakened Pakistan. The Indian nuclear explosion in 1974 brought a qualitative change. We kept quiet because there was no provocation. General Zia could and some people asked him to do so but he said no. He said there is an undeclared moratorium. Why should we do it. But when the BJP assumed power, Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee said India is a weapon state which created a big question of security for Pakistan. Sowe had no other option. It was not a difficult job for us. We have done more difficultthings before. We had always told our prime minister and the people that whenever weare asked, we can deliver.
Q: Our country's detractors says that Pakistan had already exploded a device in China,did you?
A: No country allows another country to explode a weapon. The only such agreement isbetween the United States and UK. Since "cold tests" give a fairly good assessment,we did not need to test a device in China.
We had done cold tests in 1983 and in 1984 we told Gen Zia that whenever you order, itwill not take more than a week or two to do it.
TEHRAN, May 30 (Reuters) - A senior Iranian foreign ministry official said in remarks published on Saturday the United States faced a ``legitimacy crisis'' in the Moslem world and Middle East because of its unconditional support for Israel.
``The U.S. has encountered a legitimacy crisis in the world of Islam, especially in the Middle East,'' said Sadeq Kharrazi, a senior foreign ministry adviser and former ambassador to the United Nations.
``The biggest mistake made by the U.S. is its unconditional endorsement of the Zionist regime (Israel) which goes beyond customary norms and is outside global logic,'' he was quoted as saying by the English-language Iran Daily.
``This crisis can seriously threaten American might and its regional status.''
Kharrazi was chief planner of last December's Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) Summit, widely viewed as a critical turning point in Iran's relations with key Moslem states, strained by Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution.
The well-attended Tehran summit contrasted with the sparsely-attended U.S.-backed Doha summit, intended to drum up support for the faltering Middle East peace process, one month earlier.
Kharrazi reiterated the call made last year by Iranian President Mohammad Khatami for a dialogue between Iranian and American people, but made no mention of official contacts.
Washington welcomed the Iranian call for people-to-people contacts and ``dialogue among civilisations'' made by Khatami in a television interview with the U.S. Cable News Network in December, but has said it prefers government-to-government contacts.
Since the election of Khatami last year, ties between Iran and the United States have warmed slightly, but differences remain.
``One can perhaps say that the issue of dialogue among civilisations is symbolic of Tehran's clear stand towards the world community, especially the U.S.,'' Kharrazi said.
``Despite Iran's obvious position, the U.S. is still incapable of understanding its implications and keeps insisting on the old American policies,'' he said.
Kharrazi welcomed the steady stream of American scholars and journalists who have visited Iran recently, saying they had contributed to transforming Iran's image positively in the U.S. REUTERS
By George Gedda Associated Press Writer Friday, May 29, 1998; 5:39 p.m. EDT
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The nationwide celebrations following nuclear tests in India and Pakistan carry a message that could tempt leaders elsewhere: Going nuclear is good politics.
This is one of the lessons that worry arms control experts as they contemplate the global implications of what the two South Asian nations have wrought.
And some experts believe the Middle East is the region with the fewest inhibitions about taking the same path.
``The next area to look at very carefully is the Middle East,'' said Paul Leventhal, president of the Nuclear Control Institute. He says the political lift received by the governments of India and Pakistan will not go unnoticed in countries such as Iran and Iraq.
The post-detonation outpourings of support in India and Pakistan demonstrated that membership in the select club of nuclear nations was largely a domestic issue in both countries, said Toby Dalton of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Other countries with a similar national zeal may follow the same path, he said. With Pakistan possessing the first ``Islamic bomb,'' he said, the idea may catch on in other Muslim countries.
Michael Eisenstadt, of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, is concerned that in the name of Islamic solidarity, Pakistani nuclear experts may be tempted to share their knowledge with Iran or other potential nuclear aspirants.
Administration officials believe that Iran has had a nuclear weapons program under way for some time but may be seven to 15 years away from becoming a bona fide power.
Leventhal believes Iraq may be capable of producing nuclear weapons today. ``The only question is whether they have been able to acquire fissile material,'' he said.
And what would Iran and Iraq do if they had nuclear weapons? ``Certainly Israel would be target No. 1,'' Dalton said. ``I don't know that the U.S. would be far behind.''
Eisenstadt said he doubted the testing in South Asia will produce any changes in Israel, long believed to have the bomb. Other analysts were uncertain of the impact on Libya, which is believed to have made little headway on achieving its nuclear ambitions, partly because of stringent United Nations sanctions in force for the past several years.
The analysts were uncertain of the impact on North Korea, which has agreed not to pursue nuclear weapons under a deal reached with the United States in 1994.
Dalton said the original five nuclear powers share some of the blame for the nuclear proliferation in South Asia. Under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, he noted, the five committed themselves to eliminating such weaponry, but that progress has been scant.
Jonathan Dean, a former arms control ambassador who is now with the Union of Concerned Scientists, worries that the NPT will come under ``very serious pressures'' if other countries decide to test.
That treaty, signed in 1968, has been the centerpiece of international efforts to limit the spread of atomic weapons. When 175 participating states voted in 1995 to extend the treaty indefinitely, proponents hailed it as a powerful blow for global security.
Under Dean's worst case scenario, the United States could find itself dealing with ``a bunch of truculent nuclear armed states'' -- a situation which, he said, would greatly enhance the possibility such armaments would actually be used.
Lynn Davis, who monitored proliferation issues at the State Department during President Clinton's first term, agrees that the setbacks to the NPT could be ominous.
``When countries decide to view nuclear weapons as essential for their security, for status or power, as is now the case with India and Pakistan, then it makes it more difficult to argue the case to other countries not to acquire nuclear weapons,'' she said.
``India is responsible for not only taking the step for their own security but making it impossible for Pakistan to believe that its own security could be maintained without nuclear weapons.''
© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press
By Robert Burns Associated Press Writer Friday, May 29, 1998; 1:18 a.m. EDT
WASHINGTON (AP) -- With their tit-for-tat nuclear tests, India and Pakistan have created a new danger of nuclear war with a confrontation that some consider more worrisome than the 40 years of U.S.-Soviet nuclear standoff.
``We have a huge spike in nuclear danger,'' said Michael Krepon, an expert on South Asia and president of the Henry L. Stimson Center, a private think tank. Others agreed.
``This is an extraordinarily serious situation,'' Strobe Talbott, the deputy secretary of state, said Thursday. ``It is a regional issue of immense importance, complexity and, I would say, danger.''
The United States and the former Soviet Union amassed nuclear arsenals of far greater destructive potential than India or Pakistan would contemplate. But Washington and Moscow had superior command and control of their weapons, and, unlike India and Pakistan, they had no history of mutual hatred.
Pakistan and India have fought three wars since 1947 and came close to a fourth confrontation in 1990 over the disputed state of Kashmir, which borders China. The basis of their rivalry -- deep-seated religious differences and passionate nationalism -- make their new nuclear status more troubling.
``The Indian and Pakistani tests bring the possibility of actual use of nuclear weapons closer than at any time since 1945,'' said Jonathan Dean of the Union of Concerned Scientists.
In August 1945, the United States dropped two nuclear bombs on Japan -- the only times nuclear weapons have been used in anger.
Robert Gates, who was CIA director during the Bush administration, said he worries that neither India nor Pakistan has had time to learn good nuclear controls.
``You are dealing with militaries in both cases that have not developed methods for safeguarding these weapons,'' Gates said. In the U.S.-Soviet arms race, ``both sides felt relatively comfortable that sane people were in charge.''
It remains possible that India and Pakistan could step back. They could agree, for example, not to test further, not to field any weapons or not to use them.
Having become the sixth and seventh declared nuclear powers in the world -- after the United States, Russia, China, Britain and France -- they could decide the political and financial cost of having nuclear arms is too great.
Paul Leventhal, president of the private Nuclear Control Institute, is not optimistic.
``Each side now has to give real consideration to the likelihood that these weapons will actually be used,'' Leventhal said. He called the India-Pakistan standoff ``far more dangerous'' than the Cold War years of superpower nuclear escalation.
Jack Mendelsohn, deputy director of the private Arms Control Association, said that beyond the immediate danger of an India-Pakistan nuclear exchange is a worry that China, which fought a border war with India in 1962 and is allied with Pakistan, would expand its own nuclear capacity in response to a buildup by India. That, in turn, could lead to a change in Russia's calculations about its nuclear needs, he said.
``There could be a real domino effect,'' Mendelsohn said, even stretching to the United States, which no longer produces nuclear weapons but has thousands in active service.
``The big worry that I have here is how will China react,'' former President Bush -- a onetime ambassador to China -- said Thursday at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government. ``You don't want to see it. It's bad enough to have it between India and Pakistan. It would be worse if this whole kind of race you're talking about escalates to China.''
David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security, a private research group, said the nuclear tests by Pakistan and Indian might make neighboring nations like Iran more eager to join the nuclear weapons club.
``It might tip the scales in Iran'' toward more actively pursuing a nuclear weapons capability, Albright said. ``It is bound to feed the fears of hard-liners who say, `We need nuclear weapons.' They're fearful in general. They don't know how this is going to turn out.''
© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press
By Laura Myers Associated Press Writer Wednesday, May 27, 1998; 11:31 a.m. EDT
WASHINGTON (AP) -- After months of behind-the-scenes negotiations, U.S.-sponsored ``radio free'' broadcasts are expected to begin beaming into Iraq and Iran this fall, delivering news and perhaps a few lessons in how a free press and democracy work.
The Clinton administration, which has been frustrated by Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's defiance and authoritarian rule, heartily backed the congressionally mandated ``Radio Free Iraq'' program.
But the White House balked at lawmakers' approval for starting a ``Radio Free Iran,'' concerned it could provoke Tehran just as U.S.-Iranian relations are warming now that a moderate, Mohammad Khatami, is Iran's president.
As a result, the Iran broadcasts are being referred to simply as a new Farsi language service of Radio Free Europe/Liberty, which began airing behind the Iron Curtain and in the former Soviet Union during the Cold War. And the State Department and backers insist the broadcasts won't attack governments, but instead will report the news.
``We're simply trying to broadcast the truth to the Iranian people,'' said Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., an author of the `Radio Free Iran' bill that had languished after approval in 1997 with $4 million in funding. Sen. Alfonse D'Amato, R-N.Y., was the primary author.
State Department spokesman James P. Rubin said, ``The purpose of these broadcasts is not to beam anti-government propaganda into Iran.''
At the same time, if the new programs operate like 2-year-old Radio Free Asia, whose success may have led to the mini-boom in `radio free' proposals, the broadcasts will include commentary from dissidents and reports quoting opposition figures as part of the news.
One of RFA's most popular programs in China is ``literature you can't hear,'' which features reading of books banned in the communist country. Its newest commentator is Wang Dan, the 1989 Tiananmen Square student protest leader released in April from a Chinese prison.
Two of its most famous proponents and listeners are the Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibet; and Aung San Suu Kyi, an opposition leader in Myanmar, also known as Burma. RFA also has a toll-free call-in show.
``We are constantly broadcasting information about the fact that people are going to prison and about demonstrations that are taking place within China that people inside of China know very little about,'' said Richard Richter, RFA president and a former network news producer.
Last year, Congress more than doubled RFA's budget to $26 million, partly to boost Mandarin broadcasts into China to 12 hours a day and to add Cantonese. RFA also airs in Tibet, Myanmar, North Korea, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, although some hostile governments try to jam it.
The Radio Free Iraq plan came from Republican congressional leaders, but Secretary of State Madeleine Albright supported the idea.
Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, R-Miss., angry at Saddam's refusal earlier this year to allow full U.N. inspections of suspected weapons sites, put $5 million for the Iraq broadcasts into an emergency spending bill that President Clinton signed in early May.
Lott argued that if diplomacy and military threats aren't working to reform the Iraqi government, maybe outside news will herald changes.
``I would like for us to try to find ways to limit his ability to spew his venom to his people,''' Lott said, referring to Saddam's use of the controlled media to foment anti-American feelings.
Using similar tactics, Radio Free Europe/Liberty broadcast news into the former Yugoslavia during the Bosnia war that ended in 1995, countering local programs that stirred up ethnic hatred.
Tom Dine, president of Radio Free Europe/Liberty, said he believes he'll get the new Farsi service in Iran and Arabic language ``Radio Free Iraq'' operating by the new fiscal year, beginning Oct. 1.
``We are instructed to get it up as fast as we can,'' he said.
Radio Free Europe, which airs from its Prague headquarters, must find another European nation from which to broadcast the Iran program. The Czech government fears becoming a target of attacks from Iran, which the State Department calls a top sponsor of terrorism.
Under the plan, one hour of news a day to Iran and Iraq will expand to six hours next year, Dine said. Details are still being finalized with the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which controls the radio services.
Dine, sensitive to foreign charges that the broadcasts amount to American propaganda, said the programs operate independently of the U.S. government and adhere to journalistic standards of objectivity. Unlike the Voice of America, the radio free broadcasts don't run U.S. editorials and aren't required to present America's foreign policy views.
Instead, the U.S.-funded radio free programs, known as ``surrogate broadcasts,'' simulate news operations as if in they're in a country with a free press, focusing mostly on local and regional developments.
``This is particularly important when the listening audience doesn't get such factual information,'' Dine said.
The congressional appetite for U.S. broadcasting contrasts to just a few years ago when Congress and the administration slashed tens of millions of dollars from VOA and Radio Free Europe/Liberty. Now, VOA's operating budget is about $100 million and RFE/L's is about $70 million, about one-fourth of its heyday. Congress has suggested RFE/L go private by 2000, but few officials predict that will actually happen.
© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press
By Mort Rosenblum AP Special Correspondent Friday, May 29, 1998; 2:29 p.m. EDT
YSSINGEAUX, France (AP) -- At France's highest seat of pastry -- the Ecole Nationale Superieure de la Patisserie -- the wine cellar is locked and women on the staff have been sent on leave.
The Iranians are coming.
This pleasant little town of 7,000 in the heart of France, dominated by stone church towers and a giant fluorescent cross on the overlooking hill, is the base for Iran's World Cup soccer team. Iranian authorities have asked for all immediate temptation to be removed.
Thirty players and trainers will occupy the pastry school, a 19th-century castle crammed with high-tech cuisine gear. French police are settling into the new annex laboratories and classrooms.
``We're perfect for them,'' explained Mayor Jacques Barrot, a former Cabinet minister who pushed hard for the honor. ``They'll be isolated here for security. And very, very comfortable.''
When Iran qualified last year, the Islamic nation boiled over with joy not seen since the Ayatollah Khomeini returned from France to lead the 1979 Islamic revolution.
On June 21, the team meets the United States, the Great Satan. Beyond sporting circles, some analysts compare that to the pingpong diplomacy that warmed up U.S.-China relations under Richard Nixon.
Barrot wanted a team -- any team -- but his first choices went elsewhere. He noted that Yssingeaux (pronounced eee-san-joe) was near Lyon and not far from Montpellier, where Iran plays its first games, and he got excited.
``We can offer a friendly small-town atmosphere for players under great stress because of their match with the Americans,'' he said. ``And they might teach us something, as well.''
The presence of young men from what is sometimes regarded as a pariah state, Barrot said, can change attitudes among townsfolk whose only contact with the wider world is the evening television news.
The Iranian ambassador visited on Christmas Eve to clinch the deal, and late spring classes were canceled so the school could be transformed.
``This, of course, will all disappear,'' observed Guy Pulat, acting director, with a wistful wave toward the after-hours bar, stocked with vintage cognacs and rare Scotch single malts.
Heavy cooking equipment has been shunted aside to make room for Jacuzzis. Longer beds and cable television were put in the rooms. However, a request for a temporary mosque was quietly ignored.
An Iranian chef will work alongside the French staff, keeping an eye on ingredients.
Despite quickly dismissed rumors that women in town would have to wear veils, sentiment in Yssingeaux leans toward the positive. Curious visitors and reporters are likely to spend money.
Not everyone is thrilled.
``They murder people, like they do in Algeria,'' said Jeannine Laborie, who runs a bakery downtown across from the Bar des Sports. ``You won't find me putting out any Iranian flags.''
But most neighboring merchants range from favorable to neutral, and several hasten to note that Madame Laborie sells prefrozen baked goods in a town long famed for its brioches.
Authorities are not sure what to expect. About 500,000 Iranians live in Europe, and at least 70,000 in the United States have sought visas. French activists may try to stage demonstrations.
In fact, few people are likely to see the Iranian team, except when they practice on a field adjacent to the chateau.
Even if coaches allowed them out at night, Yssingeaux is not long on temptation. Except for the weekends at the Midnight or Crypton discos, the brightest light in town is the hilltop cross.
Just south of Saint-Etienne, Yssingeaux is serious soccer country, and many are eager to see some world-class action. Others are simply curious after seminars and films on modern Iran.
At the L'Evidence restaurant, a hip young owner named Jean-Rene Duvillet is looking forward to more customers, a few laughs -- and no trouble.
``Look, everyone has their political ideas, for and against or whatever,'' he said. ``But for the World Cup, they put all that aside. Soccer goes beyond that stuff.''
© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press
By Jeffrey Ulbrich Associated Press Writer Saturday, May 30, 1998; 1:59 p.m. EDT
LUXEMBOURG (AP) -- The foreign minister of Uzbekistan half-joked to a fellow conference participant that his Central Asian nation is now ``virtually surrounded by nuclear powers.''
With India and Pakistan not far to the southwest, Russia to the north, and Iran, long suspected of having an advanced nuclear program, to the southwest, Abdulaziz Komilov has reason to worry.
Uzbekistan's predicament is exactly the kind of thing that the United States and its 15 NATO allies hope to address as the alliance reviews its basic strategy. A new plan, addressing such out-of-territory threats, is to be ready for NATO's 50th anniversary next year.
Foreign ministers from NATO and its 28 partners in the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, meeting here Thursday and Friday, rigorously condemned Pakistan's detonation of nuclear devices and called on both Pakistan and India to adhere to the nuclear nonproliferation treaty.
Atomic bombs exploding on the Asian subcontinent do not directly threaten NATO allies -- but nuclear proliferation certainly does.
India started the latest round by conducting five nuclear tests. Many say Pakistan's decision to go ahead with its own tests was based on a weak international response that showed Pakistan it had nothing to fear.
Few countries besides the United States and Canada seem willing to get tough with Pakistan and India. So what's to prevent Iran from setting off a bomb? What if Israel decides to come out of the nuclear closet? Who knows what state Libya's nuclear program is in?
Apart from the threat of a nuclear war between India and Pakistan, their tests alone could make China rethink its adhesion to the Nonproliferation Treaty. It's unclear what effects a resumption of Chinese tests might have on Russia, which still hasn't ratified the second Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty with the United States.
The larger issue for NATO is how to deal with such security threats far from its traditional sphere of operation.
The alliance last revised its strategic concept in 1991, shifting from a policy of static defense against the Soviet Union to a regional-oriented one reflecting the disappearance of the Warsaw Pact. That revision laid the groundwork for NATO's involvement in the Balkans.
NATO leaders think it's time for another look. The new focus is moving from defending NATO territory to defending NATO's interests, moving beyond regional peacekeeping to shaping the security environment to prevent conflicts like Bosnia from emerging.
Secretary of State Madeleine Albright told her fellow foreign ministers here that NATO's security efforts must be expanded to include dealing with proliferation.
The new NATO strategy is to be ready for next year's NATO summit in Washington when its three newest members -- Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic -- will be official inducted.
Not only is NATO itself expanding, but it is also forging closer relations with countries such as Uzbekistan, Armenia and Albania through the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council.
The core of NATO's security strategy has always been its Article 5, which stipulates that an attack on one member is considered as an attack on all. But in the words of President Clinton, ``the very nature of potential Article 5 threats is changing. ... non-Article 5 threats can become Article 5 threats if they are not addressed early.''
© Copyright 1998 The Associated Press