(Lake says Partnership for Peace will address concerns)  (710)

By Jacquelyn S. Porth

USIA Security Affairs Correspondent

Washington -- President Clinton's National Security Affairs (NSA) adviser

Anthony Lake says potential ethnic conflicts and rampant nationalism

represent "the greatest security challenge" to Europe now and in the


In a White House interview with foreign journalists January 7, Lake said

these challenges can best be addressed through the promotion of democracy

and the Partnership for Peace (PFP) program -- a plan to draw the states of

Central and Eastern Europe economically, politically and militarily into

the West.

Lake praised the cooperation of the defense ministers of the Czech Republic,

Poland, Slovakia and Hungary in their "common position" endorsing PFP

January 7 in Warsaw.  He described their endorsement of closer military

links as "encouraging" and he said the PFP concept will help promote

cooperation and stability in the region.

The issue of possible future membership in the North Atlantic Treaty

Organization (NATO), the official said, will be up to each government.

"We...expect, hope for and would welcome NATO expansion," he explained,

"through an evolutionary process such as the Partnership for Peace."

PFP membership will be open to all former members of the Warsaw Pact,

including Russia, Lake said, as well as neutral countries.  The program is

designed to be "an integrative device," the NSA adviser said, rather than a

1ivisive one.  While membership will permit NATO consultations, he said it

will not provide a formal security guarantee.

PFP obligations, Lake explained, would include a commitment to democracy,

peaceful conflict resolution, transparent defense budgets, joint training,

humanitarian assistance and peacekeeping.

The official said partnership is a way of opening a door to NATO membership,

"and we expect and would welcome that governments will walk through that


Asked about President Clinton's agenda at the upcoming NATO summit, Lake

said the president will reemphasize that the United States will remain

engaged in Europe "through NATO."  The United States, he said, has a deep

interest in European security and economic integration and the president

will stress the importance of NATO as the lynchpin for that security.

After Brussels, President Clinton travels to Prague to meet with Polish,

Czech, Hungarian and Slovakian leaders.  He then visits Moscow and Minsk,

before wrapping up the trip in Geneva.

Lake admitted that the situation in Bosnia-Herzegovina "is very serious,"

but he stressed that it is "wrong to say we have turned our backs" on the

people there.  He expressed concern for Bosnia, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia

and the whole Balkans area.

Regarding the recent upsurge of violence in Bosnia, Lake pointed to the NATO

resolution warning of possible airstrikes against the Serbs if the

strangulation of Sarajevo continues.

"We hope the attacks of the past few days will cease," Lake said, adding

that the NATO summit will be a tremendous success if it helps create

institutions, such as PFP which will help prevent "future Bosnias."

Asked about the continuing Russian troop presence in the Baltics, Lake said

that subject has been raised many times with the Russians and would be

raised once again when the president meets with Russian President Boris


Asked for his assessment of the Russian military, Lake noted that it has

stood by democracy in the past eight months, which he found "encouraging"

-- nor does he expect the situation to change.

Lake also responded to questions about North Korea and Syria.

Lake said that the U.S. strategic goal with respect to the Koreans is to

work toward a Korean peninsula which "is free of nuclear weapons" and to

encourage the North and South to work towards "peaceful reunification."

The United States, he added, hopes to preserve the Nuclear

Non-Proliferation Treaty regime.  Lake said the intelligence agencies have

varying opinions on whether the North Koreans possess one or more nuclear


Asked about President Clinton's meeting with Syrian President Hafez Asad in

Geneva on January 16, Lake confirmed that a discussion of terrorism will be

on the agenda.  Asked about a possible removal of Syria from the U.S. list

of states which support terrorists, the adviser said Syria would be

stricken from the list only "when its behavior justifies it."