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News Briefs II

U.S., Europe Differ on Funding Burden for New NATO

Los Angeles Times
PARIS

As U.S. senators prepare to ponder the wisdom and implications of a larger NATO at hearings that begin Tuesday on Capitol Hill, Europe and the United States remain worlds apart over which countries should foot the bill. The Americans want the Europeans to pick up most of it; the Europeans insist they don't have the money - as much as $33 billion - that the enlargement process might cost.

For many countries in Western Europe, grappling with stagnant economies, high unemployment rates and curbs on public spending imposed by the planned single European currency, the U.S. stance on "burden sharing" in the Atlantic alliance is yet one more example of the Clinton administration's willingness these days to try to dictate terms even to friends.

As usual, it is the French who are the prickliest of U.S. allies. Last week, they announced that NATO had not changed enough to warrant the return of their troops to the alliance's unified command structure, which they left in 1966.

U.S. Defense Secretary William S. Cohen has been attempting to soothe Gallic sensibilities, also rubbed raw by American opposition to a contract signed by a French-led energy consortium, Total, with Iran last week.

"Sovereign nations, even those who are strong, dependable allies and historical friends, often see problems in a different way," Cohen told reporters Monday.

Clinton Says U.S. Will Cut Greenhouse Gases If Others Do

Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON

President Clinton launched a public search Monday for a solution to global warming, declaring that the United States will make an "equitable reduction" in its greenhouse gas emissions if other nations do too.

Clinton summoned an array of global warming experts to four seminars to turn a spotlight on the issue, on which representatives of nearly 170 nations are trying to work out a treaty.

Most of the measures Clinton heard about involved such esoteric options as photovoltaic cells, magnetic levitation and conversion of ocean-farmed algae to energy-producing gas, prompting him to say: "I hope tomorrow's headline isn't, Clinton advocates more research on levitation.' "

His broader point, however, was that the nation must find practical, affordable solutions, without overlooking those that seem now to be far-fetched, and it must get the rest of the world to do its share, both in reducing greenhouse gases and adopting energy-saving practices.