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United States: U.S. Senator Says NATO Most Important Issue

Washington, 11 November 1996 (RFE/RL) - An influential U.S. Senator, Richard Lugar, says revitalizing and expanding NATO tops a list of foreign policy priorities now facing the United States.

Lugar (R-Indiana) outlined at a press conference last week his view of the most important issues to be dealt with by a new Secretary of State to succeed Warren Christopher, who is resigning.

Lugar said NATO enlargement, together with a more comprehensive policy for U.S. relations with Russia, Ukraine and other newly-independent states of the former U.S.S.R., top the agenda.

Lugar is a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and has been mentioned as a possible replacement for Christopher. But he ruled himself out today, saying he does not want the job.

Lugar said he can be a more effective voice in the Senate, and he urged President Bill Clinton to spend more effort on foreign policy in his second term, saying the world needs American leadership.