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THE WEEK AHEAD

BRUSSELS : NATO Branching Out

May 28, 1991

The United States and its West European NATO allies are expected to complete details of a new rapid deployment force at a meeting in the Belgian capital today and Wednesday.

The new force, which may be as large as three divisions, would become the centerpiece of the allies' continuing cooperative efforts now that the rival Warsaw Pact has been disbanded.

In addition to giving NATO a new, forward-looking mission, sources say, the proposed multinational force would serve another key political function: The participation of German troops would provide an alliance framework for the first deployment of German military personnel abroad since the end of World War II.

Another NATO concern: Some East European nations are pressing to change the traditional character of the alliance with their insistent efforts to join.

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