A respected military think tank said Thursday a projected "peace dividend" for NATO countries was unlikely barring major cuts in conventional forces, and it outlined obstacles likely to face strategic arms negotiators in the post-Cold War era.

The International Institute for Strategic Studies' annual report, "The Military Balance," reflected the first significant Soviet and East European force cuts following the past year's sweeping political changes in the region.But the world is not necessarily a safer place despite the collapse of the Warsaw Pact, German reunification and the start of the withdrawal of Soviet troops to the Soviet Union, said the report, which was released amid the first major post-Cold War crisis triggered by Iraq's Aug. 2 invasion of Kuwait.

The report said in addition to the escalating Persian Gulf conflict - which has involved forces from 23 countries - that civil wars in the Horn of Africa, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and Liberia mean that "feelings of international complacency would be misplaced."

On a more positive note, the report came as an agreement was reached in Washington between the Soviet Union and the United States to remove stumbling blocks that could lead to a conventional forces agreement later this year.

Both countries have committed to reducing troop levels in Europe.

The report said economic pressures would force both superpowers into making continued cuts in military spending in the years ahead.