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SHAPE NEWS MORNING UPDATE 15 MAY 2002

 

NATO
  • NATO widens area of operation to meet new threats
  • Powell urges NATO allies to do something about increasing spending gap

NMD

  • Missile defense chief: Work on missile interceptor silos in Alaska will begin on day U.S. withdraws from treaty

EU

  • Spain says no changing EU-NATO document with Turkey

BALKANS

  • Local elections in Montenegro seen as vote on bigger issues
  • Russian military starts pullout of peacekeepers from Kosovo

 

 

NATO

  • NATO formally opened the door on Tuesday to missions far beyond its own Euro-Atlantic area and pledged to reinvent itself to tackle new threats from outside. "The kinds of challenges NATO may be facing in the future won’t always be located in central Europe, and NATO has to have the ability to move to other places," U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell told reporters at a foreign ministers’ meeting in Reykjavik. "We all need to have highly mobile, sustainable forces with modern combat capabilities, forces that can get to the fight wherever it is and carry out a mission with efficiency and precision." The final communique of the meeting in Iceland said NATO must be able to field forces that can move swiftly to wherever they are needed, sustaining operations over distance and time. (Reuters 141757 GMT May 02)

 

  • NATO nations on Tuesday reluctantly heeded a call to beef up their military muscle and modernize the alliance to make sure the United States gets better backing in the fight against global terrorism. U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell urged the European allies in frank terms to avoid the creation of a two-speed NATO where the United States takes care of an immediate crisis with overwhelming high-tech military power while others are largely reduced to being bystanders. Several of his European counterparts raised the issue of public discontent to spend money on defense when governments are having problems to keep deficits in tow. "We have to increase our efforts," including increased budgets for defense, said Spain’s Foreign Minister Josep Pique. "It is not very popular to say that." Even British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, Washington’s closest European ally, said it would be difficult to secure support for increased funds. "It will require a lot of effort by European statesmen to persuade their public to increase military spending," he added. The United States has said the widening capabilities gap with the European allies is the most serious long-term problem facing NATO. (AP 141744 May 02)

 

 

NMD

  • Work on underground silos for missile interceptors will begin in Alaska on June 14, the first day the U.S. government will be freed from a 1972 treaty that bans major missile defenses, the head of the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency said Tuesday in Washington. Withdrawal from the treaty also gives the U.S. military more freedom to explore the use of additional radars as part of a missile defense system, Lt. Gen. Ronald Kadish said in an Associated Press interview. For example, a ship-borne Aegis radar will be used in a July missile intercept test. The timing of the actions suggests an urgency within the administration to get moving on a missile defense system. (AP 142108 May 02)

 

 

EU

  • European Union president Spain said on Tuesday it was making intensive diplomatic efforts to solve by June 30 a dispute with Greece which is holding up a key agreement between NATO and the EU on sharing military assets. But Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Pique warned against reopening a deal with Turkey to remove that non-EU nation’s objections to giving the 15-nation Union assured access to NATO planning and assets for European crisis management operations. "Let us see how in parallel we can give sufficient guarantees to the Greek government so that its concerns can be solved...without getting into changing a document that would mean an endless process," Pique told a news conference after an EU-NATO ministerial meeting in Iceland. He said Spain had put a fresh complex proposal to Athens that would combine a top-level formal EU declaration of assurances on the use of European defence forces in "certain geographical areas" with an exchange of letters between the EU and NATO secretaries-general on practical arrangements. (Reuters 142129 GMT May 02)

 

 

BALKANS

  • Montenegro, holds local elections on Wednesday, but voters cast ballots with a broader picture in mind: the choice is between pro-independence parties and others calling for continued alliance with Serbia. It’s a key popularity test for the republic’s pro-independence president, Milo Djukanovic, and his ruling Democratic Party of Socialists. (AP 141738 May 02)

 

  • Russia started pulling out peacekeepers from Kosovo on Tuesday in a withdrawal that will halve the number of Russian troops there and send hundreds of vehicles home, defense officials said. Russian officials have commented little on the withdrawal, but Russian media have reported that cuts in the Kosovo and Bosnia peacekeeping forces reflect the military’s disappointment with the alleged ineffectiveness of the Balkan missions and its desire to cut costs. (AP 141746 May 02)

 

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