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Updated: 09-Apr-2003
   

SHAPE News Morning Update

9 April 2003

WAR ON TERRORISM

  • British Defense Secretary Hoon: More pre-emptive strikes to be expected

AFGHANISTAN

  • Peacekeepers in Kabul step up security after fuel tankers discovered packed with explosives
  • Afghan president appeals to young men to join the army

IRAQ

  • British intelligence officials reportedly believe Saddam escaped bomb attack
  • UN must verify tests for Iraqi weapons says ElBaradei

EU

  • Annan cancels trip, will attend European Union summit next week

BALKANS

  • Masked gunmen shoot at police in western Kosovo

WAR ON TERRORISM

  • Pre-emptive military strikes against countries that sponsor terrorism or harbor weapons of mass destruction are likely to become more common, British Defense Secretary Geoffrey Hoon said Tuesday in Copenhagen. In a speech to the Danish Institute for International Studies, Hoon singled out terrorism and weapons of mass destruction as the gravest threats to countries worldwide. In the next three decades, he said new regimes would likely possess those weapons and urged the international community to act now “to enhance and enforce legal and political constraints on the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.” The military must also be “systematic, innovative and rigorous in identifying emerging security challenges,” he added. Hoon didn’t say which country ought to spearhead future strikes, but implied that the United States and Britain could. But he was quick to say that such strikes would have be to discussed by the UN Security Council and NATO, organizations he called “key” players. “We have to scan the horizon, identifying tensions before they become threats and then, when necessary, act decisively to prevent threats turning into conflicts,” he said. “This will involve the many instruments at the disposal of governments, and not always the use of the armed forces themselves,” he added. (AP 081659 Apr 03)

AFGHANISTAN

  • International peacekeepers have stepped up security around Afghanistan’s capital after five fuel tankers rigged with explosives were found in the city, the head of the multinational force said Tuesday. Three or four people were arrested in Kabul in connection with the explosives-laden trucks over the last few weeks, Lt. Gen. Norbert van Heyst, the German commander of ISAF told reporters in the capital. He declined to give details of exactly when the trucks were seized or the identities of those arrested. Lt. Gen. Van Heyst said peacekeepers had averted a wave of potential terrorist strikes. (AP 081625 Apr 03)

  • Afghan President Hamid Karzai vowed on Tuesday to disarm factional armies and appealed to young men to join the fledgling national army. In a speech on state radio, President Karzai said training a new national army to replace regional militias had moved too slowly in the past year and would be accelerated. He also said a UN supported drive to disarm, demobilize and reintegrate 100,000 factional fighters was set to get under way in three months. (Reuters 081858 GMT Apr 03)

IRAQ

  • British intelligence sources believe that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein escaped a coalition attack on a building in Baghdad earlier this week, reports published on Wednesday. The sources were quoted as saying it was believed Saddam had been in the building in the upscale al-Mansour neighborhood but had left before it was bombed on Monday. “He was probably not in the building when it was bombed,” an unnamed intelligence source was quoted as saying by The Guardian newspaper. The Times newspaper quoted a source, also unidentified, who said: “We think he left the same way he arrived in the area, either by a tunnel system or by car, we’re not sure.” (AP 090125 Apr 03)

  • United Nations weapons inspectors must be asked to verify any test results indicating the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the head of the UN nuclear watchdog agency said on Tuesday in Vienna. “Any test results would have to be verified by the United Nations weapons inspectors to generate the required credibility,” Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told the Reuters news agency through a spokesman. He also repeated a previous demand that UN inspectors be permitted to return to Iraq after the cessation of hostilities to resume their hunt for Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. (Reuters 081847 GMT Apr 03)

EU

  • Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Tuesday canceled a trip to France, Germany, Britain and Russia to search for agreement on a UN role in post-war Iraq and instead accepted an invitation to next week’s European Union summit in Athens. A UN announcement said only that accepting the invitation from Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis, the current EU president, would give Annan “the opportunity to meet with the leadership of the European Union as well as other participating countries.” (AP 082303 Apr 03)

BALKANS

  • Masked gunmen opened fire at police officers in western Kosovo after the attackers set up a roadblock and the officers gave chase, a UN police spokesman said Tuesday in Pristina. The shooting happened late on Monday after police received a report of about half a dozen masked, armed men setting up an illegal checkpoint outside Pec. “Despite numerous shots fired by the suspects, officers pursued them across the fields,” the spokesman said. None of the local and UN officers involved was injured, and the assailants managed to flee the scene, he added. (AP 081517 Apr 03)


 



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