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Military

 
Updated: 08-Oct-2003
   

SHAPE News Morning Update

08 October 2003

NRF
  • NATO ministers face unprecedented crisis exercise to improve response to terrorist threats

NATO

  • NATO holds first “dirty bomb” drill in Romania

BALKANS

  • Top UN official sends invitations for Kosovo-Serbia talks

AFGHANISTAN

  • NATO seeks to widen Afghan mission before winter

IRAQ

  • Turkish parliament votes to allow troops to Iraq, but Iraq council is against move

RUSSIA

  • NATO delegation arrives in Russia for air crew survival courses

NRF

  • NATO defense ministers will test their response to sudden threats from terrorism and weapons of mass destruction on Wednesday during an unprecedented crisis management exercise. The exercise at Schriever Air Force Base will be the first of its type. It is designed to evaluate national crisis procedures. The exercise is also designed to demonstrate the potential of the elite rapid response force which NATO is currently putting together. “The task today is to be able to deal with problems in hours or days, not weeks or months or years, and the NATO Response Force is going to be designed to do exactly that,” U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told reporters. (AP 080134 Oct 03)

NATO

  • Seven NATO members and 11 members of the NATO’s 27-nation Partnership for Peace are fielding 320 people for the four-day drill, ranging from fire-fighters, doctors and police to nuclear decontamination troops. The event in Pitesti, called “Dacia 2003,” underlines post-September 11 concern that terrorists could get their hands on low-level nuclear material. (Reuters 071542 GMT Oct 03)

BALKANS

  • The top UN official in Kosovo sent out formal invitations on Tuesday to what would be the first direct talks between Kosovo’s and Serbia-Montenegro’s leaders. Harri Holkeri invited the presidents of Serbia and Montenegro and Kosovo. Also invited were the prime ministers of Serbia and of Kosovo as well as other ministers. Invitations also went out to officials from the U.S., Britain, Germany, Italy, France and Russia to help facilitate the dialogue, according to a UN statement. The talks are supported by the United Nations and are set to open in Vienna, Austria, Oct. 14. (AP 071721 Oct 03)

AFGHANISTAN

  • NATO is aiming to expand its Afghan peacekeeping mission before the winter snows set in and could take its force to more than one troubled province, Secretary-General Robertson said on Tuesday. “It’s well known that Germany wants to take over a PRT in Kunduz and that’s obviously one of the early priorities,” he told reporters in Colorado Springs. Diplomats say NATO hopes to take the number of such teams up to eight to spread the net of stability to areas under the sway of warlords and a rapidly expanding opium poppy trade. France and the United States submitted letters to allies this week expressing reservations about the scale of NATO’s commitment in Afghanistan but did not block a decision. A NATO source said the U.S. letter said the mission should be enlarged in a “flexible and progressive manner” and also reflected concern that the alliance should coordinate with Operation Enduring Freedom. Lord Robertson said there was still “quite a bit to be explored” before a final decision could be taken, including the relationship between ISAF and Operation Enduring Freedom. (Reuters 080102 GMT Oct 03)

IRAQ

  • Turkey’s parliament voted overwhelmingly to give the government permission to send peacekeepers to Iraq, but members of Iraq’s interim council opposed the move. “An Iraq that is in peace, that is on good terms with its neighbours, an Iraq that is stable is in Turkey’s interests,” Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul said after the vote. The motion gives the government the power to send troops, but gives no details as to when, where or how many troops would be deployed. Those details are expected to be worked out in future talks with Washington that could take weeks or even months. Iraq’s 15-member, U.S.-appointed governing council opposed having troops from neighbouring Turkey in the country, reflecting fears Turkey wants to dominate the country or suppress its Kurdish population. “After long deliberations we reached consensus on issuing a statement opposing the arrival of Turkish troops,” said Mahmoud Othman, a Kurdish member of the council. “The council already has said it does not want other foreign troops in the country.” He said, however, that the release of the statement was delayed, apparently due to pressure from the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority. (AP 080357 Oct 03)

RUSSIA

  • A NATO military delegation headed to a Russian air force training center on Tuesday for survival courses. The group of four specialists went to the Agoi training center in the southern region of Krasnodar for four days of air crew survival courses, said Maj. Gen. Peter Williams, head of the alliance’s military liaison mission in Moscow. “This is one of the first faintly concrete signs of NATO-Russian military cooperation as offered by the Russians and taken up by us as a thank you,” he said. Maj. Gen. Williams said it was unclear whether the delegation would be actively participating in the training or simply observing. (AP 070859 Oct 03)

 



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