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SHAPE NEWS SUMMARY & ANALYSIS 07 FEBRUARY 2002

 

SACEUR-BULGARIA
  • President Purvanov visits SHAPE

BALKANS

  • NATO starts process to extend Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia mission
  • Bosnian Serbs to issue ultimatum to war crimes fugitives

NATO

  • Daily: Lord Robertson "declares war on old guard to reinvent NATO"

PFP

  • Swedish, Polish ministers discuss Swedish participation in "Strong Resolve"

 

SACEUR-BULGARIA

 

  • President Purvanov’s visits to SHAPE and NATO received prominent coverage in Bulgarian media. Noting that the president held talks with NATO Secretary General Robertson and Gen. Ralston, Sofia’s Khristo Botev radio, Feb. 6, reported: "Neither Robertson nor Gen. Ralston would commit themselves to naming specific countries or number of countries that will be invited to join NATO at its summit in Prague next November. Gen. Ralston said this issue would have to be addressed by politicians. Robertson explained that no one in the Alliance knew the answer to this question at this time. The number will range between one and nine, he joked…. Nothing could make Robertson be more specific even on the question on whether there would be any programs for the countries which will remain outside the group of states which will be invited to join NATO in Prague. He said his supposition was that more work could be done along the lines of PFP with countries which remain outside the second wave of enlargement, but want to cooperate with NATO. He surprised everyone by pointing out Sweden and Switzerland as examples. As far as Bulgaria is concerned, our country was referred to as a good and important partner, a country that behaved like a true ally of the Alliance after the Sept. 11 events. President Purvanov said he was satisfied with these assessments and that they will serve as an incentive for the leadership of the Bulgarian army to work more intensively.

President Purvanov was welcomed by Gen. Ralston at a ceremony at SHAPE headquarters, reported Sofia’s BTA news agency, noting that "according to the headquarters’ staff, visits by heads of state are rare and are a great honor." The report noted that addressing the Bulgarian media, Gen. Ralston said it was a great honor to welcome the Bulgarian president. "He voiced gratitude for Bulgaria’s support for NATO in the Balkans. He promised that the Allied Powers officers will support the reforms of the Bulgarian armed forces," said the dispatch, adding: "Purvanov said he discussed with Gen. Ralston the pace of the army reform and Bulgaria’s readiness to join NATO. He acquainted Gen. Ralston with the progress of the reform and stressed that it is not only a matter of reducing the armed forces, but of building a modernized, battle-worthy and strong army which will be a worthy NATO partner. Efforts are being made to make the army a professional one and to strengthen civil control. Purvanov voiced his concern over the social adaptation of laid-off officers. He said he hopes that NATO will continue to support the army, adding that he was left with the impression that the Alliance assesses positively the Bulgarian army reform. He stressed, however, that the Prague summit will have the last say and that we will act as, and will be a de facto NATO ally, especially in the context of the fight against terrorism. Taking up a journalist question on the reform in the Bulgarian army, Gen. Ralston said the reform in any army is a very complex and difficult task with many aspects…. Gen. Ralston said he has been working together with (Chief of the Army’s General Staff) Gen. Mikhov for years…. He said the reform’s time-frame is being observed and that he will visit Bulgaria next month. Gen. Ralston admitted that Bulgaria has made progress but that, like his army, it has still not reached the required level. Gen. Ralston refused to compare the reform in the Bulgarian army to that of other NATO applicants, saying that all nine applicants have different membership action plans and NATO is working on each of them. The aim is to make NATO stronger. Gen. Ralston said the Bulgarian company in Sarajevo is guarding the NATO headquarters in SFOR. ‘I would not be a responsible commander if it had been sent there without being able to cope with its tasks,’ he stressed. Before it was sent to Sarajevo, the Bulgarian company was inspected by NATO which made sure that it was qualified to take over the guard of the NATO headquarters. For years, Bulgarian soldiers have been working 24 hours a day seven days a week with NATO troops, with their doctrine and tactics, and when they return to Bulgaria, they will bring their expertise, Gen. Ralston explained.

 

BALKANS

 

  • AFP quotes a NATO official saying NATO set the wheels in motion Wednesday for extending its German-led security mission in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia past the March 26 expiration of its current mandate. The NAC had reportedly tasked military advisors "to look at the conditions for the extension of this mission."

 

  • AFP reports Sinisa Djordjevic, an advisor of Bosnian Serb President Ivanic, said Thursday the Republika Srpska (RS) government plans to give all war crimes suspects on its territory 30 days to hand themselves in, or face the loss of certain guarantees if they are arrested later. According to the dispatch, Djordjevic made it clear that the ultimatum concerned all fugitive war crimes suspects who came from Republika Srpska, including former Bosnian Serb leader Karadzic and Mladic. "All publicly indicted war crimes suspects, no matter if now on RS territory or somewhere else---although we have no information that any are in the RS now—will be given 30 days to surrender," he reportedly said. Only those who surrendered through the RS government, and within the deadline, could expect the Bosnian Serb government to provide them with guarantees, which could be important during any trial before the ICTY, he added.

NATO

 

  • Under the title "Robertson declares war on old guard to reinvent NATO," and the subtitle, "Secretary General explains his shake-up plan," The Financial Times claims: "Lord Robertson is tired of hearing about NATO’s non-role since Sept. 11…. Lord Robertson, back from a five-day trip to New York, Munich and Rome, is defiant. He has decided to wage his own war—not abroad but closer to home in NATO." Claiming that Lord Robertson is frustrated with the old ways of decision-making with everything done by consensus, the newspaper quotes Lord Robertson saying in an interview: "The 19 nations decide whether I can upgrade a security guard. They did not want a powerful directorate at the center." Stressing that "that’s only the beginning of his complaints," the newspaper continues: "Besides the NAC, there are 400 other committees, all of them with every NATO nation on them, (Lord Robertson) said, adding: ‘You need consensus from the 19 to get rid of any of them.’ Another sore point is the annual €167 million civilian budget, ‘which has not increased in real terms since 1994,’ he says, (adding:) ‘It has been held largely because of my own nation (Britain) to zero. Zero growth. The crazy thing is that the U.S. wants to pay more. This is the only multinational institution where the U.S. is a member where it actually wants to pay more money. The UK is only one of the countries who won’t pay up….’ Lord Robertson says there is no personnel policy. ‘There is no training of people at all. No career structure. No in-house training. No career development. No perspective.’ After a lengthy battle, NATO will have its first personnel manager, and the secretary general will be able to set guidelines for the budget. ‘This is the first shake up in NATO since it was founded,’ Robertson notes." Observing that Lord Robertson will oversee the enlargement of NATO at November’s Prague summit, the newspaper asserts that for him, "enlargement is the catalyst for change." The newspaper further claims that Lord Robertson’s ideal NATO is an organization with a military core that can be flexible and can deliver packages of troops where there is a crisis. It adds that he is determined to focus on essential capabilities that will allow the Europeans to make a serious contribution to the Alliance.

PFP

 

  • Warsaw’s PAP, Feb. 6 reported that in Stockholm Wednesday, Polish Defense Minister Szmajdzinski discussed with his Swedish counterpart Bjoern von Sydow the participation of Swedish troops in the Strong Resolve 2002 exercise organized in the framework of PFP. Stockholm’s Svenska Dagbladet noted that some 1,800 Swedish military would take part in the exercise. The newspaper, which recalled that Sweden has participated in PFP since 1994, called for a more "modern" Swedish military. Against this background, the daily quoted the chief of the operational effort leadership at Defense Headquarters saying in an interview that if Sweden was to carry its share of the responsibility for maintaining peace and stability in Europe, it must be able to provide military resources together with other countries.

 

 

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