SHAPE NEWS MORNING UPDATE 21 MAY 2002
- The White House on Sunday praised the Senates passage of a bill endorsing NATOs expansion and providing 55.5 million (dollars) in security assistance for seven countries seeking admission to the alliance . "This vote is a strong show of support for NATO enlargement, one of the president's priorities for the NATO summit in Prague this November, and an essential element of a Europe whole, free, and at peace," according to a White President Bush is expected to discuss NATO expansion during a European trip he begins this week that includes a NATO-Russia summit in Italy.(AP 192022 May 02 GMT)
- Despite a recent surge in pro-NATO rhetoric, many Europeans doubt the United States long-term commitment to the alliance and President Bushs overseas trip next week will be seen as an indicator of Americas intentions, analysts say . Analysts say the more fundamental and problematic issue is NATOs future role in the world. "The real question is whether the Bush administration thinks NATO is worth anything," said Philip Gordon, a former Clinton administration aide now with the Brookings Institution think tank. On Bush/s European trip, which includes stops in Berlin, Paris and a U.S.-Russia summit in Moscow, the president "will face skepticism that we do still care about this alliance," Gordon told a program organized by the German Marshall Fund. Major themes of the president's trip include NATOs new relationship with Russia and its plans to add as many as seven new members to the 19-member western alliance.(Reuters 1247 190502 May 02 GMT)
- Frances top defense official traveled to Kosovo on Monday in a mission meant to show her countrys commitment to the peace missions in the Balkans . French Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie underlined that concerted international commitment was still needed to keep the region stable. "I feel that the situation has positively evolved," she said. "However, we still have a lot to do regarding security, the fight against organized crime and economic revitalization." The minister spent the day visiting French soldiers in the provinces ethnic flashpoint Kosovska Mitrovica.(AP 201752 May 02 GMT)
- A Bosnian Serb charged with committing atrocities in 1992 against Croats and Muslims at two brutal prison camps surrendered on Saturday to the UN war crimes tribunal . Dusan Knezevic, charged with a total of 46 counts in two indictments, gave himself up to authorities in Banja Luka, in the north of the Bosnian Serb Republic, tribunal spokesman Jim Landale told Reuters. "He is charged with entering the camps to kill, beat and physically abuse the prisoners," he said.(Reuters 2037 180502 May 02 GMT)
U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney said Sunday he is almost certain that terrorists will attack the United States again. "Its not a matter of if, but when," he said. Cheney also acknowledged past failures in responding to signs of terrorism, but said he does not know if the Sept. 11 attacks could have been prevented "even if we had all those pieces together."
The vice president, in two talk show appearances, confirmed that U.S. intelligence is picking up hints that Osama bin Ladens terrorist network may be planning an attack. The information is vague, but should be taken seriously, he said. "I think that the prospects of a future attack on the U.S. are almost a certainty," Cheney said on "Fox News
Sunday." "It could happen tomorrow, it could happen next week, it could happen next year, but they will keep trying. And we have to be prepared." Cheney said he believes the United States has had success in disrupting the al-Qaida network, but it is impossible to
prepare a perfect defense. "You try to read the tea leaves, you look for pieces of
evidence, but you never get the complete picture," Cheney said on NBCs "Meet the Press."
(AP 192045 May 02 GMT)
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