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SHAPE NEWS MORNING UPDATE 03 JUNE 2002

 

NATO
  • Annan praises Ukraine’s move to join NATO, pleads for defused tensions in Kashmir

EU

  • Ex-Yugoslav states say would like to join EU

BALKANS

  • In sign of warming Balkan relations, Croatian and Yugoslav presidents say they’ll lift visa requirements

OTHER NEWS

  • Diplomats attempt to arrange Mideast peace conference, possibly in July
  • U.S. Army will close military’s only office devoted to peacekeeping

 

 NATO

  • UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on Sunday praised Ukraine’s decision last week to seek NATO membership as a positive step toward regional security, and expressed hope that international efforts to defuse tensions between India and Pakistan succeed. On his first visit to this former Soviet republic, Annan welcomed Ukraine’s interest in NATO. "It is important that Ukraine is making these attempts to get closer to the rest of Europe. Today, all European nations are striving to share common values values of democracy, human rights and governance based on the rule of law and Ukraine is becoming an important part of that movement and I'm pleased about that," he said at Boryspil airport in the Ukrainian capital Kiev.(AP 021521 Jun 02 GMT)

EU

  • The presidents of the former Yugoslav nations urged the EU on Saturday to consider them for membership as soon as possible. They also called on the EU to invest in southeastern Europe to help remove poverty and secure stability in the region following a decade of wars. "In the 1970s the EU invested in authoritarian countries -- Spain, Portugal and Greece -- and stabilized them. In the 1990s they did it with Central Europe and now they should do it in the most vulnerable part of Europe, the Balkans," Yugoslav President Kostunica told a Central European summit. Kostunica, together with 15 other presidents from central European states, attended the summit in Slovenia on Friday and Saturday to discuss the region’s role in the current European integration process. Slovenian President Milan Kucan said the EU should expand to cover all nations who respect its democratic values. He said the fact all former Yugoslav nations had taken part in the meeting showed the situation had more-or-less normalized in the region.(Reuters 1633 010602 Jun 02 GMT)

 

BALKANS

  • In a sign that relations between wartime enemies on the Balkans are warming up, the Croatian and Yugoslav presidents said Saturday that their countries would ease and eventually abolish their mutual visa-regimes. Croatian President Stipe Mesic said a more liberal border regime should be in place this year "to enable our economies and people to cooperate more freely." In a joint statement, the two noted that cooperation between their countries who fought a war in early 90s and established diplomatic relations six years ago had largely improved, but needed to progress even faster. Full normalization of relations is "the first step on our road toward European integration the strategic goal of both countries," the statement said.(AP 011415 Jun 02 GMT)

OTHER NEWS

  • A diplomatic push is underway to organize an international conference on the Mideast crisis, possibly in the latter part of July, but the ongoing fighting is making it difficult to set an agenda, officials said Sunday. U.S. and European diplomats visiting the region have been discussing prospects for the conference that would seek to halt more than 20 months of violence and to restart peace negotiations. EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said the target date for such a conference was the second half of July, though no date has been set. "We would like to do it as soon as possible," Solana said. "The sooner we can get motion into the process, the better." Solana, who held talks with Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, also said the date for the establishment of a Palestinian state should be set at the conference. (AP 021357 Jun 02 GMT)

 

  • The U.S. Army has decided to close its Peacekeeping Institute, the only arm of the military devoted entirely to developing principles of how to conduct peacekeeping missions, officials said Friday. The unannounced decision came after months of deliberation. It is part of a move to cut staff positions at the Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, where the institute is based. Col. Tom Begines, an Army spokesman at the Pentagon, said he was unaware of any decision. Other Army officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the decision was made this week. The Peacekeeping Institute is to be closed by September 2003. Some of its functions probably will be absorbed by the Center for Army Lessons Learned at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, officials said. The institute was created in July 1993 to guide the Army’s thinking on the conduct of peacekeeping missions, to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of specific missions and to promote Army exchanges with international organizations involved in peace operations.(AP 312148 May 02 GMT)

 

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