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SHAPE NEWS MORNING UPDATE 16 AUGUST 2002

 

 

BALKANS

         NATO troops keep up hunt for Karadzic allies

         Ethnic Albanian protesters clash with UN police in Kosovo

         Two Macedonian (sic)  soldiers injured in explosion

IRAQ

         Top official says Iraq "ready" to discuss return of UN weapons inspectors without conditions

OTHER NEWS

         UK navy base in Gibraltar loses radioactive part

         Italy and U.S. investigate helicopter beach chaos

         Rumsfeld, Franks-US troops in Afghanistan for years

 

 

BALKANS
 

         NATO troops in Bosnia blocked roads and checked vehicles and passengers on Thursday as part of a stepped-up campaign to hunt down wartime Serb leader and genocide suspect Radovan Karadzic.  The NATO-led SFOR searched remote areas near the Montenegrin border for a second day, targeting people who help one of the world's most wanted men to remain at large almost seven years after the 1992-95 war ended.  "We continue our movement in the area," SFOR spokesman Scott Lundy told Reuters in Sarajevo. "The focus is not changed."  The force said it was targeting Karadzic's "base of operation" and support network in southeastern Bosnia and that the action might last several days. Lundy said SFOR had not arrested anyone so far.  SFOR insisted the operation did not aim to arrest Karadzic himself, but it was clearly a bid to tighten the net around him.(Reuters 1424 Aug 02 GMT)

 

         Hundreds of ethnic Albanians clashed with UN special police units in western Kosovo on Thursday, protesting the recent arrests of several ethnic Albanian rebels, an official said. A NATO peacekeeper and eleven policemen were injured. The clash occurred after Spanish forces in riot gear tried to move a crowd that was blocking a key road in Decan, a town some 90 kilometers (55 miles) southwest of Pristina. The protesters reacted by throwing rocks at police. Police in turn used tear gas to disperse the crowd, said Andrea Angeli, a spokesman for the UN mission  in Kosovo province. "The demonstration was planned and authorized, but they were told not to block the main road," Angeli said. One NATO peacekeeper was hurt when he was hit by a rock during the unrest, said Drew Anderson, a spokesman for the peacekeeping force. Eleven police officers, mostly from Spanish, Argentine and Ukrainian special units, were also lightly injured by rocks, Angeli said.(AP 151611 Aug 02 GMT)

 

         Two Macedonian (sic)  soldiers were slightly injured late Thursday in an explosion just outside the capital's main army barracks, officials said. An army spokesman, Col. Blagoja Markovski, told Skopje's private A1 TV that the soldiers did not appear to be the target of the explosion near the barracks in Skopje. "The two soldiers just happened to be near the place where the explosion occurred," he said. Markovski refused to specify the nature of the soldiers' injuries. A NATO spokesman in Macedonia (sic) , Craig Ratcliff, confirmed the incident, adding that the "soldiers suffered slight wounds." No one claimed responsibility for the blast.(AP 152216 Aug 02 GMT)

 

IRAQ

 

         Iraq is ready to discuss the return of UN arms inspectors, provided talks take place without conditions, a top Iraqi official said. Iraqi Vice President Taha Yassin Ramadan told Abu Dhabi Television that Baghdad was willing to discuss the return of inspectors who left in December 1998 ahead of U.S. and British air strikes and have been barred from returning. "Iraq is ready to discuss the return of the UN weapons inspectors, provided that any dialogue with the United Nations takes place with no preconditions," he said in an Aug. 10 interview aired in full Thursday. "At the same time, Iraq is ready for the worst," he added, an apparent reference to U.S. threats of possible military action to oust Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and of unspecified consequences if inspectors are not allowed to return.(AP 160203 Aug 02 GMT)

 

OTHER NEWS

 

         A small radioactive piece of equipment has gone missing at a British naval base on Gibraltar, prompting the British colony's government to call for a review of security at the base.    The government voiced its concern after British forces revealed on Wednesday that they had lost the part, which they said posed little risk to the public. A statement from British forces in Gibraltar said the loss was discovered during a routine check at the naval base. It described the missing item as a "sealed radioactive test source" used to check monitoring equipment kept at the dockyard.  "There is little risk from this item as exposure to it still equates to lower dosage than normal background radioactive levels found naturally," the statement said." The (Gibraltar) government believes that while this incident may in itself be small, urgent steps need to be taken by the Ministry of Defense to investigate this matter and review its security arrangements to ensure that these are not compromised in any way in future," it said in a statement.  Prime Minister Blair has said Britain would retain control over the base, but said its status could change to a NATO base, giving Spain access it had not previously enjoyed.(Reuters 1454 Aug 02 GMT)

 

         The United States and Italy launched a joint inquiry on Wednesday into why U.S. military helicopters flew at low altitude over a packed beach, panicking holidaymakers and leaving five people injured.  The rotating blades of the three helicopters whipped up ferocious whirlwinds as the pilots skimmed along Italy's southeastern coast on Tuesday, yanking up umbrellas and scattering beach chairs in their wake.  The U.S. embassy in Italy said in a statement that the military helicopters had "caused disruption and injuries to people on the beach". "U.S. officials, in close cooperation with the Italian Ministry of Defense, have begun an inquiry and will be sending a joint fact-finding team to fully investigate the incident," the statement said.  U.S. officials said the helicopters were on a NATO-authorized mission from Germany en route to the Balkans, to support the NATO peacekeeping mission in the  region.(Reuters 2005 Aug 02 GMT)

 

         Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and U.S. commander for Afghanistan Gen. Franks acknowledged on Thursday that American troops could be in Afghanistan for years to keep it from reverting to "a terrorist training camp."  Asked specifically whether he agreed with a U.S. official's assessment that the U.S. military would stay in Afghanistan for years, Franks replied, "I would agree with that."  Rumsfeld, who shared the podium with Franks at a briefing, talked of the phases of U.S. military involvement in Afghanistan since the Sept. 11 attacks on America, and said the current phase was aimed at preventing large concentrations of Taliban and al Qaeda forces from regathering. "We didn't go in there to leave in a way that allows it to turn back into a terrorist training camp, we went in there so that that would not happen," Rumsfeld said. "And the end-state is when the Afghan government has the capability to provide for its own security."(Reuters 0030  Aug 02 GMT)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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