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         Europeans await details of U.S. plan for NATO anti-terrorism force

         Report:  U.S. wants to offer credit to Poland for jet fighters deal

         Italy to do away with conscript service by Jan. 1, 2005


         Daily sees EU "missing solo debut" in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia




         According to AFP, the European NATO allies are waiting for details of U.S. plans for a NATO anti-terrorism rapid response force before giving a verdict.  Noting that Defense Secretary Rumsfeld is to outline the plans at an informal meeting of NATO defense ministers in Warsaw next Tuesday and Wednesday, the dispatch quotes a NATO officer saying, on condition of anonymity:  "We're all waiting for Mr. Rumsfeld."  The official reportedly stressed the lack of details which have emerged about the force. The dispatch further reports that this week, EU officials downplayed concerns that the NATO force could overlap with the EU's rapid reaction force, which is supposed to be up and running next year. "The U.S. idea is apparently completely different. It will be to respond to threats and attacks," one diplomat reportedly noted. 


Reports that Defense Secretary Rumsfeld is set to propose the creation of a NATO Response Force continue to generate media interest.

Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung sees the proposal for the establishment of "a special NATO strike force" as a sign that the United States wants to increase NATO's involvement in the war against terrorism. 

Rumsfeld is believed to be planning to request that the 19 NATO countries envisage the establishment of a NATO Rapid Response Force, which could operate outside Alliance territory and take part in anti-terrorist actions, writes French daily Le Monde.   Noting that several nations, including France, are working on plans for a European rapid response corps for peacemaking or peacekeeping operations, the newspaper stresses that Rumsfeld's idea embraces the idea of another force.  This, the newspaper adds, would result in the early deployment of crack units tasked with countering terrorists backed by rogue states.  The article claims that the plan is far from enjoying unanimity among the European countries of the Alliance, on the part of either diplomats or military leaders, and indeed some of them say they do not know the exact details of this plan.


         According to Warsaw's Polish Radio 1, President Bush has submitted a proposal to grant a $3.8 billion credit to Poland to finance the purchase of 48 F-16 multi-role planes.  Bush sent a motion to this effect to the head of the House of Representatives on Sept. 13, added the broadcast, stressing that justifying his decision, Bush wrote that Poland had a key role in the strengthening of the transatlantic ties as well as in the expansion of NATO.  The program highlighted that the aircraft will improve the Polish Air Force's ability to cooperate with NATO allies.


         Corriere della Sera quotes Defense Minister Martino saying in an interview that plans for an all-volunteer armed forces are now ready and conscript service would be abolished in Italy effective Jan. 1, 2005.




         Under the title, "The EU looks like missing its solo debut as a peacekeeper," the Financial Times writes that "because of an absurd continuing diplomatic impasse between Greece and Turkey," it seems probable that the EU will not be able to take over NATO's peacekeeping role in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia at the end of next month.  The newspaper considers this is a pity for the EU, which needs to show greater firmness and unity of purpose in regional security, particularly with the Bush administration becoming more dismissive of European allies. Recalling that an EU takeover of the peacekeeping mission in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia depends on an agreement on the EU's use of NATO assets, the newspaper continues:   "In the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the EU would only be replacing some 750 lightly armed NATO troops acting in support of civilian observers. This hardly requires heavy NATO backup. But the EU wants to act in step with NATO for reasons of principle and practice; the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia is the main logistics route for (KFOR)."   Noting that a small peacekeeping force has helped prevent Albanian-Slav tensions erupting into the serious conflicts that broke out in Bosnia and Kosovo, the newspaper concludes:  "Greece and Turkey should not make EU peacekeeping a victim of their mutual suspicions.  Greece currently chairs the EU's security and defense planning committee and should behave accordingly.  Turkey cannot afford to let the peacekeeping dispute negate other advances it has made toward EU membership. And, in the wider context, neither should want to give a skeptical Bush administration more cause to believe that America's allies cannot be trusted even with minor peacekeeping duties."




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