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SHAPE NEWS MORNING UPDATE 30 SEPTEMBER 2002

 

 

NATO

         NATO moved ships in attack fear -Hamburg official

         Finnish PM says NATO membership not in sight

         US, Polish troops readying to take part in a deep-strike exercise

BALKANS

         Kostunica and pro-Western candidate in runoff presidential race

IRAQ

         US, Britain press case on Iraq, arms experts meet

         Senior U.S. official in Turkey for talks on Iraq

 

 

NATO
 

         Seven NATO minesweepers in the northern German port of Hamburg were moved after British security services expressed concern over a possible attack, a member of Hamburg city's government told NDR radio on Saturday. "In the current situation, the English security services believe that English ships face risks when in harbor - from the water," Walter Wellinghausen, a junior interior minister for the city, was quoted as saying in an interview transcript. "We therefore decided...today at 1100 (0900 GMT) to move the ships to another part of the harbor where their safety can be guaranteed," he added.   In London, a Defense Ministry spokesman told Reuters: "There has been movement of ships from Hamburg, but it is all to do with changing security posture, which does happen from time to time." He declined further comment.(Reuters 1620 280902 Sep 02 GMT)

 

         Prime Minister Paavo Lipponen said on Sunday that Finland was not close to joining NATO and that the current policy of non-alignment would continue after a general election next March. His comments come in the wake of a media debate on the issue after Defense Minister Jan-Erik Enestam said Finland was heading towards NATO membership and only a deliberate decision to stay out would stop it following eastern Europe into the alliance.  "I would say that NATO membership is nowhere in sight and therefore discussion of a referendum is totally premature," Lipponen said in an interview with Radio Finland. "I am sure the non-alignment policy will be a cornerstone for the next government," he added.  A decision on whether to join NATO, a move opposed by two-thirds of Finns according to recent polls, will wait at least until after the government's next defense review in 2004.(Reuters 1304 290902 Sep 02 GMT)

 

 

         Thousands of American and Polish troops are deploying in preparation for a massive annual combat exercise that simulates operations deep behind enemy lines, an Army spokesman said on Friday. The Victory Strike III exercise in Drawsko Pomorskie training area in northwestern Poland, joins forces from NATO's Southern European Task Force, the U.S. Air Force and troops from U.S. V Corps, based in Heidelberg. It will include U.S. Air Force F-16s and the upgraded Apache Longbow attack helicopters, operating for their first time in Europe, in conjunction with Poland's own aerial forces said Capt. Tom Bryant, a V Corps spokesman. "This is really the first time we have the Polish attack aviation helicopters integrated into our deep attack operation," Bryant said. A Polish chemical warfare unit and engineering unit will also be involved in the exercise, and Polish air defense units will work with their American counterparts simulating Stinger and Avenger anti-aircraft batteries. The exercise opens Monday with an airborne airfield seizure, and is scheduled to run through Oct. 18, Bryant said.  (AP 271644 Sep 02 GMT)

 

BALKANS

 

         Vojislav Kostunica will face a pro-Western candidate in a runoff vote for Serbia's president in the first election since the ouster of Slobodan Milosevic, unofficial results showed. The results of the first round election Sunday, released by the Center for Free Elections and Democracy, an independent watchdog group, gave Kostunica 31 percent. Official results are not expected before Monday. Finishing in second with 28 percent was Deputy Prime Minister Labus, giving him a spot in the runoff vote in two weeks.(AP 300114 Sep 02 GMT)

 

IRAQ

 

         The United States and Britain backed up threats of war on Iraq with diplomatic arm-twisting of reluctant allies on Sunday, as UN arms inspectors prepared for talks with Baghdad on resuming their work in the Arab state.  Washington suffered an apparent setback in its efforts to persuade a skeptical Russia to support its proposed Security Council resolution demanding Iraq accept tough new rules for weapons inspections or face military action.   Interfax news agency quoted informed sources as saying Russia was unhappy with the draft. U.S. Undersecretary of State Marc Grossman had held talks on Saturday in Moscow with Foreign Minister Ivanov.  In Vienna, UN weapons inspectors met to prepare for talks with Iraqi officials on Monday on details of their return to Baghdad.(Reuters  2124 290902 Sep 02 GMT)

 

         A senior U.S. official was due to meet Turkish government and military officials on Monday as Washington makes its case among reluctant allies for possible military action against Iraq.  The visit by U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Elizabeth Jones, who is due to meet Turkish Foreign Minister Sukru Sina Gurel and the deputy chief of the military general staff, Yasar Buyukanit, coincides with the arrival of Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Aziz in Ankara late on Monday.  The U.S. embassy said the timing of the two visits was not connected.(Reuters 2202 290902 Sep 02 GMT)

 

 

 

 

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