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SHAPE NEWS MORNING UPDATE 01 OCTOBER  2002

 

 

NATO

         American NATO expert predicts Ukraine membership in 4 years

EU-NATO

         Greece sees chance of EU defense deal by November

ESDP

         Chirac says higher defense spending will earn Europe respect

         Britain announces $15 bln U.S. jump-jet plane deal

BALKANS

         Former army chief, two others charged with spying for U.S

IRAQ

         US intensifies lobbying for UN resolution

 

 

NATO

 

         A U.S. expert on NATO predicted Monday at a meeting with lawmakers that Ukraine would be accepted as a member of NATO within four years. Bruce Jackson, head of the U.S. Committee on NATO, a pro-expansion think tank in Washington, based his prediction for Ukraine's prospects for NATO membership on that of the Baltic countries who are expected to complete the accession process in November after 26 months. "The final definition of Europe's security system is going to happen in the next five years," he said. "Ukraine is (NATO's) most important 'new relationship' ... I'm very optimistic about what we can achieve in Ukraine in the next 42 months." Michel Duray, NATO's spokesman in Ukraine, told The Associated Press that "it's too early to make any conclusions" about whether U.S. allegations threaten the November summit, indicating that plans are still going forward.(AP 301915 Sep 02 GMT)

 

EU-NATO

 

         Greece said on Monday Turkey now was willing "to move ahead" in negotiations on access to NATO military planning for EU crisis management operations, and voiced optimism that a deal would be struck by November. "We do have elections in Turkey so this may or may not be a hindrance," Greek Foreign Minister Papandreou told Reuters in an interview. "But I think we've had a sense from the Turkish side that there's a willingness to move ahead." A senior European Union diplomat said Turkey had indeed given ground in the standoff between the Aegean rivals, which has stymied the bloc's plans for its fledgling Rapid Reaction Force to make a peacekeeping debut in Macedonia (sic)  this year.  There was no immediate official comment from Ankara.(Reuters 1925 300902 Sep 02 GMT)

 

ESDP

 

         French President Chirac defended proposed increases in military spending on Monday, saying his country and others in Europe should be ready to assume our responsibilities." The Cabinet has approved a budget for next year that raises defense spending by about 1 billion euros (US$980). The legislation included an 11.2 percent increase in credits for equipment for the armed forces over the next five years. "France is showing the way," Chirac said at an air base in Creil, 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of Paris. He called on other European countries "to make the same effort so the Europe we are building will be more united, stronger and more respected." Britain and Germany are increasing military spending, and NATO Secretary-General Robertson is urging members to come up with military spending plans at the alliance's summit in November in Prague.(AP 301646 sep 02 GMT)

 

         Britain said on Monday it had decided to keep investing in jump-jets for its air and naval forces with plans to spend up to 10 billion pounds ($15.7 billion) on 150 short take-off and vertical landing F-35s.   Britain had been weighing the possibility of only buying the standard take-off version of U.S. defense contractor Lockheed Martin's F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Lord Bach, British defense procurement minister, said on Monday the decision to buy the short take-off and vertical landing (STOVL) planes were "good news for British industry" since they would be partly built by Harrier contractors BAE Systems Plc and engines firm Rolls-Royce Plc, as well as avionics firm Smiths Group Plc.  Bach described the aircraft as the world's most advanced stealthy jump-jet.(Reuters 1654 300902 Sep 02 GMT)

 

BALKANS

 

         Military prosecutors brought formal charges Monday against a former Yugoslav army chief suspected of spying for the United States, a news agency reported. Gen. Momcilo Perisic, who served as Yugoslav army Chief of Staff under former Yugoslav President Milosevic before joining pro-democracy politicians who ousted the authoritarian leader in 2000, was arrested in March for allegedly passing military secretes to a U.S. diplomat. Perisic denied the allegations and claimed he was the victim of an ongoing power struggle among top leaders here. On Monday, Perisic and two others suspected in the same affair were charged with "the criminal act of espionage," the Tanjung news agency reported, citing a statement released by military prosecutors. If convicted, the three face between three and 15 years in jail.(AP 301518 Sep 02 GMT)

 

IRAQ                           

 

         The United States intensified lobbying of the 10 rotating UN Security Council members on Monday in support of a resolution that allows Washington to strike Iraq if it perceives  violations.  The draft is not expected to be introduced or circulated until Tuesday or Wednesday, leaving open the possibility of revisions by the Bush administration, diplomats said.(Reuters 0122 011002 Sep 02 GMT)

 

 

 

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