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SHAPE NEWS MORNING UPDATE 28 OCTOBER 2002

 

 

NATO-ACCESSION

         Slovenes' support for NATO increases a month ahead of invitation to join

BALKANS

         Kosovo mayor, guards killed in post-vote shooting

IRAQ

         France repeats U.S. proposal on Iraq needs changes

         Thousands of demonstrators turn out in Europe and beyond to protest war against Iraq

         US top brass in Saudi amid lingering Iraq tension

ESDP

         EU agrees deal to break reaction force deadlock

TURKEY-EU-ACCESSION

         Turkish president criticizes EU's refusal to give Turkey a date for accession talks

         EU clinches crucial enlargement finance deal

OTHER NEWS

         Greece, Turkey halt Cyprus military exercises

 

 

NATO-ACCESSION
 

         A month before Slovenia is expected to be invited to join NATO, public support for the membership increased by 10 percentage points, though more than half of Slovenes are opposed or undecided, according to a survey released on Friday. The survey, conducted once a month by the state-run Center for Researching the Public Opinion, showed that 49 percent of Slovenes now support NATO membership, up from 38.5 percent in September. Those opposing it make 32.5 percent, 7 percent less than last month. About 20 percent were undecided. "In times of the elections, people get more opinionated on political issues, and therefore, on NATO as well," said Samo Uhan, a sociologist and the head of the survey team. (AP 251407 Oct 02 GMT)

 

BALKANS

 

         A Kosovo Albanian mayor and two of his bodyguards were shot dead on Sunday, a day after the UN-run Yugoslav province held a peaceful municipal election, international and local officials said.     The head of a Kosovo agency monitoring Saturday's vote said Mayor Uke Bytyci of the town of Suva Reka was shot when he tried to calm a dispute between supporters of his Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) and a rival Albanian party.    A spokesman for the OSCE told a news conference the mayor's two body guards also died. International police said one suspect was detained. "This cannot be an isolated incident. It was well-planned and organized," deputy mayor Vitor Markaj of the municipality of roughly 80,000 people told Reuters television.(Reuters 1645 271002 Oct 02 GMT)

 

IRAQ

 

         France on Sunday resisted U.S. pressure for action on Iraq, saying Washington's proposed UN resolution needed changes to win wide international backing.  Foreign Minister Villepin said there were contradictory elements in the U.S. draft resolution submitted to UN Security Council last week. "It includes contradictory elements. There is therefore work to do," Villepin said in an advance copy of an interview to run in Monday's edition of Le Figaro newspaper. At the weekend, President Bush said the United States would lead a coalition against Iraq if the United Nations failed to ensure Baghdad had no chemical, biological or nuclear weapons. Secretary of State Powell said key decisions had to be made in the next few days.     Villepin said it was in the interests of the United States to agree a UN resolution that could enjoy broad international support. "It is in the interests of all, including the United States, to reach a resolution which shows the support of the international community," he said.(Reuters 2123 271002 Oct 02 GMT)

 

         Demanding an end to threats of an "unjustified" war against Iraq, tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered in cities across Europe, the United States and beyond for a show of opposition to President Bush's policy toward Baghdad. Some 2,000 people turned out in Frankfurt, and hundreds in Stuttgart, Hamburg, and Bremen, according to police, while another 1,500 gathered under outside the U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen, Denmark and more than 1,000 hit the streets in Stockholm, Sweden. The marches were planned by anti-war activists to coincide with protests in Washington and San Francisco. In the U.S. capital, tens of thousands of anti-war protesters circled the White House after the Rev. Jesse Jackson and other speakers denounced the Bush administration's Iraq policies and demanded a revolt at the ballot box to promote peace.(AP270101 Oct 02 GMT)

 

         The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff arrived in Saudi Arabia on Sunday as Washington continued to rally the support of its Arab allies for a possible military strike against Iraq.  The official Saudi Press Agency, which reported the arrival of General Myers, did not give any details. Myers' visit coincides with a visit to the kingdom by Lincoln Bloomfield, U.S. assistant secretary of state for political and military affairs.(Reuters 2017 271002 Oct 02 GMT)

 

ESDP

 

         The EU approved a plan on Friday to break a two-year deadlock between Greece and Turkey that has hamstrung its fledgling Rapid Reaction Force, and offered Ankara a bundle of incentives to make a deal.  Solana said he was confident Turkey would now come on board. "I don't think it will be necessary to renegotiate because we have a text which, to my mind, should be acceptable to the Turks," he told a news conference at the end of an EU summit. "This is a really important moment because there is pretty little now that has to be negotiated."(Reuters 2000 251002 Oct 02 GMT)

 

 

TURKEY-EU-ACCESSION

 

         President  Sezer said Sunday that Turkey deserves to start entry talks with the EU by next year and criticized the EU's refusal to set a date. Participants at an EU summit Friday welcomed democratic reforms passed as part of Turkey's EU bid, but set no date for negotiations, citing shortcomings in freedoms of expression, religion and association. "The results ... do not meet our expectations," Sezer told reporters before leaving for Copenhagen, where he was expected to lobby for Turkey's EU bid with Danish Prime Minister Rasmussen. "Full EU membership is our goal," Sezer said. "I will emphasize that we've established a sufficient base for ... talks in 2003."(AP 271517 Oct 02 GMT)

 

         EU leaders reached a crucial agreement on financial terms for the bloc's eastward enlargement on Friday, clearing the way for final negotiations with 10 mainly east European candidates to join in 2004. "This represents a major step forward towards a historic decision on enlargement which will be taken at the Copenhagen summit in December," Danish Prime Minister Rasmussen told a news conference after chairing a two-day EU summit.  The leaders formally endorsed Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Cyprus and Malta as ready to join the bloc in 2004. (Reuters 1734 251002 Oct 02 GMT)

 

OTHER NEWS

 

         Rivals Greece and Turkey agreed on Friday to halt military exercises on the disputed Mediterranean island of Cyprus until further notice, in a confidence-building measure at a crucial point in negotiations.  Greek Foreign Minister Papandreou announced the agreement at a news conference after an EU summit after a telephone call with his Turkish counterpart, Sukru Sina Gurel. "Each year military exercises normally take place in Cyprus," Papandreou said. "Greece and Turkey have agreed...to postpone all military exercises planned in Cyprus for the foreseeable future."(Reuters 1939 251002 Oct 02 GMT)

 

 

 

 

 

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