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SHAPE NEWS SUMMARY & ANALYSIS 28 OCTOBER 2002

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

GEN. RALSTON-ALGERIA

         Gen. Ralston visits Algeria

NATO

         Germany considering taking lead in providing European NATO allies with heavy airlift capability

ESDP

         Report: Push for EU mutual defense pact puts NATO's future at risk

         Turkey uneasy about some points in new EU proposal on ESDP

TURKEY-EU

         Big nations boost Turkey's hopes for EU accession

RUSSIA-CHECHNYA

         President Putin vows to crush rebels

IRAQ

         U.S. seeks Iraq decision "in days"

 

GEN. RALSTON-ALGERIA

 

         Radio Algiers quoted the Defense Ministry announcing that Gen. Ralston is making an official visit to Algeria at the invitation of Chief of Staff of the National People's Army, Lt. Gen. Mohamed Lamari.  The broadcast added that the visit, which falls within the framework of the development of military cooperation ties, will also allow the two sides to discuss issues of common interest.

 

NATO

 

         Looking at transatlantic relations, particularly "olive branches" Germany is now putting forward in the field of security,  the Washington Post, Oct. 27, noted that when Germany and the Netherlands take joint command of ISAF at the end of the year, it will save U.S. taxpayers millions of dollars in U.S. subsidies that had enabled Turkey to hold the command temporarily.  The article claimed that NATO Secretary General Robertson helped smooth the way for that understanding on Afghanistan and according to U.S. officials, put forward a promising new unity idea to President Bush in a White House meeting last week:  Germany is considering taking the lead in providing Europe's NATO members with new heavy airlift capability.  "Initially at least, this would involve leasing U.S.-manufactured C-17s  (and helping Boeing's balance sheet)," stressed the newspaper.  The article also noted that at the Prague summit, approval is expected for a NATO rapid response force of 20,000 soldiers-which will include France-to deal with crises and terrorism on Europe's periphery.   It quoted one U.S. official saying in this respect:  "This is what we should have had in Afghanistan, when we were deluged with offers of help from our NATO partners and did not know how to respond to them." 

 

ESDP

 

         The Sunday Telegraph, Oct. 27,  recalled that French EU Commissioner Barnier, who leads the European Convention's defense working group,  is backing a far-reaching extension of the role of the planned European defense force.  Under the plan, the newspaper noted, the new defense force would have its responsibilities extended from peacekeeping and crisis management in neighboring states to include full-scale defense of the EU.  Any terrorist or military attack on one member of the EU would reportedly enable that country to invoke an EU version of Article 5, calling member states' military forces to its aid.  Although the European force is supposed to be coordinated with NATO, and to be drawn from the same pool of troops, it would be separately commanded. The newspaper observed that "skeptical generals, including Gen. Ralston, have expressed fears that duplication of the two organizations would waste resources and is a recipe for political conflict between them."  It asserted that that Britain's ambassador to NATO has recently warned visiting parliamentarians that the proposal was "ghastly for the U.S. and damaging for NATO."

 

         Media focus on reports that EU leaders meeting Friday had approved a plan to break a deadlock over the EU's use of NATO's assets.  Turkey's Anatolia news agency,  Oct. 27, quoted Foreign Minister Gurel saying Sunday there were points among the EU's new proposals on ESDP that made Turkey uneasy.  He reportedly said he would oppose in particular the automatic use of NATO resources by the Greek Cypriot administration on Cyprus and would seek an arrangement on the issue.  According to the dispatch, asked in what form this might be achieved, he said a formulation could be reached in the form that "non-NATO member countries that will become new members of the EU may not automatically make use of NATO resources."  A related AP dispatch quotes Gurel saying that "new EU members that are not members of NATO shouldn't automatically benefit from NATO's resources."  Athens News Agency, Oct. 25, quoted  Greek Prime Minister Simitis expressing optimism that the road for an agreement for the creation of the "Euro force" had been opened.    Simitis reportedly stressed, however, that "it is not a Greek-Turkish affair or an EU-Turkish affair, but an issue between the EU and NATO."  Earlier, AFP quoted EU security chief Solana saying Friday he would discuss the EU's new proposals with Turkish President Sezer on Monday but his mandate was "to get in touch with NATO."  The formal negotiations will be with the organization, which is NATO, he reportedly insisted.  Istanbul's Radikal, Oct. 27, reported that the EU's decision calls for three significant conditions to be added to the Ankara Agreement that Turkey had earlier reached with Britain and the United States:  ESDP will not be used in any crisis against any NATO country;  NATO's military crisis management will not be employed against the EU or any EU country; no operation will be conducted which would violate the principles of the UN Charter. 

 

TURKEY-EU

 

         According to the Financial Times, Oct. 26-27,  Europe's five leading countries Friday gave a boost to Turkey's ambitions to join the EU by agreeing in principle to consider at the Copenhagen summit in December giving Ankara a timetable for starting accession negotiations.   The newspaper quoted diplomats saying the informal accord by Britain, Germany, France, Italy and Spain amounted to a psychological boost for the reformers in Turkey ahead of parliamentary elections there on Nov. 3.  It might also revitalize stalled talks over Cyprus, one of the 10 countries that will join the EU in 2004.  The newspaper noted that the mood among EU leaders marks a significant shift, motivated in part by pressure from the United States and an awareness that the EU was obliged to give Turkey some incentive to meet the Copenhagen criteria as well as recognition over reforms already undertaken.

 

RUSSIA-CHECHNYA

 

         The BBC World Service reported that two days after special forces ended a theater siege with heavy loss of live among hostages as well as their Chechen rebel captors, President Putin announced Monday that he is giving the military new powers to fight terrorist.  According to the broadcast, Putin told cabinet officials he was ordering the Russian General Staff to change its guidelines on the use of military forces to deal with what he said was the growing threat of international terrorists using methods "comparable to weapons of mass destruction."  He gave no details.  Media generally observe that Russian authorities are under pressure to provide details of the gas used by the troops who stormed the theater.  Relief that the siege was over quickly gave way to concern about the methods used.

 

IRAQ

 

         The BBC World Service reported that the U.S. administration has signaled it wants the UN to decide in the coming days what action to take against the Iraqi regime.  It quoted Secretary of State Powell saying the UN could not debate the issue indefinitely and fundamental decisions had to be made within the next week.  The network contrasted the administration's firm stance with mounting public opposition.  It noted that protests in large U.S. cities were hailed as some of the largest since U.S. citizens took to the streets in the 1960s and 1970s to protest the Vietnam war.

 

 

 

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