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SHAPE NEWS SUMMARY & ANALYSIS 30 OCTOBER 2002

 

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

NATO

         Prague summit seen as "moment of truth" for German-U.S. relations

         French trying to win Royal Navy contract

ESDP

         Report:  Britain and France clash over EU defense force

BALKANS

         FRY army "will not react" if Mladic arrested

CAUCASUS

         Chechen facing security crackdown

 

NATO

 

         Against the background of strained U.S.-German relations, Die Welt suggests that the NATO summit in Prague could become "the moment of truth."  On the agenda, there will not only be the enlargement issue and the restoration of military interoperability, which will burden the Federal budget, but also, and with greater impact, the impending attack against Iraq, stresses the newspaper.  Insisting that Germany's foreign policy must no longer be hostage to domestic games, the article continues:  "It will not suffice to fulfill agreements, i.e., on landing rights.  Taking over the ISAF command in Kabul is a step in the right direction, but without U.S. support this could soon become a path toward disaster.  Both sides, especially Washington, have to intensify the consultations over the whole spectrum of relations.  The cooperation in terms of security and armament has suffered badly.  Its improvement requires more than just a technology policy.  Washington will ask Berlin to take over a leading role in the future NATO reaction force:  excuses will be to no avail. This will be a test whether a NATO 'out of area' role exists.  If not, NATO will lose its military significance-and of the political one, not much will remain."

 

         According to The Times, two rival companies, one of them French-owned, are fighting to win a contract to build two 50,000-ton aircraft carriers for the Royal Navy.  BAE Systems and Thales-the new name for the French electronics giant Thomson CSF which merged with Racal-reportedly outlined their plans Tuesday to meet the requirements recently set by the British Ministry of Defense.  The newspaper notes that the first of the new carriers is due to be in service in 2012 and the second in 2015.

 

 

 

ESDP

 

         The future of ESDP is approaching a crossroads, wit Britain and France each determined to shape its direction, writes the Financial Times.  In what it sees as a test case for ESDP's future, the newspaper claims that Britain has made it clear it cannot support the EU going into the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia without an accord with NATO.  According to the article, London's insistence was spelt out in a letter sent at the weekend by Nigel Sheinwald, Britain's Ambassador to the EU, to the Greek presidency, who chair defense matters for the EU.  It was reportedly written after an EU meeting where France, backed by Belgium and other countries, strongly suggested it wanted the Europeans to take over the operation without a NATO agreement.  The article remarks that some EU military experts say the Europeans could easily take over the NATO mission since most of the 700 soldiers are European.  It adds, however, that other experts say the mission has an agreement with NATO's 1,200-strong KFOR Rear forces to provide security, search and extraction in case NATO or EU monitors in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia come under attack. "Are the Europeans prepared to duplicate all this security and personnel?," the newspaper quotes one unidentified military officer saying. 

 

BALKANS

 

         Belgrade's Nacional, Oct. 29, claimed that an operation to arrest former Bosnian Serb military leader Mladic and other prominent war crime suspect Col. Veselin Sljvancanin had started.  The newspaper claimed it had became aware that Interior Minister Mihajlovic held a meeting with his closest associates Friday to draw up and implement a specific plan for the arrest of individuals indicted by the ICTY who are on Serbian territory.  It quoted a source saying that "representatives of the special Anti-terrorist Unions (SAJ)" had refused to take part in the operation,  and the task would therefore be carried out by an "informal group" made up of well trained veterans, former and current police officers and soldiers, who are willing to do this for money.  According to the source, said the daily, the group comprises about 100 men and most of them will be doing logistical work.  The most difficult part of the job-the arrest itself-will be left to five of the most experienced officers.  The operation will involve many other members of the Interior Ministry, but their job will be to secure facilities, providing escort and transport.   According to the newspaper, the police has carefully weighted the possible reactions to the operation and has given the "green light" after it received reports that seemed to indicate that the army would not react.  "There are two wings in the Yugoslav Army.  One group, which supports the ICTY..  And another which believes that the army should not interfere in government affairs,"  the source reportedly said.   Analysts hired by the Ministry estimate that people would not be too upset even if blood was spilled during the operation, the source added.

 

CAUCASUS

 

         The Financial Times speculates that Georgia and Azerbaijan may be forced to crack down on their own ethnic Chechen populations in the aftermath of last week's terrorist attack on a Moscow theater.  The newspaper recalls that Azerbaijan and Georgia have long had to tread a fine line in their relations with both Russia and Chechnya.  It suggests that the anti-terrorist campaign could renew Moscow's focus on Georgia's Pankisi Gorge.  Tbilisi may be asked to produce more results after an initial operation to purge the area of Chechen militants. 

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