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SHAPE NEWS MORNING UPDATE 05 NOVEMBER 2002

 

 

NATO

         Germany backs U.S. proposal for rapid NATO force

         NATO secretary-general says Germany example in anti-terror campaign

         Ukraine's president waffles on whether to attend NATO meetings

RUSSIA-NATO

         Russian defense minister criticizes NATO expansion

         Putin likely to meet NATO's Robertson next week

BALKANS

         NATO bombing of Yugoslav factories may have long-term health and environmental effects  with implications for Iraq, study says

U.S.-TURKEY

         US moves to forge ties with new Turkey ruling party

IRAQ

         Saddam hints at flexibility, U.S. ships set sail

 

 

NATO
 

         Chancellor Schroeder backed U.S. plans to develop a rapid reaction military force within the NATO alliance on Monday, the latest move to patch up strained relations with Washington.  "We consider the American proposal for a rapid response force the right way to go," Schroeder told a joint news conference with NATO Secretary-General Robertson. Robertson said that NATO at the summit would reveal a leaner, meaner and more responsive structure focused on fighting terrorism and weapons of mass destruction. "Prague is going to demonstrate clearly that NATO is becoming a focal point for coordinating and planning the multinational military contribution to our defense against terrorism and other asymmetric threats," he said. "We have to accelerate the transition from Cold War heavy forces to lighter and more flexible and more mobile forces."  Robertson also said the summit would further develop the U.S. rapid reaction force proposal "moving it from a national idea into a multinational reality".(Reuters 1728 041102 Nov 02 GMT)

 

         NATO Secretary-General Robertson said Monday Germany's participation in the U.S.-led war against terror should be an example to countries as they try to "stay the course on terrorism." Robertson told a group of German defense officials and military officers at a conference that Germany's decision to participate in military operations in Afghanistan as well as in Balkan peacekeeping missions was a "valuable lesson for all of us." "Don't be afraid to do the right thing even if it appears to be unpopular, stay the course," Robertson said. "Public opinion is important, but it can never be an alibi for inaction."(AP 041638 Nov 02 GMT)

 

 

         Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma backtracked Monday on his pledge to attend a NATO summit in Prague this month despite lacking an invitation, with officials saying he may or may not go to the gathering in the Czech capital. Kuchma spokeswoman Olena Hromnytska told a news conference he is considering attending meetings of NATO's Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council during the Nov. 21-22 summit. "He reserves the right to take part," she said. On Friday, Kuchma declared, "I will go to Prague," defying NATO's decision not to invite him to separate meetings of the bilateral NATO-Ukraine Commission meant to decide whether Ukraine can start the process of joining the alliance. Kuchma's deputy chief of staff, Anatoliy Orel, said the president's participation at in Prague "is a serious issue that needs to be studied" but that no decision has been made. Orel emphasized that Ukraine will continue to seek closer ties with NATO and the EU regardless of whether Kuchma attends the summit. "We will not change our policy of European and Euro-Atlantic integration no matter what," Orel said.(AP 041421 Nov 02 GMT)

 

RUSSIA-NATO

 

         Russian Defense Minister Ivanov criticized NATO's eastward expansion Monday, saying it makes little sense and will do nothing to help contain terrorist threats. "I cannot imagine how the planned enlargement of NATO will alter the counteraction of the real threats and challenges, first and foremost international terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, that we are witnessing today," the Interfax news agency quoted Ivanov as saying in Khabarovsk, a city in far eastern Russia. He emphasized that Moscow's negative attitude to NATO's eastward expansion has not changed, saying that expansion "makes little sense to us," Interfax reported. However, he added that "it is the right of every country to choose a bloc for itself."(AP 041914 Nov 02 GMT)

 

         President Putin is likely to hold talks with NATO Secretary General Robertson next week, days before the alliance takes the next step in an enlargement process Moscow has always criticized.  One diplomat said there was a "strong possibility" that Putin would take time out from a summit with the EU in Brussels on November 11 to meet Robertson, just as he did in October last year.     A NATO official said on Monday: "We are actively exploring the possibility of meeting him, but there is no decision yet".(Reuters 1538 041102 Nov 02 GMT)

 

BALKANS

 

         The bombing of factories during the 1999 NATO air campaign in Yugoslavia may have long-term environmental and health effects, a new environmental report says, raising questions about targets in possible future conflicts such as Iraq. The report, obtained Monday by The Associated Press, warns that precision bombing of industrial facilities can lead to contamination that is very difficult to clean up and may violate international humanitarian law. Civilians living near the targets may also be exposed to greater health risks from contamination of the air, water, and food products, said the report by the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research, a nonprofit organization based near Washington that investigates scientific issues. "Precision targeting may be intended to minimize civilian damage, but the choice of targets may still violate the international laws of war, including the Geneva Conventions," said Nicole Deller, a lawyer and co-author of the study. The institute studied the NATO bombings of the Zastava car factory in Kragujevac, some 100 kilometers (60 miles) south of Belgrade, and a petrochemical plant, a fertilizer plant and an oil refinery in Pancevo, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) northeast of the capital.(AP 042258 Nov 02 GMT)

 

U.S.-TURKEY

 

         Faced with a seismic shift in Turkey's politics, the United States moved on Monday to improve ties with its key ally's victorious new Islam-rooted ruling party, encouraged it will continue a western-oriented foreign policy that includes cooperation on Iraq. "Turkey is a reliable friend and ally of the United States. We look forward to working with whoever the Turkish people elect," said White House spokesman Ari Fleischer.   At the State Department, spokesman Richard Boucher congratulated the AKP on its election success. "The parties represented in the new parliament reflect the aspirations of the Turkish people for continued progress on the path toward EU on membership and for the implementation of political and economic reforms," he said.  "We'll work with the government on these issues, as well as on reaching a settlement in Cyprus," he added.(Reuters 0057 051102 Nov 02 GMT)

 

IRAQ

 

         Iraqi President Saddam Hussein said on Monday he would consider cooperating with a new U.N. resolution on arms inspections provided it was not merely a pretext for the United States to attack Iraq.    As intense diplomatic wrangling went on among major powers over how to deal with Iraq, there were growing signs that Washington was preparing for possible war. U.S. officials told Reuters three U.S. military cargo ships capable of carrying tanks had left U.S. shores. "If a resolution is issued which respects the UN charter, international law and Iraq's sovereignty, security and independence, and does not provide a cover for America's ill intentions, we will view it in a way that makes us deal with it," official Iraqi television quoted Saddam as telling visiting far-right Austrian politician Joerg Haider.    The U.S. military cargo vessels, USNS Bellatrix, USNS Bob Hope and USNS Fisher, left U.S. shores in recent days, officials said.    Marge Holtz, director of Military Sealift Command, a branch of the U.S. Navy, declined to comment on the exact destination of the cargo vessels. "It is part of the repositioning of forces and equipment in support of the war on terror. They are en route," she told Reuters.(Reuters 2041 041102 Nov 02 GMT)

 

 

 

 

 

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