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SHAPE NEWS MORNING UPDATE 04 DECEMBER 2002

 

 

WAR ON TERRORISM

         Suspicious letters arrive at Belgian parliament, NATO, government offices

         NATO says its prisoner in Bosnia is linked to al-Qaida

IRAQ

         War against Iraq not inevitable says U.S. envoy

         Turkey approves U.S. use of bases for Iraq attack, but says only if UN approves military action

         Kuwait says Iraqi vessel fires at coast guard boats

AFGHANISTAN

         German Cabinet approves more troops, lead role in Afghan security force

RUSSIA

         Putin visits India to declare mutual anti-terrorism efforts, boost military ties

BALKANS

         Report: International Crisis Group examines Yugoslav arms trade with Iraq

OTHER NEWS

         Kenyan and U.S. forces conduct joint exercises off Indian Ocean coast

         Pro-independence party set to win Greenland polls

 

 
WAR ON TERRORISM

 

         Authorities were investigating letters containing suspicious powder which were sent to government offices, the Belgian parliament and NATO alliance headquarters on Tuesday, officials said. A police civil protection squad was sent across Brussels to analyze the letters and check whether they did not contain harmful substances. (AP 031358 Dec 02)

 

         A Bosnian Muslim arrested a month ago by NATO troops in Bosnia for spying on a U.S. base (near Tuzla) is linked to the al-Qaida terrorist network, peacekeepers said Tuesday. A spokesman said while peacekeepers informed the government of the Muslim-Croat federation, they could not release any other details for reasons of "source protection." A statement from the Interior Ministry on Tuesday said police had received some of the evidence against Fijuljanin, adding it was also working on the case together with the Interpol office in Bosnia. (AP 031551 Dec 02)

 

 
IRAQ

 

         U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said on Tuesday that a war with Iraq was not inevitable but warned Iraqi President Saddam Hussein he would have to go further than ever before if he wanted to avoid conflict. "Our goal is to achieve the disarmament of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, peacefully if possible, voluntarily if possible, by force if necessary," Wolfowitz told BBC Radio in Britain before flying to NATO ally Turkey. "I believe that until we've exhausted every peaceful means one cannot say the use of force is inevitable," he added. (Reuters 031424 GMT Dec 02)

 

         Turkey's foreign minister said Tuesday that his country would allow the United States to use military bases in the country for a strike against Iraq, but only if the United Nations first approved such military action. The move boosts pressure on Iraq and comes just before Iraq's Sunday deadline for declaring all of its banned weapons of mass destruction to UN weapons inspectors. The announcement by Foreign Minister Yasar Yakis came as U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz was in Turkey lobbying for Turkish support in an Iraq operation and represents a partial victory for the United States in building a coalition against Iraq. When asked if the United States would have to seek a new UN resolution to use force against Iraq, Yakis said: "Yes, yes, yes. The Turkish understanding is that the present resolution, 1441, does not allow automatic resorting to armed intervention." (AP 032224 Dec 02)

 

         An Iraqi vessel opened fire at two Kuwaiti coast guard boats in northern Gulf waters on Tuesday but there were no serious casualties, Kuwaiti officials said. An Interior Ministry official said the Kuwaiti boats had taken evasive action after coming under fire and had collided. "They were on a routine patrol when they were fired at by an Iraqi vessel near Warba island," the official said. He declined to comment on what action Kuwait would take over the incident. There was no comment from Baghdad. Interior ministry officials denied a report in a Kuwaiti newspaper, al-Rai al-Aam, that U.S. soldiers had been aboard the coast guard boats. (Reuters 032122 GMT Dec 02)

 

AFGHANISTAN

 

         Chancellor Schroeder's Cabinet on Tuesday approved plans for Germany to take joint command of the international security force in Afghanistan, a task meant partly to offset German refusal to support a war against Iraq. Parliament must approve the decision, which doubles the German troop contingent force to 2,500 to allow Germany and the Netherlands to take command of the 22-nation force early next year. (AP 031756 Dec 02)

 

RUSSIA

 

         Russian President Putin meets with Indian leaders and businessmen on Wednesday to map out joint efforts against global terrorism and reinvigorate economic ties. Talks will also focus on Iraq and military cooperation. Putin could encourage India, Russia's longtime Asian ally, to join Moscow and Beijing in a strategic triad to balance power with the United States. The Russian leader arrived in the Indian capital on Tuesday night after a state visit to China, where the two countries signed a declaration calling for a "multi-polar world" - a phrase that expresses discontent with U.S. global dominance. President Putin and Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee were expected to sign a similar declaration on Wednesday. "Close and constructive cooperation with India promotes the emergence of a multi-polar world order, giving all international community members strategic stability and security," Russian Foreign Ministry official Alexander Yakovenko told the Russian ITAR-Tass news agency on Tuesday. (AP 040511 Dec 02)

 

BALKANS

 

         Yugoslavia's arms trade with Iraq may have helped Saddam Hussein's efforts to develop chemical weapons, an international group said in a report released on Tuesday. The Brussels-based International Crisis Group also said Yugoslavia's current leaders likely knew of the illegal deals but failed to stop them. The report said Yugoslavia's highly profitable arms deals with Iraq continued even after the 2000 ouster of the former autocratic president, Slobodan Milosevic, known for close ties with Saddam. "They raise serious questions about how much has changed in Belgrade since Milosevic's day," it said and warned the dealings "may still be going on today." (AP 031923 Dec 02)

 

OTHER NEWS

 

         U.S. Marines and Kenyan troops are carrying out joint exercises, "Operation Edged Mallet", annual maneuvers that have taken on greater significance since the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings and last week's attacks on Israeli targets. Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi and Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi are to meet with President Bush in Washington on Thursday to discuss security in the Horn of Africa. (AP 040308 Dec 02)

 

         Greenland voted on Tuesday in a parliamentary election likely to be won by a left-wing party that wants independence from Denmark and opposes U.S plans to include the island in its missile defence plans. Opinion polls show the opposition Inuit Ataqatigiit party (IA) emerging as the main political force in Greenland. A recent voter survey in Greenland's Sermitsiaq newspaper showed 80 percent of Greenlanders in favor of independence. (Reuters 031715 GMT Dec 02)

 

 

 

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