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SHAPE NEWS SUMMARY & ANALYSIS 04 DECEMBER 2002

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

IRAQ

          Iraq arms declaration "on Saturday"

TERRORISM

          "Bin Laden chose Kleine Brogel air base"

ESDP

          European Convention mulls collective strategy
EU

         Turkey renews pressure to win firm date for EU entry talks

 

IRAQ

 

         The Financial Times, while reminding that Iraq has until December 8 to declare all its biological, chemical and nuclear weapons in accordance with UN resolution 1441, and quotes the head of the Iraqi National Monitoring Directorate saying: "We are going to deliver this declaration in the proper time, on the 7th of this month, the declaration will have new elements but..will not .necessarily include a declaration of weapons of mass destruction." The declaration is going to take the form of a long, detailed list of all "dual use" components in Iraq's possession, of biological or chemical nature. On this subject, The Daily Telegraph reports that British and American officials believe privately that Iraq will try to divide the international community by issuing a detailed and ambiguous declaration. The White House, the newspaper concludes, is concerned that an incomplete declaration could still be hailed in Europe as a breakthrough. About the weapons of mass destruction, the Daily Telegraph reports that Saddam was given a virulent strain of smallpox suitable for use as a biological weapons by a Russian scientist visiting Iraq in 1990. The Times reported a spokesman for Crown Prince Abdullah, Saudi Arabia's de facto ruler, protesting, while giving a news conference at his embassy in Washington, that his country had been a victim of "severe and outrageous criticism which borders on hate" since the September 11 attacks. As proof of his country good faith, he published a dossier listing its efforts to fight terrorism.

 

TERRORISM

 

         The Belgian De Standaard quotes a certain Nizar Trabelsi, one of the persons who are facing trial for terrorist activities, saying that he had contacts with Bin Laden in 2000 when he was staying in a training camp in Afghanistan. Bin Laden himself chose the Kleine Brogel air base as a target that Nizar Trabelsi had to attack.

ESDP

 

         In a contribution to the Financial Times, Judy Dempsey writes that with countries facing new, non-state threats, the Convention is asking if the equivalent of NATO's Article V, a mutual defense alliance, should be applied to the EU. If accepted, she argues, it would mean NATO, of which 11 EU countries are members, would no longer provide the exclusive security umbrella for the Europeans. Instead under certain circumstances, however,  EU countries would assist a member state "within its territory" in dealing with threats from "non-state entities." France, supported by Germany, is increasingly setting the agenda for shaping a more robust EU defense policy. The debate in the defense group, the journalist adds, reflects the growing frustration among members states over the slow pace of ESDP, especially concerning capabilities, military planning and decision-making. Several members in the defense group have said it was questionable whether the EU would launch a military mission by 2003.

 

EU

 

         Turkey yesterday put pressure on European Union heads of state to offer Ankara a firm date to start accession negotiations at next week's Copenhagen summit, according to the Financial Times. The Turkey's ambassador to the EU, Mr. Oguz Demiralp, reportedly said late 2003 or early 2004 was realistic since it would give the governing party time to implement reforms required by the EU before talks start. Britain, Denmark, Greece, Spain and Italy among the other EU member states want to give Turkey a date at Copenhagen provided Turkey implements reforms and accepts the UN proposal for Cyprus. Others would prefer to wait until the end of next year or later, the newspaper continues. In a related article, the Wall Street Journal writes that the European Union, giving Turkey a negotiating date for talks at the next Copenhagen summit, has a historic opportunity to provide concrete evidence that they reject the notion of a "clash of civilizations" between Christianity and Islam.  The Turkey's newly elected government, the daily adds, can use a positive signal from the EU to kick-start the economic stabilization. The Independent reports that British foreign secretary Jack Straw promised Turkey's new political leader yesterday that Britain will use all its influence to ensure a date is agreed at the next EU Summit for Turkey to start negotiations on membership.

 

 

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