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Updated: 08-Jan-2004

SHAPE News Morning Update

08 January 2004

  • New NATO chief to visit the Balkans
  • Top international official warns Bosnia to adopt reforms by June


  • Human Rights Watch says new Afghan constitution flawed by deals made with warlords for support


  • Spanish foreign minister and U.S. Secretary of State discuss Middle East and the European Union
  • EU sees closer ties with Georgia, Solana to visit the country next week
  • Turkish leader to press Iraq concerns with President Bush


  • New NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer will visit Bosnia and Kosovo next week on his first official trip, the alliance announced Wednesday in Brussels. He is scheduled to meet alliance peacekeeping troops in the Balkans on Jan. 15-16. He is also expected to travel to Afghanistan early this year to visit NATO’s peacekeeping mission there, an operation which De Hoop Scheffer says is the alliance’s top priority. (AP 071533 Jan 04)

  • Bosnia must accept reforms by June if it wants to join a key NATO program and become a part of the EU, the country’s top international official said Wednesday. Paddy Ashdown made the comments in Sarajevo during a press conference laying out plans for 2004. At a summit in Turkey, NATO will decide whether or not Bosnia can take part in its Partnership for Peace program. The European Commission is also set to review the country’s progress toward membership this summer. (AP 071340 Jan 04)


  • The involvement of regional warlords in drafting Afghanistan’s new constitution raises doubts about whether free elections can be held this year, Human Rights Watch said. Human Rights Watch said the constitution contains provisions enunciating basic political, civil, economic and social rights, but little strong language empowering institutions to uphold them. The constitution also fails to adequately address the role of Islamic law and its relationship to human rights protections, they said. (AP 080015 Jan 04)


  • Secretary of State Colin Powell met on Wednesday with Spanish Foreign Minister Palacio, ahead of a visit next week by Spain’s prime minister. They discussed recent developments in Libya, Iran and the Middle East, Powell said. He thanked Spain for providing “steadfast” support in the war on Iraq and agreeing to “take on additional responsibilities as we move forward.” Ana Palacio said discussions included the expansion of the European Union and Turkey’s ascension to the 25-member body, “because in the end the membership of Turkey is a common challenge for us Europeans and a common interest and a common goal in our trans-Atlantic relationship.” Palacio and Powell also discussed the possibility of NATO “being able to accept a stronger involvement in Iraq in due time,” she said. (AP 072042 Jan 04)

  • EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana plans to visit Georgia next week after visiting Iran and Afghanistan, despite Brussels’ concerns that Georgian parliamentary elections may not meet international standards. Although Solana’s spokesman gave few details of the trip, a spokesman for EU External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten said the bloc wanted to step up its activities in Georgia and was prepared to boost aid and political and economic ties. (Reuters 071642 GMT Jan 04)

  • Turkey is uncomfortable with the free rein the U.S. is permitting Kurds in Iraq and Prime Minister Erdogan will press President Bush on this issue when they meet later this month, Ankara’s envoy to Washington said on Wednesday. In an interview with the Reuters news agency, Ambassador Osman Faruk Logoglu also said that Prime Minister Erdogan, on his first official visit to the White House on Jan. 28, will seek President Bush’s support for an expected Turkish proposal for settling the issue of the divided island of Cyprus. High-level U.S. engagement on Cyprus is essential ahead of the island’s accession to the EU on May 1 and Prime Minister Erdogan will make this case, the envoy said. Ambassador Logoglu said he was confident Turkey and the United States still shared fundamental goals in support of Iraq’s political unity, stability and territorial integrity. (Reuters 072357 GMT Jan 04)


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