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Military

Updated: 08-Jan-2004
 

SHAPE News Summary & Analysis

8 January 2004

NATO
  • NATO defense ministers to meet informally in Munich

NRF

  • Romanian defense minister on his country’s participation in NRF
  • President Chirac: France wants to play “significant” role in NRF

PFP

  • NATO to mark 10th anniversary of PFP program

UNITED STATES-TROOP BASING

  • Poland reportedly proposing locations for U.S. army bases

NATO

  • According to AFP, a NATO official said Wednesday NATO defense ministers will hold an informal meeting on the eve of a Munich security conference due to take place on Feb. 7 and 8. “The meeting is taking place certainly on Feb. 6, the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, reportedly said. He added that defense ministers attending would notably discuss NATO’s mission in Afghanistan. The dispatch notes that NATO has begun expanding its operations into the country’s provinces by having international peacekeepers assume control of a PRT in the north of Afghanistan. It adds that the NATO official said similar operations were planned in the future and the Alliance was looking for more countries to participate. “The key trick is to come up with a coordinated approach to this,” the official reportedly said.

NRF

  • In an interview with Bucharest daily Nine O’Clock, Jan. 6, Defense Minister Pascu viewed challenges laying ahead of the Romanian Army ahead of the country’s full-fledged NATO membership. He said: “It is our desire to become actively involved in the NATO efforts to improved capabilities and forces…. The NATO Response Force (NRF) project … is one of the key elements of the process of NATO’s transformation. After the first conference on the planning of the new structure, a Romanian NBC platoon was selected to participate in the NRF. We are currently looking at the possibility of enhancing our offer for the NRF during other planning cycles thereafter. “

  • AP reports that in Paris Thursday, at a New Year’s greeting ceremony to the armed forces, President Chirac firmly said France wanted to forge ahead with “determination” with the construction of a European defense initiative but stressed that there was no “conflict between NATO and the (EU).” According to the dispatch, Chirac stressed that at the NATO summit in Istanbul in June, he would reiterate that these two commitments are “perfectly compatible.” Chirac also repeated that France intended to play a “significant role” in the NRF and added: “I’ll reiterate France’s attachment to the Atlantic Alliance at the Istanbul summit.”

PFP

  • “NATO on Saturday marks the 10th anniversary of its Partnership for Peace Program, which was designed to foster relations with the ex-Soviet bloc but is now turning its sights to Central Asia as part of the U.S.-led war on terrorism,” writes AFP. “You have Kazakhs in Iraq serving under Poles. That would have been unbelievable without PFP,” the dispatch quotes a senior NATO official saying, on condition of anonymity. One of the biggest successes of the PFP program, the official reportedly added, had been to get non-NATO countries in shape for joint military operations and it has also inspired many countries and supported very significant reform of defense institutions and concepts. “Building democratic and responsible defense institutions, that’s really the challenge. The farther we move from eastern Europe, the more we need institution building,” the official is further quoted saying.

UNITED STATES-TROOP BASING

  • “A senior Defense Ministry official has told us the United States has presented Poland with a general plan for armed forces deployment and Warsaw is working on proposals that will meet their expectations,” reports Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza. According to the newspaper, the official said the armed forces would like the Americans to take over the airfield in Powidz. “Everything speaks in favor of Powidz. The runway and taxiing routes can only be compared to those in the big U.S. base in Ramstein. It is also located far from big cities, which is important for environmental and strategic reasons,” the official reportedly said. He added that a State Department delegation had recently visited Moscow to dispel Russian fears concerning U.S. bases in Poland. “According to U.S accounts, the Russians would not like the bases to be established east of the Vistula River,” he claimed. A related AFP dispatch reports a spokesman for the Defense Ministry refused to comment but did not deny the report.

 



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