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Updated: 21-Jan-2004

SHAPE News Summary & Analysis

21 January 2004


  • Gen. Jones’ interview with Le Figaro noted by Belgian dailies
  • Lt. Gen. Gliemeroth calls for more suppor
  • Report: Canada loses spy plane in Afghanistan crash


  • Turkey backs Greek military spending call


  • Remarks by Gen. Jones, in an interview with Paris’ Le Figaro, are noted by Belgian dailies Gazet van Antwerpen and Het Belang van Limburg. “NATO commander wants to send the Alliance to Africa,” writes the latter, adding: “Gen. Jones wants the Alliance to be more active in Africa. He said … there are many high-risk spots there susceptible to attract terrorists. He said the U.S. was discussing with countries interested in Africa the need for a military consensus to help the genuinely democratic regimes protect their borders.”


  • ISAF Commander Lt. Gen. Gliemeroth Wednesday called on the donor community to take over more PRTs in Afghanistan, reports AFP. According to the dispatch, he told reporters in Kabul the PRTs were at the heart of the peacekeepers’ efforts to enhance security and rebuild Afghanistan. “It’s of predominant importance that rather soon more and more nations commit themselves to take over PRTs,” he reportedly said, adding: “While the U.S.-led coalition is currently rolling out additional PRTs, predominantly in the south and southeast, ISAF has taken over command and control of the German-led PRT in Kunduz. And now NATO is looking to take over as many as four or five more PRTs in the near future.” The dispatch further quoted Gen. Gliemeroth saying the advances made in disarming Afghan militiamen should also serve as a “very strong signal to the international community” that progress was being made in the country and that they should contribute further to its development.
  • Canadian media report that one of the country’s spy planes had crashed and had gone missing in Afghanistan Tuesday, almost two months to the day after another crash that temporarily halted the unmanned surveillance aircraft program. The Globe and Mail says that leaves the Canadian forces in Kabul with no more planes. They had four of them, but two other were damaged in “hard landings,” the daily stresses, adding that an investigation will be launched to determine the causes of the incident. The article notes that the spy planes had been used by ISAF since mid-December. It claims that the plane was used to aid Canadian soldiers as they raided a compound in Kabul Sunday in search of drug smugglers with possible connection to a terrorist organization.


  • Athens News Agency, Jan. 20, reported that the Greek government Tuesday welcomed the positive reaction by Turkish Foreign Minister Gul to a Greek proposal for gradual and matching cutbacks in arms by Greece and Turkey. The dispatch quotes a government spokesman saying Gul’s statements were “very positive and an initial basis for dialogue and for implementing the proposals of (Foreign Minister) George Papandreou.” In statements to a private Greek television Monday, Gul welcomed a proposal made by Papandreou for a gradual matching reduction in defense spending in the two neighboring countries, saying it was a good proposal that showed good intentions, while stressing that Ankara desired good neighborliness with Greece. Ankara’s Anatolia, Jan. 20, quoted Gul saying Papandreou’s proposal showed that confidence-building between Greece and Turkey was improving and that there was a political will to sort out peacefully the differences between the two countries. In a related article, The Daily Telegraph writes: “Turkey Tuesday embraced a Greek proposal for reciprocal military spending cuts in one of the most significant steps toward reconciliation for years. Foreign Minister Gul said an offer from his Greek counterpart to join Athens in a pledge to cut military spending was ‘a good proposal, which we agree with.” The newspaper quotes a diplomat observing that “an agreement on defense spending would have enormous significance, not only for the stability of the region, but on Turkey’s drive to gain membership of the EU.” Greece and Turkey devote about five percent of their GDP to defense spending, compared to 3.5 percent by the United States, the article stresses.


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