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British DM says Iraq experience `bitter`, takes a swipe at EU

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Berlin, Feb 7, IRNA -- Britain`s Defense Secretary Geoffrey Hoon 
Saturday in Munich said the lessons being learnt in Iraq are `bitter 
and expensive`, calling on NATO`s European allies to share the burden 
by shaping up -- technologically. 
"The lessons we are learning in Iraq, in Africa and elsewhere are 
bitter and expensive ones," Hoon told the 40th international Security 
conference in Germany`s southern city of Munich. 
Hoon, who earlier called on both sides of the Atlantic to avoid 
`isolationist tendencies`, underlined the need for a `multilateral 
response` to common threats. 
"European allies in NATO have a key part to play in our collective
defense and security, (and) it will be vital for them to link together
on the battlefield through technology," the British diplomat said. 
According to Hoon, countries would have to be able to `plug into a
multinational response at different layers of the military system` in 
order to `play a part`. 
Earlier, Hoon underlined the need for a `common understanding of 
the challenges we face and a common purpose to meet them together`. 
Other keynote speakers at the 40th annual security conference were
US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, German Minister of Defense Peter
Struck and Russian counterpart Sergei Ivanov. 
Some 250 ministers, senior officials and defense experts from 
over 30 countries are taking part in the two-day conference which will
focus on the future of transatlantic ties, NATO and developments in 
the Middle East. 

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