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Military

Updated: 08-Mar-2004
 

SHAPE News Morning Update

08 March 2004

GREATER MIDDLE EAST INITIATIVE
  • U.S. presses for NATO role in Middle East reform drive
  • Blair meets President Mubarak amid diplomatic flurry on Middle East

IRAQ

  • Rockets fired at U.S. headquarters in Baghdad

IRAN

  • U.S. and European negotiators struggle to bridge differences over Iran ahead of key UN atomic watchdog agency meeting

BALKANS

  • Police and NATO find explosive near UN main building in Kosovo

GREATER MIDDLE EAST INITIATIVE

  • The U.S. said that NATO could underpin the West’s emerging plans for reform in the Middle East by offering security, disaster relief and support in combating illegal trade in drugs and weapons. The military alliance will also consider inviting North African nations to join NATO ships patrolling the Mediterranean Sea for terrorists, and may encourage Arab states to contribute troops to its Afghanistan peacekeeping operation. “We want to go forward with supporting ideas for reform, economic reform, political reform, education reform, empowerment of women in the Middle East,” U.S. Under Secretary of State Marc Grossman told a news conference after meeting alliance envoys. “Those things would be so much more successful if there’s also security, and NATO has some role to play in that.” (Reuters 051454 GMT Mar 04)

  • Egyptian President Mubarak told British Prime Minister Blair on Sunday that democratic reform in the Middle East must be home-grown and not imposed from outside, officials said. “The president reiterated that any modernization has to stem from the traditions and the culture in the area,” a spokesman for the Egyptian embassy in London said. He said, however, that Egypt would welcome U.S. and European support and cooperation “to help the nations in the area reach peace and prosperity.” (AP 071501 Mar 04)

IRAQ

  • Guerrillas fired 10 rockets at the headquarters of the U.S.-led administration in Baghdad on Sunday, Iraqi police said, on the eve of the planned signing of an interim constitution for Iraq. Police and the U.S. military said there were no serious injuries. U.S.-led forces have been on high alert for guerrilla attacks aimed at disrupting the signing of the interim constitution in the Green Zone. The document was due to be signed on Monday after several delays. (Reuters 072130 GMT Mar 04)

IRAN

  • The United States and key European nations are heading into a high-level meeting of the UN atomic agency on Monday with key differences over Iran’s nuclear intentions - and what to do about them. Germany, Britain and France seek emphasis on the progress Iran has made in revealing nuclear activities and cooperating with IAEA inspectors since the discovery last year of a secret uranium enrichment program and covert tests that could be applied toward making nuclear weapons. Ahead of the meeting, a senior Iranian official, Hasan Rowhani, on Sunday demanded an end to the board’s scrutiny of its nuclear activities, insisting that they were never geared toward making arms. He also demanded that the three European countries deliver on promises of access to advanced nuclear technology in exchange for cooperation with the IAEA. U.S. Undersecretary of State John Bolton said last week that Iran was exhibiting “a continuing pattern of deception and concealment.” “We think the Iranians are still trying to conceal a clandestine weapons program and that’s why the Iranians remain a great concern to the United States,” he said. “We’re absolutely determined ... that we’re not going to ease pressure on Iran.” (AP 080013 Mar 04)

BALKANS

  • Police and NATO-led peacekeepers on Saturday disarmed a homemade bomb near the UN mission headquarters that an official said could have been deadly if undetected. Harri Holkeri, Kosovo’s UN administrator, condemned the action and said that, “additional security measures were being implemented to prevent future attacks of this nature.” (AP 061641 Mar 04)


 



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