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Updated: 31-Mar-2004

SHAPE News Morning Update

31 March 2004

  • No U.S. decision on NATO role in Iraq
  • China hopes newly expanded NATO will keep pace with times


  • Donor nations meet in Berlin to seek to help on stabilizing Afghanistan


  • Russia says it will demand punishment of those responsible for Kosovo violence


  • The United States is weighing roles for NATO in Iraq but has not decided which of several options to support, a senior State Department official said Tuesday in Washington. The ideas under discussion range from NATO taking over command of a multinational division to training peacekeeping and Iraqi forces to improve security in the country as it moves toward recovering its sovereignty on July 1, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Robert Bradtke said. (AP 302141 Mar 04)

  • China expressed hope that a newly expanded NATO would represent “the concerns of all the countries” in the alliance and make sure it keeps pace with the times. Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said NATO was undergoing “dramatic changes.” “China hopes NATO can take into account the changing security situation in Europe and the concerns of all the countries,” Mr. Kong said. “We’re looking for a new order of mutual respect and common goals,” he added. (AP 301049 Mar 04)


  • A conference of donor nations and Afghanistan’s neighbours was opening Wednesday in Berlin to try and recommit the world to stabilizing the country’s post-Taliban democracy and drum up funds for reconstruction. Afghan President Karzai is seeking US $27.5 billion in reconstruction aid over the next seven years to help his country fight a burgeoning drug trade and bolster internal security. Also on the agenda are efforts to help Afghanistan combat opium production, which President Karzai’s government has launched a fresh drive against in recent days. Germany, Britain and the United States are spending millions to train new Afghan security forces to eradicate opium, while millions more are to help provide farmers impoverished by war and drought with alternative livelihoods. (AP 310131 Mar 04)


  • Russia will strongly urge NATO to investigate the causes of the recent deadly unrest in Kosovo and punish those responsible, a top diplomat said Tuesday. “In Brussels, we will suggest to our NATO partners that they first of all conduct a precise investigation into the incidents and demonstratively punish the instigators of the pogroms - all the more so as many of them are well-known,” the Interfax news agency quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Chizhov as saying. He also said that tight control must be placed on temporary organs of power in Kosovo, and added, “Of course, it is necessary to stop all discussion of a timetable on giving Kosovo a final status,” Interfax reported. (AP 301833 Mar 04)


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