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Updated: 05-Apr-2004

SHAPE News Morning Update

5 April 2004

  • Russia hopes to sign new cooperation deal with NATO
  • Russia and NATO must work together to combat new security threats
  • EU and NATO enlargement dominate Chancellor Schroeder’s brief visit to Russia


  • Senator Lugar says U.S. may need to delay Iraq handover


  • Security Council asked to reconsider UN role in Kosovo
  • Serb party punished for suspected Karadzic links


  • Moscow hopes this year to strike an unprecedented deal with NATO, which would allow Cold War foes to deploy combat units on each other’s territories, the Itar-Tass news agency quoted Russia’s defence chief as saying on Sunday. Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov’s statement, made in Oslo, contrasted sharply with previous remarks, in which he said Russia might review its NATO-friendly military stance. “The document will allow NATO units equipped with armour onto our territory and our units equipped with armour onto the territory of alliance countries,” he said, adding that it would be part of Russia and NATO’s joint fight against terrorism. In a further signal of seeking closer ties with NATO, Defence Minister Ivanov said Russia did not rule out joint navy patrols in the Mediterranean Sea to intercept illegal migrants and unspecified “dangerous cargos.” But Mr. Ivanov, quoted by Tass, said joint patrols were only possible “with strict adherence to international law and the framework of Russian legislation” in a clear reference to Moscow’s opposition to U.S. plans to intercept ships suspected of being used by “international terrorists.” (Reuters 041636 GMT Apr 04)

  • Russia and the NATO military alliance must work together to combat new security threats facing the international community, a spokesman for Russia’s Foreign Ministry said Sunday. “We can act only together,” Alexander Yakovenko told Channel One’s Vremena program, according to Russian news agencies. “In this case, NATO cannot do without us and we cannot do without the alliance’s member nations.” NATO’s expansion “doesn’t present a threat to Russia,” Mr. Yakovenko was quoted as saying on Vremena, echoing comments made repeatedly by President Putin. In a press statement, Mr. YakovenkRussia was planning to sign an agreement with France and possibly other NATO nations that would allow them to move military cargos over Russian territory to participate in the U.S.-led anti-terror operation in Afghanistan.o also said Russia already has such an agreement with Germany. (AP 041140 Apr 04)

  • President Putin stressed Friday that Russia does not fear NATO enlargement, but he warned that the military alliance’s eastward march won’t improve international security. He was also quoted saying: “We have never expressed concern about the expansion of the European Union. Never,” after a meeting at his residence outside Moscow with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who arrived for a brief one-day visit. According to the ITAR-Tass news agency, President Putin suggested that Russia could eventually join the EU. “Russia does not set the goal of joining the European community in full format in the foreseeable future,” the agency quoted him as saying. “We favour a unified Europe, and in that sense, if sometime in the future Brussels is our common capital, I would not protest.” In an interview with Westdeutscher Rundfunk radio before departing for Moscow, Mr. Schroeder said Germany and France “are working to ensure that what we have decided on – a strategic partnership between the EU and Russia – is implemented.” (AP 022144 Apr 04)


  • The Bush administration may have to consider extending its June 30 deadline for the transfer of sovereignty in Iraq or risk seeing the country lapse into civil war, the head of the U.S. Senate’s foreign relations panel said on Sunday in Washington. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar and the panel’s ranking Democrat, Senator Biden, said in separate interviews that more troops may be needed to stabilize Iraq amid growing violence including deadly clashes in a Shi’ite section of Baghdad that killed seven U.S. soldiers. A President Bush spokesman said later that the White House stood by the June 30 deadline and would keep U.S. troops in Iraq until the country was “free and peaceful.” “The United Nations has a vital role to play in Iraq’s future. Many NATO countries are already participating in our coalition, and we look forward to continuing discussions about ways NATO might be able to help in the future,” said the spokesman. (Reuters 042219 GMT Apr 04)


  • Kosovo’s Serbian Orthodox leader and Germany’s UN ambassador separately asked the Security Council to re-examine the UN role in running the province after ethnic violence erupted there last month. Bishop Artemije, head of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo, said Friday that the recent violence demonstrated that the current policy in the province is a “complete failure.” German Ambassador Pleuger said the violence showed that Kosovo had not yet become a multi-ethnic, democratic society, which is what the United Nations expects of it before the council decides its eventual political status. Mr. Pleuger, who is the current council president, told journalists Friday that the council will discuss Kosovo on April 13. (AP 030122 Apr 04)

  • Bosnia’s international peace overseer on Saturday punished the party (SDS) founded by Bosnian Serb former leader Radovan Karadzic over its suspected links with the indicted war crimes fugitive. Mr. Ashdown, in comments on Republika Srpska Television on Saturday, also criticised Serb authorities over events at the Pale church. “If NATO has credible information that a certain war criminal is on a certain location and that he is surrounded by people who are ready to protect him, NATO is required to investigate, prepare a plan of action and use certain force,” he said. (Reuters 031553 GMT Apr 04)



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