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Military

Updated: 26-Apr-2004
 

SHAPE News Morning Update

26 April 2004

NATO
  • In Denmark, new defence minister is appointed

KOSOVO

  • Authorities investigate possible Hamas ties to Jordanian shooter in Kosovo attack

IRAQ

  • Norway rejects U.S. plea to stay on in Iraq
  • French minister rules out sending troops to Iraq

AFGHANISTAN

  • NATO envoys make unprecedented visit to Afghanistan amid calls for expanded peacekeeping presence
  • Germany and the Netherlands set to send peacekeeping team to north-eastern Afghanistan

RUSSIA

  • Russia postpones military satellite launch

NATO

  • Soeren Gade was appointed Denmark’s new defence minister on Saturday, a day after his predecessor resigned amid criticism that the military exaggerated the threat posed by Saddam Hussein to justify the war in Iraq. Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Gade “has the best qualifications to become new defence minister” and would lead a planned reform of Denmark’s defence forces. (AP 241334 Apr 04)

KOSOVO

  • Authorities are investigating whether a Jordanian UN policeman who killed three American corrections officers in a gunbattle at a Kosovo prison had links to the Palestinian militant group Hamas. A senior NATO official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that besides the investigation into any links with Hamas, authorities were examining a trip Ali took to Saudi Arabia only a month before he joined the mission in March to see if it might be connected to the attack. The UN has refused to discuss details of the investigation. (AP 250016 Apr 04)

IRAQ

  • Oslo rejected an appeal by the United States on Friday to keep Norwegian troops in Iraq after a planned pullout in June when Norway aims to focus on helping stabilise Afghanistan. “We must follow our original plan, of a commitment until the summer,” Foreign Minister Jan Petersen told NRK television. (Reuters 232039 GMT Apr 04)

  • France will not send troops to Iraq but is ready to help train the country’s army and police force after power is handed to a national government, France’s Defence Minister Michele Alliot-Marie told a French newspaper. Le Parisien also quoted her on Saturday as saying a handover from occupying U.S.-led troops to an interim local government was a top priority and that the UN should play a key role in the transition, planned for June 30. She was speaking onboard a French frigate on an anti-terrorism exercise near Oman as part of France’s military involvement in Afghanistan, Le Parisien added. (Reuters 240941 GMT Apr 04)

AFGHANISTAN

  • Top envoys from the NATO alliance made an unprecedented visit to Afghanistan on Monday as the United States pressed reluctant allies to provide more peacekeepers to help stabilize the country ahead of key elections. “There are a number of countries that are not present in Iraq ... and they could do more in Afghanistan,” said Nicholas Burns, the U.S. ambassador to NATO. “There is more capacity in the NATO alliance for the Afghan mission, while those of us fulfill the mission of the coalition in Iraq,” he told reporters as he flew into Kabul with other senior allied officials. He mentioned Turkey and Germany as allied nations without troops in Iraq that could do more in Afghanistan, along with Spain, whose new government aims to pull its 1,300 troops out of Iraq. The NATO council was scheduled to meet Afghan President Hamid Karzai. U.S. Gen. James L. Jones, NATO’s top commander, told reporters he was confident the alliance would stick to its target to deploy peacekeeping teams in five more cities in the north and west by late June. President Karzai is expected to outline to NATO his request for more allied troops to move in temporarily to provide security for presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled for September. NATO officials said they didn’t know yet how many extra troops President Karzai was looking for, but Gen. Jones said: “I think there are ways to ensure that we can have a safe and secure election, and an honest election, and not have NATO, have to bring in thousands of troops.” (AP 260437 Apr 04)

  • Germany and the Netherlands plan to dispatch a joint peacekeeping team to the Afghan city of Faizabad, the German government said on Friday. German Defence Minister Peter Struck is in talks with his Dutch counterpart, Henk Kamp, on setting up the so-called “provincial reconstruction team,” a ministry spokesman said. He did not give details of how many troops would be sent or when. (AP 231744 Apr 04)

RUSSIA

  • Russia postponed the Sunday launch of a military satellite from the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan for “technical reasons,” Russian news agencies reported. There was no explanation for the postponement of the launch of a Zenit-2 rocket carrying a Kosmos satellite, the Interfax news agency reported. Russia did put 12 military satellites into orbit in 2003 and plans to launch at least 10 this year, Russian news agencies have reported. (AP 251241 Apr 04)


 



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