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Updated: 14-May-2004

SHAPE News Morning Update

14 May 2004

  • NATO asks Bulgaria for more troops in Afghanistan


  • Lawmakers counsel President Bush to include NATO, UN in rebuilding Iraq
  • Hungarian and German defense ministers call for UN resolution on Iraq
  • Foreign minister outlines France’s stance on new UN resolution for Iraq


  • Reuters reports NATO Secretary General de Hoop Scheffer told a news conference in Sofia Friday he had asked Bulgaria to send more troops to Afghanistan as the Alliance plans to extend operations into the provinces away from Kabul. “I have asked if Bulgaria can do more in Afghanistan. We have to support President Karzai and we have to prevent another upsurge or haven for terrorists there,” the dispatch quotes Mr. de Hoop Scheffer saying. According to the dispatch, the Bulgarian Defense Ministry said it would consider the request but underlined that any decision on further troop deployment should be approved by Parliament.

Reports that the Eurocorps would take overall operational command of ISAF in August continue to generate interest.
The Eurocorps, which consists of 60,000 men and around 1,000 tanks and armored vehicles, would initially operate solely in Kabul but discussions are continuing on extending its control of PRTs in the provinces, writes AFP. The dispatch quotes an unnamed Eurocorps official saying more than 1,000 personnel from the 5,000-strong Franco-German brigade may be sent to Afghanistan to take over control of PRTs under NATO command if that decision is approved. Die Welt and Sueddeutsche Zeitung highlight that two battalions based in Mullheim in the Black Forest, and which are part of the Franco-German brigade attached to the Eurocorps, have been offered for the mission.


  • Lawmakers charged with overseeing foreign affairs in the U.S. Congress counseled President Bush at a White House meeting to consider a greater UN and NATO role in Iraq after the June 30 handover of limited sovereignty, reports AFP. “I hope that the administration’s recognition of the importance of a UN role will have a ripple effect encouraging more nations to join the international coalition,” Representative Tom Lantos, ranking member of the House International Committee, reportedly said, describing the meeting at a hearing Thursday. The dispatch adds that on the topic of military security in Iraq, Lantos said he and other lawmakers advised Bush that “we must work to secure an important place in Iraq for NATO.” At a time when the United States and our coalition partners need its help the most in Iraq “NATO has been missing in action,” he stressed, adding: “NATO states are ideally suited to provide security for Iraqis when they go to the polls next January. A NATO contingent to support Iraqi elections should be blessed by the United Nations Security Council…. Winning NATO support in Iraq is a supreme challenge that the administration simply cannot fail to meet. It requires the demonstration of greater respect for our allies than the administration has shown today.”

  • AP reports Hungarian Defense Minister Juhasz and his German counterpart Struck called in Budapest Friday for a strong UN resolution on Iraq to stabilize the country. Juhasz reportedly said a new resolution could also pave the way for NATO taking over some security duties in Iraq, noting: “We are both interested in having a strong UN resolution … and Iraqis taking control of their own fates to an ever greater degree. If this can be achieved, then it is possible that NATO could later play a role in the stabilization process.” According to the dispatch, Struck said he agreed with Juhasz.

  • In an interview with Le Monde French Foreign Minister Barnier outlined France’s stance on a new UN resolution for Iraq. “We must request—or demand—within the UN framework, an inter-Iraqi conference under sponsorship of the UN of the countries of the region, in order to achieve what must be the first step toward Iraq’s stabilization and reconstruction: an Iraqi government that will govern not in an artificial or delegated manner, but in a sovereign manner,” Barnier said, adding: “The Iraqis must control the economy, natural resources, and the judiciary; they must have their own say, in this interim phase between July 2004 and the January 2005 elections, regarding the presence and initiatives of the multinational force.” Barnier also voiced his view that a time limit on the multinational force’s mandate was desirable, adding, however, that it is up to the Iraqis to say. “The full sovereign government that will emerge from the 2005 elections must be able to decide on what this force should become and, if appropriate, on its departure,” he said.


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