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Military

Updated: 26-May-2004
 

SHAPE News Morning Update

26 May 2004

NATO

  • No invitation to NATO summit for Mideast nations

BALKANS

  • Fourth UN chief in five years quits Kosovo
  • NATO troops find significant stock of weapons in Bosnia
  • NATO peacekeepers continue to downsize force in Bosnia

AFGHANISTAN

  • Afghans may get a part-time army as West hesitates

IRAQ

  • Italy sees Iraq role for NATO, allies doubtful

TERRORISM

  • Greece prepares for “dirty bomb” threat

OTHER NEWS

  • U.S. puts off consideration of exemption from ICC amid reports of strong opposition¨
  • U.S. Congressman speaks of boosting missile defence cooperation with Moscow

NATO

  • NATO has decided not to invite Middle East nations to its summit in Istanbul next month because of deep misgivings from a region suspicious of Washington’s drive for reform there, officials and diplomats said on Tuesday in Brussels. The U.S.-dominated alliance still hopes to lay plans at the June 28-29 summit for a “deepening” of its decade-old dialogue with seven Mediterranean rim countries, and make overtures to other nations in the troubled region, particularly Gulf states. (Reuters 251650 GMT May 04)

BALKANS

  • Kosovo UN chief Harri Holkeri resigned on Tuesday due to ill health after less than a year in the job, the fourth governor in five years to fail to defuse ethnic tensions in the protectorate. Analysts said Holkeri’s successor, yet to be named, could face even greater pressure heading into 2005, as Kosovo Albanian demands for independence from Serbia intensified. Analysts said it might be time to appoint an expert, rather than another ex-minister or diplomatic high-flyer. (Reuters 251850 GMT May 04)
  • Local police and peacekeepers seized more than 100 rifles, eight machine guns and two anti-tank cannons during a search of a private home in Bosnia, a spokesman said Tuesday in Sarajevo. The weapons, found during the weekend in a home near Lopare, in the Bosnian Serb controlled part of the country, have been confiscated. The find also included more than 100 hand-grenades and more than 10,000 rounds of ammunition. (AP 251318 May 04)
  • The NATO-led peacekeeping force in Bosnia will reduce its size by another 500 soldiers next month as local authorities expand their role in securing the country. “These reductions are possible because of two significant factors ... the increased role played by the local authorities in providing secure and safe environment for their citizens, and the ability for NATO to reinforce SFOR if required,” a SFOR spokesman said in Sarajevo. Additionally, SFOR brigades will be renamed “task forces,” and each multinational contingent will consist of 1,800 soldiers, he added. (AP 251108 May 04)

AFGHANISTAN

  • Afghanistan may recruit part-time soldiers to improve security ahead of September elections, as the West drags its heels over committing more resources to the volatile country, a U.S. official said on Tuesday. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, also said private militias in several regions were a major destabilising factor that could see Afghanistan descend back into civil war. The “provisional ANA” would be made up of soldiers of mixed ethnicity who get less training than the main ANA, and would serve for two years before deciding whether to continue in the army or join civilian life. The official said the ANA would number 15,000 by elections, the police 30,000 and the “provisional ANA” 5,000 men. (Reuters 251758 GMT May 04)

IRAQ

  • Italy voiced confidence that NATO would take military control of part of Iraq some time after the U.S.-led coalition is officially dissolved in June despite growing doubts among its European allies. Foreign Minister Franco Frattini told the daily Avvenire that neither Germany nor France would block a NATO mission in Iraq. “That a part of Iraqi territory will be controlled by NATO troops is more than a hypothesis, even if this will not be in the immediate future,” Mr. Frattini told the daily. Belgian Defence Minister Andre Flahaut, quoted by the daily De Tijd, said it would be “a bad move to deploy Western troops.” “That task is more something for Muslim countries,” he said. “That is also the position of France and Germany. Sending Western troops to Baghdad is sending them into their deaths,” he added. (Reuters 251644 GMT May 04)

TERRORISM

  • Greece began deploying U.S.-supplied radiation detectors at strategic points across the country to prevent a radioactive “dirty bomb” attack during this summer’s Athens Olympics, officials said in Athens. The detectors will be installed at 32 points of entry across the country, including seven airports, 12 seaports as well as 13 border crossings and customs offices. (Reuters 251515 GMT May 04)

OTHER NEWS

  • The U.S. put off consideration of a resolution calling for a new exemption for American peacekeepers from international prosecution for war crimes amid reports of strong opposition in the Security Council. “All I know is that it’s been deferred and will be taken up in due course,” U.S. deputy ambassador Stuart Holliday said, noting that the current exemption doesn’t expire until June 30. (AP 260024 May 04)
  • A U.S. congressman spoke in favour of expanding technical cooperation with Russia in the development of an anti-missile system the United States is determined to build. U.S. Representative Curt Weldon praised the decade-old Russian-American Observation Satellite program, or RAMOS - a joint effort to permit early detection of missile launches - but said follow-up projects are needed to engage Russia in missile defence activities. Projects ranging “from the use of Russian radar systems to the potential involvement of Russia in targeting and other aspects of missile defence” are being considered, said Mr. Weldon, who is heading a congressional delegation to Moscow and was accompanied by four senior leaders from the U.S. missile defence agency. On international affairs, Mr. Weldon said that Russia should play a critical role in Iraq and that “the effort there to deal with the terror cells is as important to Russian security as it is to American.” (AP 251601 May 04)

 



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