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Updated: 10-Jun-2004

SHAPE News Morning Update

10 June 2004

  • NATO's hesitancy over wider role in Iraq unlikely to change, despite new UN resolution


  • Poland says mortar attack killed troops in Iraq
  • UN experts found 20 engines used in banned Iraqi missiles in Jordan scrap yards


  • Government presidential candidate holds rally in tense northern Kosovo


  • Speaking at the Group of Eight summit, U.S. President George W. Bush said Wednesday he wants to see a wider role for the alliance following a unanimous vote by the UN Security Council backing Iraqi sovereignty and giving the new Iraqi leaders clout over a U.S.-led force. "We believe NATO ought to be involved," Bush said. "We will work with our NATO friends to at least continue the role that now exists, and hopefully expand it somewhat." Reaction at NATO headquarters was guarded Wednesday, with spokesman James Appathurai saying it is too early to say what role the alliance might have. "It is impossible now to prejudge what role the alliance could take," he told AP Television News. "It could range from a geographic role taking over a zone to a functional role, such as training. "We don't want to rush to judgment. Iraq is a long-term challenge and we need a long-term perspective. He said much would depend on what Iraq's interim government requests. (AP 100017 Jun 04)


  • The explosion that killed six eastern European soldiers in Iraq on Tuesday was a mortar attack, not an ammunition accident as first thought, the Polish army said on Wednesday. "Beyond all doubt we must say that the death was not caused by inappropriate actions by the sappers," General Piotr Czerwinski told a news conference carried live on Polish television. "It was caused directly by a mortar attack," he added. The explosion killed three Slovaks, two Poles and a Latvian who were disposing of old Iraqi army ordnance. General Mieczyslaw Bieniek, commander of the Polish-led multinational force in Iraq, said a coalition base nearby had been attacked frequently. He added that the coalition would review its practices on providing security for troops on ammunition-disposal missions. (Reuters 091238 GMT Jun 04)

  • UN weapons experts have found 20 engines used in Iraq's banned Al Samoud 2 missiles in a scrap yard in Jordan along with other equipment that could be used to produce weapons of mass destruction, the acting chief UN inspector said Wednesday. The discoveries raise questions about the fate of material and equipment that could be used to produce biological and chemical weapons as well as banned long-range missiles. The missile engines and some other equipment discovered in the scrap yards had been monitored by UN inspectors because of their potential dual use in both legitimate civilian activities and banned weapons production. In his briefing to the Security Council, Perricos said UN inspectors do not how much material has been removed from Iraq that they had been monitoring. "The removal of these materials from Iraq raises concerns with regard to proliferation risks associated with dual-use material and equipment being transferred to unknown destinations, thereby also rendering the task of the disarmament of Iraq and its eventual confirmation, more difficult," Perricos said. The UN team also discovered some processing equipment with UN tags which show it was being monitored including chemical reactors, heat exchangers, and a solid propellant mixer bowl to make missile fuel, he said. It also discovered "a large number of other processing equipment without tags, in very good condition." The UN inspectors in Jordan also were told that "brand new material like stainless steel and special alloy sheets" was being sent out of Iraq, he said. (AP 100232 Jun 04)


  • Defying a UN ban, the Serbian government candidate for Sunday's presidential elections held a rally in northern Kosovo on Wednesday. Kosovo's UN administrators prohibit politicians from outside from campaigning. But Dragan Marsicanin, a close aide to Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica, told supporters gathered in the Serb-held part of divided Kosovska Mitrovica that he did not ask for permission to enter Kosovo from the UN administration because "this is Serbia." UN officials in Kosovo have banned the Serb politicians from campaigning in the province ahead of Sunday's Serbian elections, fearing it could raise tensions. "We can't provide security for them (the presidential candidates) and therefore we cannot allow them to come to Kosovo," said UN spokeswoman Mechthild Henneke. The candidates in question "managed to somehow cross the boundary line," she said. About two dozen UN and NATO troops were present at Marsicanin's rally in Kosovska Mitrovica and two NATO helicopters were seen flying overhead. "In the interest of public order, police have not moved to disrupt these gatherings," Henneke said. (AP 091453 Jun 04)


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