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Military

Updated: 27-Jul-2004
 

SHAPE News Morning Update

27 July 2004

AFGHANISTAN
  • Afghan president drops key warlord from his election ticket

IRAQ

  • United States presses NATO for quick decision on training Iraqi military

OLYMPICS

  • NATO approves Greek request 'in principle' for additional counterterrorism help with Olympics

SUDAN

  • EU urges UN to consider sanctions on Sudan

AFGHANISTAN

  • President Hamid Karzai dropped a powerful warlord to add the brother of a slain Afghan hero to his electoral ticket after political wrangling so intense that NATO peacekeepers boosted their presence in the streets of Kabul. The U.S.-backed interim leader selected a little-known brother of resistance hero Ahmad Shah Massood as his chief running mate, a move sure to test this volatile nation's fragile ethnic and factional balance. "I hope the Afghan people will recognize us as a good team and I hope the people of Afghanistan will vote for us," Karzai told reporters. The race has heated up in recent days, with declarations first by Abdul Rashid Dostum, an ethnic Uzbek strongman, and now Education Minister Yunus Qanooni, an ethnic Tajik, that they would run. Thousands of his soldiers remain in the capital, and NATO troops who patrol the city took no chance Monday on potential trouble. Cdr. Chris Henderson, a spokesman for the NATO-led security force in the capital, said patrols were increased because of the rising political temperature. "We are very confident that this is a peaceful political dialogue that is going on and that it will be resolved peacefully, but military organizations have to take prudent measures in case things turn out differently," he said. (AP 270018 Jul 04)

IRAQ

  • The U.S. stepped up pressure Monday on its NATO allies Monday to get moving on a promised mission to train Iraq's armed forces. "NATO needs to act quickly to give the Iraqi government and people the support they so desperately need," U.S. Ambassador to NATO Nicholas Burns said, two days before the alliance's policy-making body was to take up the request. NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer told reporters earlier he "strongly hopes" ambassadors will agree "this week" on how to carry out training "in Iraq and outside Iraq," which was pledged by NATO leaders at a summit last month in Turkey. "I agree wholeheartedly with the NATO secretary general that the alliance should decide this week to establish a NATO training mission in Iraq," Burns said in his statement. "That is what our leaders decided in Istanbul." (AP 261747 Jul 04)

OLYMPICS

  • NATO has agreed to provide extra forces under NATO command to help Greece protect next month's Olympic Games from potential terrorist attacks, officials said Monday. However, unspecified "operational issues" remain to be resolved, NATO officials said on condition of anonymity. The officials said the Greek request for additional counterterrorism assistance, first considered Thursday, has been approved "in essence." A U.S. official in Washington told AP last week that the United States had committed 400 special forces soldiers, but was still discussing with the Greek government where they would be based. Asked at a news conference if the question had been resolved, NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said he would not give details on their exact whereabouts. "We never do that," he said, but added: "They will be under NATO command." Greek media reported Monday that Greece has also requested a team to evacuate buildings following any disaster. But the government said that team will be comprised of Greek civil defense specialists and has nothing to do with the NATO request for counterterrorism help. (AP 261602 Jul 04)

SUDAN

  • The EU called on the UN on Monday to consider imposing sanctions on Sudan if it does not neutralise militia responsible for violence in Darfur, where the UN says 30,000 people have already died. "The Council (of Ministers) appeals to the Security Council of the UN to pass a resolution, with a view to taking further action, including imposing sanctions, in case the Government of Sudan does not immediately fulfil its obligations and commitments," a statement by EU foreign ministers said. "They know very well that the threat of sanctions is imminent if they don't comply with the obligations," he told a news conference after a meeting of the 25 EU foreign ministers. "We will monitor very carefully.... every day, every week the progress in the field. In that way we can see at what moment further measures have to be taken," he said. (Reuters 261434 GMT Jul 04)


 



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