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Updated: 29-Jul-2004

SHAPE News Morning Update

29 July 2004

  • NATO struggles for consensus on Iraqi mission but faces French opposition
  • Bosnian commision says NATO-led troops used excessive force in hunt for Karadzic


  • Bomb kills at least two at Afghan voter registration site, officials say


  • Al-Qaeda-linked group vows "bloody war" in Europe


  • NATO struggled Wednesday to overcome differences on a promised training mission for Iraqi forces, with France resisting U.S. pressure for a prominent alliance role inside the country. Two lengthy, closed-door debates failed to bridge differences, but NATO officials said ambassadors would reconvene Thursday with the supreme allied commander in Europe, U.S. Marine Gen. James Jones, once again lending his weight at the table. NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer was pushing the 26 NATO countries to reach a decision this week on how to carry out the training missions agreed to by leaders at their summit a month ago. "We are now in a phase internally where we are ready to finalize the package," one official said on condition of anonymity. But, he added, "there are, as always ... some political issues." "We're still working hard,""A large majority of nations are trying to find a way to bring a few others to a proper consensus this week," a NATO diplomat said. Officials said discussions were serious but civil and de Hoop Scheffer "remains optimistic" an agreement could be reached this week. (AP 282014 Jul 04)

  • Bosnia's parliament has approved the commission's report on a church raid, carried out April 1 during a search for top war crimes suspect Karadzic, panel leader Ljiljana Miletic told AP. The report, approved by parliament Tuesday evening, "established that excessive force was used by NATO troops, and it recommends that SFOR conduct an investigation of its own into the events that led to the wounding of innocent civilians," Miletic said. Lt. Mark Hope, a NATO spokesman in Sarajevo, said the alliance conducted the operation "in an attempt to apprehend a very dangerous criminal." "As a consequence, the operation was conducted under the assumption that he would most likely be protected by criminals who would use force," prompting the soldiers involved in the raid to force their way into the building, Hope said. "Unfortunately this did result with the injuries of the two individuals," he said. (AP 281555 Jul 04)


  • A bomb exploded in a mosque where Afghans were registering Wednesday for upcoming elections, killing at least two people and seriously wounding two others, officials said. The homemade bomb detonated Wednesday morning in a mosque in Andar, a town 150 kilometers southwest of the capital, Kabul, as Afghans queued up for ID cards that will allow them to vote in an Oct. 9 presidential election. (AP 281427 Jul 04)


  • Muslim militants claiming links to al Qaeda vowed in a statement on Wednesday to launch a "bloody war" on Europe and said Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi was its first target.. "Today, we have declared a bloody war on you and we will not stop raids against you until you return to the correct path," said the statement, which called on European countries to pull out of Iraq and quit their alliances with the United States. "After the truce determined by our sheik Osama bin Laden ended, and after you have not returned to the correct path, we declare a war in your faces and in the face of your silent people whose silence proves their support to you," it added. The group warned it would start by attacking Berlusconi. "We will shake the cities of Europe and we will start with you Berlusconi and we will make it bloody until you return to the correct path. Wait for us Berlusconi and your other allies as well, wait for our promise which we have revealed to you and are now revealing to Europe." "Leaders and peoples of Europe withdraw your killer missions from Iraq and follow the way taken by others before you taste the bitterness of blood," said the new statement, the authenticity of which could not be immediately verified. (Reuters 282146 GMT Jul 04)


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