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Military

Updated: 29-Jul-2004
 

SHAPE News Summary & Analysis

29 July 2004

OLYMPICS
  • Greek Navy on Olympic patrols for “suspicious” ships

IRAQ

  • France still blocking NATO accord on Iraq mission

BALKANS

  • Balkan states claim progress towards EU membership

SUDAN

  • UN and U.S. in urgent appeals to help refugees in Sudan

OLYMPICS

  • The San Francisco Chronicle, July 28, wrote that according to a naval official, dozens of Greek Navy vessels have started patrolling the country’s coastal waters as part of a two-layer security zone to protect the Olympic Games, with NATO warships due to keep watch further out to sea. At least 35 Greek ships are monitoring the Ionian Sea along Greece’s west coast, the Aegean Sea and areas off the coasts of Crete and the resort Cyclades islands, added the newspaper. So far, said the paper, there have been no indications of cargo or personnel considered as a possible threat to the Games although many vessel inspections have been performed. NATO plans to dedicate its entire Mediterranean fleet of about 15 vessels to Olympic patrols in international waters, the daily also said. More than 200 naval commandos are stationed at seaside Olympic venues, concludes the article, and off the port of Piraeus, about six miles south of central Athens, a frigate with about 200 sailors will watch over at least eight cruise ships that will serve as floating hotels for heads of state and other dignitaries.

IRAQ

  • AFP reports diplomats saying that NATO ambassadors met again Thursday to try to resolve differences over a pledge to train Iraqi security forces, with France notably blocking an accord. The French government is opposing an Alliance mission in Iraq itself, pressing for training to take place outside the country, diplomats reportedly say. The U.S., comments the dispatch, is pushing hard for an accord. A NATO military delegation led by US admiral Gregory Johnson was dispatched to Iraq at the start of July to study options for the mission and according to diplomats, says the report, a second military mission could be sent to Iraq to clarify options. Another NATO official, adds the news agency, denied Wednesday that the differences were in any way comparable to the tense situation existing during the war in Iraq.

BALKANS

  • According to AFP, July 28, five heads of government of southeastern European states agreed Wednesday in Salzburg, Austria, that Balkan countries are steadily making the required economic and political progress to join the EU and NATO. The group, explains the report, comprises Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, Macedonia (sic) and Romania and they were joined by the Prime Minister of Montenegro, Milo Djukanovic, at their sixth annual meeting. Austria’s Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel reportedly said that after Bulgaria and Romania, who hope to join the bloc in 2007, and Croatia, which has opened accession negotiations, it should be the turn of Albania and former states of the ex-Yugoslavia to join the bloc. The members of the stability pact - which was founded in 1999 under the auspices of the EU and is aimed at promoting democracy and the peaceful resolution of conflicts in the region as well as economic investments - hope to set up a common electricity market by 2007 and called on Austria’s fellow members of the pact to liberalize their economic markets, noted the dispatch. The heads of state gathered in Austria, concluded the news agency, singled out the return of stability in Kosovo as a priority for the region, along with the fight against rampant organized crime.

SUDAN

  • The New York Times writes that UN Secretary General Kofi Annan appealed to 11 European and Asian nations on Wednesday to meet urgent financing needs for the crisis in western Sudan, and the U.S. pressed reluctant Security Council members on a resolution threatening the government with sanctions. The paper reports that an estimated 30,000 black Africans have been killed and 1.2 million have been displaced by Arab militias armed by the government in Khartoum in a campaign defined as a genocide by UN officials and the U.S. Congress. “There is a universal recognition that Darfur is a disaster, that the government of Sudan is culpable and that action on a very tight time frame is essential,” the American ambassador to the UN, John C. Danforth, is quoted as saying. Marie Okabe, a UN spokeswoman, reportedly said that in spite of the Sudanese government’s pledge to Mr. Annan this month to halt the violence, the UN was receiving daily reports of intimidation of refugees by the government and attacks on villagers by the government-sponsored Janjaweed militias. U.S. Secretary of State Powell is also reported stressing that international pressure must be kept on Sudan to rein in the militiamen.


 



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