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CHOCO
Nov 22nd, 2002, 02:02 AM
NATO summit ushers in 7 new members

AM - Friday, November 22, 2002 8:14

LINDA MOTTRAM: The world's strongest military alliance is today even stronger with seven new members on its books.

The NATO summit in Prague has ushered in a new era of expansion and its first move has been to throw its collective weight behind UN attempts to make Iraq disarm.

From Prague, Jill Colgan reports on the new-look NATO and on dissent in the streets outside the summit venue.

[Singing: "We all live in a terrorist regime..." to the tune of The Beatles' 'Yellow Submarine']

JILL COLGAN: Braving the cold and surrounded by scores of security officers, several hundred protesters demonstrated against NATO expansion in Prague's Namesti Miru, Peace Square.

But inside the Congress Centre, seven new members could hardly wait to join NATO, the invitations extended by NATO Secretary-General Lord Robertson, who described it as a defining moment.

LORD ROBERTSON: That we invite to our session talks with NATO, the following nations: Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.

I take it that is agreed.

Thank you very much. The Council has so decided.

JILL COLGAN: The common target, he said, would be a new foe.

LORD ROBERTSON: Terrorist and their backers, the failed states in which they flourish and proliferating weapons of mass destruction pose a genuine threat to everyone in the world and today NATO will demonstrate that a transformed and modernised alliance is at the heart of the free world's response.

JILL COLGAN: But this was the feel-good part of this summit. Behind the scenes, tough negotiations were going on to secure greater support from NATO allies for the US bid to forcibly make Iraq comply with weapons inspections.

What President Bush got was a whole lot less than he wanted. As expected, France and Germany dug in their heels, refusing to back the use of force.

The final statement vowed to support United Nations efforts to disarm the Iraqis but did not offer military support from NATO.

Still, an agreement has been struck in Prague and it has given the American President the opportunity to warn the Iraqi leader once more.

GEORGE BUSH: Mr Saddam Hussein has got a decision to make. Will he uphold the agreement that he has made?

And if he chooses to do so by disarming peacefully, the world will be better of for it. If he chooses not to disarm, we will work with our close friends, the closest of which is Great Britain, and we will disarm him.

[protestors drumming]

JILL COLGAN: While protesters outside say NATO is beating the drums of war, those within this summit claim this expansion will mean a stable Europe and take the world a closer step towards peace.

This is Jill Colgan in Prague for AM.

CHOCO
Nov 22nd, 2002, 07:20 PM
Does that mean the Warsaw Pact is dead? ;)

Iconoclast
Nov 22nd, 2002, 08:01 PM
It was dissolved 11 years ago. In Prague to be exact (how's that for historical irony). But President Lukashenko of Belarus still seems to think it exists...