Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Wither NATO?

Further marginalization of NATO?

The UK and France are to join forces to create highly-trained, rapid-deployment units for combat in jungle, desert and mountain operations, according to the Financial Times.

The plan, which is to be unveiled this week, is part of general aim of Paris and London to strengthen European defence.

It sets out a detailed agenda and timetable describing how and where the new units will conduct missions, and at what level they will be trained. London and Paris want the units to work closely - but not exclusively - with the United Nations, says the FT.

The initiative is open to all EU states but the main criterion for other countries joining is "ultimately military effectiveness".

The UK and France are aiming to have the plan accepted by all member states by the end of June with troops available by 2007.


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