Turkey stalls ESDP pact

NATO and the EU remained at odds yesterday over an agreement that will allow the EU to establish a rapid reaction force as part of its European Security and Defense Policy. At the heart of the matter is Ankara’s refusal to accept a deal agreed to by Greece in which Turkey – a member of NATO but not the EU – will have a say in how NATO assets are used by the force. Ankara had signaled recently that it was ready to compromise but it held out yesterday, apparently in order to press the EU for a date for the start of accession talks. «Turkey did not agree to the process going ahead,» Prime Minister Costas Simitis told journalists in Prague yesterday. A NATO statement said, «We remain committed to making the progress needed on all the various aspects of our relationship, noting the need to find solutions satisfactory to all allies on the issue of participation by non-EU European allies in order to achieve a genuine strategic partnership.»

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