NATO chief presses for Euroforce

ISTANBUL (AP) – NATO’s top official told an audience of military officers here yesterday that the alliance and the European Union need to end an impasse over the creation of a European defense force that Turkey has been blocking. NATO Secretary-General George Robertson said close cooperation between NATO and the EU would better prepare the two organizations to face new threats, including the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and terrorism. «If we fail to get this relationship right, then we will both pay in the end,» Robertson told a conference at Turkey’s War Academy. The creation of the EU force has been hamstrung by a dispute with Turkey which will not give it access to NATO planning and logistics unless Ankara receives guarantees that the EU will not deploy the force in operations that would oppose Turkish interests. Turkey wants the right to veto any EU military deployment. The country fears that the agreement would allow Greek Cypriots, who are expected to join the EU in 2004, to use NATO assets, such as planning, airlift, intelligence and secure communications.

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