Printable Page Headline News   Return to Menu - Page 1 2 3 5 6 7 8 13
NATO Seeks to Ease War Impact          11/30 06:22


   BUCHAREST (AP) -- NATO turned its attention on Wednesday to three countries 
shaken by Russia's invasion of Ukraine -- Bosnia, Georgia and Moldova -- as the 
military alliance struggles to extend its security umbrella across Europe.

   At talks in Romania, the foreign ministers of the three countries met with 
their NATO counterparts to discuss ways that the world's biggest security 
organization might be able to help, as the war in Ukraine exposes them to 
political, energy and territorial uncertainty.

   While the cause of the problems facing Bosnia, Georgia, and Moldova is 
clear, their needs and the way that NATO might be able to help them are not. No 
straightforward proposals about what might be done were offered by NATO 
ministers as they arrived at the Palace of the Parliament in the capital 

   Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra said the meeting is aimed at ensuring 
"more safety and security on the European continent," and "is a signal ... on 
how important it is to create stability not only for NATO countries itself, but 
also beyond."

   Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky told reporters that it was important not 
to let a "gray zone be here, to be taken over by other forces."

   Bosnia has long been wracked by political instability, but protests rocked 
the Bosnian Serb half of the ethnically divided country last month after some 
voters alleged that a pro-Russian Bosnian Serb leader rigged an election in the 
Serb entity, Republika Srpska.

   Bosnian Foreign Minister Bisera Turkovic said her country, where a 
government is in the process of being formed following the elections, "is very 
concerned about the future."

   "We have proxies, or we had the proxies, in our government, Russian proxies. 
So division in the country is deep and we hope that we will be able to overcome 
it. NATO's presence is extremely important for Bosnia-Herzegovina because it is 
a guarantor of our security," she said.

   NATO has promised Georgia that, like Ukraine, it will join the 30-nation 
alliance one day, but Russian troops swept into Georgia after that pledge was 
made 14 years ago. A breakaway Georgian region has this year threatened to hold 
a referendum on joining Russia.

   Russia's war in Ukraine has had a troubling effect on Moldova, which is 
currently facing a severe energy crisis due to its reliance on Russian energy.

   In recent weeks it has suffered massive power outages as a result of Russian 
strikes on Ukraine's energy grid. Russian missiles have also traversed its 
skies, and in April blasts occurred in the country's Russian-backed breakaway 
region of Transnistria -- where Moscow bases around 1,500 troops.

   Things are moving more positively in other parts of Europe. Swedish Foreign 
Minister Tobias Billstrom said that he and his counterparts from Finland and 
Turkey had held "a very good" meeting aimed at unblocking Turkish opposition to 
his country joining NATO.

   Billstrom said that he plans to travel to Ankara soon for further talks. 
NATO is eager to add the two Nordic nations to its ranks. They applied to join 
in April, amid concern that Russia might target them next. Turkey and Hungary 
are the holdouts on ratifying their applications. The 28 other member nations 
have already done so.

Copyright DTN. All rights reserved. Disclaimer.
Powered By DTN