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EUROPEAN UNION'S BOSNIAN OPERATION TAKEOVER GRADUALLY APPROACHING.

The prospective takeover by the European Union of the NATO-led SFOR (Stabilisation Force) military peace-keeping operation in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), and the situation in Kosovo following the recent outbreak of inter-ethnic violence, were both prominent agenda items at the April 19 meeting in Brussels of the EU's Political and Security Committee (PSC) with NATO's North Atlantic Council (NAC).

NATO's DSACEUR (Deputy Supreme Allied Commander for Europe), German Admiral Rainer Feist, provided a briefing on how to proceed from the military point of view, described afterwards as "very constructive and positive" by EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana. Admiral Feist is expected to take overall command of an operation that would be based on the "Berlin plus" arrangements that provide for EU recourse to NATO assets and resources. A General Concept for the Bosnian takeover drawn up by Mr Solana is expected to be considered by EU Foreign Ministers at the April 26 General Affairs and External Relations Council. This forms part of the EU's internal preparations for a takeover which could take place in 2004 assuming that NATO, as looks probable, takes the necessary decision to hand over control at its June 28-29 Summit in Istanbul, Turkey.

The situation in Kosovo was also discussed, with both Mr Solana and Deputy NATO Secretary-General Alessandro Minuto Rizzo confirming their support after the meeting for the international community's "standards before status" policy towards the troubled United Nations-administered province. The fight against terrorism also featured, and there was a brief exchange of views on Afghanistan.

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Publication:European Report
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:4E
Date:Apr 21, 2004
Words:252
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