NATO’s plans to defend Turkey in case of war with Iraq are still deadlocked. France, Germany and Belgium refused to back down during overnight negotiations.
The crisis erupted Monday when the three nations blocked NATO plans to begin shipping troops and arms to Turkey. They said that would signal an end to diplomatic efforts to avert war.
NATO officials are now seeking a compromise to end what is widely reported as the worst crisis in NATO’s history.
US and British officials are furious. They say the dissenting countries are threatening the credibility of the alliance and could render NATO irrelevant.
The Washington Post is reporting Republican Congressional leaders are considering starting a new trade war with France, and withdrawing US troops from Germany. House Speaker Dennis Hastert says he wants to target prized French exports of wine and bottled water. An aide says he is considering a bill that would require slapping bright orange warning labels on French wines that are processed with bovine blood.
Meanwhile, France yesterday circulated a detailed plan to the U.N. Security Council that calls for tripling the number of inspectors in Iraq and increasing aerial surveillance as a way to avert war. Germany and Russia are supporting the plan.
The London Independent reports British officials called the Franco-German plan a threat to peace. Britain immediately accused the two nations of undermining the United Nations by pursuing their own plan to avoid a war.They said the joint initiative could persuade the US to abandon the UN and take unilateral action against Iraq.
We go now to Brussels, where Guardian of London reporter Ian Black is standing by.
- Ian Black, journalist with the Guardian of London covering the emergency NATO meetings in Brussels.