Monday, February 10, 2003

NATO Rift Widens Over Defense of Turkey in Case of Iraq War

10:17 AM ET

WASHINGTON, Feb. 10 — France, Germany and Belgium opened a division within NATO today by blocking proposals to increase Turkey's defenses in case of a war on Iraq, a move that Secretary of Defense Ronald H. Rumsfeld termed a mistake but one that would not interfere with any planning for possible military action.

"It is unfortunate that they are in stark disagreement with the rest of their NATO allies," Mr. Rumsfeld said at a Pentagon news conference with Prime Minister John Howard of Australia.

"There's three countries," he said. "They are 19 countries in NATO. So it's 16 to 3. I think it's a mistake. And what we have to do for the United States is make sure that that planning does go forward, preferably within NATO but, if not, bilaterally or multiple bilaterals. And we are already going about that task."

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