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Turkish Defense Deadlock Persists at NATO - 2003-02-12


NATO ambassadors have failed yet again to break a deadlock over planning for Turkey's defense in the event of a war in Iraq. France, Germany and Belgium refused to back a compromise proposal that NATO officials hoped would solve one of the worst crises in the alliance's history.

NATO Secretary-General George Robertson introduced a proposal Wednesday whereby NATO would accept a formal Turkish request for the alliance to begin making contingency plans for its defense.

The compromise plan did not include other elements of a American plan for NATO to provide indirect support for a U.S.-led war on Iraq.

France, Germany and Belgium have so far blocked any move they see as signaling that the alliance is ready to go on a war footing. They say they have no problem with planning to defend Turkey. But they argue that the time is not ripe for such a move because it would undermine any chance for a peaceful solution to the Iraq crisis.

The United States and 15 other countries say the three holdouts are undermining the credibility of the alliance.

NATO spokesman Yves Brodeur told reporters the three holdouts have not changed their mind and that discussions will continue on Thursday. He says there is no plan for any new proposals to be considered.

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