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NEWS IN BRIEF

EUROPE

14 Sep 06. One millionth landmine destroyed in Serbia today. The one millionth landmine was destroyed today as part of an ongoing NATO Trust Fund project in Serbia. The ceremony to mark this important event was organized at the Technical Repair Bureau in Kragujevac. Serbia was represented by Mr. Zvonko Obradovic, State Secretary, Serbian Ministry of Defence. Representatives from NATO, the lead nations and donor nations also attended. Serbia and Montenegro acceded to the Ottawa Mine Ban Treaty in September 2003. The NATO Trust Fund was established in October 2004 to support implementation of the Ottawa Treaty obligations to destroy the declared stockpile of 1,3 million landmines. Approximately 40,000 of these mines are stored in Montenegro. When completed, this project will rid South East Europe of all stockpiles of anti-personnel landmines. The NATO Trust Fund, valued at €1.69m, is led by Canada and Austria. In addition to the lead nations, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland have made financial contributions to the project. The work is being carried out by Serbian authorities under contract to the NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency. The first NATO Trust Fund project in Serbia and Montenegro, completed in November 2003, was established to destroy more than 28,000 surplus small arms and light weapons. A further NATO Trust Fund, for creating alternative livelihoods for redundant military personnel of the Serbian Armed Forces led by Norway, was launched in December 2005.

13 Sep 06. NATO ALLIES AND PARTNERS AGREE A MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING ON CRISES ASSISTANCE . Today the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council agreed on a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which aims at improving the speed and efficiency of assistance to victims of humanitarian crises or disasters. The MoU has been developed under the supervision of the NATO Senior Civil Emergency Planning Committee (SCEPC) in close cooperation with the NATO Planning Board for Inland Surface Transport (PBIST). The MoU is a multilateral instrument which provides the general framework for the facilitation of vital civil cross border transport movements across the territories of the signatories. It is applicable for the provision of humanitarian assistance in response to disasters, including those triggered by a Chemical, Biological, Radiological or Nuclear (CBRN) event. The MoU is now open for signature to all NATO Allies and Partners. It is a first step in the further development of detailed and binding provisions aimed at expediting disaster relief. This important tool fulfils the remit stemming from NATO’s Civil Emergency Planning (CEP) Action Plan for the Improvement of Civil Preparedness against Possible Attacks with Chemical, Biological, Radiological or Nuclear Agents.

12 Sep 06. New start date for the Court Martial of seven British Soldiers. Please note that there is a new start date for the court martial of
seven soldiers facing charges relating to the ill-treatment of Iraqi
detainees and the death of an Iraqi civilian, Mr Baha Musa. The Trial is now scheduled to start on Monday 18th September at 12.00hrs. There will be a pre-trial hearing on Thursday 14th September at 10.30hrs. The pre-trial hearing will include the media’s legal challenge to the current reporting restrictions.

14 Sep 06. Churches unite to ‘end Trident’. Marchers are calling for an end to Trident nuclear weapons in Scotland. Scotland’s religious leaders are joining campaigners on a march for peace from Faslane naval base to the Scottish Parliament. Organisers Scotland’s for Peace have called on the UK government not to replace Trident nuclear weapons based near Helensburgh, Argyll and Bute. The 85-mile Long Walk for Peace will start from the base at 0900 BST and aims to reach Edinburgh by Tuesday. In June, Gordon Brown said he backed replacing Trident. (Source: BBC)

11 Sep 06. Critics: German Army Needs Protected Vehicle

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