President Obama, Prime Minister Cameron, and President Sarkozy appeal to the public in today’s New York Times, Le Figaro, and Times of London, while NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen writes in to The Washington Post, arguing that "NATO made the right call in Libya." The NATO theme continues throughout the papers as yesterday’s Foreign Ministers meeting failed to create any meaningful concensus and today’s NATO-Russia Council looks to tackle equally daunting topics. (Live feed available from NATO)
NATO begins thrashing out missile defense cooperation with Russia (Deutsche Welle)
In the second day of their summit in Berlin, foreign ministers from NATO’s 28 member states discussed their cooperation with eastern partners, including their plans for a joint missile defense system with Russia.
NATO chief asks for more fighter jets in Libya (EUobserver)
Nato needs more fighter jets to protect Libyan civilians from Gaddafi’s continued attacks, the alliance’s secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen told Nato foreign ministers in Berlin on Thursday (14 April), as the humanitarian situation in rebel-held cities continues to worsen.
Libyan rebels to get UK body armour (Defence Management)
The UK is to provide 1,000 sets of surplus army body armour to rebel forces in Libya, it has been confirmed. The armour is intended to help opposition forces "defend themselves and their communities against regime forces that attack civilians", according to Downing Street
The EU has said it was right to take former Libyan foreign minister Moussa Koussa off a sanctions list because he had defected to the anti-Gaddafi side. A spokesman for EU foreign relations chief Catherine Ashton told EUobserver on Friday (15 April) "it was felt that he no longer fulfilled the criteria for sanctions after defecting." Asked if the purpose of the sanctions was to punish people for wrongdoing or to alter the behaviour of Gaddafi loyalists, he added "It was to put pressure on the regime primarily."
Divided and unruled (The Economist)
The country is in deep trouble, even if renewed violence remains unlikely. Progress on much-needed economic reforms, or towards European Union membership, has ground to a halt. Bosnia has been virtually ungovernable since a set of modest constitutional changes failed to pass in 2006. Milorad Dodik, president of the Serb-dominated bit, the Republika Srpska, openly calls for Bosnia’s dissolution. A Serbian Orthodox church is being erected, illegally, near a memorial to 8,000 Bosniaks murdered by Serb forces in Srebrenica in 1995. Bosniaks will make their annual pilgrimage there in July; some fear anger over the church could lead to violence.
Françafrique debate heats up (PressEurop)
Libération reveals “the French army’s role” in the capture of Laurent Gbagbo by forces loyal to the new President of Ivory Coast Alassane Ouattara. Debate over French involvement in the West African country has grown heated in the wake of the arrest of the former president in Abidjan on 11 April.
Finns to decide fate of euro rescue (Financial Times Deutschland)
“Finns threaten euro rescue plans,” headlines Financial Times Deutschland. Referring to the European Financial Stability Facility, the German business daily explains that general elections scheduled for 17 April could result in "a complete restructuring of the rescue plan.” According to latest polls, 48% of voters are fully opposed to international assistance for Eurozone countries in crisis, and the staunchly eurosceptic True Finns party may well obtain enough support to influence the formation of the country’s next government. Negative views about the rescue plan are also shared authorities in the country. The newspaper quotes a highly placed official in the Finnish Ministry of Finance, who insists: “Wanting to help Portugal is a mistake and helping Greece is a mistake: we should let them go bankrupt.” (Full Text in German)
War crimes court jails Croatian hero and ex-general for 24 years (Deutsche Welle)
Judges at an international court have sentenced former Croatian General Ante Gotovina to 24 years in prison, convicting him of crimes against humanity. Gotovina is regarded as a war hero in Croatia.
Greece has announced plans to sell 50bn euros (£44bn, $72bn) of state assets in a bid to get its finances back on track. Government stakes in the utility power company PPC, the telecom operator OTE and ATEbank will be sold off by 2015. The government’s mid-term budget plan also aims to save 3bn euros, of which 2bn euros will come from cutting tax breaks. The moves will help it meet conditions of its 115bn euros bail-out.
A 30% cut in greenhouse gas emissions is possible by 2020 if Europe meets its efficiency targets, according to the maths used by Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard.But no-one in the Commission will say this publicly for two reasons.
Dutch Defence organisation hit hard by cutbacks (Defence Professionals)
The Defence organisation has been hit hard by the cutbacks announced today by Minister Hans Hillen. The following is a brief outline of the key measures:
Benelux countries join forces to equip soldiers (Defence Professionals)
Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg are to work together in the purchase of soldiers’ equipment. The countries signed an agreement to that effect in Schoorl (Netherlands) this week. It is the first time that the Benelux countries are entering into cooperation in the area of ground-based systems.
EDITORIALS AND COLUMNS:
Libya’s Pathway to Peace (The New York Times, Le Figaro, Times of London)
-Barack Obama, David Cameron, Nicolas Sarkozy
Together with our NATO allies and coalition partners, the United States, France and Britain have been united from the start in responding to the crisis in Libya, and we are united on what needs to happen in order to end it.
Even as we continue our military operations today to protect civilians in Libya, we are determined to look to the future. We are convinced that better times lie ahead for the people of Libya, and a pathway can be forged to achieve just that.
NATO made the right call on helping Libya (The Washington Post)
-Anders Fogh Rasmussen
Libya has rightly dominated the headlines in recent weeks. Many views have been expressed, including those who favor doing nothing and those who accuse the international community — and NATO as part of it — of not doing enough.