Sunday, February 8, 2009

France preparing return to NATO

by Elitsa Bucheva,
EUobserver, 05.02.2009.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his advisers are in the final phase of preparing France's return to NATO's military structures, after Paris obtained US-backing for two senior command positions.

US national security adviser James Jones has agreed in principle with Jean-David Levitte, a diplomatic adviser to President Sarkozy, that French officers could take over the reins of the Allied Command Transformation unit based in Norfolk, Virginia (US), according to a report in French daily Le Monde's Thursday edition (5 February).
The Norfolk unit is in charge of overseeing transformations within the alliance such as its doctrine, organisation and the use of forces.

The second senior post given to the French would be a regional NATO command based in Lisbon – the headquarters of the Rapid Reaction Force and of a centre for satellite-photo analysis.

"All we can say today is that these are the two posts the United States is ready to give up and that France is ready to take them over," a NATO military officer told French news agency AFP, confirming Le Monde's report.

However, France has as yet no guarantees that it would be given the command of the structures, stressed the officer, who was speaking on condition of anonymity.

"France is not necessarily the only one in line and the discussions about the revision of staff at the headquarters are not over," he said, explaining that NATO allies could make an initial decision on the issue in around two weeks.
The full article is here

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