This is extremely significant because to many it represents the new "Berlin Conference" of the 1990s. It has been quietly kept form the media we all know when they talk about "security" they really talking about their own "Vested Interest" (In this case in Africa. This strike force is to be created to protect "European Interests" in Africa and abroad. The outcome of this summit effects All Afrikan people worldwide, cuz
LISBON (CP - Prime Minister Jean Chretien proposed Monday that middle level powers band together to create a rapid reaction force to help ease world crises.
Chretien told a meeting of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe the world needs to learn a lesson from the Zaire crisis and find a way to react more swiftly in the future.
The prime minister made the point to the opening session of the two-day biennial summit and in bilateral meetings he had with a number of leaders, including Germany's Helmet Kohl and Irish Prime Minister John Burton.
"This crisis was predictable," Chretien said later. "And others will be predictable too. So the point we re making is that we have to be in a position to react more expeditiously in a situation like that. And the next step is to make sure, if possible, to have a voluntary organization of middle powers like Canada who could be in a position to move quickly. Because we cannot do it ad hoc as we ve done it the last time."
Chretien returned to Canada on Monday night following a nearly two week trade mission through Southeast Asia. The prime minister said he raised the issue at the OSCE because he wanted to advance the proposal while Zaire - and the problems of setting up a force to help- are still fresh in world leaders minds. Canada is leading and coordinating efforts to use military resources form up to 20 countries to help deliver humanitarian aid to Rwandan refugees still huddled in the forests of eastern Zaire.
While Zaire was on Chretien's mind, NATO expansion and the problems of Belarus were preoccupying most of the leaders at the summit.
Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin laid his card squarely on the table in his opening remarks: Russia is adamantly opposed to NATO expansion.