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|Wednesday, May 30, 2001, updated at 08:30(GMT+8)|
Powell Promises to Act With NATO Allies in BalkansThe United States secretary of state on Tuesday reassured his European counterparts that his country would not act unilaterally to pull out of the multinational peacekeeping mission in the Balkans.
Colin Powell, attending a two-day NATO foreign minister council meeting, said at a post-meeting press briefing that the United States would not take a single unilateral action in the region while reiterating an earlier promise that the Americans got in the Balkans with the Europeans and would get out with them as well.
There is not a unilateralism in the Bush administration as some have pointed, the U.S. secretary of state said.
Rumors have spread that the Americans would single-handedly reduce the troop size of its peacekeeping force in Bosnia- Herzegovina by at least 10 percent.
Powell admitted, however, that the Americans were indeed considering some slight reduction from its Bosnia troops.
Earlier in the day, NATO Secretary-General George Robertson described the U.S. move as only a "trimming" or "minor adjustment.
"When asked to comment on further NATO enlargement, Powel said that he did not have any announcement to make during the foreign minister council meeting which ends on Wednesday in Budapest.
He said that the timetable and pace of NATO enlargement would only be announced in due course.
While commenting on the difference between the Americans and Europeans as regards the missile defense system, Powell said that the Americans preferred not to wait until the threat is out there but would rather get prepared no matter the threat gets there tomorrow or in two, three or five years time.
Powell failed to round up definite support from NATO allies at the Budapest council meeting. The council only issued a statement welcoming the consultation initiative by the Bush administration and expressing NATO's willingness to participate in the consultation before any decision is taken regarding the American move.
But he did manage to get as a compromise from European allies the deletion from the council statement of the mentioning of the 1972 anti-ballistic missile treaty that NATO used to hold as the cornerstone for strategic stability.
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