Western Europe Bolsters Its Involvement in Gulf
Howard LaFranchi, writer of The Christian Science Monitor, The Christian Science Monitor
WITH a policy that Italian Foreign Minister Gianni de Michelis describes as "one for all and all for one," European countries continue to respond to events in the Gulf crisis with increased solidarity: both among themselves, and with the United States and Arab countries aligned against Iraq.
The two-month-old crisis is also pushing Western Europe toward new levels of military cooperation.
Leaders including French President Francois Mitterrand, British Foreign Minister Douglas Hurd, and Jacques Delors, president of the European Community's executive commission, say events in the Gulf provide a reminder of Europe's deficiency in defense and security cooperation.
The cooperation now being tried out may provide the foundation for the gradual construction of an all-European defense system.
Following Iraq's entry and pillage of French, Belgian, and Dutch diplomatic compounds in Kuwait City on Sept. 14, the 12 countries of the European Community decided this week to follow France's example by expelling military personnel from Iraqi embassies in their countries and limiting the movement of other embassy staff. European solidarity
French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas told his European colleagues Sept. 18 that this "marked a new concrete proof of the solidarity of European countries in the face of Iraq's aggressions."
But in his remarks before the foreign and defense ministers of the nine-member Western European Union (WEU), Mr. Dumas went on to say that "to attain its full measure, European solidarity must be extended to a politico-military dimension."
At the emergency meeting, representatives of the nine members of the WEU - Belgium, France, West Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and Britain - decided to reinforce their cooperation in the Gulf by extending it to air and land forces. …