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Europe

UK and France Take New Defense Step

Britain and France are planning to join forces to create highly-trained, rapid deployment units for combat in jungle, desert and mountain operations.

According to the Financial Times newspaper, the plan is part of an overall goal of Paris and London to strengthen European defense. The plan, which is set to be unveiled this week, sets out a detailed agenda and timetable describing how and where the new units will conduct missions, and at what level they will be trained. London and Paris want the units to work closely, but not exclusively, with the United Nations. The initiative is open to all EU states but the main criterion for other countries joining is "ultimately military effectiveness." The UK and France are aiming to have the plan accepted by all member states by the end of June with troops available by 2007. (EUobserver)

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