NATO has defused its nastiest internal spat in decades by bypassing the French. France, Germany, and Belgium had initially refused to participate in drafting plans to defend fellow NATO member Turkey in case of war with Iraq. They argued that planning for the war was tantamount to endorsing it. The dispute was resolved by allowing the military staff of the NATO Defense Planning Council, which does not include France, to make plans for Turkey’s defense. Germany and Belgium then dropped their opposition, and NATO Secretary-General George Robertson announced that “solidarity has prevailed.” The three countries reiterated, though, that they were still opposed to a war in Iraq, unless it got U.N. approval.
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