Following a discussion on a range of major foreign affairs issues in the morning, Belgian Foreign Minister Louis Michel said that the summit had welcomed the outcome of the Bonn meeting to establish a temporary government for Afghanistan. He declared all EU countries had "unanimously" agreed to take part in the multinational force in Afghanistan. "This is a historical event and an important political opportunity for Europe," he continued. The multinational force's mission is primarily to ensure that security and stability is maintained, namely in the Afghan capital Kabul. But he stressed that the multinational force would not be involved in combat, insisting on the importance of humanitarian and reconstruction aid as well.Javier Solana, EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP), stressed that the force would be multinational in make-up as non-EU nations would contribute. He emphasised that the force would operate following a UN Resolution which would be agreed take part before December 22, which is the date Afghanistan's temporary government will officially be put into place. Later in the day Sweden's Foreign Minister Anna Lindh qualified Mr Michel's statement, saying that Member States had agreed in principle to contribute to a multinational force but each country would decide individually how they would participate. The force is likely to be led by the United Kingdom, and will be constituted by some 3,000 to 4,000 men. The UK will be contributing a couple hundred of men, essentially parachutists and marine commandos.No deal yet on EU-NATO links.The leaders held a discussion on the EU's Security and Defence Policy, which they are expected to declare the "operational" on December 15. This means that the EU should be able to take on limited crisis management tasks from January 1, 2002. The EU is planning to create by 2003 a Rapid Reaction Force of 60,000 troops to be deployed at 60 days notice but the EU wants to be able to handle small-scale operations before the force is fully assembled. The decision to declare ESDP operational comes despite the failure to agree a key element for the policy's effectiveness: an agreement with NATO giving the EU automatic access to the alliance's planning capabilities.Although NATO member Turkey lifted its veto on granting access following a UK-led diplomatic initiative Greece was still blocking a deal with NATO. Athens is arguing for guarantees that the Reaction Force will not be...

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