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France rejects Nato standoff compromise

Brussels, Feb. 12 (Reuters): France shot down a compromise today aimed at breaking Nato’s deadlock over planning protection for Turkey in case of a U.S.-led war on Iraq, dashing hopes for an early end to the alliance's damaging crisis.

Diplomats said France, Germany and Belgium, which vetoed broader proposals on Monday, were unlikely to budge at least until after chief UN weapons inspector Hans Blix reports to the Security Council on Friday.

In a bid to calm one of the most serious storms in Nato’s 54-year history, Nato secretary-general George Robertson presented slimmed-down “decision sheet”, stripped of plans to protect US forces in Europe or replace Balkan peacekeepers sent to fight in Iraq.

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