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Military News Briefs for the Week of Nov. 24, 2000

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Nov. 24, 2000 – (This is a summary of the top American Forces Press Service news stories for the week ending Nov. 24, 2000.)

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Cohen Salutes Abe Lincoln’s Crew

ABOARD THE USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN, Nov. 20, 2000 -- Defense Secretary William S. Cohen praised sailors and Marines here Nov. 16 for enforcing the Southern No-Fly Zone over Iraq for their commitment and expertise.

Cohen took a half-hour helicopter flight from Manama, Bahrain to the carrier involved in Operation Southern Watch. The Lincoln is an important part of the U.S. military’s forward presence in the region, Cohen said. He thanked the crew for their good work and shared some news about military health care and housing.

“I’m here because I want to meet you and thank you for the service that you provide to our country … I know that I’m sending you out to a dangerous area,” he said. “I speak of danger because [the attack on] the [USS] Cole is most recent on my mind, and probably most recent in yours.”

Cohen said that in today’s relative peace, many Americans are unaware of the dangers and hardships the Lincoln’s crew and other U.S. service members face on a daily basis. “They see you at a time of crisis, they see you when there is a war in Kosovo … but for the most part, they don’t really understand what you are doing with your lives every day,” he said.

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Cohen Asked To Investigate Military Ballots

CAIRO, Egypt, Nov. 21, 2000 – Defense Secretary William S. Cohen has been asked by the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee to investigate why hundreds of military absentee ballots cast by Florida residents were thrown out during the recounting procedure.

Cohen was in Kuwait City on Friday meeting with officials as part of his seven-day, nine-nation Mideast tour to reaffirm United States security agreements within the region. That day he received a letter from veteran Virginia Sen. John Warner, who asked Cohen to look into the military ballot matter.

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Jordan’s King Abdullah, Cohen Discuss Mideast Violence

AMMAN, Jordan, Nov. 22, 2000 – Defense Secretary William S. Cohen and Jordan’s King Abdullah met Nov. 21 and held discussions about the violence between Palestinians and Israelis, which, according to Cohen, could jeopardize peace and stability throughout the Middle East.

During his meetings, Cohen noted that a wide range of issues was discussed, but Palestinian-Israeli conflict was paramount. “We concentrated on the need to end the violence between Israel and the Palestinians,” Cohen said in a statement released after his meeting with Abdullah. “It is time to stop the fighting and return to the bargaining table.

“We will continue to work together to promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the region,” he added.

Cohen said the United States intends to provide Jordan $75 million in foreign military financing for the upcoming year, in return for the positive role Jordan is playing in building greater cooperation among the militaries in the Mideast. Egypt and Israel are also slated to receive U.S. financial assistance -- $225 million and $450 million, respectively -- for their efforts in promoting peace in the Mideast, officials said.

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