New NATO chief Rasmussen says he respects all Muslims

Bosnia becomes 42nd contributing nation to NATO's Afghan operations Ankara - Future NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Monday attempted to soothe Muslim antipathy to the role he played in 2005 as Danish prime minister when he failed to condemn cartoons of the Muslim prophet Mohammad published in a Danish newspaper.

Speaking at the Alliance of Civilizations in Istanbul, a meeting that promotes dialogue between leaders of the West and the Islamic world, Rasmussen did not directly apologise for his actions in 2005 but did say that he respected all religions.

Rasmussen was given the go-ahead to take over as NATO secretary general on Saturday after Turkey withdrew its objections.

It was still not clear on Monday exactly what deal was made that allowed Turkey to withdraw its threat to veto Rasmussen's candidacy.

Reports said Rasmussen had promised to apologize to the Muslim world and also that Denmark would shut down Roj TV, a satellite broadcaster with close links to Kurdish separatists.

Rasmussen was scheduled to hold a more detailed press conference later on Monday. (dpa)

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