NATO ambassadors are to convene an emergency meeting in Brussels on 11 February in an attempt to resolve the split in the alliance, which some have warned threatens its future. The reaction to the blocking by France, Germany and Belgium of plans to upgrade Turkey’s defences with NATO missile batteries the day before drew a furious reaction from the US, which held Paris primarily responsible. Washington wants to see Turkey’s military facilities improved ahead of a possible use of its territory in the event of war on Iraq. The three European powers argued that sanctioning the upgrade would damage the credibility of efforts to settle the Iraq crisis peacefully. The equipment in question requires about thirty days to deploy. US Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld called the decision ‘shameful’ and ‘inexcusable, while President Bush said that: ‘It affects the alliance in a negative way.’ Rumsfeld pointed out that it was still ’16 to three’ in NATO in favour of the Turkish proposal and said that those in favour would continue their planning ‘outside of NATO if necessary’. The split within the alliance comes hard on the heels of a Franco-German plan, endorsed by Russia, to avert war by beefing up the inspections regime. Both the US and the UK dismissed the initiative.