The Alliance Stands Ready to Play Its Role
Statement by NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson
October 8, 2001
Yesterday evening, the United States of America and the United
Kingdom began military operations as part of the global campaign
As Secretary General of NATO, I received advance warning. Vice
President Dick Cheney telephoned me before the first attacks.
I have just come from a meeting of the North Atlantic Council
which met to review the situation and to reaffirm its full support
for these targeted actions. The Permanent Representatives of the
United States of America and the United Kingdom briefed the Council.
This operation is not directed against the people of Afghanistan.
It is designed to strike against al-Qaida terrorist training camps
and military installations of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.
NATO Ambassadors this morning expressed their full support for
the actions of the United States and the United Kingdom, which
follow the appalling attacks perpetrated against the United States
on 11 September 2001. They reiterated their readiness to provide
assistance as required. Specifically, they remain fully committed
to implement the eight measures agreed on 4 October at the request
of the United States.
In this context and following a specific request from the United
States, the Allies today agreed that five NATO AWACS aircraft,
together with their crews, will deploy to the United States to
assist with counter-terrorism operations. This deployment, which
was agreed by acclamation this morning, will allow US aircraft
currently engaged in these operations in the United States to
be released for operations against terrorism elsewhere.
NATO Ambassadors welcomed France's intention to provide increased
support by French AWACS aircraft in Bosnia-Herzegovina as backfill
in order to facilitate this NATO deployment.
Yesterday's actions were carried out by two NATO Allies. Other
NATO Allies have pledged direct military support as this operation
unfolds. The Alliance itself will continue to provide military
and other support, to consult on the implications for its security,
and to take whatever defensive measures are necessary.
The campaign to eradicate terrorism has reached a new stage.
It will be pursued on many fronts with determination and with
patience. The Alliance stands ready to play its role. I will be
consulting over the next couple of days, first of all with Prime
Minister Chrétien in Canada this evening and I will personally
congratulate and commend the offers of support that have been
made by Canada at this time and indeed the support that has already
been given by this country. And on Wednesday I will be in the
White House to meet President Bush. I will be there first and
foremost to express sympathy to his nation on the eve of the month's
anniversary of these tragic attrocities but also to pledge the
whole-hearted support of the entire NATO Alliance for America
at this time of need.