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France Pledges to Carry on Role in Struggle Against Terrorism - 2001-09-24

French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin says his country will be a reliable partner in the struggle against terrorism.

Mr. Jospin told defense experts meeting in Paris his country will maintain the right to determine what role it will assume in any deployment of forces in response to the terrorist attacks on the United States. And he stated any action must be proportional, strategically and militarily justified, and politically coherent. But the Prime Minister added France will not shirk its responsibilities in combating terrorism.

In London, British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw says his government is stepping-up military and diplomatic efforts to support the U.S.-led campaign against terrorism. He said his country has to be be prepared for casualties in any possible future military action in response to the attacks. Mr. Straw spoke on British radio shortly before departing on a visit to Iran.

Earlier, NATO sources told reporters alliance defense ministers will hold a special one-day meeting in Brussels on Wednesday to discuss the aftermath of the terrorist attacks.

The NATO meeting had been scheduled to take place in Naples, Italy, but was canceled in the wake of the terrorist attacks. The rescheduled meeting is to take place in Brussels, so ministers would be close to alliance headquarters.

The 19 nation alliance declared earlier this month that based on NATO's founding treaty, the attacks on the United States were an assault on all member states.