President Bush and NATO Secretary-General George Robertson have reaffirmed their solidarity in the war on terrorism. They spoke after talks Tuesday at the White House.
President Bush said since the September 11 attacks on the United States, NATO has stood side by side with America in combating terrorism. "More than a dozen of our NATO allies are contributing forces to the war against terror in Afghanistan," he added. "NATO aircraft have been deployed to patrol our skies in support of America's security. And the airspace of NATO members has been critical to coalition air operations."
Mr. Bush said NATO is rising to meet all sorts of new challenges in the post cold-war world including building ties with countries that were once part of the Soviet bloc.
"NATO must develop new flexible capabilities to meet the threats of the 21st century," Mr. Bush went on to say. "We must take on new members, securing freedom from the Baltic to the Black Sea. And NATO must forge a new relationship with Russia that is even more constructive so that we can finally and forever abolish the divisions that are relics of a previous era."
NATO's secretary-general stressed the alliance is up to the task. "Although world has changed, the ties that bind the 19 NATO nations together have not because this is an alliance built on shared principles and not on convenience," he said.
The NATO members will hold their next summit in November in Prague.