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US: No Need for Collective NATO Action Against Terrorism - 2001-09-26

A senior U.S. defense official has told NATO officials in Brussels that Washington has no immediate need to call on the alliance to respond collectively to the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said Washington, at this time, does not anticipate the need for collective NATO action in the war on terrorism. A day after the attacks in the United States, NATO invoked a clause in its charter saying that when one member is attacked it can be considered a strike against all.

Mr. Wolfowitz went on to say the Bush administration is conducting a broad campaign against terrorism, including military, diplomatic, and economic measures, as well as intelligence efforts.

He spoke after meeting with NATO defense ministers to discuss steps the alliance can take in the new global war on terrorism.

NATO Secretary-General George Robertson, in his comments, said the alliance must prepare for a new kind of war. "It was also recognized during our discussion that the campaign against terrorism will be long, arduous, and will require radical new thinking," he added. "Adaptability, non-conventional thinking, patience and determination are key aspects for this campaign."

Secretary-General Robertson also spoke about NATO efforts in Macedonia, saying the alliance will be sending troops to protect international monitors overseeing the peace agreement there. The new mission will be starting as NATO ends its weapons collection program.

Mr. Robertson says the new mission will be under German leadership and will require a much smaller force - about 600 soldiers - than the weapons collection program, which involved about 4,500 NATO troops.

And finally, the NATO leader welcomed the commitment of Russia to strengthen its cooperation with NATO. He said Russia and the alliance are entering a new chapter in their relations.

Since the attacks in the United States, Russian officials have declared that Russia will do its part in the fight against terror. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov re-enforced that message in meetings with NATO officials in Brussels on Wednesday.