At a meeting in Brussels Thursday, NATO and Russian officials agreed to increase their cooperation in the fight against terrorism following this week's attacks in the United States.

Following a special meeting of the NATO-Russian permanent council in Brussels, officials from both sides declared they are united in their resolve not to let those responsible for such inhuman acts go unpunished.

In a joint statement, they said the horrific scale of the September 11 attacks is without precedent in modern history. They also called on the international community to intensify its cooperation to defeat terrorism.

This is the latest NATO move concerning the attacks in Washington and New York. On Wednesday, the alliance invoked Article Five of the North Atlantic Treaty, which says that an attack against one NATO ally can be considered a strike against them all.

NATO spokesman Yves Brodeur says this is a pivotal decision for NATO. "The article has never been invoked since the creation of this institution," he said. "It's also important because it tells the world that this organization, the 19 members of this organization, stand ready to assist the United States in responding to the attacks of two days ago, including by using military force if required."

But Mr. Brodeur adds this does not mean that NATO is immediately planning any operation or that member countries will be forced to provide troops. He says that assistance can come in the form of logistical support, authorization to use national air space for U.S. over-flights or other support.