U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has called for unity among NATO countries in the fight against terrorism.

Mr. Rumsfeld told the 41st annual international security conference in Munich Germany, Saturday that the battle should not be confined to issues where there is NATO consensus. He said it must be clear that one nation cannot defeat extremists alone.

Earlier, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder proposed creation of an independent panel of experts that would review cooperation structures between Europe and the United States and propose reforms by 2006. German Defense Minister Peter Struck delivered the remarks after illness prevented Mr. Schroeder from attending the meeting. The call followed strong German-American disagreements over the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

Two years ago, Mr. Rumsfeld dismissed Germany and France as "old Europe" for their refusal to join the U.S.-led war. Today, the defense secretary light-heartedly attributed those comments to the "old Rumsfeld."