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A "Sustained Campain" Against Terrorism Underway

A "Sustained Campain" Against Terrorism Underway

U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson held a press availability after their meeting at NATO headquarters in Brussels September 20. Source: Washington File (EUR407), U.S. Department of State, Washington D.C., September 20, 2001.

Armitage said he had come to Brussels for three reasons:

  • to express America's condolences to the nations that lost citizens in the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States;
  • to thank NATO for its rapid invocation of Article Five of the Washington Treaty, which states that an armed attack against one or more of the allies in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all; and
  • to share information about the global coalition against terrorism that President Bush is putting together.

Asked what specifically Europeans could offer in the war against terrorism beyond political support, Armitage replied that a "sustained campaign" against terrorism was under way and that it is not just military in nature.

"It's political, it's economic, it will mean sharing of intelligence. So I think there is a role of some sort for every nation who is disgusted by terrorism and has had enough," he said.

Robertson said that all of NATO and the individual Allies "are determined to collectively contribute and cooperate with other members of the International Community to this fight."

Following is the NATO transcript of the press availability: (begin transcript)

NATO Headquarters, Brussels, Belgium, September 20, 2001

U.S. Deputy of State Armitage and NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson: Press availability

NATO Spokesman Yves Brodeur: Thank you very much and welcome to this very brief point de presse with the Secretary General of the organization, Lord Robertson, and the Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage. We'll have to be extremely brief. Mr. Armitage has a very tight program, and he must be very rigorous. So we will open the floor for two comments, and then we'll have time for only three Questions afterwards. Thank you very much.

Secretary General Lord Robertson: Thank you. This has been a very valuable meeting with the highest level representative of the United States Administration to come here to NATO Headquarters since we invoked Article Five last week. Mr. Armitage was not here to ask the Alliance for anything. He was here to brief, and to give information, and we've had a very good discussion about these things. The Allies -- all of NATO and the individual Allies -- are determined to collectively contribute and cooperate with other members of the International Community to this fight. It may be a long fight, but we hope successful fight against terrorism. But today, each of the Allies who contributed to the discussion underlined yet again the firmness of the Alliance members' solidarity with the United States at this difficult time. A very important meeting has taken place. I'll ask Mr. Armitage if he'll speak to us briefly.

Deputy Secretary of State Armitage: Thank you, Mr. Secretary General. Thank you very much for having me. The President and the Secretary of State of the United States asked me to come here for several purposes. The first, and I think most important, is to note with great sadness that all but three of the member nations lost citizens in this terrible attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. And in the name of the United States, I wanted to express condolences to the nations who lost citizens in that heinous crime. Second, I wanted to express our enormous admiration and appreciation for the very rapid invocation of Article Five. This is something that gives the United States a great deal of both comfort and confidence, Mr. Secretary General. And third, I came here to share information: to talk about the grand coalition that President Bush is trying to put together and to make the point very dramatically and graphically that this is a global war on terrorism. It doesn't just stop in Afghanistan. So thank you very much for having me, Mr. Secretary General.

NATO Spokesman Yves Brodeur: Please identify yourself and keep your Questions brief.

Question: My name is Boda from Czech Television. I wonder, following the news from the German press, if you are or are not afraid that NATO might become the next target of any further attacks by the terrorists.

Secretary General Lord Robertson: I don't think that you would expect me to say anything about our security measures, but you can be sure that we are well prepared to deal with any threat to this Headquarters.

Question: Klaus from ZDF. Mr. Armitage, how does NATO solidarity now materialize? Did you ask something new from NATO other than Article Five?

Deputy Secretary of State Armitage: No. I didn't, as I said, come here to ask for anything. I came here to share with good Allies the information we have. I did point out that in this coalition building there is a continuum from, on the one hand, rhetorical or political support for activities on this global attack on terrorism. It runs the gamut to sharing of intelligence, sharing of financial information, perhaps overflight rights, etc. And at the far end of the continuum is the possibility of some military activity either together or unilaterally. But no decisions have been made, and I didn't come here to request any particular thing.

NATO Spokesman Yves Brodeur: We have time for one Question. Last Question please.

Question: Mr. Armitage. Judy Dempsey from the Financial Times. What did you get from Russia while you were there? What did you tell the NAC [North Atlantic] Council after your meeting with Russia?

Deputy Secretary of State Armitage: Well I briefed the NAC Council about the general content of my discussions with Deputy Foreign Minister Trubnikov and his colleagues, and mentioned very briefly the discussions that Foreign Minister Ivanov had with both Secretary Powell and with President Bush. The press statement that was issued following our meeting in Moscow indicated that the Russian Government was prepared to give all possible support, and I discussed that very briefly with the NAC. Thank you.

Question: Matt Kaminski from the Wall Street Journal. What can the Europeans offer beyond political support? Can you go into any more details?

Deputy Secretary of State Armitage: If I can talk generically -- I don't want to speak specifically about any nation or any organization -- this is going to be a sustained campaign on terrorism. And I think it is quite clear to most, if not all, in this room that this is not just military in nature. It's political, it's economic, it will mean sharing of intelligence. So I think there is a role of some sort for every nation who is disgusted by terrorism and has had enough.

Secretary General Lord Robertson: Thank you very much.

Deputy Secretary of State Armitage: Thank you very much.

(end transcript)


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Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).