of State Colin Powell
NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson
October 10, 2001
3:30 P.M. EDT
SECRETARY POWELL: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. It has been my pleasure
today to once again host my colleague and dear friend Lord Robertson, Secretary
General of NATO. This occasion, I was able to thank him as the President did
earlier on behalf of the American people for the strong support that we received
from NATO in this time of crisis.
Within 28 hours after the events of September the 11th, NATO had acted, and
NATO has continued acting in the four weeks since, providing strong support,
not only in terms of statements coming out, but in terms of the invocation of
Article V, and providing us the kind of support that we will see manifested
later this week when NATO AWACS aircraft will be coming to the United States
to help us with surveillance. NATO naval forces will be moving into the eastern
Mediterranean to take up some of the slack. And individual countries within
NATO work with us to assist us in dealing with the situation with respect to
terrorism. Above all, with all of the NATO nations making commitments under
the Article V invocation to give us over-flight rights and other things that
have proven so helpful to our efforts.
And so I think these actions show the viability of the alliance, shows that
the alliance is growing, the alliance has a role to play. More and more nations
want to become a part of this great alliance, which has done such a brilliant
job of preserving the peace, and which is finding new missions for the future
that will make it as vital as it has been in the past.
And so, George, once again, welcome to the State Department. And thank you again
for your support, sir.
LORD ROBERTSON: Thank you very much. It has been very good to meet with Secretary
Powell today and to talk over the agenda that I have been discussing with President
Bush, with National Security Advisor Rice, with the Vice President by video
conference. These are critical issues at this time.
It is a defining moment for humanity now in facing up to these new and unconventional
challenges, and we must be prepared to think unconventionally if we are going
to deal with them. That is why the agenda of NATO is so focused at the present
moment on this challenge, why NATO rose immediately to the events and invoked
Article V for the first time in history, and why we have to follow that through
in an operational and a practical way as well.
So our relationships, bilateral relationships as well as the collective strength
of NATO has been called into action, and we will prevail.
SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you, sir.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, a quick question, Mr. Secretary.
We know about NATO's support. What do you make of the Islamic Conference? Is
that somewhat less than the kind of support you would like?
SECRETARY POWELL: No, I was very pleased with the results of both the Arab League
meeting and the Islamic Conference meeting. I thought it was a good statement.
They deplored what happened on the 11th of September, indicated this is not
the kind of behavior they would find favorable. It certainly doesn't reflect
the faith that they all believe in. So, not at all. When one considers the kind
of statement that might have come out, I find it was a pretty good, pretty fair
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary? Is there anything, Mr. Secretary, you can say about
the next stages beyond Afghanistan and al-Qaida, whether or not you would go,
as there have been some suggestions about Southeast Asia, for instance? Can
you talk about the kinds of steps that would be used there?
And to Lord Robertson, would NATO require any more knowledge from the US before
it followed US moves into other geographical areas?
SECRETARY POWELL: As the President said, this is a campaign against al-Qaida
and the al-Qaida network, which is located in many countries, and the head of
al-Qaida, Usama bin Laden. But it is also a campaign against terrorism, wherever
it may exist in the world. As the President also said, the first phase is directed
against al-Qaida. And we will see what we are able to flesh out as a result
of intelligence activity, as a result of law enforcement, and financial activities.
But there are no plans that are about to come down the pike with respect to
the kinds of actions that you are suggesting in your question. We will take
these things one at a time. And the President said, we are in this for a long
time. We will be persistent, we will be patient, but we will be determined to
not only get rid of the al-Qaida network but to deal with terrorism around the
world, terrorism with a global reach that is a threat to all civilized, democracy-loving
LORD ROBERTSON: I think that answers the question on behalf of NATO as well.
The fact is that this campaign against terrorism is multifaceted. It's political,
it's diplomatic, it's economic, it's financial. And countries who have got these
cells within them are required in their own self-defense to deal with that at
the present moment.
There is a sense of solidarity internationally at the present moment. And that
must lead to these cells of terrorists being challenged. Because at the end
of the day the survival of civilization may stand here as the biggest challenge
for all of us.