I welcome today's decision by NATO's Defense Planning Committee to approve the
deployment of AWACS aircraft, Patriot missiles, and biological and chemical
defense equipment to Turkey. This is an important demonstration of the solidarity
of NATO allies in view of a potential threat to an Alliance member. It follows
the decision taken on Sunday, by the same committee, to request military planning
for such deployments.
Today's decision is a direct response to the request by Turkey for consultations
under Article 4 of the Washington Treaty, as well as the commitment by all NATO
Heads of State and Government, stated at Prague on November 21, 2002, "to
take effective action to assist and support the efforts of the UN to ensure
the full and immediate compliance by Iraq, without conditions or restrictions,
with UNSCR 1441."
I am grateful for the resolute leadership of NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson
in bringing the Alliance discussions to a successful conclusion. I also appreciate
the efforts of all the members of the Defense Planning Committee to fulfill
their responsibilities as Alliance members in exceptionally difficult circumstances.