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26 September 2001

Text: NATO Release on Sept. 26 Informal Meeting of Defense Ministers

(Discuss anti-terrorism campaign, Macedonia, Bosnia, Kosovo) (460)
NATO defense ministers met in Brussels September 26 and reaffirmed
NATO's solidarity in the face of terrorism; they discussed the
Alliance's role and what Allies might do collectively and individually
to assist the United States following the September 11 terrorist
attacks on New York and Washington.
The ministers also "underlined NATO's commitment to support the
security of international monitors in the former Yugoslav Republic of
Macedonia," discussed ongoing NATO-led peacekeeping operations in
Bosnia-Herzegovina and in Kosovo, and met with Russian Defense
Minister Sergey Ivanov to discuss NATO-Russia cooperation in the fight
against terrorism and in the Balkans, a NATO press release said.
The informal meeting of defense ministers had been scheduled to take
place in Naples but was changed to Brussels because of "acute pressure
of business at NATO headquarters" in the wake of the terrorist
attacks.
Following is the release:
(begin text)
NATO Press Releases
Brussels
26 Sep. 2001
INFORMAL MEETING OF DEFENCE MINISTERS
The Defence Ministers and Representatives of the Alliance met
informally in Brussels on 26 September. The meeting had previously
been scheduled to take place in Italy but acute pressure of business
at NATO headquarters, stemming from the recent attack on the United
States, necessitated a change in venue.
This was the first meeting of Alliance Ministers since the terrorist
attack on the United States, and the Ministers accordingly turned
first to its implications for Alliance security. Ministers extended
their deepest sympathy to the families of those who had been killed or
injured, and to the entire American people. The United States provided
its Allies with further information on its intentions for a
comprehensive response using the full set of tools available to
governments. The Ministers reaffirmed NATO's solidarity in the face of
terrorism and discussed the Alliance's role and what Allies might do
collectively and individually to assist the United States.
The Ministers also discussed the results of Operation ESSENTIAL
HARVEST, the 30-day mandate for which has just ended. They underlined
NATO's commitment to support the security of international monitors in
the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and welcomed in this regard
the approval of OPLAN AMBER FOX earlier in the day by the Council in
Permanent Session. The execution of this operation is subject to
further discussions with the authorities of the former Yugoslav
Republic of Macedonia (1). The Ministers also exchanged views on the
status of the ongoing peace-keeping operations led by NATO in
Bosnia-Herzegovina and in Kosovo.
The NATO Ministers met with their Russian counterpart, Sergei Ivanov.
They discussed NATO-Russia cooperation in the fight against terrorism
and in the Balkans.
1. Turkey recognises the Republic of Macedonia with its constitutional
name.
(end text)
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S.
Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov)



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