delivered by the NATO Secretary General, Anders Fogh Rasmussen following the meeting of the North Atlantic Council
ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN (NATO Secretary General):
The North Atlantic Council has just met at Turkey's request to hold consultations within the framework of article 4 of the Washington Treaty. This article states that Allies "will consult whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence, or security of any of them is threatened".
We discussed the shooting down of a Turkish aircraft by Syria. All Allies have approved a statement setting out our firm position.
We consider this act to be unacceptable and condemn it in the strongest terms. It is another example of the Syrian authorities' disregard for international norms, peace and security, and human life.
Our thoughts at this difficult time are with the missing Turkish aircrew, their families and their loved ones.
We continue to follow the situation closely and with great concern. NATO Allies will remain seized of developments on the Southeastern border of NATO.
And let me make this clear: The security of the Alliance is indivisible. We stand together with Turkey in the spirit of strong solidarity.
And with that, I am ready to take a couple of questions.
OANA LUNGESCU (NATO Spokesperson): NTV Turkey.
Q: Secretary General, (inaudible...) from NTV Turkey. The Alliance has shown a great solidarity towards Turkey, but if this happens one more time, if this occurs one more time by Syria, is the Alliance ready to make more to make a prudent planning, or something like that? It's really what's the step forward? Thank you.
ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN (NATO Secretary General): I would certainly expect that such an incident won't happen again. Should anything happen Allies will remain seized of development, we closely monitor the situation and if necessary we will consult and discuss what else could be done.
OANA LUNGESCU: Al Arabiya.
Q: Noureddine Fridhi from Arabiya news centre. Secretary General, I have one question and a half. My first question is, you discussed on the basis of Article 4, did you raise the Article 5 and which are the next steps? And if you also are in a position today to tell us if, how long the Turkish jet stay in the Syrian air space, or it did not enter at all in the Syrian air space? Thank you.
ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN: I will not go into details on the briefing we got today. We did not discuss Article 5. We have had a consultation based on Article 4, which is normal. Turkey has requested such a consultation. We have discussed the situation and Allies have expressed their strong support for and solidarity with Turkey. And as far as future developments are concerned, we have stated in today's statement that we will remain seized of developments.
OANA LUNGESCU: The lady over there.
Q: (Inaudible...) from Turkish TV 24. If Syria continues to escalate the tension what can be the limits of NATO to respond to this violence against Turkey in the border? Thank you very much.
ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN: It's my clear expectation that the situation won't continue to escalate. What we have seen is a completely unacceptable act and I would expect Syria to take all necessary steps to avoid such events in the future.
As regards to the development in the region, we monitor the situation closely and as stated, we will remain seized of developments.
OANA LUNGESCU: One last question over there.
Q: Mr. General Secretary, Sertaç Aktan from IHA News Agency Turkey. I have a brief question. Just a moment ago Prime Minister Erdogan made an announcement saying that Turkey is sure that the plane was shot in the international air space and then fall to Syrian waters. I want to really... we all want to know how satisfied by the technical briefings and by this... with this explanations of Turkey are the NATO member states? How satisfied... are they satisfied? Thank you.
ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN: We appreciate very much the briefing we have got today. The Turkish Permanent Representative has informed us about the situation and this specific incident. And based on that NATO Allies have expressed strong condemnation of this completely unacceptable act and we have expressed a very strong support for, and solidarity, with Turkey.
OANA LUNGESCU: Thank you very much.