Texas and the Defence of Freedom

  • 10 May. 2011 -
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  • Last updated: 11 May. 2011 04:58

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen started the fourth day of his US trip with a visit to the Texas National Guard in Austin, the largest of its kind in the United States.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen

Mr Rasmussen thanked them for their long-standing contribution to NATO-led operations, including in Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan – where they also support the Agri-business Development Team in Ghazni province. “The versatility, professionalism and dedication of the National Guard are well-known all over the world,” the Secretary General said. “And it is all the more remarkable to see that you are all volunteers. It takes a very special person to show that kind of commitment.”

In a speech at the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library, Mr Rasmussen stressed the values that NATO is built on. Freedom, he said, “is not a western value – but a universal value. It’s not a commodity for the few – but one that is valuable only if shared by the many.  In our NATO Alliance, nearly a billion people share not only the same values of freedom, democracy and humanity. We also share the capabilities to safeguard them.”

Speaking about recent events in North Africa and the Middle East, the Secretary General said, ”brave people throughout the Arab world have cried out for the freedom, that America and Europe have enjoyed for many decades. Thanks to NATO. We are obliged to carry on fighting for these values.”

His next step stop will be in Chicago, where he will hold a speech on the NATO-Russia cooperation.