Joint press point
with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and the Chair of the Bosnia & Herzegovina Presidency, Bakir Izetbegovic
Let me begin by offering my sincere condolences for the lives lost in the terrible floods which have struck your country and region.
My thoughts are with the families and communities affected.
NATO has received your request for helicopters and boats. Many Allies and partners are responding to this crisis. They are sending helicopters, emergency response teams, boats, drinking water, food, shelter and funds.
We are in close contact with the European Union to see where we can support relief and aid efforts further. And we stand ready to help in any way we can if requested.
Mr Izetbegovic, let me assure you: the whole Euro-Atlantic family stands beside you in this difficult time.
NATO is committed to the future of the Western Balkans. Your security, your stability and your future matter to us.
Bosnia-Herzegovina is already a valued partner. You are helping us to make a difference in Afghanistan - supporting the Afghan forces as they take responsibility for their own country. And one of the reasons for my long-planned visit is to thank you for your contribution.
This year, we celebrate significant anniversaries in the accession of new members to NATO - including Slovenia, Albania and Croatia. They are stronger in NATO, and NATO is stronger with them.
NATO’s Open Door policy is a great success. Together with the enlargement of the European Union, we have spread security and prosperity and moved closer to the goal of a Europe whole, free and at peace.
We count on you to show the unity, leadership and political courage needed to move forward in your commitment to Euro-Atlantic aspirations, the same qualities that are needed today in dealing with this terrible natural disaster. And rest assured that you can continue to count on NATO’s support.
Q: (Inaudible) News Agency, I have a question for Mr Rasmussen. You said NATO helped Bosnia and Herzegovina in these difficult times in any way that you can. What will you... what can you do to help Bosnia, Croatia and Serbia regarding the problems with mines that are floating in the rivers now? And that can go even to the Black Sea.
ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN (NATO Secretary General): You're speaking about a natural disaster.
Q: Yes, yes.
ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN: Yes.
Q: The problem is land mines that are floating in the rivers now.
ANDERS FOGH RASMUSSEN: Yes, the land mine problem is indeed a matter of grave concern. And I think we have to address that determinedly and in an effective manner. I know that a number of allies have expertise in that respect. In NATO we have a coordination mechanism to make sure that any such assistance can be coordinated in an efficient manner so if we receive any request for assistance to deal with the very serious land mine problem we stand ready to help.