Updated: 21-Sep-2001 NATO Press Releases


21 Sept. 2001

by NATO Secretary General, Lord Robertson

NATO has been planning to hold an informal meeting of Defence Ministers in Naples on September 26 and 27. This is the latest in a regular series of brainstorming discussions covering the main issues on NATO's agenda .

Since 11 September, the international environment has, however, been transformed. Ministers in North America and Europe face a completely different security situation. NATO has declared that if the terrorist attacks on the United States are found to have been launched from abroad, this will be an attack against all Allied Countries under Article 5 of the Washington Treaty. Ministers still need to meet but their agenda is also changed. The time available for discussion is now inevitably shorter than before this crisis. And the NATO International Staff cannot sensibly run a meeting outside NATO Headquarters in parallel with their crisis management responsibilities under the Article 5 commitment.

The Italian authorities have reiterated that they would be delighted to host the meeting in Naples. All the necessary arrangements are well in hand. Reluctantly, however, I have decided that it would be impossible for me and my staff to be away from Brussels at this time. The North Atlantic Council has asked me to convey its gratitude to the Italian authorities for their flexibility and to the people of Naples for their patience.

I have today proposed to the North Atlantic Council that Defence Ministers should convene for a shorter meeting at NATO Headquarters. We will make further announcements when arrangements have been finalised.

+32 (0)2 707 50 41
+32 (0)2 707 50 57
B-1110 Brussels/Bruxelles

Go to Homepage Go to Index