Updated: 17-Jul-2002 NATO Press Releases

(2002) 095

17 July 2002

Statement by Lord Robertson
on the death of Joseph Luns

On behalf of the Atlantic Alliance, I express profound condolences at the death of Dr Joseph Luns.

Dr Luns was NATO's Secretary General from 1971 to 1984, the longest period anyone has held that post in NATO's history. His long service reflects the profound confidence which NATO's member governments had in him. His experience as a diplomat and as Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands served him very well as Secretary General. Under his strong leadership, NATO defended the security and the values of its members during the long years of Cold War. His skills as a diplomat helped to guide the Alliance through many crises, and to maintain peace in difficult times.

Dr Luns also promoted a vision for the Alliance which remains true even today. He worked tirelessly to promote European integration, understanding that a strong Europe was an essential partner to North America. He had a profound belief in the importance of the transatlantic relations as a pillar of security in the world, and he regularly stressed the requirement for sufficient investment in defence to preserve our common values. Today, work still continues on these essential projects.

Throughout his tenure at NATO and beyond, Joseph Luns worked toward a vision of a Euro-Atlantic area whole, free and at peace. In so doing, he helped to set the stage for the end of the Cold War, and make that vision a reality. A democratically reunited Europe is the enduring tribute to his long and distinguished career.

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