Updated: 02-Apr-2004 NATO Press Releases


2 Apr. 2004

Declaration on Terrorism

Issued at the Meeting of the North Atlantic Council
in Foreign Ministers Session held in Brussels
on 2 April 2004

The atrocities perpetrated in Madrid last month have once again shown the acute threat posed by terrorism to innocent people around the world. We extend our deepest sympathy to the families of those killed in the attacks in Madrid, to those who were wounded, and to all the people of Spain. As our governments condemned the terrorist attacks on the United States in 2001, and in Istanbul in 2003, we also condemn these and other murderous acts of terrorism, including those recently committed in Iraq and Uzbekistan.

We categorically reject terrorism, whatever its motivations, forms or manifestations. We are resolved to fight together, for as long as necessary, this scourge, which challenges the values that unite us, most particularly freedom founded on the principles of democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law. The Alliance provides an essential transatlantic dimension to the response against terrorism, which requires the closest possible cooperation of North America and Europe. Our approach to terrorism, and its causes, will include the full implementation of UNSCR 1373 on the fight against terrorism and will continue to be multifaceted and comprehensive, including political, diplomatic, economic and, where necessary, military means.

Defence against terrorism may include activities by NATO’s military forces, based on decisions by the North Atlantic Council, to help deter, defend, disrupt and protect against terrorist attacks, or threat of attacks, directed from abroad, against populations, territory, infrastructure and forces of any member state, including by acting against these terrorists and those who harbour them. Any operations undertaken in the defence against terrorism will have a sound legal basis and fully conform with the relevant provisions of the United Nations Charter and all relevant international norms and standards.

Operation Active Endeavour, recently expanded to cover the entire Mediterranean, is demonstrating in practical terms how the Alliance can bring its expertise and capabilities to bear in the fight against terrorism. The Alliance has made a robust contribution to international security and stability, including through its operations in the Balkans and Afghanistan, which are helping to create conditions so that terrorism cannot flourish.

In the international community’s fight against terrorism, more can and should be done. We therefore direct that an enhanced set of measures, building on those agreed by the Alliance Heads of State and Government at Prague in November 2002, be prepared for the Summit in Istanbul in June. These measures should include:

  • Improved intelligence sharing between Allies, including through the recently established Terrorist Threat Intelligence Unit, which should be fully operational by the time of the Istanbul Summit; we must also intensify exchanges of information and intelligence with other international organisations and with the Partners;
  • Enhanced response to national requests for NATO support (e.g. through the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre and use of NATO chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defence assets) to help protect against and following a terrorist incident;
  • Providing NATO assistance with security for selected major events, such as Euro 2004 in Portugal, and the Athens Olympics;
  • Developing further the contribution of Operation Active Endeavour to the fight against terrorism and examining possible ways of support between Operation Active Endeavour and the Proliferation Security Initiative;
  • Supporting the continued determination of Allies to address the threat posed by terrorist use of civil aircraft;
  • Enhancing capabilities to defend against terrorist attacks.

We also direct the Council in Permanent Session to enhance our cooperation with:

  • NATO’s Partners and the Mediterranean Dialogue countries, through the implementation of the Partnership Action Plan against Terrorism and exercises and training;
  • Russia in the framework of the NATO-Russia Council, building on the conference in Norfolk to be held on 5 April, in particular through further exercises;
  • the United Nations, the OSCE and other international organisations. The concerted multifaceted response of the international community is especially important;
  • the European Union. We will actively pursue our consultations and exchange of information on terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, in particular in relation to consequence management and the proposed co-sponsored seminar on terrorism, with the EU following our meeting with the EU Foreign Ministers on 4 December 2003. We welcome the European Council’s Declaration on Combating Terrorism of 25 March 2004.

We look forward to the Summit in Istanbul as an opportunity for the Alliance to renew its commitment at the highest level to the fight against terrorism. In the meantime, elements of the new package that are ready in advance of the Summit will be put in place expeditiously.

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