Updated: 03-May-2002 Week of 29 April- 5 May 2002

30 April 2002

Statement by the Secretary General on the conclusion of Operation Eagle Assist

On the basis of material upgrades to the US air defence posture and enhanced cooperation between civil and military authorities, and following a recent US evaluation of homeland security requirements, the North Atlantic Council today agreed to terminate Operation Eagle Assist effective 16 May 2002.

This decision concludes NATO's historic first deployment of assets in direct support of operations in the continental United States. It also reflects the North Atlantic Council's great satisfaction with the significant contribution to counter-terrorism efforts that the Allied Airborne Early Warning and Control (AWACS) aircraft have made.

Operation Eagle Assist began on 9 October 2001 following the North Atlantic Council's 4 October decision to take measures to operationalise Article 5 of the Washington Treaty. To date, 830 crew members from 13 NATO nations have patrolled US skies in the NATO AWACS for nearly 4300 hours in over 360 operational sorties. This operation has been a concrete demonstration of Allied solidarity.

The Council expresses its profound gratitude to the crews and support personnel, commending them for their outstanding professionalism and commitment to duty.