Updated: 04-Apr-2003 April 2003

3 April 2003


Foreign Ministers discuss Iraq
and transatlantic relations

Foreign Ministers from the 19 NATO countries met in Brussels on 3 April to consult on Iraq and transatlantic relations at a special session of the North Atlantic Council.

The meeting of the Alliance’s top decision-making body was called at the suggestion of the United States and was preceded by an informal NATO-EU working lunch at the level of Foreign Ministers.

Speaking at a press conference following the meetings, NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson said there was a growing consensus among member countries that the United Nations and other international organisations must play a part in rebuilding a post-conflict Iraq. No specific details were discussed and no decisions on a role for NATO were taken, but none were expected or sought, he added.

All Allies did however recommit themselves to fulfil their obligations under the Washington Treaty if there is any attack on Turkey.

NATO role to be considered

The Secretary General noted that while some Allies strongly favour some kind of a NATO role in post-conflict Iraq, none exclude it, and that “the issue of whether and how NATO might contribute to this effort will need to be considered carefully, including in the light of decisions taken by the United Nations.”

Lord Robertson also said there was strong support expressed for moving ahead quickly with NATO’s Prague agenda, and for a significantly increased NATO role in support of the International Security and Assistance Force in Kabul.

The Secretary General said that while the current international situation was “undeniably challenging” the discussions demonstrated the solidarity that exists among the Allies on fundamental security issues.

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