Last updated: 29-Oct-2003 18:28 NATO Update

22-24 Oct 2003

Lord Robertson visits Greece and Turkey

Speech by NATO Secretary General, Lord Robertson, in Ankara, Turkey

NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson visited Greece and Turkey from 22 to 24 October as part of his farewell tour of NATO and partner countries.

In Athens on 22 and 23 October, Lord Robertson met with Prime Minister Simitis, Foreign Minister Papandreou and Defense Minister Papantoniou.

The Secretary General discussed the Alliance's current transformation to address new security threats, its new mission in Afghanistan and the planning for the security arrangements for the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

Lord Robertson asked if Greece would consider sending additional capabilities to Afghanistan. At this time, however, the government does not foresee additional deployments in light of the economic and security demands of organizing the Olympics.

The capabilities required for a possible expansion of the Afghanistan mission was also the subject of meetings in Ankara on 23 and 24 October. Lord Robertson met with President Sezer, Foreign Minister Gül, Defence Minister Gönül and the Chief of Staff, General Hilmi Ozkok.

He discussed in particular the planning for the NATO Summit to be held in Istanbul next year as well as the Alliance's overall transformation. The Secretary General said that NATO is ready to provide planning, logistics and communications support to Turkey if it decides to send troops to Iraq. The Alliance is already providing such support to Poland and Spain.

Lord Robertson will step down as NATO Secretary General at the end of his term in December this year. He will be succeeded by Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, the current Dutch Foreign Minister.