Press Release
M-NAC-2 (2001)159
Dec. 2001

NATO's Response to Terrorism

Statement issued at the Ministerial Meeting of the North Atlantic Council
held at NATO Headquarters, Brussels,
on 6 December 2001

  1. The terrorist attacks of 11 September were an outrage against the entire world. We are responding to bring to justice those responsible for these crimes, and to prevent them from taking innocent lives in future.
  2. Terrorism threatens the lives of our citizens, and their human rights and civil liberties. It also poses a threat to the development and functioning of democratic institutions, the territorial integrity of states, and peaceful relations between them, and to international peace and security. There is no justification whatsoever for terrorist actions. We categorically reject and resolutely condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. We, the 19 NATO Allies, are determined to combat this scourge. Our security requires no less.
  3. We consider the events of 11 September to be an armed attack not just on one ally, but on us all, and have therefore invoked Article 5 of the Washington Treaty. Accordingly, we have decided to support, individually and collectively, the ongoing US-led military operations against the terrorists who perpetrated the 11 September outrages and those who provide them sanctuary. NATO surveillance aircraft are patrolling US airspace, for the first time ever. Alliance naval forces have deployed to the eastern Mediterranean to demonstrate NATO's solidarity and resolve. Our peacekeeping forces in the Balkans, with the support of countries of the region, have been acting to prevent terrorist groups from operating within and from the Balkans. Individual Allies have offered forces and other assets to the campaign against terrorism and for use in humanitarian relief. We will continue our support to the United States for the US-led operation against these terrorists until it has reached its objectives. We will provide this support in accordance with our decisions and in full compliance with all our commitments under international law and relevant provisions of the United Nations Charter.
  4. Our fight is not against Islam or the innocent people of Afghanistan. Our countries are helping to provide humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people, who have suffered under the cruelty of the Taliban regime. Our fight, the fight of the international community, is against the terrorists, their networks and those who harbour them, as stated in Resolution 1368 of the UN Security Council.
  5. We reiterate our determination to combat the threat of terrorism for as long as necessary. In keeping with our obligations under the Washington Treaty we will continue to strengthen our national and collective capacities to protect our populations, territory and forces from any armed attack, including terrorist attack, directed from abroad. We recognised this challenge in the Strategic Concept adopted at the Washington Summit, where we made clear that any armed attack on the territory of the Allies, from whatever direction, would be covered by Article 5 of the Washington Treaty and where we singled out terrorism as a risk to the security interests of the Alliance. Meeting this challenge is fundamental to our security.
  6. To accomplish this crucial task of protecting our populations, territory and forces, we will examine ways to adapt and enhance Alliance military capabilities. We will deepen our relations with other states and international organisations so that information is shared, and appropriate cooperative action is taken more effectively. Our countries are also working together closely to meet the threat posed by possible terrorist use of Weapons of Mass Destruction. Disarmament, arms control and non-proliferation can make an essential contribution to the fight against terrorism. We will enhance our ability to provide support, when requested, to national authorities for the protection of civilian populations against the effects of any terrorist attack. We will also enhance cooperation with our Partners in this field taking into account the various proposals and initiatives put forward.
  7. The support of the member countries of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council, the NATO-Russia Permanent Joint Council and the NATO-Ukraine Commission, and their condemnation of the 11 September attacks, have been crucial to building the international coalition. We commend the countries of Central Asia and the Caucasus for their courageous support to the campaign. We applaud the unambiguous stand taken by our Mediterranean Dialogue partners, which have unreservedly condemned these attacks. We reaffirm our willingness to provide assistance, individually or collectively, as appropriate and according to our capabilities, to Allies and other states which are or may be subject to increased terrorist threats as a result of their support for the campaign against terrorism.
  8. Following the 11 September attacks, Russia has offered the Allies substantial and significant cooperation in the campaign against terrorism. This cooperation illustrates the new quality in NATO-Russia relations. We look forward to building on this cooperation and deepening NATO-Russia relations to meet the new challenges faced by the entire Euro-Atlantic community.
  9. We stress that military tools alone are not sufficient to combat terrorism effectively. The response must be multi-faceted and comprehensive. In that regard, we support the efforts of the United Nations and its central role in this field, and undertake to fully implement UN Security Council Resolution 1373. We also support the efforts of the EU, the OSCE, the G-8 and international financial institutions to combat terrorism. We believe it will be essential to continue to develop cooperation between international organisations in this multi-faceted campaign, taking into account their respective responsibilities. In this context, NATO and the European Union are exploring ways to enhance cooperation to combat terrorism. Today's meeting of NATO and EU Foreign Ministers will underline the important relationship between the two organisations.
  10. We will develop for the Prague Summit a package of Alliance measures to strengthen our capacities as well as the engagement with our partners in meeting this challenge.