20. September 2001


NATO Secretary-General and Chancellor reaffirm solidarity with the United States

On September 20 Chancellor Gerhard Schröder met in Berlin with NATO Secretary-General George Robertson to discuss the current security situation.

After their meeting Schröder told journalists gathered at the Chancellery that Germany and NATO were working together very closely in the present situation.

With regard to the situation following the terrorist attacks in America Schröder said: "We both take the view that this is a challenge that confronts NATO as a whole. NATO and Germany stand firmly and without reservations at the side of the United States." The United States can be certain of the unrestricted solidarity of its allies.

Comprehensive strategy against terrorism needed

Schröder remarked that yesterday's debate in the Bundestag had shown that all parties in Germany support the NATO position.With regard to the further steps to be taken Schröder said: "At present there is still no NATO decision on concrete actions. The determination has still not been made, which is formally necessary, that the attacks came from the outside and there is still no concrete request from the United States for support. As such, it is our assumption that there will be and will have to be further consultations within the alliance."

Schröder reaffirmed to the NATO Secretary-General that Germany does not rule out military assistance.

"We also take the view that the fight against terrorism will require a very comprehensive strategy. This will include a political offensive, for instance to help bring about a breakthrough in the Middle East peace process. This will of course include a dialogue with moderate Arab leaders." Schröder added that everything possible needed to be done to stop international financial transactions on the part of terrorists, noting that close cooperation between security agencies in Europe, the United States, and other countries would be important in this context.

With regard to the NATO mission in Macedonia Schröder said he agreed with Robertson "that the observers needed after the Essential Harvest mission has been completed must be protected". We will need to discuss on what scale and in what way this will be done.

Waiting for American requests

The NATO Secretary-General thanked the Chancellor for Germany's immediate declaration of willingness to provide assistance and its unrestricted support of the alliance.

Robertson noted that this was the first time in forty years that Article 5 has been invoked. He spoke of a "historical moment". Today we are having to note that, in contrast to what was expected over the forty-year history of the alliance, we are not having to come to the assistance of a European country but rather to the assistance of the US superpower. He added in this connection: "An attack against one of us is an attack against all."

Robertson went on to say that these are dangerous times but NATO stands firmly together and will confront the challenge. We will have to wait and see what is expected of the NATO allies under the provisions of Article 5 as well as what will be expected of the international community in general - outside the NATO context - in dealing with these horrible manifestations of terrorism.

Peace process in Macedonia exemplary

With regard to the question of a UN protective force in Macedonia, which the Macedonian government has asked for, Robertson thanked Schröder for the support pledged by Germany. He said a noteworthy peace process had begun to develop in Macedonia and he hoped very much that things would continue this way, adding that Macedonia could serve as an example for the rest of the Balkans.