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NATO Decision Shows How Democratic Nations Work Together

By Kathleen T. Rhem
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 20, 2003 – NATO's decision to protect Turkey from potential attack by Iraq is an example of how alliance members can work together to resolve tough issues, Secretary of State Colin Powell said today.

NATO members France, Germany and Belgium had initially vetoed a plan to defend their ally Turkey. The United States and Great Britain, among other countries, strongly supported such planning.

The countries involved reached an agreement Feb. 16. NATO Secretary- General George Robertson and President Bush announced Feb. 19 that NATO had agreed to send Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft, air- defense artillery, and chemical and biological defensive equipment to Turkey.

"Within a week, the AWACS planes that defended America after the 11th of September will be flying over Turkey, defending another ally under threat," Robertson said in a media statement with Powell at the State Department today.

Powell said the agreement that led to the deployment "shows the vitality of the alliance and how we can find solutions to the most vexing, difficult problems."

He rejected the notion that such disagreements over policy signal a widening rift within NATO among member nations. "(NATO) will continue to have value far into the future," Powell said. "And these problems come, they get dealt with by democratic nations working together, they get put behind us, and the alliance continues to move forward."

The secretary also spoke briefly on a possible second U.N. Security Council resolution on using force to disarm Iraq. U.S. and British officials have said such a resolution is coming, leading to wide- ranging speculation in the press.

Powell said the U.S. government believes "it is appropriate to put down a resolution in the very near future." He gave no further details on when such a resolution might pass or what it might contain.

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