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Europe Shares Global Threats

By Linda D. Kozaryn
American Forces Press Service

BRUSSELS, Dec. 19, 1997 – NATO is not just a one-way street. Mutual security goes both ways, Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright told European allies here Dec. 16.

"Bosnia reminded us that there is no such thing as a major threat to Europe that is not also a threat to America," Albright said at a North Atlantic Council meeting. "There is no threat to America that is not also a threat to Europe."

As a NATO ally, America accepts security responsibility for people in Paris, Oslo and Rome, just as European allies share responsibility for people in New York and Los Angeles, she said.

In the past, the Soviet threat united NATO, Albright said. Today, NATO must unite to face terrorism and the proliferation of nuclar, chemical and biological weapons. These threats come largely from the Middle East and Eurasia and are the overriding security interest of our time, she asserted.

"Global threats are the kind that know no borders," Albright said. "We hope very much that our allies will see that they are as threatened by those particular issues as we are and that taking concerted action is the way to deal with it. ... It's essential that we work together."

Albright called on the allies for continued support of sanctions intended to prevent Iraq from possessing or using weapons of mass destruction. "Our most critical challenge is to enforce compliance with the rules we set, and this is a question of political will," she said.

She noted some Europeans feel the United States "is too inclined to act unilaterally and too quick to pull the sanctions trigger." Some Americans, on the other hand, say the United States is too willing to take the heat in dealing with difficult issues, making it easier for other nations to shirk their responsibilities, she said. "We must always remember that we need each other, that we have obligations to one another and that we have fundamentally the same interests. Each of us must act individually as if the safety of the world depended on our individual actions, because very often it does."

When the world needs principled, purposeful leadership against aggression, proliferation and terror, NATO allies have to lead because few others can or will, Albright said.

At a press conference following the meeting, Albright announced NATO officials accepted President Clinton's invitation to hold the alliance's 1999 50th anniversary summit in Washington.

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Click photo for screen-resolution imageSecretary of State Madeleine Albright talks to reporters at NATO headquarters in Brussels Dec. 16.  
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageNATO Secretary General Javier Solana (left) and Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright talk at a meeting in Brussels Dec. 16.  
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