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'Terrorists Want to Change Our Way of Life -- We Must Change Theirs'

By Sgt. 1st Class Kathleen T. Rhem, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, June 18, 2002 – Portuguese Defense Minister Paulo Portas wanted Americans to know today his country stands firmly with them in the war against terrorism.

Portas met and ate lunch with U.S. counterpart Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. The two briefly spoke to the press after their talks. The Portuguese leader stressed two topics.

Portas said Portugal is committed to the war against terrorism. "As Secretary Rumsfeld (said) once, we have two options," he said. "(The terrorists) want to change our way of life, we must change their way of life. We must fight terrorism because it is an attempt against our way of life, our culture, our civilization, our freedom, and our democracy."

Rumsfeld praised Portugal's military assistance in Afghanistan. He said Portugal is providing assistance to the International Security Assistance Force in Kabul, lending medical aid to Afghanistan, and has provided a C- 130 aircraft to operations there.

"This support is both helpful and appreciated by the United States," Rumsfeld said.

Portas also said Portugal is committed to reform within NATO to better meet "new dangers (and) new risks."

In NATO meetings in Brussels, Belgium, earlier this month, talk centered on modernizing the alliance's military capabilities to better deal with threats posed by terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.

Military forces of NATO nations need to be "properly organized and equipped for their future missions, even if that means additional resources for defense and security, and substantial changes of priority within our defense programs," NATO Secretary-General George Robertson told the ministers in Brussels.

Portas said his country firmly believes in NATO. Portuguese defense policy is based on loyalty to NATO, he added, as well as "a very special relationship with the United States of America.

"Portugal is a firm, ancient and loyal ally of the United States," he said.

Portas noted that he had visited Arlington National Cemetery on his trip and called it "proof of our homage to the veterans of war in general and to people who died Sept. 11.

"It's a very deep homage," he said.

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Related Sites:
DoD News Transcript: Secretary Rumsfeld Joint Press Conference with Portuguese Minister of Defense, June 18, 2002


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