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NATO Will Continue Anti-piracy Missions, Secretary General Says

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

BRUSSELS, Belgium, June 12, 2009 – NATO will continue its anti-piracy mission in the Gulf of Aden, Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said today.

The alliance’s defense ministers, who met here over the last two days, agreed to send the Standing NATO Maritime Battle Group 2 to relieve Battle Group 1, which is now operating in the area, de Hoop Scheffer said.

“That means that NATO will continue to play its role in the fight against piracy,” he said.

The battle group represents six nations, with a possibility of other NATO nations contributing ships. “Other nations might be ready and willing to join at a certain stage,” the secretary general said.

The NATO mission would have ended had the ministers not agreed to continue it, de Hoop Scheffer said. He added that it would be unacceptable for a political-military organization like NATO, with its huge inventory, to do otherwise.

“But NATO will be there,” the secretary general said. “And it may be that the mission will be beefed up. I’m very happy with the results.”

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