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Rumsfeld warns NATO of new threats

Robertson, Rumsfeld
Robertson and Rumsfeld warned NATO members of new threats  

BRUSSELS, Belgium -- U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has warned NATO it must prepare for terrorists who will use everything from computers to cruise missiles to wreak havoc.

"The attacks on New York and Washington D.C. are a vivid reminder to us all that the world remains a dangerous place," he told a news conference after a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels.

"We discussed the need to prepare for a full range of asymmetric threats -- including terrorism, cyber attacks, advanced conventional weapons, cruise missiles, ballistic missiles and certainly weapons of mass destruction," he said.

"In particular I emphasized the threat posed by terrorist movements and terrorist states that are seeking weapons of mass destruction.

The U.S. Defense Secretary says he wants the NATO to do more to combat the threat of global terrorism. CNN's Jamie Mcintyre reports (December 19)

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"I expressed our concern with the overlap between the listed states that sponsor terrorism, and terrorist networks, given the fact that a large number of the so-called terrorist states have active chemical, biological and or nuclear programs.

"The nexus between states with weapons of mass destruction and terrorist weapons raises the danger that September 11 could be a preview of what could come if the enemies of freedom gain the ability to strike our nations with weapons of greater power."

Speaking earlier, NATO Secretary-General George Robertson said the alliance had to shelve Cold War reflexes and be prepared to face a new war on global terrorism.

He said: "What was previously an abstract possibility became on September 11 an appalling reality and our security environment must now be seen in a fundamentally different and considerably darker light.

"We've only just begun what must be a further adaptation of the alliance to meet the new security challenges that we face."

Rumsfeld was expected to brief allies on the campaign against the Taliban and the al Qaeda network, blamed for the September 11 attacks on the United States.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov, also in Brussels, will be discussing with NATO plans for closer relations between the former adversaries. Rumsfeld met Ivanov separately on Monday night.

Earlier this month, NATO foreign ministers instructed alliance officials to begin setting up a new council where Russia could join the allies in discussion, planning and even decision-making.

This week, the defence ministers were to begin considering what subjects the new NATO-Russia council might cover.

Also on the agenda is the Balkans, where the alliance is leading about 60,000 troops in three separate military operations, in Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia.

The ministers will be looking at ways to make the Balkans operations more efficient to reduce their size.


• Rumsfeld meets new Kabul leaders
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• Wrangle over EU rapid reaction force
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• EU summit: Terror pledge, and clashes
December 13, 2001


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