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America's New War: U.S. Lays Out Its Plans and Evidence Before NATO

Aired September 26, 2001 - 05:16   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: Right now, we want to take a look at diplomatic maneuvers.

Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz is asking NATO ministers for help and logistics and intelligence gathering in this war against terrorism, and he also has a warning for the allies in terms of a timetable for the United States in any sort of strikes.

CNN's Diana Muriel is at the NATO meeting in Brussels, Belgium.

Diana, Paul Wolfowitz is warning that it's going to take some time before any action on the part of the United States?

DIANA MURIEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Carol.

The meeting has just started. It began just a few moments ago. It's the first time that Wolfowitz has had a chance to speak to all the other 18 NATO allies and their defense ministers -- all their representatives here. The U.S. is going to, we expect, lay out its plans, or what part it sees NATO playing in its plans in any campaign, which has not yet been made clear to the NATO allies.

One of the first things on the agenda, though, will be to remove the word "if" from the Article 5 Declaration that was made on September 12. Now, that Declaration said that the allies saw the attack on America as an attack on all of them if it could be shown that the attack came from abroad. But all the allies are now agreed that that attack did indeed come from abroad, but it's not quite clear how much evidence Wolfowitz will be able to bring to the table today -- evidence that Washington says it has to prove that Osama bin Laden was behind these terrible attacks.

That out of the way, then the NATO allies will discuss specific objectives. It's not clear whether or not the U.S. want Europe and want the NATO allies to provide a military role in the campaign against terror, and that will be fleshed out in some details today.

Also meeting here today is the Russian defense minister, Sergei Ivanov. That's the first time that he will have spoken to Wolfowitz and the other NATO allies -- Russia, of course, not a member of NATO.

But Russia has already stepped forward and said that it is going to provide some support to the campaign. It's allowing air cordials to be flown over. It's allowing its former Soviet bases in countries like Tajikistan and Uzbekistan to be used. It's going to provide ammunition and arms to the Northern Alliance, that other reporters have just been talking about, to support their effort against the Taliban. And it also says it will provide humanitarian and rescue aid in the campaign if required.

So a great deal coming from Russia -- that will be fleshed out later on in the day. At about 6:00 our time, Sergei Ivanov will be meeting with the other NATO allied leaders here.

And once they have established what it is that they want NATO to do, then what will happen is that NATO will go back to an organization called SHAPE. That stands for Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, and what that is, it's a group of about 2,500 military planners. They are drawn from the 19 NATO allies, as well as others coming from the Participation for Peace Initiative, which is a 24- country group, which includes countries like Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. And they will be planning the actual strategic operation should NATO have a part to play in a military campaign.

Then what will happen, they'll come back with their plan to the NATO allies. The allies will look at it and decide whether or not they're willing to contribute at the level of which SHAPE have planned.

Certain countries are known for doing certain things. For example, the Germans are very good at providing medical support, and other countries do specific other things. And then they will agree whether or not they're going to go ahead with that plan -- Carol.

LIN: Every resource available so far to the United States. Thank you very much -- Diana Muriel reporting live from Brussels, Belgium. We'll be following that NATO shortly, as well as Paul Wolfowitz's meeting with Igor Ivanov -- the Russians.

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