NATO invokes Article 5

NATO has formally invoked its mutual defence clause after receiving “clear and compelling” evidence from the United States that Osama Bin Laden’s Al-Qaida terrorist network was behind the 11 September attacks in the US. This is the first time in NATO’s history that the alliance reaffirms its founding principle that an attack upon one is an attack upon all.

The US State Department Coordinator for Counter-terrorism Frank Taylor presented evidence concerning the attacks to the North Atlantic Council on 2 October. The classified briefing addressed the events of 11 September and the results of the investigation into the involvement of Osama bin Laden, his Al-Qaida organisation and their Taleban protectors in the attacks.

“The facts are clear and compelling. The information presented points conclusively to an Al-Qaida role in the 11 September attacks,” said NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson.

NATO members are obliged to give whatever assistance the US requests, however, there will be not military operation by NATO as such. Diplomatic and intelligence support are important, and several countries have already started to facilitate the US military build-up around Afghanistan.

 

Britain is likely to be the only European nation directly involved in the military riposte against the terrorist networks and their helpers in Afghanistan. TheUK Prime Minister, Tony Blair, has told Afghanistan's Taleban regime that they must "surrender the terrorists or surrender power". He condemned the Taleban regime for oppressing the people of Afghanistan and flooding the West with drugs.

Although NATO members agree with the US position, there are some doubts concerning the evidence. The spokesperson ofGermany's Chief Federal Prosecutorsaid that the proscutor had no proof of Osama Bin Laden's complicity.

 

NATO adopted the commitment to collective self-defence in order to ensure the freedom of its European members during the Cold War. This principle remains valid in the changed circumstances of the 21st century, in a world vulnerable to international terrorism.

Article 5: "The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area. Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall immediately be reported to the Security Council. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security."

 

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