NATO beefs up terror fight


In a statement, NATO foreign ministers including US Secretary of State Colin Powell said the alliance provided “an essential transatlantic dimension to the response against terrorism”.

They agreed to improve the sharing of intelligence, to give enhanced support if a NATO member suffered a terror attack, and to reinforce security for this summer’s Athens Olympics and European football championships in Portugal.

NATO had already promised to look into providing surveillance plans and logistical support for the August Olympics and the June football tournament.

Other measures agreed by the foreign ministers, which go forward for debate by NATO leaders at a summit in Istanbul at the end of June, included:

• co-ordination of NATO assets to deal with nuclear, chemical and biological attacks

• further developing Mediterranean sea patrols under the banner of “Operation Active Endeavour”

• supporting member states’ ability to prevent hijackings of civilian aircraft

• and, deepening co-operation with the European Union, which has embarked on its own anti-terrorism steps in the wake of the March 11 attacks on the Spanish capital.

NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer also said that the alliance was keen to bolster its anti-terrorism co-operation with the EU.