Foreign ministers discuss danger from Syria to region and NATO

"If these challenges remain unaddressed, they could directly affect our own security"

From Anders Fogh Rasmussen, NATO:  The Patriot deployment in Turkey is proof of the commitment and capability of NATO Allies to deter threats and defend Turkey. Collective defence is at the core of NATO’s mandate. And our solidarity with our Ally Turkey remains rock solid.

Since we last met in December, the situation in Syria has dramatically deteriorated. This worsening crisis continues to pose a threat to regional stability.

We are extremely concerned about the humanitarian situation and the daily suffering of the Syrian people.

We are extremely concerned about the risk of a regional spill-over. Our Ally Turkey has faced cross-border incidents and massive refugee flows. 

And we are extremely concerned about the use of ballistic missiles in Syria and the possible use of chemical weapons

There is no call for NATO to play a role. But if these challenges remain unaddressed, they could directly affect our own security. So we will continue to remain extremely vigilant. . . .

I can assure you that we stand ready to defend and protect our Allies. In this case, Turkey as a neighbour of Syria. We have all plans in place to ensure effective defensive protection of Turkey.

In general, let me stress that I do believe that the right way forward is to find and pursue a political solution in Syria. In today’s discussion I heard a lot of support for the so-called Geneva Framework. As you will recall, a number of international actors agreed some months ago, in Geneva, on a way forward that would lead to a political transition in Syria. There is a very strong call for bringing an end to the bloodshed immediately. We need a political solution and I heard a lot of support for the Geneva Framework. I hope that could be translated into something solid that can bring this suffering to an end.

Ministers today expressed very grave concern about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Syria. 

Excerpts from press conference by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, April 23, 2013.  (photo: NATO)

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