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Goff Talks To EU And NATO Chiefs

In a series of high powered meetings, Foreign Minister Phil Goff met in Brussels today with Belgian Foreign Minister, Louis Michel, representing the European Union Presidency, EU External Relations Commissioner Chris Patten, Foreign and Security Policy Chief Javier Solana, and NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson. Top of the agenda in all cases was last week's terrorist attacks in the United States.

"New Zealand joined with the EU in expressing sympathy for and solidarity with the United States in face of the terrorist attack which may have claimed over 6000 lives" said Mr Goff.

"This tragedy creates the need and opportunity to maximise international cooperation to defeat terrorism. We discussed ways in which the flow of information on potential terrorist activities could be improved, and security measures and extradition procedures enhanced. We agreed that terrorism had to be tackled across a broad front.

"NATO has, for the first time in its history, agreed that Article V of its Treaty may be invoked by the US. This deems that an attack on one NATO member is considered an attack on all.

"Although no decisions have been taken on the nature of any retaliatory measures, not least because of the need to identify specific targets, Article V effectively puts NATO into stand-by mode", said Mr Goff.

"Lord Robertson noted that the response to the terrorist attack needed to be targeted, measured and effective.

"The goal must be to eliminate training grounds for terrorists, to restrict as much as possible their ability to move around the world, to identify them quickly wherever and whenever they emerge. This requires enhanced intelligence sharing, tighter border control, much closer cooperation at all levels between states and the beefing up of international measures such as extradition and anti-terrorism conventions.

"Of immediate concern, however, is the need to bring to justice those responsible for the murderous attacks in New York and Washington. That involves those who shelter or in any way help, finance or direct the terrorists who perpetrated this outrage."

In a packed day, Mr Goff also had talks with Environment Commissioner Margot Wallstrom and had a working dinner with members of the European Parliament.

Ends


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