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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
February 19, 2003

President Welcomes NATO's Defense Planning Committee Decision
Statement by the President

I welcome today's decision by NATO's Defense Planning Committee to approve the deployment of AWACS aircraft, Patriot missiles, and biological and chemical defense equipment to Turkey. This is an important demonstration of the solidarity of NATO allies in view of a potential threat to an Alliance member. It follows the decision taken on Sunday, by the same committee, to request military planning for such deployments.

Today's decision is a direct response to the request by Turkey for consultations under Article 4 of the Washington Treaty, as well as the commitment by all NATO Heads of State and Government, stated at Prague on November 21, 2002, "to take effective action to assist and support the efforts of the UN to ensure the full and immediate compliance by Iraq, without conditions or restrictions, with UNSCR 1441."

I am grateful for the resolute leadership of NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson in bringing the Alliance discussions to a successful conclusion. I also appreciate the efforts of all the members of the Defense Planning Committee to fulfill their responsibilities as Alliance members in exceptionally difficult circumstances.

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