The White House
President George W. Bush
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For Immediate Release
February 19, 2003

President Bush Meets with NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson




The Oval Office

5:29 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Today we'll have a statement. I'm going to make a statement, George will make a statement, no questions.

George, welcome. I'm honored to have you here. You represent our nation's most important alliance, NATO. Today, this alliance is providing equipment to Turkey to help protect our Turkish ally from a potential attack from Iraq.

I want to thank you for your leadership. You've done a fantastic job of keeping this alliance together, moving it forward -- by not only addressing the current threats that we face, but preparing NATO to address threats into the future. And I congratulate on a great leadership and welcome you back to the Oval Office.

LORD ROBERTSON: Thanks, Mr. President. On the 12th of September, NATO passed a declaration of Article V of the Washington Treaty. We came to the aid of an ally, the United States, under threat, under attack.

And today we've sent AWACS aircraft and Patriot missiles and chem, bio and defensive equipment to Turkey, another ally, in trouble, under threat, asking for help. That's what the alliance of free nations is all about.

Sometimes we -- you know, we can take a bit of time to do it. It reminded me of Winston Churchill, whose bust is over there, who once famously said of the United States of America: The United States can always be counted on to do the right thing, after it's exhausted every other alternative. (Laughter.)

Well, you can say exactly the same thing about NATO, but when we get there, we're strong and we stand for the values that unite a great alliance.

THE PRESIDENT: Well, thank you, sir.

LORD ROBERTSON: You're welcome.

THE PRESIDENT: I appreciate you, thanks. Thank you.

END 5:30 P.M. EST

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