The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
September 22, 2003

Statement on Appointment of NATO Secretary General
Statement by the President

I welcome today's decision by NATO to appoint Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, the Dutch Foreign Minister, as its next Secretary General, beginning in January 2004. Mr. De Hoop Scheffer is a leader deeply committed to freedom and to strong and effective transatlantic cooperation. I look forward to working with him.

I also commend Lord Robertson for his many achievements during his four years as Secretary General. Under his leadership, NATO welcomes seven new countries. He helped launch a new relationship between NATO and Russia. He spearheaded an ambitious agenda of transformation to make NATO forces lighter, faster, and better able to meet the challenges of the 21st Century. During his tenure, NATO mounted its first operation outside its traditional area, proving that our alliance can address terrorist threats where they arise. He made NATO a vital partner in the War on Terror, and in the effort to rebuild the newly freed nations of Afghanistan and Iraq.

The American people will always remember Lord Robertson's leadership when after the September 11th attacks NATO invoked its solemn collective defense clause for the first time in its history. On behalf of all Americans, I extend best wishes to Lord Robertson as he prepares to depart his post as Secretary General of NATO and America's gratitude for a job well done.

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