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The BBC's Bridget Kendall
"This is a pretty unwieldy alliance"
 real 56k

The BBC's Colin Blane
"They are still very thin on detail"
 real 56k

Nato Secretary-General Lord Robertson
"He's challenged the Europeans to think carefully"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 13 June, 2001, 13:06 GMT 14:06 UK
Bush warns Nato of 'new threats'
Anti-Bush demonstrators outside Nato HQ
Bush has faced protests in Spain and Belgium
US President George W Bush has called on Nato leaders meeting in Brussels to strengthen the alliance and "prepare for new threats".

In his opening remarks to the Nato summit, Mr Bush said there had to be "a commitment to prepare for the challenges of our times" - a reference to his plans for a missile defence shield which have prompted concern among European governments.

We must strengthen our alliance, modernise our forces and prepare for new threats

President Bush
European leaders disagree on the extent of the threat posed by what America calls rogue states, which include North Korea, Iran and Iraq.

Addressing a news conference after the morning session, Nato Secretary-General George Robertson said the allies had listened to US arguments with an open mind. No decision had been taken and consultations would continue he said.

Tony Blair and George Bush
It is Bush's first summit with Nato leaders
BBC defence correspondent Jonathan Marcus says the meeting is important for the Bush team, because it knows it has handled its allies badly on issues such as the Kyoto agreement, and is determined to do better on missile defence.

More than 200 protesters chanting "Bush go home" and "Stop Star Wars" had gathered outside the Nato HQ, but a kilometre-wide security cordon was in place to prevent them from disrupting the meeting.

Nato scepticism

Mr Bush has stressed his determination to press ahead with the programme, and has dismissed the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty as a "relic of the past".

Bush itinerary 12-16 June
12th - Spain
13th - Nato HQ
14th - EU talks
15th - Poland
16th - Meets Russian president
The US president said the strategic threat posed by Russia's cold war nuclear arsenal had been superseded by the much less predictable threat posed by what he described as rogue states acquiring missile technology and weapons of mass destruction.

But there is a real concern in many European capitals that a missile shield could antagonise the Chinese, for example, and could lead to a new and dangerous nuclear arms race.

Mr Robertson said Nato members were embarking on a reflection about the new security challenges which face the alliance.

The Western leaders meeting in Brussels also committed themselves to:

  • The strengthening of the European defence role
  • Continuing to maintain a presence in the Balkans and assisting Macedonia in dealing with the separatist insurgency. Mr Robertson dismissed fears that the US was planning to withdraw its troops from the region.
  • Launching a new round of enlargement at the 2002 summit in Prague. The countries being considered for membership were not specified.
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See also:

13 Jun 01 | Europe
Picture gallery: Bush woos Nato
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Bush and Aznar agree to disagree
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In pictures: Bush in Spain
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Kyoto: Why did the US pull out?
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Bush's European timetable
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Bush and Putin set for summit
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France turns heat on Bush
24 Mar 01 | Europe
EU presses Bush on global warming
02 Apr 01 | Americas
Bush urged to rethink Kyoto snub
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Bush and EU seek climate concord
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