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NATO Allies Back United States

September 12, 2001

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BRUSSELS, Belgium (AP) _ In a strong show of support, Washington’s NATO allies declared Wednesday that the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington can be considered an attack on the whole alliance if it turns out they were directed from abroad.

The United States got the backing for any military action from its 18 NATO partners if it is determined that Tuesday’s attacks were committed by foreigners, NATO Secretary-General Lord Robertson said.

In that case, Robertson said, the United States can invoke NATO’s one-for-all and all-for-one principle and count on the support of its allies to mount a military operation.

The notion of an attack against one ally being considered an attack against all dates to the alliance’s founding in 1949, but has never been invoked.

Although intended to be applied in case of a Cold War attack, Robertson said the solidarity principle ``is no less valid″ today.

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