'After 9/11 'winter', Arab Spring revives hope'
Nato secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen today commemorated the September 11 attacks on the United States, saying a "long winter" has turned into a "season of hope" with the pro-democracy Arab Spring movements.world Updated: Sep 11, 2011 22:01 IST
Nato secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen on Sunday commemorated the September 11 attacks on the United States, saying a "long winter" has turned into a "season of hope" with the pro-democracy Arab Spring movements.
"The 9/11 attacks were the beginning of a long winter in world history, but events in the Middle East have renewed our faith that although the desire for freedom can be repressed, it can never be extinguished," said Rasmussen at a ceremony at Nato headquarters in Brussels.
"The Arab Spring is a new season of hope for us all."
The Atlantic military alliance, for the first time in its history, invoked after the 9/11 attacks the mutual defence clause, which states that an attack against one member country is considered an attack against all Nato states.
Nato intervened "to deny extremists of their haven in Afghansitan," he said of the alliance's response to the attacks in the US.
"Today the architect of the 9/11 atrocity is no more. History has buried him," Rasmussen said, referring to the killing of Osama bin Laden by US special forces in Pakistan in May.
"Unfortunately, this terrible ideology of conflict is not yet buried with him."
Rasmussen also spoke about the upcoming Nato summit to be held in Chicago, and reaffirming Nato's mission.
"We will reaffirm that the mission of the alliance is not only to protect those who enjoy freedom, but to provide inspiration and protection to those who desire freedom," whether they are Afghans, Libyans, or the families of the 9/11 victims, he said.
Nato is currently leading an air campaign against the remnants of pro-Moamer Kadhafi forces in Libya, as well as heading the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.
There are around 140,000 international troops in Afghanistan battling a Taliban-led insurgency, around 100,000 of them from the United States. All foreign combat forces are due to leave by the end of 2014.