LONDON ø NATO has agreed to provide sophisticated miltary assets to help Greece secure the
In a statement NATO said it will send airborne early-warning alert AWACS
aircraft for the air surveillance. The statement did not cite the number of
planes, but earlier officials said three AWACS would be sent.
NATO also said it would send ships to Greece for maritime surveillance.
The ships would be sent through NATO's Operation Active Endeavour, which
patrols the Mediterranean Sea to prevent Al Qaida and related insurgency
In addition, NATO said it would deploy elements of the alliance's
chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defense battalion. That
battalion has been based in the Czech Republic.
NATO said it has agreed to a request from Greece for security assistance
during the Olympic Games and the Paralympic Games from August through
October 2004. The alliance said it will deploy a range of military assets to
help protect Greece's air space and territorial waters from attack.
"NATO's efforts will support those of the Greek Government, which has
full responsibility for the overall Olympic security operation," the
In May, the NATO E-3A component successfully completed an operational
evaluation conducted by the Allied Air Forces North Tactical Evaluation
Team, based at Ramstein Air Base, Germany. Since 2001, NATO has used its
E-3A component to support what officials termed major anti-terror and air
space-defense missions over the United States during Operation Eagle Assist
and over Turkey in Operation Crescent Guard.
Other help offered by NATO included enhanced intelligence sharing. NATO
would also help coordinate assistance offered by nations relating to civil
emergency contingencies. The statement did not elaborate.
The United States has pressed NATO to organize a rapid response force
that could aid the Olympic Games. U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
said the Olympic Games could be the first mission of NATO's new rapid
response force, composed of air, ground, naval, special operations and
other specialized units.
"The reality is that NATO is a military alliance that has no real
relevance unless it has the ability to fairly rapidly deploy military
capabilities," Rumsfeld said on the eve of the NATO summit in Istanbul on
Sunday. "And NATO did not have a NATO response force that could do that."