Secretary General promotes NATO, partnership during campus visit

Citing a United Nations mandate for military action, NATO secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in a May 11 visit to campus that air strikes on Libyan government troops are justified to protect civilian lives.

“NATO took responsibility because the United Nations has so requested,” he said, answering questions from the audience after his address. “Furthermore, we have strong support from the region.”

The event, hosted by the Harris School of Public Policy Studies and the International House Global Voices Program, concluded the secretary general’s four-city tour of the United States to promote the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to a wider American public. Similar events were held in Atlanta, Austin and Washington, D.C.

Founded in 1949, NATO is a political and military alliance of 28 member countries from North America and Europe. Based in Brussels, Belgium, its primary role has been to protect the freedom and security of its members, but it has increasingly moved to intervene in other crises around the world.

“More than 60 years after its creation, NATO remains the vital link between the United States and Europe to protect and promote the core values of American and European civilization—freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law,” said Rasmussen.

The secretary general’s 15-minute remarks centered primarily on NATO’s relationship with Russia and the continued importance of partner nations.

“It has been a longstanding, strategic objective of NATO to help create a Europe that is whole, free and at peace,” he said.

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