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The NATO Portal

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The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) French: Organisation du Traité de l'Atlantique Nord (OTAN), also called the (North) Atlantic Alliance, is a military alliance established by the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty on 4 April 1949. The NATO headquarters are in Brussels, Belgium, and the organization constitutes a system of collective defense whereby its member states agree to mutual defense in response to an attack by any external party.

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Operation Deny Flight was a NATO operation, begun on April 12, 1993, to enforce the United Nations (UN) no-fly zone in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The operation later expanded to providing close air support for UN troops in Bosnia, and carrying out coercive air strikes against targets in Bosnia. Twelve NATO members contributed forces to the operation, and by its end on December 20, 1995, NATO pilots flew 100,420 sorties.

As a part of the operation, the 28 February 1994 air battle over Banja Luka represented the first combat engagement for the NATO forces in history, while during April 1994 NATO aircraft carried out their first ever bombing mission near Goražde in Bosnia. These incidents played an important role in the development of NATO in the post-Cold War era and set a precedent for future NATO operations. However, the Bosnian War continued for more than two years after Deny Flight was initiated and the operation led to several conflicts between the United Nations and NATO, particularly when UN peacekeeping soldiers were taken hostage by the Bosnian Serbs in response to NATO bombings. Despite these setbacks, Deny Flight worked an important role in the course of the Bosnian War, as its operations successfully prevented significant use of air power by either side in the conflict. While the air strikes executed under Deny Flight had only a small impact on the war, they set the precedent for Operation Deliberate Force, a massive NATO bombing campaign in Bosnia that played a key role in putting an end to the war.

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NATO Defense Ministers' Conference
Meeting of the NATO Defense Ministers held in Nice, France in 2005.

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The armed forces of the United Kingdom, commonly known as the British Armed Forces or His/Her Majesty's Armed Forces, and sometimes legally the Armed Forces of the Crown, encompasses a navy, an army, and an air force. With a reported personnel strength of 425,500 in 2006 (191,900 regular force, 191,300 regular reserve, and 42,300 volunteer reserve), the British Armed Forces constitutes one of the largest militaries in Europe, though only the 26th largest in the world by number of troops. The British Armed Forces however have the third highest declared expenditure of any military in the world. Their Commander-in-Chief is the British monarch, HM Queen Elizabeth II and they are managed by the Defence Council of the Ministry of Defence. Consistent with longstanding constitutional convention, however, the Prime Minister holds de facto authority over the armed forces.

The British Armed Forces are charged with protecting the United Kingdom and its overseas territories, promoting Britain's wider security interests, and supporting international peacekeeping efforts. They are active and regular participants in NATO and other coalition operations.

NATO news

  • June 22: The Turkish government has agreed to allow NATO AWACS aircraft to operate from bases in Western Turkey providing better air traffic control and radar control over Afghanistan. Read more...
  • June 18: During a farewell visit to Afghanistan, outgoing NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer announced that the alliance would send an extra 8,000 to 10,000 troops to the country to provide additional security during August elections. Read mores...
  • June 14: A warship from the NATO naval force off Somalia freed 14 Indian sailors held hostage by pirates. Read more...

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George Islay MacNeill Robertson, Baron Robertson of Port Ellen KT GCMG FRSA FRSE PC (born 12 April 1946) was the Secretary-General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, between October 1999 and early January 2004; he succeeded Javier Solana in that position.

He served as Defence Secretary for the United Kingdom from 1997 to 1999, before taking up his NATO position and becoming a life peer as Baron Robertson of Port Ellen, of Islay in Argyll and Bute.

Quotes

  • The threats we face today are not unique to any of us – they are common across the globe, and none of our countries is immune to them. --Jaap de Hoop Scheffer
  • Our unique partnership was born in common philosophies of freedom and democracy. It was forged during half a century's fight against tyranny. Now it stands as a beacon of democracy, toleration, plurality, openness and candor in a world menaced by extremism and instability. --Lord Robertson

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