Vatican Radio Director Puts NATO Summit in Context

Says Terrorism Is Only One Aspect of International Challenge

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ROME, MAY 28, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Vatican Radio´s director cautioned that the struggle against terrorism, which helped lead to a landmark agreement between NATO and Russia, is only one of the challenges facing the world.



Father Pasquale Borgomeo of Vatican Radio described as historic the Rome Declaration that makes Russia a junior partner of NATO.

The declaration was signed today by NATO members and Russia at the military base of Pratica di Mare, south of Rome. The document aims to open a new era of international relations.

"It is necessary to seek agreement on a fundamental point: The struggle against terrorism is only one aspect of the great challenge that humanity must address at the dawn of the third millennium," Father Borgomeo said.

"The values of liberty and democracy, for which one must struggle, are values that must be assured not only to one part of humanity -- the richest and most powerful -- but to all peoples," the priest said.

"If, beyond its inhuman and blind fury, it is finally understood that terrorism is an evident sign of international disorder, a phenomenon that takes advantage and abuses situations of profound unrest and old injustices, the inability to defeat with the military option alone will become evident," he explained.

"Therefore, it is necessary to place on the agenda of the great countries aid to development and the struggle against the planet´s poverty, a policy that should have a wide perspective, even if its results are not immediate or spectacular," the priest proposed. "If, at last, a global view of the tremendous phenomenon of terrorism is taken into consideration, then May 28, 2002, will really be a date to be remembered."

Henceforth, Russia will sit, with voice and vote but without the right to veto, with its former Cold War enemies.

The Russian Federation already took its place at the round table of the Council of Twenty, between Portugal and Spain, in keeping with the alphabetical order in English.

The agreement signed today and outlined 15 days ago in Iceland has the struggle against international terrorism as a priority, following the Sept. 11 attacks, which contributed to the acceleration of the signing.

Other objectives established in the declaration make reference to the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the control of armaments, the management of regional crises, peace missions, and civil emergency plans.

U.S. President George W. Bush described the agreement as a "historic landmark, which has made possible the overcoming of 50 years of the Cold War."

It was greeted with similar words by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who described the meeting as "a decisive point of departure toward security and indivisible peace."