NATO steps up PR to 're-engage' US and grow support

NATO is planning a comms push to boost the support it receives in the US.

NATO director of information and press Jamie Shea said this week the organisation needed to 're-engage' with its domestic audience, in particular the US.

Addressing delegates at the 2002 Strategic Communication Management Summit in London, Shea said: 'What we need to do now is carry the NATO messages into the heartlands of the US. We need to get tough on what the priorities are - there's no point charming countries like Kazakhstan if the backbone of the organisation is being ignored.'

Shea's comments follow a NATO summit in Prague last month, attended by 40 heads of state and government, including PM Tony Blair and President George W Bush.

Bush confirmed his support for NATO at the Summit, welcoming planned expansion of the organisation, which has invited seven former communist countries to join.

But Shea suggests there is more to be done in winning the backing of the US. He told delegates US support decreased dramatically after 11 September: 'People were asking what NATO could do to help with al-Qa'eda and the US was saying they didn't need NATO and thought it would be easier to do it themselves.'

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