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NATO secretary general: West facing threats from Russia, Islamic State extremists

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen speaks with the Associated Press during an interview at the Bibliotheque Solvay in Brussels on Monday, Sept. 15, 2014. In a farewell speech as NATO's top civilian official, Rasmussen said the alliance finds itself on the front lines of a geopolitical division between "tolerance and fanaticism," and "democracy and totalitarianism." Rasmussen's five-year term as NATO secretary general comes to a close at the end of the month. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen speaks with the Associated Press during an interview at the Bibliotheque Solvay in Brussels on Monday, Sept. 15, 2014. In a farewell speech as NATO's top civilian official, Rasmussen said the alliance finds itself on the front lines of a geopolitical division between "tolerance and fanaticism," and "democracy and totalitarianism." Rasmussen's five-year term as NATO secretary general comes to a close at the end of the month. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)  (The Associated Press)

NATO secretary general Anders Fogh Rasmussen says members of the U.S.-led alliance must stand shoulder to shoulder to confront "virulent, violent and anti-Western threats" from both Russia and the so-called Islamic State extremist organization.

In a farewell speech as NATO's top civilian official, Rasmussen said Monday the alliance finds itself on the front lines of a geopolitical division between "tolerance and fanaticism," and "democracy and totalitarianism."

"We must stand strong as a force for freedom," said Rasmussen. He said NATO and its member nations must face the fact that the new security challenges it faces could last for years.

Rasmussen's five-year term as NATO secretary general comes to a close at the end of the month. He spoke at a Brussels gathering of the Carnegie Europe think tank.