NATO-Russia Disagree on Missile Defense
NATO has made little progress on missile defense cooperation with Russia, possibly jeopardizing a planned summit in May, said NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
â€śMaybe we wonâ€™t clarify the situation until a few weeks before the [Chicago] summit,â€ť Rasmussen said Jan. 26 at his monthly press conference.
A summit with Russia is scheduled to take place just before the NATO summit May 20-21.
â€śIf there is no deal, there will probably be no [NATO-Russia] summit,â€ť Rasmussen added.
Asked what he expected to come out of the NATO summit in terms of smart defense, Rasmussen said he hoped NATO would â€śadopt a political declarationâ€ť containing â€śa political commitment to a number of specific projects.â€ť
It was â€śprematureâ€ť to talk about them today, he said, adding that missile defense was â€śan excellent example of smart defenseâ€ť with a number of allies providing input, such as hosting radar facilities.
He cited air policing as another example.
â€śAt some stage, weâ€™ll have to decide on a long-term arrangement for air policing in the Baltic countries,â€ť he said. He cited it as a good example â€śbecause a number of allies do it on behalf of the Baltic countries so that the Baltic countries can focus on deployable armed forces for international operations.â€ť
In summary, he described smart defense as â€śa combination of a number of concrete multinational projects and a long-term political vision of how to do business in the future.â€ť
Looking ahead to the Chicago summit, he said, â€śWe must renew our commitment to the vital trans-Atlantic bondâ€ť as it is â€śthe best security investment we ever made.â€ť
Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities are an area that NATO is looking into in terms of its smart defense project. According to a NATO official, it is â€śno coincidenceâ€ť that NATO officials have been invited to the U.S.â€™s Schriever space and cyber defense war games in the last week of April, before the Chicago summit.
As to the growing concerns over the Strait of Hormuz, Rasmussen said individual allies are involved in the Iran question but that â€śNATO as an organization is not.â€ť He urged Iranâ€™s leadership â€śto live up to its international commitments, including stopping its [uranium] enrichment program and ensuring free navigation in the Strait of Hormuz.â€ť
Referring to his 2011 annual report, Rasmussen said NATO had weakened the insurgency, strengthened Afghan forces and brought enemy attacks down by 9 percent; had conducted a â€śhighly effective operation protecting the civilian populationâ€ť in Libya; and captured 24 pirate ships off Somalia (half the figure for 2010).
Asked about Libya, he said, â€śNATO is not present in Libya and has no intention to return.â€ť
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