STATEMENT BY NATO SECRETARY GENERAL ON MISSILE DEFENCE
23 Nov 11. “I have taken note of President Medvedev’s statement on missile defence. NATO’s missile defence system, which NATO Heads of State and Government agreed to develop last year at the Libson summit, is designed to defend against threats emanating from outside Europe and is not designed to alter the balance of deterrence.”
“I welcome President Medvedev’s willingness not to close the door on continued dialogue with NATO and the U.S. on missile defence and to consider practical cooperation in this area. Last year, NATO Heads of State and Government decided to invite Russia to discuss the possibilities of cooperating with us and to develop the NATO-Russia relationship into a strategic partnership. That offer still stands.
The suggestion that deployment of missiles in the areas neighbouring the Alliance is an appropriate response to NATO’s system is very disappointing. Such deployments would be reminiscent of the past and are inconsistent with the strategic relations NATO and Russia have agreed they seek and with the spirit of the dialogue, including on missile defence issues, that they are currently conducting.”
“Cooperation on missile defence would clearly show that NATO and Russia can build security together, not against each other. It would allow us to deal with new threats and old suspicions at the same time. It would show that cooperation, not confrontation, is the way ahead.”
U.S. Position Clarified
At the same time, Defense News reported that the United States will not alter its plans to deploy a NATO missile defense system in Eastern Europe, U.S. officials said Nov. 23, adding the shield was not aimed at Russia.
“The United States has been open and transparent with Russia on our plans for missile defense in Europe, which reflect a growing threat to our allies from Iran that we are committed to deterring,” insisted National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor.
He added: “In multiple channels, we have explained to Russian officials that the missile defense systems planned for deployment in Europe do not and cannot threaten Russia’s strategic deterrent.”
He was speaking after Russia warned it could deploy missiles on the EU’s borders to strike against the planned missile defense facilities.
President Dmitry Medvedev said Moscow was prepared to deploy short-range
Iskander missiles in the Kaliningrad enclave that borders EU members Poland and Lithuania.
Romania and Poland have agreed to host part of a revamped U.S. missile shield which Washington said is aimed solely at “rogue” states like Iran but Moscow believes would also target its own capability.
NATO member Turkey has also decided to host an early warning radar at a military facility near Malatya in the southeast.
Vietor said the implementation of the missile system in eastern Europe “is going well and we see no basis for threats to withdraw from it.”
“We continue to believe that cooperation with Russia on missile defense can enhance the security of the United States, our allies in Europe, and Russia, and we will continue to work with Russia to define the parameters of possible cooperation,” he said. “However, in pursuing this cooperation, we will not in any way limit or change our deployment plans in Europe.”
A Pentagon spokesman also stressed Nov. 23 that the system was not aimed at Russia, but sought to deter any ballistic missile threat from Iran.
“It’s worth reiterating that the European missile defense system that we’ve been working very hard on with our allies and with Russia over the last few years is not aimed at Russia,” said spokesman, Navy Capt. John Kirby. “It’s designed to help deter and defeat the ballistic missile threat to Europe and to our allies from Iran.”