Statement by the NATO Secretary General on Missile Defence

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 Lisbon 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.a