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Anders Fogh Rasmussen: I hope to reach an agreement with Russia on anti-ballistic shield at Chicago summit

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told a press conference on Monday at the Romanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MAE) that he hoped an agreement should be reached with the Russian Federation regarding the anti-ballistic shield on the occasion of the summit held by the Alliance in Chicago in May 2012.

'I invited Russia to cooperate, I made this during the summit in Lisbon last year and I have worked ever since to make progress, I hope to reach an agreement the following year in May when the NATO summit is held in Chicago. In case we reach an agreement with Russia then we will likely have a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council in Chicago, the same as we did in Lisbon,' the NATO official said.

He indicated that there is still 'work to do' in order to reach this agreement with Moscow.

'There is still work to do. What we have in mind is a system with two independent anti-ballistic systems, Russia's and NATO's, two independent systems with a common goal. We would be ready to made this common purpose visible by setting two joint command centres, which might represent a frame for information exchange with Russia, the preparation of common exercises, the elaboration of ways to respond to common threats. I believe this cooperation might make the system more efficient, military speaking, and would prove the Russians without a doubt that our anti-ballistic system is not targeted against them. Russia demanded guarantees, my reply is that the best guarantee they could get is to actively cooperate with us, as this would provide transparency and they might see it with their own eyes it is not directed against them,' Rasmussen said.

He wanted to hail Romania's announcement of hosting one of the anti-missile defence facilities.

'It is vital for Romania, it is vital for NATO, it is vital for the protection of our populations and territories. Romania's announcement, together with that of Turkey, Poland, Spain and of other states, represents a major contribution to the development of NATO defence system. NATO's anti-ballistic system will be created,' the Alliance secretary general said.

Romania accepted on February 4, 2011, the proposal of US President Barack Obama to take part in the second development stage of the anti-missile defence system by Washington. Romania's involvement in the project requires hosting land-based interceptors SM-3 (Standard Missile 3) Block 1B at the military base at Deveselu, Olt County (southern Romania), to become operational around 2015.

The text of the relevant agreement with the US was agreed upon during the seventh round of negotiations in Bucharest, on May 4 and was stamped by the heads of the negotiation delegations in Washington on June 6 and was signed on Sept 13 by Romanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Teodor Baconschi and US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the visit paid by Romanian President Traian Basescu in the US.
NATO's Rasmussen: I do not expect new membership invitations at Chicago NATO Summit in 2012
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told a news conference on Monday at the Romanian Foreign Ministry in Bucharest that he does not expect membership invitations to be issued to Georgia and Macedonia at the Chicago NATO Summit of May 2012.

He added that the important decisions taken by NATO in relation to Georgia and Macedonia at the 2008 Bucharest NATO Summit remain valid.

He said that the summit decided that Georgia will become a NATO member if it meets the requirements, adding that this decision is still valid, as NATO's policy is to welcome Georgia in someday. A second decision, said Rasmussen, regarded the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and it was that NATO will extend a membership invitation as soon as a mutually acceptable and satisfying solution is found to the country's name. He added that if such solution is found, the decision of the Bucharest summit will stay valid and an invitation will be extended. He said that although he does not expect new invitations to be extended as things stand today, there are still many months until May 2012 and many things can happen, but his statements are based on what is happening now.

Macedonia's accession to NATO is still blocked by the country's differences with Greece over its official name, although the country has fulfilled the technical criteria of the accession process, while Georgia, although it was not issued a Membership Action Plan (MAP), a preparatory stage for membership, it was offered a possibility at the Bucharest NATO Summit to join Ukraine in a new form of cooperation called intensified dialogue with NATO, Agerpres informs.
Anders Fogh Rasmussen: NATO to stay in Libya as long as it takes, but operation comes to an end
The North-Atlantic Alliance is pretty close to the end of its operation in Libya, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told a press conference held jointly with Romanian Chief Diplomat Teodor Baconschi.

The NATO official pointed out, however, that the Alliance is to remain deployed in the area as long as there are threats to the Libyan civil population, and there have been such threats issued by the forces loyal to Gaddafi.

'We are in Libya to protect the civil population from attacks and we are going to keep our operation as long as it takes so that we make sure there are no threats to civilians. We are ready to conclude our mission as fast as the situation on the field requires it,' Rasmussen said.

Inquired about a precise date when the mission comes to an end, the NATO official indicated that it is not yet known and that it is too early for a deadline, but estimated that the end of the operation is near.
'You asked me when that day was to come. We still do not know and I believe it to be too early for a deadline, but this is a major signal we send, of us staying put, observing our commitment and being ready to go on as long as it takes until the civilians are threatened no more. Unfortunately, I learn there have been some threats issued by the remnants of Gaddafi's forces, and so long this threat is still out there, we will continue our operation and I can not estimate how long it is going to take. As a conclusion, I believe we are pretty close to the end of the operation,' highlighted the Alliance's Secretary General.

Inquired whether there is any concern felt among the Alliance leaders with the fact that the place former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi hides is still not known, the NATO official showed Gaddafi is not the target of the allied operation.

'We have no idea where Colonel Gaddafi is and, as a matter of fact, he is not the target of our operation,' Rasmussen said. The Unified Protector operation held by NATO in Libya has been underway since March 2011, according to the UN resolutions.



Tuesday, October 11, 2011