Nato missile shield could cover all of the allianceâ€™s members in Europe
The Sofia Echo
18th October 2010
Depending on the decisions of the Nato summit in Lisbon in November 2010, the allianceâ€™s proposed missile shield could cover all of the allianceâ€™s countries in Europe without exception, Bulgarian media quoted Foreign Minister Nikolai Mladenov and Defence Minister Anyu Angelov as saying.
Mladenov and Angelov took part in a joint meeting in Brussels of Nato foreign and defence ministers on October 14 2010, held to prepare for the Lisbon summit.
The proposal is for the missile defence to be built in three or four stages over the course of 10 years and that it would embrace all member countries. The estimated cost is 200 million euro over this 10-year period.
According to a report by Bulgarian National Television (BNT), the protective shield over Europe would most likely be developed as a Nato project, not just a purely American mission.
Mladenov said that the Government wanted the shield to include protection of Bulgarian territory, BNT said.
According to Natoâ€™s website, the allianceâ€™s Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in Brussels: "I believe we are nearing a consensus at the Lisbon Summit for Nato to have a capability to defend all of Nato-Europe against the threat of a missile attack."
He said that Russia should be offered the option to co-operate with Nato to the benefit of all.
Rasmussen expressed his hope that Russia would accept the invitation to participate in a Nato-Russia Council Summit meeting in Lisbon, as the agenda "is getting a substantial boost: with more cooperation on Afghanistan, a joint review of the challenges we face together today, and a more effective fight against terrorism and piracy." The Voice of America reported Rasmussen as saying in his opening remarks at the October 14 meeting in Brussels that it was critical that the transatlantic alliance "get it right" as it drafts a new blueprint for the future.Â
"Nato's core mission, to protect the 900 million civilians of Nato countries from attack, must never change," Rasmussen said. "But it must be modern defence against modern threats."Â Nato is carving out what it terms its new "strategic concept," or mission statement to deal with an array of new threats, including ballistic missiles, cyber warfare and terrorism.
Heads of state are expected to adopt this new document during the Lisbon summit, VOA said.Â It will replace the last strategic concept, drafted in 1999 - before the terrorist attacks in the United States, Britain and Spain and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Rasmussen is pushing for Nato to embrace missile defence in Europe.Â
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