NATO PA backs prompt completion of ballistic missile shield
The Hague 23 November 2014 – Lawmakers from NATO nations on Sunday called for the prompt completion of NATO ballistic missile defences in response to the increasing threat posed by the proliferation of such weapons, including among potentially hostile states such as Iran and North Korea.
“We express our full support for NATO’s ballistic missile defence efforts,” said Stephen Gilbert, a British member of NATO’s Parliamentary Assembly. He presented a draft resolution that urged Allied governments to step up voluntary national contributions to the defence system.
“This capability will be an integral part of our efforts to ensure our collective defence – a core task of the Alliance,” Gilbert added. He said expressed hope the missile defence system could be completed by the early 2020s.
The resolution, which was passed by the NATO PA’s Science and Technology Committee, said Allies should explore increased cooperation on missile defence, including through the joint acquisition of systems.
Final approval of the resolution is expected Monday, during the closing plenary meeting of the Assembly’s three-day annual session.
Gilbert stressed that NATO’s missile defence plans were not directed against Russia and would not undermine Russia’s strategic deterrence capabilities.
“Russia is already using false arguments about NATO missile defence to justify its military build-up,” he said. “Let me repeat: it is not designed to undermine them – neither on a political nor on a technical level.”
The resolution did however back NATO’s suspension of practical civilian and military cooperation with Russia, including on missile defence, following the illegal and illegitimate ‘annexation’ of Crimea and the concerted campaign of violence by Russia and Russian-backed separatists in Ukraine. In the absence of cooperation on missile defence, NATO should nevertheless pursue an active policy of unilateral transparency and confidence-building measures on its missile defence efforts.