New Strategic Concept will enhance NATO security capabilities: Rasmussen

15:37, November 20, 2010      

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NATO's new Strategic Concept will launch a more effective, engaged and efficient alliance, NATO Secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Friday, as the alliance's summit is under way in the Portuguese capital.

Rasmussen highlighted the importance of the reforms to enable NATO to face three main challenges in the future, namely the risk of instability spreading from weak states, the proliferation of ballistic missile technology, and threats to cyber-security.

Weak states can have a "direct impact" on the alliance's security, Rasmussen told a two-day Young Atlanticist Summit, which opened here on Friday.

As societies have become reliant on information technology, Rasmussen stressed the need for NATO to develop cyber security systems and to protect important infrastructure such as banking systems, air traffic control or government services.

There is a "clear" threat from the outside, which requires NATO to develop capabilities to defend Europe against missile attack, said Rasmussen. "Missile defense will bind the NATO allies closer together," he added.

The Lisbon summit will give NATO the chance to undertake the reforms needed for the 61-year-old organization to tackle these new challenges, said Rasmussen. NATO leaders are expected to agree on a new Strategic Concept to serve as the alliance's guiding document for the next decade.

This new strategy "will launch an alliance that will be more effective, more engaged, and more efficient," Rasmussen said.

NATO's new priorities include the development of a new defense shield to protect against missile attacks and the alliance hopes to cooperate with Russia in building the new system.

Rasmussen said NATO and Russia should together create a " security roof for the entire Euro-Atlantic area."

Russia was vehemently opposed to a first version of the defense shield put forward by the former Bush administration of the United States, which would have placed a high-tech radar base in the Czech Republic and interceptor missiles in Poland.

U.S. President Barack Obama has modified that plan in an effort to win Russia around, also assuring Moscow that the target of the proposed NATO shield is not Russia's nuclear arsenal, but the threat of an attack from Iran or elsewhere in the Middle East.

According to Rasmussen, the alliance will also seek to engage more deeply with the wider world and improve cooperation with third countries.

In the aftermath of the global economic crisis, leaders at Lisbon will discuss the reform of the NATO command structure, agencies and cuts of staff at alliance headquarters, in an effort to make the organization more cost-effective.

Source: Xinhua


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