January - June 2007

NATO chief chides Russia over missile threat
June 26, 2007 - Reuters
Russia's threat to aim its missiles at targets in Europe is out of step with the spirit of NATO-Russian partnership, the alliance's chief said on Tuesday after talks with President Vladimir Putin. NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer advised all sides to "lower the volume" of rhetoric over differences between Russia and the West over issues including missile defense and the future of Serbia's Kosovo province. In his opening remarks at his meeting with Putin, de Hoop Scheffer urged Russia to engage more closely with the alliance to bridge their differences.
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Statement of General Bantz J. Craddock, USA Commander, U.S. European Command before theHouse Committee on Foreign Affairs
June 22, 2007
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Testimony of Daniel Fried, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Remarks before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee
June 21, 2007
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Finland May Join NATO's Response Force
June 19, 2007 - DefenseNews.com
The Finnish Defense Forces should be allowed to participate in the NATO Response Force (NRF) at the same level as it contributes to the European Union's similar group, Finland's Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee informed the national legislature, the Eduskunta, on June 14. The lawmakers said Finland's ability to join the NRF would improve its capacity to undertake crisis management duties, and the competence of Finnish troops to do so. Finland is an active member of NATO's Partnership for Peace program, but not a full-fledged member of the military alliance.

Crisis European arms pact talks end in deadlock
June 15, 2007 - Reuters
Russia warned it could be driven to suspend its part in a major arms control accord after talks with NATO states ended on Friday without headway in revising a pact seen as vital for stability in Europe. Russian delegates accused the NATO states of not taking their grievances seriously during the four-day conference of parties to the 1990 Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty. NATO envoys said there was a constructive exchange of views. Adopted in 1990 to help overcome old Cold War tensions, the CFE pact limits the number of battle tanks, heavy artillery, combat aircraft and attack helicopters deployed and stored between the Atlantic and Russia's Ural mountains.The conference was initiated by Moscow, which is frustrated by the refusal of most NATO countries to ratify an eight-year-old updated version of the pact.
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NATO agrees on missile defence way forward
June 14, 2007 - NATO
NATO's 26 countries agreed to assess by February 2008 the political and military implications for the Alliance of the US missile defence system.Following up on decisions from NATO's 2006 Riga Summit, the assessment will include an update on missile threat developments, taking into account the discussions about a US "third site" in Europe. "The NATO roadmap on missile defence is now clear," said NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, "It is clear, practical and agreed by all." In essence, the Alliance will pursue a three-track approach to missile defence: continue the ongoing NATO project to develop by 2010 a "theatre missile defence" for protecting troops deployed on missions from missile threats; assess the full implications of the US system for the Alliance, and continue existing cooperation with Russia on theatre missile defence as well as consultations on related issues. The decision was announced by the Secretary General on the first day of a meeting of NATO Defence Ministers at the Alliance's Headquarters in Brussels, 14 June. He stressed that discussions on missile defence were based on two key principles: the "indivisibility of security" and that there could not be "A or B" NATO members in terms of protection from missile threats.
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Bulgaria presses Bush on shield
June 11, 2007 - BBC
US President George W Bush has held talks in Bulgaria on US plans to build a missile defense shield in Europe. Bulgaria's government, a staunch US ally, is concerned it may be left out of the plan, which would include bases in Poland and the Czech Republic. The issue has contributed to raised tensions between the US and Russia. Bulgaria remains concerned that despite its loyalty to the US, much of the country would fall outside the range of the US missile shield. However, talks to include Bulgaria in the missile defense plans might inflame tensions with nearby Russia, which views the system as a threat and a challenge to its influence in the region.
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Putin Offers to Join Missile Shield Effort
June 8, 2007 - Washington Post
After days of escalating rhetoric about missile defense, Russian President Vladimir Putin made a surprise offer to President Bush on Thursday, proposing that Russia join with the United States and some of its European allies to operate a shield intended against missile threats from Iran. Meeting with Bush during the summit of the Group of Eight industrialized nations, Putin suggested that a Soviet-era radar installation that Russia operates in the Caspian Sea country of Azerbaijan could feed real-time data into the planned system. Bush afterward described Putin's offer as "interesting" -- the United States has been pressing Russia to take part in such a system since the 1990s. Both presidents said Russian and U.S. military and diplomatic officials would meet to discuss the idea further.
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Putin Missile Remarks "Unwelcome": NATO
June 4, 2007 - Reuters
NATO led criticism on Monday of President Vladimir Putin's latest attack on a planned U.S. missile shield, but Western reaction was generally muted ahead of a Group of Eight (G8) encounter with Putin this week. The Russian leader warned in an interview released on Sunday that Russia would revert to its Cold War stance of aiming missiles at Europe if Washington pursued its plan to site parts of its planned shield in Poland and the Czech Republic. Putin acknowledged that such a response risked reviving an arms race in Europe but said Moscow could not be blamed because Washington had started the escalation. "As far as I am aware, the only country speculating about targeting Europe with missiles is the Russian Federation," NATO spokesman James Appathurai said.
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Putin Warnes He Will Point Missiles At Europe
June 3, 2007 - Reuters
President Vladimir Putin said Russia would go back to its Cold War stance of aiming its missiles at Europe if Washington went ahead with a plan to build a missile defence shield near Russia 's borders. In an interview released late on Sunday, Putin acknowledged that Russia 's response risked reviving an arms race in Europe but said Moscow would not be responsible for the consequences because Washington had started the escalation. Putin made the tough statement before what is likely to be a frosty Group of Eight summit in Germany on June 6 where, among other world leaders, he will come face to face with U.S. President George W. Bush. Russia has not specifically targeted its missiles at Europe since the end of the Cold War but, asked if it might return to that if the U.S. missile shield plan went ahead, Putin said: "Of course we are returning to those times.
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Putin accuses U.S. of starting new arms race
May 31, 2007 - CNN
Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a scathing attack on the West on Thursday, accusing Washington of imperialism and of starting a new arms race. Speaking a week before he meets leaders of the Group of Eight (G-8) industrial nations in Germany, Putin said Russia's tests on Tuesday of a two new missiles were a direct response to U.S. moves to create a missile defense system. "We are not the initiators of this new round of the arms race," Putin told a joint Kremlin news conference with visiting Greek President Karolos Papoulias. "There is no need to fear Russia's actions: They are not aggressive," he said. "They are a mere response to harsh and groundless unilateral actions by our partners and are aimed at maintaining the balance of forces in the world." Putin's comments, which will be popular among ordinary Russians in a year when there is a parliamentary election, are the latest in a line of harsh outbursts against the West.
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U.S. senators on Moscow visit defend missile system proposal
May 30, 2007 - International Herald Tribune
U.S. Senator Trent Lott said Wednesday he would try to convince Russian lawmakers that a planned missile defense system for Europe poses no threat to their country and that concerns about the project were "a relic of Cold War thinking." Lott and Senator Ben Nelson arrived at Russia's Federation Council, the upper house of parliament, for the start of two days of talks with officials about strategic and economic issues. (Read More)

Russia Says New ICBM Can Beat Any System
May 30, 2007 - Washington Post, Steve Gutterman
Russia tested new missiles Tuesday that a Kremlin official boasted could penetrate any defense system, and President Vladimir Putin warned that U.S. plans for an anti-missile shield in Europe would turn the region into a "powder keg." First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said Russia tested an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of carrying multiple independent warheads, and it also successfully conducted a "preliminary" test of a tactical cruise missile that he said could fly farther than existing, similar weapons. "As of today, Russia has new tactical and strategic complexes that are capable of overcoming any existing or future missile defense systems," Ivanov said, according to the ITAR-Tass news agency. "So in terms of defense and security, Russians can look calmly to the country's future."
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Russia tests long-range missile
May 29, 2007 - BBC
Russia has test-launched a new intercontinental ballistic missile, Russian military officials say. The launch took place at the Plesetsk cosmodrome in northern Russia at 1420 (1020 GMT) on Tuesday. The missile, called RS-24, can be armed with up to 10 warheads and was designed to evade missile defence systems, the Russian defence ministry says. Russia has complained that US plans to base parts of an anti-missile system in central Europe threaten its security. The Americans maintain that their system is not directed at the Russians. The US wants to deploy interceptor rockets in Poland and a radar base in the Czech Republic to counter what it describes as a potential threat from "rogue states" such as Iran and North Korea.
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Japanese Defence Minister discusses cooperation with NATO
May 4, 2007 - NATO
The Japanese Defence MinisterFumio Kyuma, visited NATO Headquarters on 4 May for a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer. His visit follows the historic visit of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe earlier this year. Mr. Kyuma and the Secretary General discussed a wide range of security issues relevant to NATO and Japan, including the Alliance's transformation and NATO's ISAF operation in Afghanistan.
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NATO-Russia Ministers hold intensive discussions
April 26, 2007 - NATO
Practical NATO-Russia cooperation, missile defence, and the CFE treaty were the three main issues discussed by Foreign Ministers at a meeting of the NATO-Russia Council in Oslo, 26 April. It was clear that, while the 26 NATO Allies believe that these US plans can in no way upset the strategic balance in Europe, Russia has fundamental concerns. There was a consensus on the need to take this discussion forward in the NATO-Russia Council in the future, focusing in particular on threat assessment.
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Poland Ties US Missile Plan to Security Pledges
April 24, 2007 - New York Times, Thom Shanker
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates was told Tuesday that the Polish government supported proposals to base 10 American missile interceptors on its soil, but only so long as Poland's security was enhanced along with that of Western Europe. The Polish defense minister, Aleksander Szczyglo, chose the words carefully in expressing his government's desire to move forward with negotiations for an American missile defense base, clearly hinting that the eventual price to the United States could be an even broader range of security guarantees.
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Pentagon Invites Kremlin to Link Missile Systems
April 23, 2007 - New York Times, Thom Shanker
The Bush administration is offering Russia a new package of incentives to drop its strong opposition to American missile defense sites in Poland and the Czech Republic, including an invitation to begin linking some American and Russian antimissile systems, according to senior administration and military officials. The package includes American offers to cooperate on developing defense technology and to share intelligence about common threats, as well as to permit Russian officials to inspect the future missile bases.
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NATO united on missile defence approach
April 19, 2007 - NATO
At a special meeting at NATO's Headquarters, 19 April, high-level representatives from the United States, Czech Republic and Poland briefed other NATO members on proposals to place parts of the US missile defence system in the Czech Republic and Poland. A meeting of the NATO-Russia Council, held on the same day, provided an opportunity to address Russia's concerns regarding the plans. Finally, NATO member countries agreed that the territory of all member countries must be protected from missile threats, calling for "indivisible security".(Read More)

MEPs in US Congress to debate CIA renditions and counter-terrorism measures
April 18, 2007 - European Parliament News
Nine MEPs took part in the first formal joint briefing for members of two US Congress subcommittees on Tuesday to discuss CIA renditions and other counter-terrorism measures with transatlantic implications. "We were delighted that Congress took this initiative and encouraged by the robust support and thanks voiced by Congressmen for Parliament's report and for the year-long work that its committee on CIA renditions had undertaken" said EP Delegation Chairman Jonathan Evans (EPP-ED, UK).
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Transatlantic Security: NATO and Missile Defense
April 17, 2007 - US Dept of State, Press Roundtable with NATO Reporting Tour Journalists
NATO has been transforming from its Cold War and then regional incarnation of the 1990s into a transatlantic institution with global missions, global reach, and global partners. There is no "in area/out of area." Everything is NATO's area, potentially. That doesn't mean it's a global organization. It's a transatlantic organization, but Article 5 now has global implications. NATO is in the process of developing the capabilities and the political horizons to deal with problems and contingencies around the world.
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Common Defense
April 2, 2007 - New York Times, Editorial
The American plan to install the forward edge of its antimissile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic has raised memories of the great cold war struggle over America's decision to station medium-range nuclear missiles in Europe . Of course, back then the resistance was largely in the streets. This time most of the questioning is coming from within the governments of Germany and France. We have argued before that the proposed missile defense is not a good idea. The technology is uncertain; the threat from Iran and North Korea might yet be averted diplomatically. And repeatedly provoking Russia will only make Russia more of a problem, we fear. The shield, moreover, is really intended as a defense of the United States (and Europe ) by the United States, and so only deepens the perception of American arrogance and selfishness. The Bush administration, scornful of traditional diplomacy, has made it worse by not doing more to consult either its longtime allies or its rival Russia. As ever, Europe has confused the situation further by its inability to agree on any position or speak with a single or even a few voices. (Part of the problem is that "Old Europe" clearly resents the desire of "New Europe" to make the Americans happy.) If the European Union really wants to have a say on this issue - and many others - it would do best to first sort out what it would say. It should start by insisting that Washington seriously discuss what threats are out there - and what it sees as the best ways to defend against them. Europe needs to know that it is not being used as a pawn in some larger chess game between Washington and Iran. Europe should remind Washington of the dangers of riling up the Russians. The best defense is still a common defense. (Read More)

High-level NATO consultations on Afghanistan and Kosovo
March 27, 2007 - NATO
At a special meeting at NATO HQ, 27 March, NATO countries expressed optimism about the situation in Afghanistan and full support for the proposals for Kosovo's future made by UN Special Envoy Ahtisaari.
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US says open to NATO solution for missile shield
March 15, 2007 - Reuters, Louis Charbonneau
The United States is open to suggestions by some Europeans that a missile shield it plans to deploy in Poland and the Czech Republic be made available to NATO.
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NATO chief warns of split over US missiles
March 11, 2007 - Financial Times, Daniel Dombey
The NATO secretary general, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, has warned that the alliance risks being split between countries that would be covered by the US's proposed missile defence programme and other member states left exposed to missile threats from Iran.
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NATO allies "must help pay costs"
March 4, 2007 - BBC
British MP and shadow defence secretary, Liam Fox, says that the UK's NATO allies must share the financial cost of war in Afghanistan even if they have not sent troops.
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NATO chief calls for new Strategic Concept
February 11, 2007 - International Herald Tribune
The NATO secretary general, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, has opened a potentially fierce tug of war over the future of the alliance, urging members to agree by 2009 on a new "strategic concept" for the body.
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NATO's success and future depend on Afghanistan
February 10, 2007 - 43rd Munich Conference on Security Policy, by Oliver Rolofs
The afternoon topic of the conference was "NATO in the age of global challenges". NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, Germany's Minister of Defense Franz Josef Jung, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Alexander Downer and U.S. Senator and presidential candidate John Mc Cain presented their points of view on the future of NATO. They focused especially on the alliance's role in Afghanistan and the disappointing speech of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
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NATO Defence Ministers discuss in Seville
February 8-9, 2007 - NATO
NATO Defence Ministers met in Seville, Spain to discuss NATO's operations, transformation and relations with Partners. At the opening session of their informal meeting on the first day, deliberations focused on NATO's missions in Kosovo and Afghanistan.)
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U.S. to NATO allies: raise your game on Afghanistan
January 25, 2007 - Reuters, Mark John and Arshad Mohammed
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will bring pledges of more troops and aid for Afghanistan to NATO talks on Friday and tell allies they too must raise their game to see off the Taliban.
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