Deputy Secretary General discusses NATO missile defence, cooperation in visit to Israel
NATO Deputy Secretary General Ambassador Alexander Vershbow stressed that the Alliance’s Ballistic Missile Defence system poses no threat to Russia during a keynote speech at a conference in Tel Aviv on Wednesday (15 January 2014). “NATO’s missile system is not directed against a single country,” the Deputy Secretary General said, adding that cooperation with Russia on missile defence would improve security for both NATO and Russia.
Ambassador Vershbow made the remarks at the Institute of National Security Studies’ conference on missile defence. He updated experts on progress in NATO’s missile defence system. He said that the development of the system was justified. “Ballistic missiles represent a special challenge. They can carry conventional, chemical, biological or even nuclear weapons over short or long distances,” he said. “They inject an element of risk into the geopolitical landscape that is hard to measure but highly destabilizing.”
The Deputy Secretary General’s visit to Israel also included talks with Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon and senior officials at the Israeli Foreign Ministry to review areas of NATO-Israel cooperation. Israel has an Individual Cooperation Programme with NATO dating back to 2008. This partnership includes regular political dialogue. Along with six Arab countries, Israel is an important partner of the Alliance in the Mediterranean Dialogue, a unique multilateral forum where the seven regional partner nations can discuss common security challenges with European and North American allied nations.