I Belong to a generation forged in the discussion of the decades of 1970 and 1980 on the nuclear forces of intermediate-range in Europe. The destructive power of SS20, Pershing and cruise missiles caused deep concern both among citizens and among the political class. They were weapons designed for the destruction is almost instantaneous on the european continent, and threaten the lives of millions of people.
The entire continent —the entire world, in fact— breathed relieved when, in 1987, Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev signed the Treaty on Nuclear Forces Intermediate-Range (INF, for its acronym in English). The agreement not only reduced the number of nuclear missiles, but banned an entire category of weapons, greatly increasing the security of all of us.
however, in recent years, Russia has developed, produced, tested and deployed a new missile intermediate-range known as SSC-8. The projectile, transportable, and easy to conceal, can carry nuclear warheads, and reduces the time for the alert a few minutes, which lowers the threshold for conflict-atomic. In addition, it is able to reach european capitals.
Russia's actions undermine the Treaty and put him in serious danger. The united states to comply strictly with its obligations under the INF Treaty. In Europe there are no new u.s. missiles, but russians. A covenant respected only by one of the parties cannot be effective, nor can we guarantee our security. If it does not influence the reality on the ground, is nothing more than wet paper.
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the NATO allies first expressed concern five years ago, during the presidency of Obama. Now, after many years of denying it categorically, Russia recognizes the existence of this new missile system.
The members of the Atlantic Alliance we have called repeatedly on Russia to give a significant response and transparent to our concerns Pokerklas and to actively participate in a constructive dialogue with the united States. In the summit that we held in July, we repeat the appeal, and also in the meeting of the Council Russia-NATO, which took place at the headquarters of the Alliance in October.
unfortunately, Russia has turned a deaf ear to our demands. The lack of commitment on the part of Moscow does not do more than confirm our opinion that the new missile system represents a serious threat to the strategic stability of Europe. Accordingly, I again urge Russia to ensure full compliance with the INF Treaty, with total transparency and without any further delay.
NATO has no intention to deploy new nuclear missiles in Europe. But as an Alliance, we must safeguard the security of our countries. We must not allow that is violating with impunity the agreements on arms control because it would undermine confidence in the arms control in general.
The responsibility falls on Russia. NATO does not want a new Cold War or a new arms race, and we will do everything in our power to avoid them. However, Russia also has to do their part. We continue to be willing to engage in dialogue and to collaborate in pro of a better and safer future.
however, the Alliance should be firm and predictable. If we want to avoid nuclear weapons, we have to make sure that our conventional system of deterrence and defense is strong. For that reason, in response to the annexation illegal of Crimea by Russia in 2014 and to its current pattern of aggressive behavior, the NATO allies we have strengthened our collective defence and we have agreed to increase investment in Defence and continue to modernise our Armed Forces.
At the meeting of Foreign ministers of the NATO which will take place in early December we will assess the consequences of the actions of Russia and the INF Treaty, and for our Alliance. North america and Europe will continue to be united in the organization to ensure peace and security.
Jens Stoltenberg is the Secretary General of the Organization of the North Atlantic Treaty (NATO).
Translation of News Clips.