Global General

France wants explanation over NATO's missile defense system

Updated: 2010-04-01 09:08
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PARIS - French Defense Minister Herve Morin said on Wednesday that the European alliance needs more explanation over NATO's pricy missile defense system as the cost is threatening the already tight military budget of Europe.

Visiting NATO Secretary-general Anders Fogh Rasmussen talked with Morin over the Afghan issue and strategic cooperation within the alliance.

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During a joint press conference after their discussions, Rasmussen called on member nations to make the EU missile defense system an important common mission as the transatlantic alliance was facing a missile threat from Iran.

However, Morin spoke out that the costly project would add the economic pressure in military budget facing European countries.

"We want a series of clarification: the cost of the program, the threat analysis, the role of Europe and the American proposals about command and control," the French minister said.

"My deep concern is that missile defense would come at the expense of the military capacity of Europeans, which is already a weakness of Europe," Morin added.

Last September, US President Barack Obama announced the abandonment of the Bush-era controversial missile defense shield program in the Czech Republic and Poland, but unveiled a "phased, adaptive approach" for missile defense on the continent.

Early this month, Rasmussen urged Alliance members to reach agreement on missile defense system by November when Lisbon Summit is scheduled. He also called on NATO members to coordinate with Russia on the issue.

Russia has fiercely criticized the plan, considering it a threat to its defense scope, especially when some eastern European countries expressed willingness to hold the NATO missile bases.