News

    Rumsfeld Calls on NATO Members to Spend More on Defense

    U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has urged NATO members to spend more on defense to enable the alliance to meet challenges in the world. Rumsfeld is in Taormina, Italy meeting with his fellow-NATO defense ministers.

    Secretary Rumsfeld says he followed through on plans to discuss the sensitive issue with his counterparts from NATO's 25 other member nations.

    "I continued to urge the members of NATO to look at the percentage of their gross domestic product that's being invested in defense to assure that they and NATO have the levels of defense spending to ensure that we have the capabilities that will be needed in this new century," he said.

    Currently, NATO operations are funded by the countries that provide the troops and equipment, resulting in a disproportionate share of the cost falling on countries with the most military capability available to lend to the alliance, such as the United States. NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer says the member states have begun to discuss a new financing arrangement, but no decision has been reached. He says NATO needs to figure out how it will finance such current and future needs as increased capability for airlift, air-to-ground surveillance and air-to-air refueling, as well as ongoing operations in Afghanistan and Kosovo, and a new reaction force that is to become operational in October.

    The secretary general also gave a report on Friday's meeting between the NATO defense ministers and the Russian defense minister. Scheffer says Russia has been supportive of NATO operations, and that it is expanding its direct cooperation with the alliance, especially on counter-terrorism operations.

    "We are exchanging intelligence information and analysis," he said. "We are assessing threat information in the regions of interest both to Russia and to NATO. We are taking operational steps together, including involving the Russian navy in our Active Endeavor operation in the Mediterranean. Let's not underestimate the importance of this step."

    Active Endeavor is a multi-nation operation that starts in June, and it will also involve three of the seven members of NATO's Mediterranean Dialogue, Morocco, Algeria and Israel. The defense ministers from all seven Dialogue countries joined the NATO ministers for lunch on Friday, which Secretary General Scheffer called a significant step in re-enforcing both dialogue and practical cooperation.

    He said this year NATO plans to expand its dealings with the seven countries involving logistics, defense planning, language training and emergency preparedness. He said NATO also wants the Mediterranean countries' help in improving the alliance's image in the region. The other four NATO Mediterranean Dialogue countries are Egypt, Jordan, Mauritania and Tunisia.

    Also on Friday, Secretary Rumsfeld had a one-on-one meeting with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov. At a news conference, Rumsfeld disputed a reporter's suggestion that U.S.-Russian defense relations are deteriorating. He said the two countries are working together on many issues, but he also acknowledged there are differences on some things, such as weapons sales to certain countries.

    "Needless to say, the United States prefers that countries not sell weapons to countries that are on the terrorist list," he said. "We prefer that sales not be made to countries that are being notably unhelpful in Iraq, where we have troops on the ground and NATO has a train and equip activity."

    Russia, meanwhile, is concerned about Ukraine's interest in joining NATO. Minister Ivanov said Ukraine has the right to join whatever international organizations it wants, but that joining NATO "would be bad" for Ukraine. He also said it would have an impact on Ukraine's relations with Russia, which he assured reporters will not be joining NATO.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora