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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs