News / Europe

NATO Approves Europe Missile Defense Plan

President Barack Obama, flanked by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, left, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, are seen during the NATO Official group photo of the North Atlantic Council summit in Lisbon , Portugal.
President Barack Obama, flanked by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, left, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, are seen during the NATO Official group photo of the North Atlantic Council summit in Lisbon , Portugal.

Multimedia

Kent Klein

Leaders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization have approved U.S. President Barack Obama's proposal for a new, expanded missile defense system for Europe. The agreement is a victory for the president, after a series of foreign policy setbacks.

President Obama says Friday's approval by NATO's main decision-making body, the North Atlantic Council, will make Europe and the world more secure. "For the first time, we have agreed to develop missile defense capability that is strong enough to cover all NATO European populations, as well as the United States," he said.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen says the system is expected to cost $273 million over the next ten years.  He will ask Russia, which had originally opposed the idea of European missile defense, to cooperate on the project.

The NATO agreement is one of the most important foreign policy achivements for Mr. Obama since he took office two years ago. On his trip to Asia recently, Mr. Obama had failed to get a free-trade agreement with South Korea or enough support from other countries to  persuade China to change the way it handles its currency.

The leaders of all 28 NATO countries, meeting in the Portuguese capital, agreed Friday on a new strategic concept for the alliance.  The new mission statement is intended to address new kinds of threats and challenges.

For that reason, Rasmussen is calling this one of the most important summits in NATO's 61-year history. "We will develop modern capabilities to defend against modern threats.  We will reach out to partners around the globe.  We will make a fresh start in our relations with Russia, with the aim of building a strategic partnership," he said.

President Obama said substantial progress was made in the summit's first day, and he expects more to be made in Saturday's meetings on the future of the war in Afghanistan. "Tomorrow our NATO allies, ISAF partners and the Afghan government will work to align our approach on Afghanistan, particularly in two areas: our transition to full Afghan lead between 2011 and 2014, and the long-term partnership that we are building in Afghanistan," he said.

NATO plans to phase out combat operations in Afghanistan by the end of 2014, and continue training and humanitarian missions beyond that time.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai will be among those attending the session on Afghanistan.

Relations with Russia will be another focus of Saturday's meetings.  Mr. Obama again called Friday for Republicans in the U.S. Senate to drop their objections and pass the New START nuclear reduction treaty, which he and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed in April. "But just as this is a national security priority for the United States, the message that I have received since I have arrived from my fellow leaders here at NATO could not be clearer: New START will strengthen our alliance and it will strengthen European security," he said.

NATO, which was founded to confront the perceived threat from the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact era, is trying to improve its relations with Russia.  President Medvedev will take part in the NATO-Russia meeting, and will meet one-on-one with Mr. Obama.

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

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.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid