German minister: NATO missile screen "basically a good idea"
It is "basically a good idea" for NATO to set up an alliance-wide screen to defend against incoming ballistic missiles, but such a move should be linked to efforts to cut nuclear arsenals, Germany's defence minister said in Brussels on Thursday, DPA reported.
A few NATO members, notably the United States, have or are setting up anti-missile missile systems. But their systems are not compatible, and many NATO states have none at all, leaving the alliance as a whole only patchily covered.
"We think the missile shield is basically a good idea, but we also think that points such as disarmament can and must be an important component throughout," Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg said at a meeting with NATO counterparts in Brussels.
NATO leaders are expected to decide on whether to create a NATO-wide system for linking and coordinating the various national systems at a summit in Lisbon in November.
Germany is pushing in parallel for agreement to withdraw US short-range nuclear weapons from European bases, including in Germany. Other NATO members oppose that call, arguing that Russia has so many warheads that NATO cannot afford to cut its arsenal.