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Norway role in Nato missile grid 'necessary'

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Norway role in Nato missile grid 'necessary'
The destroyer USS Hopper (DDG 70) launches a Standard Missile-3 as it operates in the Pacific Ocean on July 30, 2009. Photo: Department of Defense
00:14 CEST+02:00
Norway has agreed to play a role in the Nato missile defence system, with Prime Minister Erna Solberg saying that as a “committed Nato member”, the country's participation is “necessary”.
The development of the system, which comprises an international network of radar stations and anti-ballistic missile barrages, has long angered Russia, which in March went so far as to threaten Denmark that its ships would become targets for nuclear strikes if they joined the system. 
 
After a meeting in Oslo with Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg said that the country nonetheless had an obligation to take part. 
 
“It is necessary for us to participate in this. As a committed NATO member, we should also be committed to that part of the strategy,” she told Norway's NTB newswire. “We have to go through this and look at what our contribution and participation should be related to this.”
 
Stoltenberg stressed that Norway's involvement need not stretch to hosting antiballistic missile bases. 
 
“There are many ways to contribute to such a missile defence system,” he said. “I have discussed the possibilities for Norwegian contributions with the Norwegian government during my visit.” 
 
The US already has three ships stationed in Europe designed to intercept intercontinental missiles, and is preparing to send a fourth.  Meanwhile, Nato has established radar and missile defence equipment in Poland, Romania, Spain, Turkey and the Czech Republic. 
 
Russia complains that the system is clearly aimed at combatting its military power, while Nato and the US have argue that system is defensive and designed to intercept missiles from countries such as Iran and North Korea. 
 
In March, Russia's ambassador to Denmark sent a letter to Jyllands-Posten newspaper warning the country of the risks of taking part in the network. 
 
“I do not think that Danes are fully aware of the consequences if Denmark joins the US-led missile defence shield,” Vanin wrote. “Denmark will be part of the threat to Russia. If it happens, then Danish warships will be targets for Russia's nuclear weapons.”
 
Russia has yet to make an official response to Solberg's intention to bring Norway into the project. 
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