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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Chancellor Angela Merkel and NATO Secretary General Rasmussen on New START

Below are comments from today by Chancellor Angela Merkel and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen regarding the New START.

Chancellor Merkel:

Chancellor Merkel welcomed the unity of the NATO Summit on a new political strategy.  "The strategic concept is clear, proactive, and shows that we are all working from a common foundation...This summit will go down in the history of NATO." Regarding the debate over missile defense she said: "I do not see any contradiction whatsoever between missile defense and nuclear disarmament." Diplomats had already reported that Berlin and Paris had overcome their differences of opinion regarding missile defense.  Paris insisted that NATO statements from the Summit not create the impression that missile defense would call into question Europe's atomic arsenal.  Merkel said that the goal to reach a nuclear free world remains.  "But we cannot be naive" she warned. "We have to thank President Obama that he negotiate a new START treaty.  I would wish that the new START treaty would also be ratified." [DPA, 11/19/2010]

NATO Secretary General Rasmussen:

Separately, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters: "I would strongly regret if the ratification of the START treaty is delayed."

"A delay of the ratification of the START treaty would be damaging to security in Europe," he said. "I strongly encourage all parties involved to do their utmost to ensure an early ratification of the START treaty." [AFP, 11/19/2010]