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Disarmament Diplomacy

Issue No. 19, October 1997

NATO Official Urges Moderate Defence Spending by New Members

Speaking in Washington on 3 October, German General Klaus Naumann, Chair of NATO's Military Committee, told reporters that the Alliance was anxious not to "overburden" not pressing new and potential new members by insisting on high levels of defence spending. According to Naumann:

"Since we all know that there is an interrelationship between [the] economic well-being of citizens and the stability of democracy, we should not overburden these countries by asking them to invest every piece of money which they are now earning for defence."

However, the General stressed that once new members were settled in the Alliance, significant military modernisation will be required:

"We should offer them protection; that is the idea behind NATO enlargement. And under this protective umbrella of NATO their democracies will stabilise and then as soon as this is done they will have to upgrade their defences as well... They are equipped with Warsaw Pact material at this point in time...[and] they need to take modernisation steps in many cases around the year 2003 or 2004. ...this of course will require them to make plans now, but not necessarily to invest money at this point in time."

General Naumann said he was speaking in part to "raise a warning flag" to those who were pressing for immediate modernisation. He said it was vital that NATO was not "seen as a club of armament dealers who are trying to invade so far unchartered territory."

Report: Central Europe does not need new fighters, tanks to join NATO, Defense Daily, 3 October.

© 1998 The Acronym Institute.

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