Romania’s Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu says that the position expressed by the Russian Federation on the anti-ballistic missile system deployed to Romania, an integral part of NATO’s Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) capability, is completely wrong.
Aurescu has reacted to statements by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, Sergei Lavrov, in a speech delivered on Thursday to the Organization for Security Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Ministerial Council meeting in Stockholm that anti-ballistic missile systems have been installed in Romania and Poland that can be used for offensive strikes.
“The position expressed by the Russian Federation on the anti-ballistic missile system located in Romania, an integral part of NATO’s Ballistic Missile Defence, is completely wrong; it is not new and it is part of the unconstructive rhetoric on this matter already known as far back as the negotiation over and the conclusion in 2011 of the Agreement Between the United States of America and Romania on the Deployment of the United States Ballistic Missile Defense System in Romania,” Aurescu is quoted as saying in a press statement released by the Romanian Foreign Ministry (MAE).
He points out that “the position of Romania, the United States and the North Atlantic Alliance has been publicly expressed and conveyed to the Russian Federation in a clear, firm manner, repeatedly, over the ten years since the conclusion of the said agreement: NATO’s Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) capability, which includes the Deveselu anti-ballistic missile facility, is strictly defensive, used only for self-defence purposes, according to the UN Charter; the system is not aimed at the Russian Federation, as it targets short- and medium-range ballistic missile threats from outside the Euro-Atlantic area; we have no intention of transforming the missile defence system.”
Aurescu says that these issues are also included in the final statement of the 2016 NATO Warsaw Summit. Thus, paragraph 55 of the statement clearly reads: “The capability is purely defensive,” and paragraph 59 says that “the BMD system is not capable against Russia’s strategic nuclear deterrent and there is no intention to redesign this system to have such a capability in the future.”
“NATO’s BMD is designed to defend against potential threats from outside the Euro-Atlantic area. I have repeatedly explained to Russia that the BMD system is not capable against Russia’s strategic nuclear deterrence system and that there is no intention to redesign it. Therefore, the Russian threats against NATO member states because of NATO’s BMD are unacceptable and counterproductive,” Aurescu says.
The agreement between the United States of America and Romania (posted on the MAE website – http://www.mae.ro/sites/default/files/file/tratate/2011.09_scut_en.pdf) says that the ballistic missile defence system has an “exclusively defensive nature” (paragraph 7 of the preamble), mentions its purpose as “individual and collective self-defense” (paragraph 8 of the preamble) and explicitly says in Article VI, paragraph 2, that “the Parties confirm that the United States Ballistic Missile Defense System in Romania shall be used exclusively for self-defense purposes, in conformity with international law and the principles and norms regulating the inherent right of individual and collective self-defense.”
MAE adds that Romania’s reaction to the said remarks by the Russian minister will be included in Aurescu’s national speech, to be delivered according to the outcome of a lots drawing by organisers of the OSCE ministerial council late today or early tomorrow.