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NATO ministers to approve Turkey missile request on Tuesday: Rasmussen

English.news.cn   2012-12-04 18:52:08            
 • "I would expect NATO allies to make a decision later today," Rasmussen said.
 • The NATO chief reiterated that any deployment of Patriots missiles in Turkey would be "defensive only."
 • Rasmussen said actual deployment of the Patriots would take place within weeks.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen addresses the media prior to a NATO foreign ministers's meeting at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on Dec. 4, 2012. NATO foreign ministers are expected on Tuesday to approve Turkey's request for Patriot missiles to defend the country from potential attack from neighboring Syria, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said. (Xinhua/Ye Pingfan)

BRUSSELS, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) -- NATO foreign ministers are expected on Tuesday to approve Turkey's request for Patriot missiles to defend the country from potential attack from neighboring Syria, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said.

"I would expect NATO allies to make a decision later today. I am confident we will demonstrate our determination to deter any threats and defend our ally," he said ahead of a two-day gathering of foreign ministers from 28 NATO members.

The NATO chief reiterated that any deployment of Patriots missiles in Turkey would be "defensive only" and would in no way support a no-fly zone or any offensive operation.

"After the decision, it is for individual allies who are capable to deploy Patriots missiles to take their decisions in full respect for domestic parliamentary procedures," Rasmussen said.

The Unites States, Germany and the Netherlands have the advanced PAC-3 model Patriot missile that Turkey requested last week to deploy because of its fears of a spillover from the conflict in Syria.

Rasmussen said actual deployment of the Patriots would take place within weeks.

NATO foreign ministers on Tuesday will also meet with their Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov, who has voiced opposition to the plan and warned Ankara not to increase its military presence on the border with Syria.

During his visit to Turkey on Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said deploying Patriot missiles were not "the right model and could deteriorate the situation."

In addition, Rasmussen said that the Syrian stockpile of chemical weapons, which is believed to include sarin nerve agent, mustard gas and cyanide, were "a matter of great concern."

"We know that Syria possess missiles, we know they have the chemical weapons and, of course, they have to be included in our calculations. This is the reason why it is a matter of urgency to ensure effective defense and protection of our ally Turkey," he said.

"The possible use of chemical weapons would be completely unacceptable for the international community. If anybody resorts to chemical weapons, I would expect immediate action from the international community," he warned.

U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday also warned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of "consequences" in using chemical weapons in the Arab country's 21-month conflict.

"The use of chemical weapons is and would be totally unacceptable, and if you make the tragic mistake of using these weapons there will be consequences and you will be held accountable," Obama said.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry stressed Monday that Syria will not use chemical weapons, "even if they existed," against its people under any circumstance.

Related:

Turkey-Russia ties flourish despite discords on Syria

ANKARA, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) -- Turkey and Russia have applied a much needed fine-tuning to their growing relations and give a further boost to bilateral ties while agreeing disagreement existing in some of the regional issues, especially on Syria.

Both Turkey and Russia have taken some concrete steps to develop their economic ties especially on trade, tourism and energy cooperation during Russian President Vladimir Putin's one- day working visit to Turkey on Monday. Full story

NATO-Russia discussion on patriot missiles in Turkey

BEIJING, Dec. 4 (Xinhuanet) -- The 28 NATO allies are set to meet in Brussels on Tuesday and Wednesday. The meetings will focus on whether or not to station Patriot missiles in Turkey.

Unlike the past, the NATO-Russia Council Meeting is to be held first on Tuesday, because NATO expects to communicate with Russia before they make a decision. Full story

Editor: Fang Yang
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