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Nato chief: defence cuts a concern

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Nato chief: defence cuts a concern
Nato chief: defence cuts a concern

Britain’s defence cuts are a “matter of concern”, Nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has said.

Mr Rasmussen made the comments as he insisted he did not want to “interfere” in domestic political decisions.

But he also said he was “convinced” the UK would stick to its Nato commitments, despite Ministry of Defence spending being slashed by 7.5% over the next four years.

Prime Minister David Cameron last month unveiled the cuts, which will see the loss of jets, ships and airbases with projected manpower reductions of 7,000 soldiers, 5,000 sailors and 5,000 airmen.

But the Government committed to fulfilling the Nato target of spending at least 2% of GDP on defence.

Asked on BBC1’s Politics Show whether the cuts were a matter for concern, Mr Rasmussen replied: “Of course it’s a matter of concern, but I am convinced that the UK will fully live up to her commitments in our alliance.”

Pressed whether he hoped defence spending would not be reduced further, he went on: “I’m not going to interfere with domestic political decisions – that’s really for each international ally to decide.

“But as Secretary General of Nato I would urge allies to cooperate, to pool resources together, to go for collective solutions, because we could achieve economies in scale and make more efficient use of our resources if we pool resources together.”

The comments appear to signal approval for the defence and security cooperation agreements signed last week between Britain and France.

Mr Rasmussen also said the forthcoming Nato summit in Lisbon would set out a “roadmap” for handing over control in Afghanistan from the international coalition to domestic security forces.

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