Rasmussen calls for more NATO cooperation

Oct. 9, 2012 at 5:43 PM

BRUSSELS, Oct. 9 (UPI) -- Closer cooperation among NATO allies can compensate for reduced defense budgets, Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said Tuesday in Brussels.

Rasmussen argued for cooperation at the start of a two-day meeting of defense ministers at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization headquarters. He said the alliance needs "the right forces, the right capabilities and the right structures," and urged member countries to continue spending money on defense, NATO said in a release.

"At a time when defense budgets are under pressure, we also need to cooperate more on defense planning, training and exercises," Rasmussen said. "This period of economic austerity poses a challenge to defense budgets but it also opens an opportunity for strength and cooperation and new ways to provide security."

NATO leaders at their Chicago summit agreed on some new measures like sharing smart munitions and maritime patrol aircraft and cooperating on developing technology to deal with roadside bombs.

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