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 You are in: Under Secretary for Political Affairs > From the Under Secretary > Remarks > 2001 Under Secretary for Political Affairs Remarks

Consultations on Missile Defense

Ambassador Marc Grossman, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs
Remarks at a Press Availability at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Ankara, Turkey
May 11, 2001

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: First of all, let me thank you all for coming here. And let me also say what a pleasure it is for me to be back in Turkey. When we landed here last night, I felt very much like I was coming home. I appreciate the welcome that I have received.

I wanted to give you a short report on what the Ambassador, our team and I have been doing today. We first came here to the Foreign Ministry and had a conversation with Under Secretary Logoglu, whom I want to thank for all of his hospitality. We then began some consultations on missile defense and new ways to think about deterrence and strategic stability for the 21st century. Ambassador Pearson and I then had the honor and good fortune to visit with Prime Minister Ecevit where I had the chance to deliver to him the original letter from President Bush that Ambassador Pearson had provided the day before yesterday. We took the occasion of that meeting to express our strong support for Turkey, our strong support for Turkeyís reform efforts and the importance of the alliance between the United States and Turkey. We returned here to the Foreign Ministry where I had the good fortune to visit with the Foreign Minister. And we have just completed our consultations on missile defense.

If I might say that our consultations on missile defense come as a carrying out of the promise that President Bush made in his statement on the 1st of May, that we would consult with friends and allies about strategic stability in the 21st century. Thatís what we did today. These are real consultations. We presented our point of view, but we were very, very interested in what the Turkish side had to say. We made a series of presentations to Ambassador Logoglu and his colleagues. They all had two themes. The first theme was the theme of consultation. The second theme is that 2001 is not the same as 1972. The Russians are no longer our enemy and the Cold War is over. There are many, many advantages to that situation. But there are disadvantages as well. One of the main disadvantages is the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems. So we had a talk about all of those things with our Turkish friends. I might say and Ambassador Logoglu and others will speak for themselves. But I would describe the position of allies in general as that they have welcomed this consultation. Clearly allies would like more consultation, and we are glad to do that. I would say in general allies recognize that there is a new world out there today and that we need to take count of it. I believe allies have appreciated the comprehensive approach that the United States is bringing to these consultations. I believe that allies have welcomed the Presidentís discussion on the 1st of May of substantial reductions in our offensive forces and work on non-proliferation and counter-proliferation as well. So I would stop where I started, which is to say that we are very glad to be here to show our support for the relationship between the United States and Turkey and to have had these very successful consultations with our Turkish allies about strategic stability in the 21st century.

So I thank you very much for being patient and listening to me. Iíd be glad to take a couple of questions.

QUESTION: Iíd like to know: does your system foresee the use of certain bases in different countries? In this respect, do you think Turkey might be one of them? Or can we say that Incirlik might require a new kind of a mission?

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: What I can say is that we are very far away from making those kinds of decisions. What we were here to do today and what we are doing around Europe this week is talking to people about the new concept of deterrence, about thinking about strategic stability in a new way. We are far from a specific architecture. We are far from specific cost. We are far from asking any allies to do anything specific. These are all things yet to come if this system proves itself, as we believe it will, to be an advantage for strategic stability in the future.

QUESTION: Although this system is not specified clearly and it is very early to speak about it, what has been the response of the Turkish delegation concerning such a project?

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: Well, I will be absolutely clear here that Iím going to let the Turkish side speak for itself. I believe that allies in general have very much welcomed this consultation and will welcome more. I believe that most alliesóand again, Turkey will speak for itselfóhave recognized that there is a new world out there. In many ways Turkey and the NATO alliance, as you will remember from the 1999 summit, have been pioneers in thinking about these questions of weapons of mass destruction.

QUESTION: We can say that you and Turkey, you share the same threat assessment. I mean do you agree on the threat assessment that you are doing within the framework of this project?

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: I know that Ambassador Logoglu will have a few words for you after me. He can present the Turkish side. We tried our very best to talk about the threat. Iím sure that he will talk about it. But, as NATO allies, as NATO allies who signed up to the Washington summit in 1999 and as NATO allies who are concerned about weapons of mass destruction and their delivery system, I think itís something on which Turkey and the United States see very closely together.

QUESTION: Could your system provide protection for the allies as well?

UNDER SECRETARY GROSSMAN: One of the most important things that we have been talking about on this trip is missile defense, not national missile defense, but missile defense. That is that we would like this to be able to the United States and we would like it to be available to allies as well. What allies choose to do is obviously up to each individual country. But we hope that there will be as wide participation as possible in the development of such a system. We hope that this is about protecting all countries. I think itís very important for me to make the point that the purpose of the defenses is not to make any country - any country -- more vulnerable. We would like to see the day when all countries are able to protect themselves from this kind of threat of terrorism or blackmail.

Thank you.

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