Dáil Éireann - Volume 637 - 03 July, 2007
Written Answers. - Nuclear Disarmament Initiative.
Deputy John Perry Deputy John Perry
Deputy John Perry asked the Minister for  Foreign Affairs the discussions taking place between the European Union and Russia following recent statements from Russia that it may aim missiles at targets in Europe once again; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18726/07]
Deputy Seán Barrett Deputy Seán Barrett
Deputy Seán Barrett asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the position of the Government with regard to the possible building of a US missile defence shield involving European Union Member States Poland and the Czech Republic; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18727/07]
Deputy Dermot Ahern Deputy Dermot Ahern
Deputy Dermot Ahern: I propose to take Questions Nos. 93 and 147 together.
The recent statements from Russia that it may aim missiles at targets in Europe were part of its reaction to the news that the US intends to deploy elements of a missile defence system in Poland and the Czech Republic. The European Union does not have an agreed position on missile defence, a matter on which it has no competence. This is a question for decision by individual Member States and a matter more appropriate for discussion within NATO, of which Poland and the Czech Republic are both members. The matter was raised during the recent EU-Russia Summit in Samara by the Russian side which made reference to enormous security implications arising from the US intentions. The Presidency made clear, in response, that it saw the matter as more appropriate to discussion within and with NATO.
Ireland’s own position is clear. We share the concerns expressed regarding missile defence systems. We believe that the development of missile defence systems can have many negative consequences, including creating or aggravating missile arms races. The most effective way to tackle missile proliferation and the attendant threats is to engage in serious work in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation. Ireland has always played a very active role in such efforts, particularly within the framework of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).
Further reductions in nuclear arsenals, with the aim of their total elimination, offer the best approach to addressing security concerns in this area. The development of missile defence systems, on the other hand, has the potential to create a destabilising effect in the region and could induce some countries to expand their missile arsenals or to develop new missiles that might better penetrate defences.
We would urge all sides to refrain from inflammatory and threatening language and to engage in constructive dialogue. Despite the harsh rhetoric, there are some hopeful indicators in this regard. President Bush and President Putin spoke in the margins of the recent G8 Summit in Heilig endamm in Germany, and they continued their discussions when President Putin visited Kennebunkport in the US earlier this week and apparently elaborated on his proposal for a shared missile defence system based in Azerbaijan. It is not clear what the next steps may be, but it is positive that the two sides are in discussion. In their joint remarks to the press yesterday, both President Bush and President Putin spoke of the need to expand the dialogue to include European countries and indicated that it might be useful to do so through the NATO-Russia Council.
Dáil Éireann 637 Written Answers. Nuclear Disarmament Initiative.