NATO's Vershbow stresses NATO ballistic missiles do not threaten Russia

North Atlantic Treaty Organization Deputy Secretary General Ambassador Alexander Vershbow made a statement on Wednesday, stressing that NATO's Ballistic Missile Defence system is not a threat to Russia.

"NATO's missile system is not directed against a single country," Vershbow said.

Vershbow made the statement during a keynote speech at a conference in Tel Aviv on Wednesday. Vershbow also said that cooperation from Russia on missile defense would improve international security for NATO, its partners and Russia.

Vershbow also recently commended the progress made in NATO's missile defense system at a missile defense conference at the Institute of National Security Studies. He called ballistic missile a broad-range challenge.

"Ballistic missiles represent a special challenge," Vershbow said. "They can carry conventional, chemical, biological or even nuclear weapons over short or long distances. They inject an element of risk into the geopolitical landscape that is hard to measure but highly destabilizing."

Vershbow recently took a trip to Israel to discuss the NATO-Israel alliance with Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon and senior officials of the Israeli Foreign Ministry. Israel has an Individual Cooperation Programme with NATO that began in 2008.

Israel is also a partner to the Alliance in the Mediterranean Dialogue to discuss multilateral strategies and broad security challenges with allies in Europe and North America.