NATO leader: Egyptian unrest may hurt Europe

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, February 7, 2011.

From Slobodan Lekic, the AP:  The unrest roiling countries such as Egypt and Tunisia could cause economic hardship in Europe and increase illegal immigration, NATO’s top official warned Monday.

Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen urged European governments that have cut defense spending sharply as they have trimmed their budgets to maintain their military capabilities.

The NATO leader said the unrest may harm local economies, spurring illegal migration to Europe.

Events in the Middle East and North Africa "serve as a timely reminder that we cannot take security for granted, even in our immediate neighborhood," he said, urging European nations to keep their level of defense spending up. …

NATO cooperates closely with a group of friendly nations in the region in a process known as the Mediterranean Dialogue. Besides Egypt and Tunisia, the group includes Algeria, Israel, Jordan, Morocco and Mauritania. NATO also has a separate cooperation agreement with a number of Persian Gulf states. …

"But I don’t consider the situation as a direct threat to NATO allies," he said. The alliance has no intention of intervening in the crises, he said.  (photo: NATO)

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