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NATO leader warns of deep defence cuts

NATO leader warns of deep defence cuts
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NATO’s Secretary General has warned that the economic crisis will force deeper cuts in defence spending than have already been implemented.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen told a meeting of allied defence ministers in Brussels there was a need to “cut fat and not muscle”, in other words seeking savings without sacrificing security.

According to new NATO figures, only five out of its 28 states respected the minimum threshold of spending 2% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on defence.

The Secretary General believes that hard times can help make the organisation more efficient.

“There will be less money for defence for quite sometime,” he said. “We must prioritise what we really need – in a nutshell, on what we can actually deploy where and when we need it.”

European austerity measures prompted the US to warn its allies earlier this week against reducing troop numbers in Afghanistan and elsewhere. The American Defence Secretary Robert Gates called for savings in other areas. Britain, Germany and others are reported to be considering huge defence cuts.