Title: Claes: Moscow `Exaggerating' Norwegian Rocket Launch Document Number: FBIS-WEU-95-018 Document Type: Daily Report Document Date: 26 Jan 1995 Division: INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS Sourceline: AU2601192695 Paris AFP in English 1834 GMT 26 Jan 95 AFS Number: AU2601192695 Citysource: Paris AFP Language: English Article Type: BFN>Secretary General of NATO Says Moscow Might be 'Exaggerating' Norwegian Rocket Launch

Secretary General of NATO Says Moscow Might be Exaggerating Norwegian Rocket Launch

Paris AFP, 26 January 1995

[FBIS Transcribed Text] Oslo, Jan 26 (AFP) -- Willy Claes,
secretary-general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation
(NATO), said Thursday [26 Jan] that elements in Moscow might be
exaggerating the security scare triggered by a failed Norwegian
rocket launch "for internal political reasons."
Ending an official visit here Thursday, Claes appealed to the 
press not to sensationalise the failure of the Norwegian weather
rocket, which crashed near Norway's Spitzbergen Islands on
"I cannot rule out that maybe somebody in Moscow is pushing
this missile incident for internal political reasons," he said.
"The Norwegian authorities announced the launch of this
scientific missile properly last December, as the Russian
ambassador in Oslo also rightly put it," Claes said.
Claes said he "did not have all the details," but stressed
that the malfunction was to be handled as a misunderstanding.
In Moscow Russian President Boris Yeltsin suggested that the
object -- erroneously described as a "combat missile" in initial
Russian media reports -- had been fired to "test" Russian
defences, the INTERFAX agency said.
"Maybe it was aimed at testing us as the mass media is 
saying our army is weak," Yeltsin was quoted as saying.
The rocket was detected by Russia's early warning radar
systems and touched off a security alert.
Yeltin also revealed the incident marked the first time he
ever held the key that could trigger a Russian nuclear alert.
Several Russian and foreign observers described his
declarations as "excessive" or "childish," and above all a
political ploy to deflect attention from the war in Chechnya.