Thank you very much for that.
I think we have to understand that NATO, as a collectivity, does not have a major role in direct arms control negotiations. NATO can play an important role in shaping the environment in which arms control negotiations take place, but those negotiations are either much narrower, bilateral, between Russia and the United States, or are much broader, multilateral, within the UN context. So NATO as an institution I think doesn't have that direct a role, but it shapes the environment.
Of relevance there are two very important obstacles to arms control, which I've already mentioned, and they are ballistic missile defence and the conventional imbalance in forces between NATO and Russia. Both of those are going to be very important as we move down towards lower levels. In strategic arms control there will be movement down to lower levels. Russia is already below the new START levels in the number of weapons it deploys. So it's going to continue to go down. But I think the further down it goes, the more ballistic missile defence and the imbalance in conventional will be a factor. Ballistic missile defence can be dealt with either by pausing it or by doing it very overtly, cooperatively, with Russia. That's the only solution there. On the conventional imbalance, it means a reinvention of the relationship between NATO and the Russian Federation in particular. I think that is what's required there.
I'm happy to say a little bit about the conventional arms and the export of conventional arms, partly because at the United Nations we're moving in July into negotiations on an arms trade treaty. The U.K. has been a particular champion of that. For a couple of years now there have been preparatory committee meetings towards an arms trade treaty, and that's going to come to the fore this summer when the negotiations take place. I think that's going to be very difficult, because of the wide range of economic and political interests involved in the export of military commodities. But the attempt to create some international standards of restraint is very important. Canada has been largely supportive of the move towards an arms trade treaty, and I think it needs to continue in that direction. Some issues like human rights criteria, for example, need to figure in prominently, and those are things that Canada should be promoting.