NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the reduction of nuclear arsenals has to be carried out in a balanced manner, but that atomic weapons were still needed for deterrence reasons.
At an international conference in Warsaw, Rasmussen said that nuclear weapons will continue to be "a major element of credible deterrence in the future."
Rasmussen also said NATO needs to develop an antimissile defense system as a deterrence, while seeking to assure Moscow that the organization posed no threat to Russia.
Rasmussen was in Warsaw outlining NATO's new strategy aims in which the alliance's main task remained defending the territory and people of the member countries.
Rasmussen said there was no contradiction between NATO's main task of defending the alliance's member states with such new objectives such as fighting terrorism or setting up antimissile defences.
NATO's new strategy is to be subjected to members' approval in November.
compiled from agency reports