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France Says Countries Should Be Free To Decide On Missile Shield

Russia calls for restraint over missile row
Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev called Friday for all sides in the dispute over rival missile systems in Europe to avoid "unilateral measures" ahead of a proposed new security framework. "Before signing a global accord on European security, we should avoid unilateral measures," Medvedev said at a news conference following an EU-Russia summit in the southern French town of Nice. The Russian leader was responding after France's President Nicolas Sarkozy, standing alongside him, expressed concern over Russia's threat to site nuclear missiles in the enclave of Kaliningrad. Medvedev countered that the deployment was called in response to Poland and the Czech Republic agreeing to host US missile defence equipment, which Moscow regards as a hostile act. The move was "a response to various nations in Europe who, without consulting anyone, agreed to deploy new weapons on their soil," Medvedev said. Sarkozy suggested discussing a security pact next year at a summit of the Organisation of Security and Cooperation in Europe.

Belarus offers to host Russian missiles: newspaper
Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko wants to host Russian missiles to counter US plans for a missile defense shield in eastern Europe, according to an interview published Friday that drew US condemnation. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Lukashenko said he has been talking with Moscow about having Iskander missiles deployed in Belarus, which borders Poland. Warsaw has agreed to deploy part of the US shield. "Even if Russia does not offer these promising missiles, we will purchase them ourselves," Lukashenko was quoted as saying. "Right now we do not have the funds, but it is part of our plans -- I am giving away a secret here -- to have such weapons," he added. Washington was quick to respond. "Any of these threats to deploy missiles in the European theater, you know, would just not be helpful with regard to civility," State Department deputy spokesman Robert Wood told reporters. "As we've said over and again, this missile defense system is not targeted at the Russians... on Belarus or anybody," Wood said. "It's basically designed to... prevent and to deal with rogue threats, rogue missile threats from the Middle East region, particularly from Iran," according to Wood.
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Nov 15, 2008
Nations should be free to decide whether to arm themselves with an anti-missile shield, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Saturday, touching on a topic of tension between the United States and Russia.

Asked by reporters if he had discussed the topic with either the Russians or the Americans on the sidelines of a G20 summit in Washington, Sarkozy, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, said: "We spoke of it with the Russians," but not with US President George W. Bush.

"Each country has the right to decide whether or not to install an anti-missile shield," Sarkozy said, citing Poland and the Czech Republic.

"It can be the final measure, in face of the threat of missiles from outside, for example from Iran," he added.

At a EU-Russia summit on Friday, Sarkozy called on Washington to stop plans to deploy anti-missile systems in Poland and the Czech Republic, and on Moscow not to put missiles into its enclave of Kaliningrad at least until 2009.

Poland and the Czech Republic reacted frostily to the comments.

"The question of the anti-missile shield is governed by an agreement between Poland and the United States. It is above all an American project," Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk told reporters.

"I don't think that third countries, even such good friends as France, can have a particular right to express themselves on this issue."

The Czech Republic expressed surprise at Sarkozy's remarks on Friday and claimed he had overstepped his mandate by raising the US defense system.

The US plans to install a radar system in the Czech Republic and 10 interceptor missiles in Poland, but insists they are not directed against Russia.

Moscow has retaliated by announcing plans to deploy missiles in Kaliningrad, its enclave on the Baltic neighbouring NATO and EU members, Poland and Lithuania.

earlier related report
Poles, Czechs brush aside Sarkozy missiles plea
Poland and the Cezch Republic reacted frostily Saturday to calls by French President Nicolas Sarkozy for the United States and Russia to halt the deployment in Europe of missile and anti-missile systems.

"President Sarkozy has expressed his own point of view," Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk told reporters.

"It will have no impact on the future of the project."

Sarkozy had called at a European Union-Russia summit Friday on Washington to stop plans to deploy anti-missile systems in Poland and the Czech Republic and on Moscow not to put missiles into its enclave of Kaliningrad at least until 2009.

"The question of the anti-missile shield is governed by an agreement between Poland and the United States. It is above all an American project," Tusk said.

"I don't think that third countries, even such good friends as France, can have a particular right to express themselves on this issue."

In Prague former Czech president Vaclav Havel, one of the moving spirits behind his country's 1989 velvet revolution, said he was "surprised" and "uneasy" about Sarkozy's remarks.

The CTK news agency reported him as saying that when the Czech Republic joined NATO in 1999 it undertook to work "individually, bilaterally, trilaterally, in different ways" for its security.

He did not see why a defensive system should be undesirable in Europe.

The Czech Republic had expressed surprise Friday at Sarkozy's remarks and claimed he had over-stepped his mandate by raising the US defence system.

"As far as the French presidency mandate for the EU-Russia summit goes, it did not contain any mention of the US anti-missile shield," Czech Deputy Prime Minister Minister Alexandr Vondra said.

"France has never consulted such a standpoint with us," he said, and added that he was "surprised" by the French leader's declarations.

Czech lawmakers are due to vote next year on whether to host a US radar as part of the shield, amid strong public opposition to the project.

The US plans to install a radar system in the Czech Republic and 10 interceptor missiles in Poland but insists they are not directed against Russia.

Moscow has retaliated by announcing plans to deplopy missiles in Kaliningrad, its enclave on the Baltic neighbouring NATO and EU members Poland and Lithuania.

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Raytheon Awarded Development Cintract For BMD Multiple Kill Vehicle
Tucson AZ (SPX) Nov 14, 2008
Raytheon was awarded a $54 million Missile Defense Agency contract to continue design and development of a Multiple Kill Vehicle. MKV-R, as it is known, will counter complex ballistic missile threats during the midcourse phase of flight with multiple kill vehicles launched from a single interceptor.







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