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No Need For Rushed Response To US Radar Plans In Europe Says Ivanov

Russian Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov (L) shakes hands with Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony before the sixth meeting of the Inter-Governmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation headed by the Defence Ministers of India and Russia at Ministry of Defence headquaters in New Delhi, 24 January 2007. Russian President Vladimir Putin will arrive in India on 25 January looking to reforge ties with a former Cold War ally to reflect changing global realities, officials and analysts said. Photo courtesy AFP.
by Staff Writers
New Delhi (RIA Novosti) Jan 25, 2007
Russia's defense minister said Wednesday there was no need for Moscow to respond immediately to U.S. plans to deploy ballistic missile defense systems in Central Europe. Washington officially offered to base a radar network in the Czech Republic January 20, and announced plans last Monday to start formal talks with Poland on the deployment of anti-ballistic missile systems on its territory.

The U.S. has repeatedly argued the defenses in Europe could intercept possible intercontinental ballistic missiles from "rogue" regimes, such as Iran and North Korea.

"We have long been aware of these plans of the United States," said Sergei Ivanov, who is also deputy prime minister. "I would not rush to respond [to the plans], as our strategic nuclear forces are capable of ensuring Russia's security in any scenario."

Ivanov earlier said Russia's Topol-M ground-based missile complexes reliably overcame any missile defense systems. Russia currently has five missile regiments equipped with silo-based Topol-M missiles, and one regiment equipped with mobile Topol-M systems.

But Russia has always strongly opposed the deployment of an anti-missile shield in Central Europe, describing the plans as a threat to Russian security.

Russia's Space Forces commander, Colonel General Vladimir Popovkin, said Monday the deployment was dangerous for Russia as "our strategic nuclear forces will be visible" as a result.

Ivanov said Washington had already made the decision on the matter, and that current talks with Poland and the Czech Republic were a mere formality. He added the two countries, Russia's former Communist bloc allies and now NATO members, would be glad to demonstrate their loyalty.

Officials in both countries have admitted the deployment of a U.S. missile defense system is a sensitive issue for their citizens, but said national security interests should prevail.

But Ivanov, now in India preparing for President Vladimir Putin's visit, again dismissed the argument that the American defenses were designed to protect the U.S. and Europe saying that Iran and North Korea did not have intercontinental ballistic missiles.

"Neither North Korean nor Iranian missiles can reach Europe," he said.

Ivanov earlier said the countries would not have any in the foreseeable future.

If the Czech Republic agrees, the radar can begin operating in 2011.

Source: RIA Novosti

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Czech Security Council Clears Anti-Missile Base Talks With US
Prague (AFP) Jan 24, 2007
Government leaders in the Czech Republic Wednesday approved the opening of negotiations with the United States over the siting of a US missile defence system there, President Vaclav Klaus announced. "I expressed my agreement with the fact that the State Security Council cleared negotiations to continue over this question," Klaus told journalists after the meeting.

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