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Russia Denies Readiness To Host Missile Shield

by Staff Writers
Moscow (AFP) March 31, 2007
Russia denied on Saturday that it was ready to let the United States place part of its controversial missile defence shield on Russian territory. Foreign ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin said in a statement that such reports "do not accord with reality and absolutely do not reflect Russia's position on the problem of missile defence."

His statement came after a foreign ministry official said anonymously on Friday that Russia would consider allowing the deployment on its territory of elements of a collective missile defence shield for the European continent, with US participation.

Russia has strongly objected to a US plan to install parts of an anti-missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic, a plan that Washington says is needed to protect against attack by Iran or North Korea.

Both the Czech Republic and Poland were under Moscow's control in Soviet times but they are now members of the NATO military alliance and have said that Russia has no say in their security arrangements.

earlier related report
Russia open to Europe-wide anti-missile shield
Moscow (AFP) March 30 - Russia is willing to participate in the creation of a European anti-missile defence system, a foreign ministry official said Friday. Russia has expressed strong reservations over a US proposal to install parts of an anti-missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic, saying it would threaten its national security.

President Vladimir Putin reiterated Moscow's opposition in a telephone call to his US counterpart George Bush on Wednesday.

Some European officials have argued that any anti-missile shield should cover all NATO nations.

"We must first analyse the threats that exist," the Russian official, speaking on condition of anonymity, told foreign journalists here.

"If we conclude that they are real, we are ready to participate in the creation of a collective anti-missile defence system for the European continent, with the participation of the Americans."

He said his government would consider allowing elements of such a system to be deployed in Russia.

"Some of our partners do not understand that our psychology and our vision of the world has changed," he said. "Nothing is impossible for Russia, if the attitude towards it is normal."

The United States plans to ask Russia to cooperate on anti-missile defence, the US mission to NATO said in a statement. The issue will be discussed during Russia-NATO talks in Brussels beginning April 19, it said.

Cooperation could occur in areas of technology sharing and the development of compatible systems, the US ambassador to NATO, Victoria Nuland, said in the statement.

Parts of the US shield are already in place in the United States, Britain and Greenland, and Pentagon officials say the plan is to have the system operational by 2013.

Washington wants to build a radar system in the Czech Republic and put missiles in neighbouring Poland to defend against what it says are potential attacks from "rogue" states such as Iran.

Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek said Friday his country would discuss its hosting of the controversial US shield with Moscow and NATO. But he defended plans for his country to go ahead with the project.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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EU Foreign Ministers Await NATO-Russia Talks On Missile Shield
Bremen (AFP) Germany, March 31, 2007
EU foreign ministers will await NATO talks with Russia before formally discussing US plans to install parts of an anti-missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic, the German foreign minister said Saturday.

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