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US And Russia Could Cooperate On Missile Defense

Schematic of the ABM shield in Europe. Graphic courtesy AFP.
by Staff Writers
Tyumen, Siberia (RIA Novosti) Mar 07, 2007
The United States is prepared to cooperate with Russia on missile defense, the U.S. Ambassador in Russia said Tuesday. William Burns, who is on a tour of Siberia, said both countries should continue a serious dialogue to clarify their respective positions and work out controversial issues.

Russia, which has long been anxious about the opening of NATO bases in former Communist-bloc countries and ex-Soviet republics, has strongly criticized recently announced U.S. plans to deploy an anti-ballistic missile system in Central Europe as a national security threat and a destabilizing factor for Europe.

Burns reiterated that the deployment of a U.S. missile shield in Europe would not pose a threat to Russia's national security, and suggested that both countries could cooperate on missile defense.

Washington continues to insist that the proposed deployment of missile defense elements in Poland and the Czech Republic are intended to counter possible strikes from North Korea and Iran, which are involved in long-running disputes with the international community over their nuclear programs.

Addressing the issues of NATO expansion closer to Russian borders and the possible accession of Ukraine and Georgia to the alliance, Burns said that while the question was extremely complicated, it nevertheless reflected the will of the peoples and governments of the two countries to join NATO.

Moscow strongly opposes the drive by Georgia and Ukraine to join the Western military alliance and the establishment of NATO bases on the territory of Russia's former Soviet allies in the Baltic Region and Central Asia.

The ambassador said that the United States is mindful of Russia's concerns over the issue, and added that the NATO-Russia Council was set up specifically to act as an important instrument for the resolution of existing disagreements.

Source: RIA Novosti

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Pentagon Officials To Visit Ukraine For Missile Defence Talks
Kiev (AFP) March 06, 2007
A Pentagon delegation is to visit Ukraine next week to discuss US plans to extend an anti-missile shield into neighbouring Poland and the Czech Republic, Defence Minister Anatoly Grytsenko said Tuesday. "To determine Ukraine's position on this matter we need detailed information on the elements of the shield that the United States plans on deploying on Polish and Czech territory," he told the Interfax news agency.

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