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US Offers To Boost Missile Cooperation with Russia

In a telephone conversation on Wednesday, President Vladimir Putin spelt out Russia's concerns about the missile plans to Bush, according to the Kremlin. A Kremlin statement said Putin had "noted with satisfaction" what it described as Bush's assurance that he was ready to discuss the issue in detail with the Russian side.
by Staff Writers
Brussels (AFP) March 29, 2007
The United States offered Thursday to boost cooperation with Russia on missile defence, including sharing technologies and research as well as developing missile defence systems.

The offer, by US ambassador to NATO Victoria Nuland, comes a day after President George W. Bush tried to assuage Russian anger over Washington's plans to build part of its missile shield in Europe.

"The United States welcomes the opportunity to discuss missile defense issues at the 19 April NATO-Russia Council meeting" in Brussels, Nuland said in a statement.

"The United States also looks forward to further discussions with the Russian Federation on bilateral cooperation and joint activity in this important field, including the potential sharing of technology and the development of compatible systems," she said.

"Possible areas of partnership with Russia could include research and development of missile defense systems, sharing of early warning data, and exercises between our forces."

Russia sees the plans to base 10 missile interceptors in Poland, a radar in the Czech Republic, and another in the Caucasus, as intimidation and has warned its old Cold War enemy it would come up with a "highly effective response."

Parts of the 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 acknowledges that it primarily protects US soil from attack by "rogue states" like Iran but that it would also shield some, though not all, European allies.

In a telephone conversation on Wednesday, President Vladimir Putin spelt out Russia's concerns about the missile plans to Bush, according to the Kremlin.

A Kremlin statement said Putin had "noted with satisfaction" what it described as Bush's assurance that he was ready to discuss the issue in detail with the Russian side.

earlier related report
Solana urges EU to debate US missile shield
Brussels (AFP) March 29 - EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana urged European Union member states on Thursday to debate US plans to install part of its missile shield in the Czech Republic and Poland.

"I think this is a subject that can and should be debated in the European Union," he told members of the European Parliament in Brussels. "The European Union is not a defence alliance but it does have a defence policy."

"We should not take decisions but it would be a mistake not to talk about these things amongst ourselves in the clearest way possible," he said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose country holds the EU's rotating presidency until the end of June, has said the anti-missile system should be debated at NATO.

Russia sees the plans to base 10 missile interceptors in Poland, a radar in the Czech Republic, and another in the Caucasus, as intimidation and has warned its old Cold War enemy it would come up with a "highly effective response."

"Any decision can effect relations with Russia," Solana said, noting that the "sovereign interests of (EU) member states must be compatible with the general interests of the European Union."

Parts of the 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 acknowledges that the system primarily protects US soil from attack by "rogue states" like Iran but that it would also shield some, though not all, European allies.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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Orbital Launches Minotaur II Target Vehicle In ABM Sensor Test
Dulles VA (SPX) Mar 30, 2007
Orbital Sciences reports that its Minotaur II rocket was successfully launched for the U.S. Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center in support of advanced sensor testing by the Missile Defense Agency. The mission was conducted on Tuesday, March 20, 2007, from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.







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