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US Says Remains Open For Missile Defense Talks With Russia

RIA Novosti

04:59 04/01/2013

WASHINGTON, January 4 (RIA Novosti) - The United States is still interested in missile defense cooperation with Russia, US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said on Thursday.

"In late November - early December, we had discussions again between Acting Under Secretary Rose Gottemoeller and [Russian] Deputy Foreign Minister [Sergei] Ryabkov on the missile defense issues. We remain committed to cooperating with Russia on missile defense," Nuland told journalists.

"We think this can be a win-win for both of us because we think we share the same threats. But it's going to require Russia being willing to have a real conversation about how we can work together on this, and that's been difficult," she said.

"So we remain open to working on this, and we remain open to collaboration, both bilaterally and in terms of the NATO-Russia track, but Russia has not been as open to that as we'd like them to be," the spokeswoman said.

Moscow has been irked by US plans to deploy missile defense elements in Europe. NATO and the United States insist that the shield would defend NATO members against missiles from North Korea and Iran and would not be directed at Russia.

Russia proposed a joint missile defense system, an idea that many experts both at home and abroad dismiss as unviable and unrealistic. Then it demanded "legally binding guarantees" that US/NATO missiles would not be targeted at Russia.

Since Moscow's proposal received a lukewarm response in the West, it has been warning of unspecified low-cost "asymmetric measures" to counter the future Western missile defense system.



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