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NATO chief for discussing missile shield in Russia-NATO Council

RIA Novosti

26/03/2007 17:31 BRUSSELS, March 26 (RIA Novosti) - NATO's secretary general said the proposed deployment of a U.S. missile shield in Central Europe had to be discussed within the Russia-NATO Council.

Jaap de Hoop Scheffer also said the issue should be made transparent for Russia, following the U.S. announcement in January that it planned to place elements of its missile defense system in the Czech Republic and Poland to counter possible attacks from Iran or North Korea. Moscow has strongly criticized the move, saying it threatened Russia's security.

Some European officials, namely in Germany, have called for a discussion of the issue within organizations to which Poland and the Czech Republic belong, including the European Union. But the EU foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, said no such discussions had taken place yet.

Solana said it was too early to talk of any split, because no formal discussion had yet taken place. He added that he would recommend the issue be raised within the EU to consider the consequences the move could have for Russia and the EU relations with Moscow.

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