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NATO, Russia disagree on US missile system for Europe

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Brussels, June 15, IRNA
NATO-DMs Meeting
NATO Defence Ministers agreed Thursday to assess by February 2008 the political and military implications for the 26-member Alliance of the US missile system in Europe.

"The NATO roadmap on missile defence is now clear," said NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, "It is clear, practical and agreed by all," he said speaking after a meeting of defence ministers of the 26-member alliance.

The NATO chief said that the study will focus on the possibility of "bolting" NATO's theatre missile defence on the US system to ensure that all of Alliance territory would be covered from missile threats.

But Russian Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov was quoted by the Russian news agency Interfax as warning NATO defence ministers meeting in Brussels that the deployment of a US radar and interceptor missiles in the Czech Republic and Poland would be an "unfriendly step.

"We see such a decision as a step aimed at destroying the existing security system, creating new dividing lines on the European continent," he was quoted as saying.

US defence secretary Robert Gates said there were no criticism by "any NATO ally of our missile defence proposal."

Gates told a press conference Thursday evening that he saw the Russian proposal to use the radar facilities in Azerbaijan "as an additional capability that we intend to proceed with the radar in the Czech Republic."

He said the US appreciated Russian President Vladimir Putin's recognition of "potential missile threat from the Middle East" and welcomed his proposal radar facilities in Azerbaijan.


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