Russian-NATO joint missile-defense viable option - envoy
16:01 29/09/2009 MOSCOW, September 29 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow believes it would be possible to establish a missile-defense system jointly with NATO, Russia's envoy to the military alliance said on Tuesday.
"If we are convinced that the European missile-defense initiative is not part of a U.S. theater missile-defense system, such efforts are possible," Dmitry Rogozin said.
U.S. President Barack Obama announced on September 17 that Washington would not deploy missile-defense elements in the Czech Republic and Poland due to a re-assessment of the threat from Iran, refocusing U.S. missile defenses on a more flexible approach.
NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in Washington on Monday that the Western alliance and Russia should consider linking their missile defense systems, an idea in general welcomed by Russia.
Rogozin said Russia was closely studying the Western initiatives but "it is too soon to say how this will pan out."
Speaking at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Rasmussen invited Russia to work with the bloc on a joint assessment of security challenges, adding that NATO, the United States and Russia had shared interests in working to prevent the proliferation of intercontinental ballistic missile technology.
The NATO chief also said Russia should join the alliance's efforts to pressure Iran to renounce its nuclear plans.
President Dmitry Medvedev has said Russia is ready to continue missile defense cooperation with the U.S. and Europe, praising the recent U.S. decisions on missile defense as "sensible."
According to the Obama administration's new plan, land-based missile-defense shields will not be implemented before 2015. Sea-based defenses will be operating in the Mediterranean up to 2015.
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