Russia urges U.S., Europe for joint assessment of missile threats
MOSCOW, February 6 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow highlighted the need to carry out an assessment of missile threats jointly with both Washington and Europe in response to U.S. plans to deploy missile defense elements in Romania.
Romanian President Traian Basescu said on Thursday his country welcomes talks with the United States on a plan to deploy interceptor missiles as part of the U.S. missile shield to protect European allies.
"We would like to stress again that our position ... is based on the need to conduct a joint assessment of emerging missile threats," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Friday.
A U.S. State Department official said earlier the facilities in Romania are due to become operational by 2015 and are designed as protection against "current and emerging ballistic missile threats from Iran."
U.S. President Barack Obama scrapped missile shield plans for Poland and the Czech Republic last year, which infuriated Russia. But Washington announced a new scheme for a more flexible system, with a combination of land- and sea-based interceptors, to be deployed in Central Europe by 2015.
The Foreign Ministry admitted that Russia is concerned about the issue which it said will be raised at discussions with U.S. and European partners.
"In case real threats arise, it will also be possible to consider joint military responses. But it would be politically and economically expensive to start up with that," the ministry said.
The ministry urged a balanced collective action of all countries for the sake of peace and stability in Europe. "Other approaches could harm the interests of European and global security," the ministry said.
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Friday Moscow "expects the United States to provide an exhaustive explanation" on Romania.
On Saturday, Lavrov presents Russia's concept of a new pan-European security treaty at an international conference in Munich.
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