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Moscow expects more information on NATO Euro-missile defense plans

RIA Novosti

16:45 01/11/2010

MOSCOW, November 1 (RIA Novosti) - Moscow expects to get more information on NATO's plans for the European missile defense before the Russia-NATO summit in Lisbon, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

"We would like to have more information before the summit on how our partners in NATO see Russia's possible participation in such a system," Lavrov said.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen expressed hope that Russia would drop its objections to the planned anti-missile defense shield in eastern Europe.

Russia has retained a staunch opposition to the deployment of anti-missile defense systems near its borders, claiming they would be a security threat. NATO and the United States insist that the shield would defend NATO territories against missiles from North Korea and Iran and would not be directed at Russia.

"It [the assessment of threats and challenges conducted by Moscow and Brussels] is now being completed," Lavrov said adding that among the threats, challenges and risks of missile proliferation are also under consideration. "I hope that by the summit in Lisbon we will be able to reach a common understanding on what the risks are and where exactly they come from ... This is a very important stage of our work together."

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has proposed drawing up a pan-European security pact instead of the shield, although Western nations and NATO are extremely reluctant to support the plan.

Medvedev surprised NATO member states last week by agreeing to attend the NATO summit in Lisbon November 19-20, at which European defense will be a key topic of discussion.

Rasmussen dismissed the idea that Russia is likely to become a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in the near future and called instead for a "strategic partnership" with Moscow.

Rasmussen will visit Moscow on November 3 to discuss the Euro-missile defense, cooperation on Afghanistan and the fight against international terrorism and sea piracy.

Earlier this month, the military alliance invited Russia to attend a NATO summit in Lisbon in late November, while Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will attend the Russia-NATO Council summit, part of the Lisbon summit, on November 20.

Topics on the agenda will include such priorities as Euro-Atlantic security, regional conflicts, disarmament, nonproliferation, international terrorism, missile defense and arms control.

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