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Europe missile shield must be safe for Russia - Medvedev

RIA Novosti

14:59 14/05/2011

MOSCOW, May 14 (RIA Novosti) - Russian President Dmitry Medvedev sent a letter to the Russia-NATO Council asking for guarantees that the European missile defense project would be safe for Russia, the Kremlin press service said on Saturday.

The U.S. has said it plans to deploy a missile shield over Europe to provide defense against the 'rogue states' such as Iran, which has aroused Russia's concerns over its own security.

"The letter said the European missile defense shield would only be truly effective and feasible if Russia is involved in the project on an equal basis, and asked for reliable guarantees that the missile shield in Europe would not undermine strategic stability or be targeted at any of the parties," the Kremlin press service said.

After years of dispute over the issue, Russia and NATO agreed to cooperate on the missile defense shield at a summit in Lisbon in November. But the sides remain in dispute over how the shield should be implemented. NATO favors two separate shields which exchange information, and Russia is pushing for a joint system.

The United States and Romania announced last week a deal to deploy missile interceptors in Romania as part of its plant to erect a missile shield over Europe.

The move immediately drew criticism from Russia, which fears the scheme may compromise its security by weakening its nuclear missile arsenal.

On May 4, Brussels hosted a meeting of the chiefs of general staff of the Russia-NATO Council. Nikolai Makarov representing Russia then said that Moscow was ready to discuss any constructive proposals on the shield but NATO must guarantee that the new project would not jeopardize Russia's nuclear potential.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on May 12 in Washington that cooperation with Russia on a European missile defense shield was important, but failed to mend the critical rift between the two sides on the issue.

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