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Russia, U.S. will agree on missile defense data exchange system - U.S. envoy

RIA Novosti

10:58 03/10/2011

MOSCOW, October 3 (RIA Novosti) - Russia and the United States will sign an agreement on the information exchange system of the European missile defense shield during the NATO-Russia Council summit in Chicago in May 2012, Ambassador to Moscow John Beyrle said in an interview with Russian business daily Kommersant.

"I am convinced that by the next NATO summit, which will be held in Chicago in 2012, we will have already got a Russian-NATO agreement on the missile defense," Beyrle told Kommersant.

The Ambassador said the information exchange system will include an exchange of technology as well as two command centers aimed at tracking missile launches all over the world and analyzing possible threats.

Russia is insisting on a joint system with full-scale interoperability to ensure that NATO's system will not be directed against Moscow. The alliance, however, favors two independent systems which exchange information.

Russia and NATO agreed to cooperate on European missile defense system at the Lisbon Summit in November 2010. President Dmitry Medvedev proposed a system in which Russia would be responsible for shooting down missiles aimed at NATO members but passing through Russia's airspace or sector, with NATO members committing to protect Russia in a similar fashion.

Russian-U.S. controversy on the European missile defense issue should be considered as a positive sign rather than a failure, as the talks are still proceeding, Beyrle said.

NATO has refused to provide legally binding guarantees that its missiles would not be directed against Russia, which Moscow says is the only way to prevent a new arms race.

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