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NATO and Russia fail to agree on missile shield: Rasmussen

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

BBerlin, Dec 8, IRNA -- NATO and Russia failed to reach an agreement on the controversial deployment of a missile shield in Europe, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen was quoted saying in Brussels on Thursday.

'We still have not agreed on missile defense,' he said following a meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his 28 NATO counterparts. 'But we have agreed to continue our talks on the issue,' Rasmussen added amid mounting tensions between the western military alliance and Moscow.

Lavrov had complained Wednesday that his country's 'legitimate demands are not taken into account.'

Russia wants guarantees that the shield will not be used against its missiles.

President Dmitry Medvedev stepped up the pressure last month, when he ordered military commanders to prepare to station ballistic missiles to an enclave next to Lithuania and Poland to counter the NATO missile umbrella.

Russia's NATO envoy Dmitry Rogozin warned last week of a likely military confrontation with the western military alliance over the deployment of its controversial missile shield in Poland, according to the Hamburg-based weekly news magazine Der Spiegel.

The Russian official said his country viewed the deployment of the NATO missile umbrella as a 'legitimate target' for a military attack.

He reiterated the NATO missile shield was an 'illegal weapons system.'

Rogozin pointed out that Russian Iskandar missiles were capable of 'destroying' NATO's anti-missile system if it were deployed against his country.

He labeled NATO's missile defense in Europe an 'American provocation.'

Rogozin said time was running out for a solution to the conflict over the missile umbrella ahead of NATO's next summit in Chicago.

OT**1412
Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 30701765



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