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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

EU criticizes Russian plans to deploy missiles near Poland

RIA Novosti

07/11/2008 17:17 PARIS, November 7 (RIA Novosti) - The announcement by President Dmitry Medvedev of Russia's plans to deploy Iskander missile systems near Poland harms European security, France said on Friday in its role as EU president.

Medvedev said on Wednesday is his state of the nation address that Russia would be forced to deploy short-range Iskander missile systems in its western exclave of Kaliningrad in response to the United States' missile shield plans for Central Europe.

"The presidency of the Council of the European Union expresses serious concern over the statement by President Medvedev on the deployment of the Iskander missile system in the Kaliningrad Region," the French Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"This statement does not help in establishing a climate of mutual trust and improving European security, while we are seeking dialogue with Russia on security issues on the entire European continent, and Russia itself has made several proposals in that respect," the statement said.

Washington said on Thursday it had provided new proposals to ease Russia's concerns over the planned deployment of 10 U.S. missiles in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic, which the United States said were needed to counter possible attacks from "rogue" states like Iran.

Russia's Foreign Ministry said on Friday Moscow was studying the proposals.

Relations between Russia and the European Union strained after the August war between Russia and Georgia, which had attacked breakaway South Ossetia. The EU froze talks on a new partnership deal with Russia in response.

Russia and the EU are due to hold a summit on November 13-14, when they are expected to continue unofficial talks on a pan-European security treaty.

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