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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Sarkozy offers talks before Russia deploys missiles near Poland

RIA Novosti

14/11/2008 16:10 NICE, November 14 (RIA Novosti) - French President Nicolas Sarkozy proposed on Friday holding a meeting on European security involving Russia and the United States before Moscow deploys missiles near Poland.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said last week Moscow would deploy Iskander missile systems in Kaliningrad, sandwiched between NATO members Lithuania and Poland, in response to Washington's missile defense plans for Poland and the Czech Republic.

Speaking at a joint news conference with Medvedev after a Russia-EU summit, Sarkozy said: "We said how concerned we are. We must do everything possible to avoid this deployment until all aspects of European security have been agreed."

Sarkozy said Medvedev had backed his proposal, and talks within the framework of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe [OSCE] could take place in June or July 2009.

Medvedev said all countries should refrain from unilateral moves threatening security until a new agreement on pan-European security has been signed.

"Until a major agreement on European security is signed, we must all avoid unilateral steps that could affect security," Medvedev said adding that his Iskander proposals were a forced reaction to decisions made by "individual European countries."

The U.S. has reached deals with Warsaw and Prague to deploy 10 interceptor missiles and a radar on their territories respectively, saying they are needed to counter possible strikes from "rogue" states. The agreements are still to be ratified by the two countries' parliaments.

Russia has fiercely opposed the plans, saying they threaten its national security.

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