NATO outlines vision for cooperation with Russia on missile defense

15:23, January 20, 2011      

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The NATO chief said on Wednesday that the alliance and Russia should develop "two independent, but coordinated systems" while conducting cooperation on anti-missile shield in Europe.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on his website that "in the first half of 2011, we have to move ahead with our decision to develop practical cooperation with Russia on missile defense."

In November, NATO and Russian leaders agreed in Lisbon to explore the potential of co-building a missile defense system in Europe. However, the two are still deeply divided on the ways to cooperate.

Fogh Rasmussen said that "the vision of the alliance is for two independent, but coordinated systems, working back-to-back" by exchanging information and developing potential sync.

"Russia will know without doubt that the system cannot be directed against her. And we will do our utmost to offer her transparency on NATO's missile defense system," he said.

The NATO chief asserted that by having two independent systems, NATO and Russia can "avoid outsoucing our security to one another."

"NATO security is based on collective defense. And I assume that Russia, as a strong and independent nation, also wants to be fully in control of its own defense systems," he said.

It is remained to be seen whether Russia will embrace NATO chief's vision on missile defense cooperation. Russia officials have said that the cooperation should not be confined to date sharing, the proposed system must involve mutual protection in which NATO shoots down missiles aimed at Russia, and Russia shoots down missiles aimed at NATO.

In addition, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has given a stark warning that if Russia and NATO failed to agree on missile defense," it could be a new arms race coming our way."

Source: Xinhua

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