Russian president voices concerns over European missile defense system

13:08, May 15, 2011      

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Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has sent a letter to the Russia-NATO Council, voicing Russia's concerns over the European missile defense project, the official Kremlin press service said Saturday.

In his letter, Medvedev attached great importance to Russia's participation in the European missile defense system and asked for guarantees that the system would not target his country.

"The letter said the European missile defense shield would only be truly effective and feasible if Russia is involved in the project on an equal basis and (Medvedev) asked for reliable guarantees that the missile shield in Europe would not undermine strategic stability or be targeted at any of the parties," the Kremlin press service said.

Moscow has long opposed the deployment of NATO missile defense facilities near its borders, saying they would be a security threat to the country and upset the strategic balance of power in Europe.

Russia agreed to cooperate with NATO's new missile defense program last November. However, Russian Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov on Friday confirmed that Russia so far has not received any official response concerning President Medvedev's initiative about creating a European missile shield.

The Russia-NATO Council, which is called the NATO-Russia Council by the alliance, was launched in 2002 as a mechanism of dialogue for NATO allies and Russia. The council usually meets at ambassadorial level although it could also be convened at the levels of minsters or heads of state.

Source: Xinhua

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