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NATO deputy chief to attend missile defense meeting in Moscow

(Xinhua)

10:05, April 26, 2012

BRUSSELS, April 25 (Xinhua) -- NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow will attend a high-level conference on missile defense in Moscow next week, the alliance's spokeswoman Oana Lungescu said on Wednesday.

"This demonstrates that NATO remains committed to a serious dialogue with Russia on this key issue," she told reporters in Brussels.

"Together with the recent exercise with Russia on missile defense...and with the discussion with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov on the agenda of the Chicago summit, this shows how closely Russia and NATO continue to cooperate," she said.

Russia plans to hold an international conference on missile defense on May 3-4, clearly in a bid to address its concerns over NATO's missile defense system in Europe.

NATO insists that the anti-missile shield is not targeted at Russia, however, Moscow claims the system poses a real threat to its nuclear deterrence and national security and wants legal-binding guarantees in writing.

At the Chicago summit in May, NATO plans to declare "interim operational capability" for the system, though talks with Russia remain deadlocked.

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