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Russia sees lack of progress in missile talks with NATO


10:18, September 21, 2012

MOSCOW, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- Moscow and NATO have made little progress in missile defense talks, Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said Thursday.

"Unfortunately, currently there is no real advancement. Moreover, NATO has announced the initial readiness of the missile defense shield. That means we effectively face the 'fait accompli' policy," Grushko told Interfax news agency during an interview.

Despite the lack of progress, Grushko said, Moscow has not closed the window for talks with NATO about its European missile shield.

During the 2010 NATO summit in Lisbon, Portugal, the leaders vowed to develop a NATO missile defense system in Europe, with Russia invited to cooperate as part of a broader "reset" of its relations with the alliance.

"Implementation of that project could actually change the very essence of relations between Russia and NATO," Grushko said.

The missile issue will be a key topic during an upcoming meeting between Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly, Grushko said.

Grushko said the two sides will also discuss situations in Afghanistan where Russia cooperates with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force.

Moscow has always opposed the deployment of U.S.-led European missile defense facilities near its borders and has called for legally binding guarantees from the U.S. and NATO that the missile shield will not target Russia.

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