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Russia demands NATO guarantees over missile shield

(Xinhua)

17:19, October 10, 2012

MOSCOW, Oct. 10 (Xinhua) -- Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday reiterated Moscow's demand for NATO's guarantees that its missile defense program in Europe will not target Russia.

Russia needs guarantees that the U.S.-led NATO missile shield would aim at only missile threats "emanating from outside the Euro-Atlantic region, that is, not from Russia," Lavrov told the Federation Council, the upper house of the parliament.

"Reliable guarantees" based on specific technical and geographic criteria are "fundamentally important for us," Lavrov added.

Acknowledging that relevant parties have not reached a settlement on this issue, the minister said Russia is willing to continue dialogue with its Western partners.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said last month that Moscow knew everything about the composition of the U.S. missile shield in Europe, including technical data about the number of interceptors, the set of launch-tracking tools and warning radars, the new platforms such as ground-based launchers and additional cruisers and destroyers.

At the 2010 NATO summit in Lisbon, Portugal, leaders agreed to install a ballistic missile defense system in Europe, and the alliance invited Russia to participate in the scheme.

Moscow has always opposed the deployment of the European missile defense facilities near its borders and has demanded legally binding guarantees from the United States and NATO that the missile shield will not target Russia.

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