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NATO chief expects joint missile defense with Russia by 2020

MOSCOW, December 17 (RIA Novosti) - NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen expressed hope on Thursday that the alliance and Russia would establish a joint missile defense system by 2020.

Addressing students at the Moscow State University of International Relations, Rasmussen said the joint shield would unite Russia and NATO politically and ensure nuclear security between the two parties.

NATO froze ties with Russia following the brief armed conflict with Georgia and the recognition by Moscow of Georgia's breakaway regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, but relations have improved in recent months.

Earlier in the month, Dmitry Rogozin, Russia's envoy to NATO, said that the military alliance and Russia had formed a working group on missile defense issues and the first meeting would be held in January.

U.S. President Barack Obama recently scrapped plans for Poland and the Czech Republic to host missile shield elements to counter possible strikes from Iran. The plans were fiercely opposed by Moscow as a security threat.












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