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Russia to Prepare Missile Defense Proposals For NATO

Missile Defense LaunchRussian President Dmitry Medvedev has directed the formation of a working group to brainstorm ideas for missile defense collaboration with NATO, Interfax reported yesterday (see GSN, Feb. 18).

Participants "will suggest areas of possible missile defense cooperation with NATO with due account of Russia's interests in the formation of the European missile defense network," stated the presidential directive. The group's membership is to be offered for approval by the middle of next month.

- - The Kremlin's envoy to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, is leading the group. Last week, he received the position of special representative for missile defense interaction with the alliance.

The working group is to write the presidential directives relating to Russia-NATO missile defense matters (Interfax, Feb. 21).

Rogozin on Friday said he anticipates advancements in the Russia-NATO missile defense talks no later than July, RIA Novosti reported.

The diplomat said he views his new role as "a task to provide Russia's national security in conditions when the U.S. and NATO have begun the active phase of implementing a missile shield in Europe."

A Russia-NATO report is expected in June on areas of potential missile defense collaboration. The two military powers presently have notably differing views on what that cooperation should entail, with the alliance calling for separate systems that allow the sides to exchange data on missile threats. The Kremlin wants to see a combined "sectoral" system in which each side would assume responsibility for eliminating missiles flying above specific geographical regions.

"I hope that by this June, when a meeting of defense ministers of the Russia-NATO Council takes place, the Russian delegation would reach certain progress towards agreements with NATO under which the (missile shield) system does not put into question our strategic nuclear potential, which is the basis and guarantee of our sovereignty and independence," Rogozin said.

Moscow has long been wary of U.S. and NATO plans to field missile defense infrastructure in Europe, seeing in the initiatives an underlying scheme to undermine the Russian nuclear deterrent.

The United States has proposed the phased fielding of sea- and land-based missile interceptors around the continent as a safeguard against missile attacks from the Middle East. That plan is to be folded into a broader NATO program for membership-wide missile defense (RIA Novosti, Feb. 18).

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Russia, Nuclear Issues, Missile Defense - Russia, NATO - Russia News - Russia - Johnson's Russia List

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