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U.S. Missile Defense Projects to Go Ahead Regardless of Russia's Stance - U.S. Envoy to NATO

Missile LaunchedMOSCOW/BRUSSELS. Nov 14 (Interfax) - The United States and NATO would like to cooperate with Russia in developing missile defense systems but they "cannot make cooperation with Russia a condition for us to develop missile defense when we see a threat," U.S. ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder said in an interview with Interfax.

Daalder was answering a question whether NATO would be willing to join forces with Russia in trying to identify missile threats before, not during, the practical implementation of missile defense projects.

"We have a responsibility to defend our territory and population against the threat," he said. "And we strongly believe that that threat is equally significant for Russia, and that we are better off when we can work together on countering that threat, which is both a more effective defense and a more cost-effective means."

Asked how the U.S. plans for a global missile defense system are related to NATO's missile defense project, Daalder said: "In the NATO-Russia context, what we are looking for is to cooperate on ballistic missile defense and against threats to Europe. We work together to counter those threats by joining the capabilities of NATO and Russia. We had demonstrated cooperation and exercise what NATO and Russia did in the first half of the decade from 2002 to 2008, the ability to put our systems together in a way that provides for a far more effective and cost-effective defense, and that ability and data that we get from our cooperation suggest that we can expand that kind of cooperation to territorial missile defense."

Daalder added: "The United States is developing a missile defense capability, because we see a threat, and we will continue to do that. NATO will make a decision in this case on how it is going to respond to that threat, and we will continue to do that. And in both cases, the U.S. and NATO have and will make it very clear that we want to cooperate with Russia on that. We believe that there is a threat that needs to be countered and we are going to develop missile defenses for it."


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