French, Russian Leaders to Discuss European Antimissile Plan

An entrenched dispute over a planned European antimissile system is one anticipated subject of a meeting in Paris next month between French President Francois Hollande and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Interfax reported on Wednesday (see GSN, May 30).

The United States is working with NATO to establish a shield that would protect Europe from ballistic missile attacks. The alliance contends the system is intended to counter threats from Iran, but Russian leaders have said it could ultimately be aimed at their nation's long-range nuclear forces. Several rounds of discussions have failed to produce an agreement under which the sides might collaborate in establishing the antimissile defense.

The international standoff over Iranian atomic activities is another planned focus for the session slated for the latter part of June (see related GSN story, today). It would also take up matters including establishment of "a new security architecture in the Euro-Atlantic region" and "prospects for cooperation between Russia and NATO," Putin staffer Yuri Ushakov said (Interfax I, May 30).

Separately, Putin on Wednesday said the new Russian aerospace defense forces are engaged in activities pertaining to antimissile and aerial security, ballistic missile strike alerts and exoatmospheric operations, Interfax reported (see GSN, Dec. 1, 2011).

"Very soon, two new radar stations -- in Armavir and Irkutsk -- are due to be commissioned, while the measures envisaged by plans to deploy the aerospace defense [forces] are due to be completed by 2020," he said (Interfax II, May 30).

Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev said key focuses of the government body include "the threat of missile defense deployment in Europe."

The council also addresses "the situation with the Iranian nuclear program," he told the Rossiyskaya Gazeta in remarks made public on Wednesday (Interfax III, May 30).

May 31, 2012
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An entrenched dispute over a planned European antimissile system is one anticipated subject of a meeting in Paris next month between French President Francois Hollande and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Interfax reported on Wednesday.

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