Global Security Newswire
Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues
NATO Hopes Putin Will Maintain Efforts to Reach Missile Defense Deal
The head of NATO expressed hope on Monday that Russia under the leadership of Vladimir Putin will continue efforts to reach an agreement on European missile defense, the Associated Press reported on Monday (see GSN, March 2).
Putin was re-elected to the presidency on Sunday in voting that was quickly criticized by election observers for instances of fraud.
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he would like to see the Western military bloc and Russia find a way to collaborate on missile defense as "both Russia and NATO would benefit from such cooperation."
The former Cold War antagonists have engaged in discussions for more a year on areas for potential antimissile collaboration in Europe. An agreement has so far proved out of reach largely due to Kremlin suspicions that U.S. missile interceptors planned for deployment around Europe would be secretly aimed against Russia's long-range nuclear weapons. The alliance maintains its shield is intended to defend against feared ballistic missile strikes from the Middle East.
As prime minister, Putin has been critical of U.S. and NATO missile defense plans for the continent and has accused Washington of backing away from proposals that could have led to a deal.
At the core of NATO's missile defense plans is a U.S. effort to through 2020 field increasingly advanced interceptors in Poland and Romania and on warships that would dock in Spain. Kremlin demands that NATO and the United States provide binding guarantees that the interceptors will not be aimed at Russian strategic forces have been rejected.
Rasmussen said he anticipated Putin would participate in an alliance summit this May in Chicago in the event a deal is struck on missile defense. "But ... Chicago will not be the end of the story, because we will continue talks, negotiations with Russia beyond our meeting in Chicago" (Associated Press/Boston Globe, March 5).
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