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U.S. Renews Call for Russia to Participate in Missile Shield

The United States on Tuesday renewed urging Russia to participate in an emerging European framework for ballistic missile defense, arguing that cooperation was the only way for Moscow's fears of a threat to its nuclear missile forces to be put to rest, RIA Novosti reported (see GSN, June 25).

"Close cooperation between Russia and the United States and NATO is the best and most enduring way for Russia to gain the assurance that European missile defenses cannot and will not undermine its strategic deterrent," Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance Frank Rose said in remarks to an antimissile forum in Paris.

With support from NATO, the United States is in the process of fielding sea- and land-based missile interceptors around Europe that are intended to protect the continent from the evolving Iranian ballistic missile threat. The deployment of the antimissile assets is slated to wrap up in 2020.

NATO and Russia have held a series of discussions about areas for potential collaboration in missile defense but have been unable to reach an agreement. That is largely due to Moscow's concerns that future-generation U.S. interceptors deployed under the shield will secretly target its long-range nuclear-armed missiles. The Kremlin has demanded legally enforceable assurances from Washington and Brussels that this would not be the case, but the Obama administration thus far has offered only verbal pledges on the matter.

Washington is open to a "political framework for cooperation that includes a statement that our missile defenses are not oriented toward Russia," Rose said in Paris.

"Russia is not being asked to blindly trust us. Through cooperation, Russia would see firsthand that this system is designed for the ballistic missile threat from outside the Euro-Atlantic area, and that NATO missile defense systems will not undermine Russia’s strategic nuclear deterrent capabilities," the U.S. diplomat said (RIA Novosti I, July 4).

Rose noted that the 28-member Western military alliance has agreed to spend in excess of $1 billion for communication electronics and command-and-control assets to support the missile shield, according to RIA Novosti (RIA Novosti II, July 4).

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GSN ceased publication on July 31, 2014. Its articles and daily issues will remain archived and available on NTI’s website.

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