A senior U.S. diplomat today reaffirmed the Obama administration's desire to collaborate with Russia in developing antimissile systems in Europe, Agence France-Presse reported (see GSN, Oct. 25).
"It's absolutely clear we want to do this cooperatively with Russia," Assistant Secretary of State Philip Gordon said in Berlin. "Russia faces the same potential threat as Europe," he added.
The Obama administration has plans to deploy land- and sea-based missile interceptors around Europe in coming years as a defense against missile threats, notably from Iran. Meanwhile, NATO at its summit next month is expected to decide whether to officially include missile defense as an alliance objective. An affirmative decision would open the door for a program to integrate and augment the antimissile operations of the 28 NATO nations.
Moscow, eyeing potential threats to Russian security, has been wary of the U.S. and NATO plans. President Dmitry Medvedev is scheduled to attend the summit in Lisbon, Portugal.
Washington, as one collaborative measure, has "proposed resuming theater missile defense exercises with Russia," according to Gordon. However, "there are lots of different options on the table once Russia signals interest in participating," he said (Agence France-Presse/Yahoo!News, Oct. 27).
Missile defense was one topic of discussion yesterday in Gordon's meeting in Moscow with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov and U.S. Ambassador to NATO Ivo Daalder, Interfax reported (Interfax, Oct. 26).
“I would expect a decision on missile cooperation to be one of the most important outcomes of the NATO-Russia summit,” NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told the Financial Times.
"Cooperation between Russia and NATO on missile defense will provide us with a very strong framework to develop a true Euro-Atlantic security architecture with one security roof," he said. "Militarily, it makes sense because cooperation between NATO and Russia will make the whole system more effective and give more coverage" (Blitz/Dombey, Financial Times, Oct. 26).
Meanwhile, Iran yesterday questioned the need for deployment of a U.S. missile-tracking radar in NATO member nation Turkey, the Mehr News Agency reported (see GSN, Oct. 15).
"We think NATO's aim to deploy military forces in the region is seriously suspicious," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast, whose government is locked in an extended standoff with the United States and other Western nations over Iran's nuclear program.
"We think the stationing of NATO military forces would disrupt security in the region," Mehmanparast said (Mehr News Agency, Oct. 26).