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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Russia Rejects US Offer to Jointly Create Missile Defence System

Russia has no plans to allow a U.S. missile defense shield onto its soil, Reuters quoted Russian Foreign Ministry as saying on Saturday, after a senior source said Moscow was ready to discuss a collective system against any attack by rogue states.

“This information is incorrect and absolutely does not reflect Russia’s position on missile defense,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin said in a brief statement.

On Friday a senior Russian Foreign Ministry source said Russia could host the shield on its own territory if the United States rethinks plans for a system on Russia’s borders.

President Bush telephoned his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, this week to offer consultations on his plan to base a radar station in the Czech Republic and a missile battery in Poland.

Washington says the system is needed as defense from “rogue states” like North Korea and Iran. Russia rejects that argument and says the shield threatens its security.

The senior foreign ministry source said he hoped the consultations would eventually lead to Washington switching to a collective defense system, involving Russia.

“If there is a threat from North Korea or Iran then it would make sense to use our territory. And why shouldn’t we do that?” said the source.

He said a year ago NATO and Russia had been in talks about a joint missile defense system but those negotiations had been broken off “apparently because the United States wanted to develop its own, unilateral system”.

Since Bush and Putin spoke on Wednesday “we are hearing from U.S. representatives a readiness for partnership on the missile shield”, he added.
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