Monday, July 4, 2011

Russia warns NATO over missile defense shield plans

At a NATO-Russia Council meeting in Sochi, the Kremlin warned the Western military alliance against unilaterally building a defense shield in Eastern Europe. The two also remain at loggerheads over the conflict in Libya.

According to Russian president Dmitry Medvedev, the pleasant weather in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Monday was reflected in the relationship between Russia and NATO.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev (right) with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh RasmussenMedvedev (right) joked with Rasmussen in Sochi"Good weather, good relations," Medvedev joked in front of reporters during the final press conference in Sochi.

All politeness aside, however, it was clear from the start that contentious issues would dominate this meeting: on the one hand, the ongoing dispute over how NATO should carry on in Libya and, on the other, Russia's opposition to Western plans for a missile defense system in Eastern Europe.

The Kremlin fears the missile defense plans threaten Russia's national security. For Medvedev, a compromise is only possible if Russia is allowed to take part in any future European defense system.

"On the basis of such decisions we can build a strategic partnership, according to the principle that our security cannot be divided, on mutual confidence, transparency, predictability; and on the whole this would enhance global security and would be in the interests of the people who live in our countries," Medvedev said. (read more)