Russia threatens to stop missile defence cooperation with US

October 6th, 2011 - 8:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Moscow, Oct 6 (IANS) Russia Thursday said the US approach to the deployment of a missile defence system in Europe was “unacceptable” and Moscow may stop cooperation with Washington in the missile defence field.

In a statement, the Russian foreign ministry slashed a recent US-Spain agreement on deploying a missile defence system in Europe, saying it is unacceptable to Moscow, reported Xinhua.

The statement said the plan was not discussed collectively, nor did it take into account the positions of all the countries concerned.

The US and Spain, two NATO members, announced Wednesday the deployment of four US counter-missile ships at the Rota navy base on Spain’s southwestern coast.

Russia said such a practice could negatively affect security and stability in the Euro-Atlantic region.

“If things go on the same way, then the chance to render the anti-missile defence from an issue of confrontation to an issue of cooperation, which was created at the Russia-NATO summit in Lisbon, could be lost,” said the statement.

Moscow stressed that the deployment of US anti-missile ships in Spain would lead to a substantial buildup of the US anti-missile potential in Europe.

“We see no readiness of the (US) administration to make steps toward Russia’s concerns in the key issue of legally-binding guarantees that the future anti-missile system would not target Russian strategic nuclear forces. On the contrary, we detect a tendency to widen the areas of the US anti-missile system deployment,” the statement said.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen announced on Wednesday that Spain has agreed to host US Aegis ships in Spain, and termed the deal as “an important step” for NATO’s missile defence plan in Europe.

Turkey, Poland and Romania have declared their decisions to join the US missile shield in Europe.

Moscow has long opposed the deployment of NATO missile defence facilities near its borders, saying they would pose a security threat to Russia and upset the strategic balance of force in Europe.

Moscow wants guarantees from the US and NATO that the US-led European missile defence shield is not targeting Russia.

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