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US, Russia to continue missile defence talks

The US and Russia will continue talks on the issue of a proposed European missile shield in St. Petersburg (Aug 11-12), the US Department of State has said.



Washington: The US and Russia will continue talks on the issue of a proposed European missile shield in St. Petersburg (Aug 11-12), the US Department of State has said.

Ellen Tauscher, the US under secretary of state for arms Cntrol and International Security, will meet with chief Russian negotiator on the issue, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov.

"Tauscher is scheduled to meet with her Russian colleague Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov. They will continue talks on missile defence cooperation," a state department official told reporters.

Russia and NATO have agreed at a Russia-NATO summit in Lisbon in November 2010 to work on the missile shield but NATO wants it to be based on two independent systems that exchange information, while Russia favours a joint system with full-scale interoperability.

Russia has retained staunch opposition to the planned deployment of US missile defence systems near its borders, claiming they would be a security threat.

NATO and the US insist that the shield would defend NATO members against missiles from North Korea and Iran and would not be directed at Russia.

Moscow wants legally binding guarantees that NATO missile defence systems will not be directed against it.
The European missile shield issue is widely considered a tester for the future of Russian-US relations, especially in light with the upcoming general and presidential elections in both the countries.

IANS

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