US vows to go ahead with missile shield
Washington, May 11 (IANS/RIA Novosti) The US and NATO will proceed with its European missile defence programme despite Russia's concerns while continuing to seek Moscow's cooperation on the issue.
It was stated by US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Gordon while addressing members the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee Thursday.
"NATO continues to seek cooperation with Russia on missile defense in order to enhance our individual capabilities to counter this threat," Gordon said.
He, however, added that "while we strive for cooperation, we have also been frank in our discussions with Russia that we will continue to develop and deploy our missile defenses, irrespective of the status of missile defense cooperation with Russia."
The US and NATO say the shield will come into full operation by around 2020 and is to protect against "rogue" states such as Iran.
But Russia insists the system is a threat to its national security and is seeking written guarantees from NATO that it will not be used against Russia's strategic nuclear deterrent.
Russia's military and political leadership have repeatedly warned their western partners that if talks fail, Moscow may take a series of measures including deployment of Iskander short-range nuclear-capable ballistic missiles in the Kaliningrad exclave.--IANS/RIA Novosti
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