Joint Russia-NATO missile shield not workable: Rasmussen

Moscow, March 28 (IANS/RIA Novosti) NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen has said a unified missile shield under joint Russia-NATO command is not a workable approach.

Rasmussen was asked to assess the potential of missile defence systems under joint Russia-NATO command during his address at an International Model Russia-NATO Council meeting in Moscow.
“I do not think the most efficient way would be to have a unified, integrated system,” Rasmussen said Wednesday, adding that “the right way forward would be to have a Russian system and a NATO system, but to make sure that these two systems work together”.
Rasmussen explained that he would like to see two separate but jointly-staffed missile defence system centers – one Russian, one NATO – that cooperate in fighting threats, exchange key data, work together to analyze and assess new threats, and hold exercises.
Russia and NATO initially agreed to cooperate on the so-called European missile defence system at the Lisbon summit in November 2010.
However, further talks between Moscow and the alliance have foundered over NATO’s refusal to commit to a joint system and to grant Russia legal guarantees that the NATO system would not be aimed against Russia’s strategic nuclear deterrent.
The alliance has vowed to continue developing and deploying its missile defences, regardless of the status of missile defence cooperation with Russia.
The US announced earlier in March that plans to install the fourth and final phase of its missile interception system in Poland have been abandoned in favour of installing 14 new ground-based interceptors in Alaska.
Moscow welcomed the move but said it was not enough to alleviate Russia’s concerns.
Russia and the US have recently agreed to resume regular consultations on missile defence at a deputy ministerial level and address the issue at a security conference in Moscow due to take place May 23-24.
–IANS/RIA Novosti