France: NATO could give Russia missile defence guarantees

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, September 7, 2011

From DPA:  Brussels and NATO could lay to rest Kremlin fears about a planned European missile defence system by giving guarantees it was not aimed at Russia, a senior French government official said Wednesday.

‘I hope … we can give Russia the guarantees,’ said French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe. ‘It is not directed against Russia, because Russia has long been our partner.’

Juppe’s comments made at a press conference in the Russian capital Moscow marked a slight edging away from previous NATO official declarations on a missile defence system that has raised Kremlin hackles. . . .

Kremlin officials have threatened to deploy new weapons, including nuclear devices, to NATO’s border as early as 2012 in retaliation.

Russia has said ‘reliable guarantees‘ from Brussels that the NATO system could not shoot down Russian missiles would head off an impending arms race. But NATO officials in the past have avoided language suggesting Russia should receive a formal guarantee.

‘We (the French government) will do everything we can to work out the question of the guarantees,’ Juppe said, according to Interfax.  (photo: Getty)

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