NATO still hopes to link Russia to missile shield


From Vladimir Isachenkov, the AP:  NATO still hopes to engage Russia in its prospective missile defense system, but won’t yield to Moscow’s push for the shield to be run jointly, an alliance envoy said Tuesday.

James Appathurai, deputy assistant NATO Secretary General, said the alliance would like to reach a missile defense deal with Moscow by NATO’s summit in Chicago next May, but added that he wouldn’t "gamble on expectations."

"We are always, of course, optimistic at NATO," Appathurai said at a news conference. "But we are also determined to keep the hand outstretched. I can’t predict, of course, when we would arrive at agreement. . . ."

Appathurai argued that the alliance has proposed to engage Russia by sharing data and coordinating a response. He also mentioned a U.S. proposal for Moscow to have a close look at the shield’s technical capabilities and see that it won’t threaten its security.

The NATO proposals have failed to impress the Kremlin, which has continued to push for legal guarantees that the future system wouldn’t threaten Russia. . . .

Appathurai and other NATO officials and military officers opened a four-day seminar Tuesday to brief their Russian counterparts on the alliance’s missions and plans. . . .

Russian Gen. Vladimir Yakovlev, the head of the General Staff of the Russian armed forces’ academy, said meetings like this week’s seminar will help narrow differences.  (photo: NATO)

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