NATO to offer Russia access to US satellite data: Report

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov welcomes NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen in Moscow, Nov. 3, 2010.

From AFP:  NATO will offer Russia access to some US military satellite data in exchange for its participation in a missile shield project for continental Europe, a Moscow newspaper reported Friday.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta cited a NATO source as saying that the deal involves a proposal to share information about missile and other threats, and to grant Russia access to some US satellite intelligence imagery, including about countries such as North Korea.

"By joining the NATO ABM system … Moscow could strengthen the territorial security of Russia by receiving ‘certain information’ from US satellites — for example, images of the DPRK (North Korea)," the newspaper wrote, citing its NATO source.

The offer’s other elements include "an exchange of data with US and potentially NATO sensors, and an exchange of information about early warnings about missile launches," the NATO source was quoted as saying.

Russia would also be offered broader political consultations that give Moscow a chance to voice any potential concerns about the shield, and invited to joint NATO exercises and training sessions, the report said.

NATO officials in Brussels appeared surprised by the Moscow news report.

"I don’t know what it’s talking about," NATO spokesman James Appathurai said when asked about the Nezavisimaya Gazeta story.

"It’s the first time I’ve heard of this," Appathurai said when contacted by AFP. (photo: Getty)

Image: getty%2011%203%2010%20Anders%20Fogh%20Rasmussen%20Sergei%20Lavrov.jpg