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Russia to discuss changes in US missile defense plans

Source : IANS
Last Updated: Wed, Mar 20, 2013 22:50 hrs

Moscow, March 21 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Security officials from Russia and the US will meet in May to discuss a recent Washington decision to curtail its planned European missile defence system, a Russian defence official said Wednesday.

Hailing Washington's change of course on its European missile programme, Deputy Defence Minister Anatoly Antonov, however, said further talks would be needed to clarify the significance of the move.

"This is an important decision, but we would like to discuss it with our colleagues from the United States and the European Union to understand how it will impact on our security," Antonov said.

Antonov said talks could be held at a security conference in Moscow due to take place May 23-24.

US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, leading European security officials, and the heads of the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization and NATO are expected to attend.

The US announced last Friday 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 has been vehemently opposed to the European missile shield initiative since its inception under the previous US administration, describing it as a threat to its strategic defences.

NATO and the US insist the European shield is designed to defend NATO members against missiles from potential threats in North Korea and Iran, and would not be directed at Russia.

--IANS/RIA Novosti

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