France calls for dialogue on US antimissile system

21st February 2007, Comments 0 comments

MOSCOW, Feb 21, 2007 (AFP) - French Defence Minister Michele Alliot-Marie called Wednesday for a "true dialogue" on the US plan to install an anti-missile defence system in Poland and the Czech Republic, which has drawn angry reactions from Moscow.

MOSCOW, Feb 21, 2007 (AFP) - French Defence Minister Michele Alliot-Marie called Wednesday for a "true dialogue" on the US plan to install an anti-missile defence system in Poland and the Czech Republic, which has drawn angry reactions from Moscow.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, speaking together with Alliot-Marie, emphasized that Moscow has never said the planned missile shield was "directed against Russia," though he restated doubts about US claims the shield was meant to protect against Iranian or North Korean weapons.

Alliot-Marie said she hoped for "a true dialogue, the kind of transparency that makes it possible to avoid all ulterior motives and suspicions," speaking after a meeting in Moscow of the Franco-Russian Cooperation Council.

"That is what I am calling on my NATO colleagues and American colleagues for," she said.

Washington's plan to install in eastern Europe elements of a missile shield system, which it says is meant to protect against possible missile attacks on Europe from "rogue states" such as Iran or North Korea, has provoked sharp Russian protest.

According to Russian experts, the planned anti-missile system "doesn't allow the stated objective to be achieved: intercepting missiles launched from Iran or North Korea," Lavrov said.

Alliot-Marie also met with new Russian Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, who was named to the post last week when former Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov, thought to be a potential successor to President Vladimir Putin, was promoted to first deputy prime minister.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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