Russia lashes NATO's Turkey radar plan

2nd September 2011, Comments 0 comments

Russia on Friday demanded new Western security pledges after its neighbour Turkey said it envisaged hosting an early warning radar as part of NATO's missile defence system for Europe.

The Russian foreign ministry said Turkey's radar plan would mark another step in the deployment "of the European segment of a global US missile defence system".

It also reaffirmed an earlier demand for "firm, legally-binding guarantees that the anti-missile systems deployed in Europe are not aimed at the strategic nuclear forces of Russia".

Washington has previously argued that such written pledges are not needed because they are inherent in the language of the two sides' existing nuclear disarmament agreement.

NATO's decision to push ahead with plans for a European missile defence shield despite Russia's objects has been one of the main irritants of the "reset" in relations agreed by Moscow and Washington in 2009.

Russia fears that the shield could make its nuclear forces redundant. But NATO argues that the system can only defend against small nuclear arsenals that may one day be developed by states such as Iran.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said after May talks with US President Barack Obama that an ultimate solution to the long-running row over missile defence may not happen until after 2020.

© 2011 AFP

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