Failure to agree on ABM could lead to arms race: Medvedev

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Russia and the West's failure to agree on a new missile shield for Europe could lead to a new round of the arms race, President Dmitry Medvedev warned Tuesday in an annual state-of-nation address.

"In the coming 10 years, we are facing the following alternative," he said.

"Either we agree on anti-missile defence and create full-fledged, joint cooperation, or -- if we fail to reach constructive cooperation -- (we will face) a new round of the arms race," Medvedev said.

"And then we will have to make a decision on deploying new strike forces."

Russia and NATO had agreed in Lisbon this month to look into ways in which they could cooperate on a new missile shield for continental Europe that has been backed by Washington but staunchly opposed by the Kremlin.

Medvedev has demanded that Russia be assigned an equal say in how the system works -- a request that has required an unprecedented degree of military cooperation.

© 2010 AFP

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