Medvedev cautious on NATO missile shield

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Russian President Dmitry Medvedev expressed caution Tuesday about NATO's planned European missile defence shield but said Moscow was open for talks on the subject.

Previous US plans to deploy an anti-missile system in former Soviet satellite states in eastern Europe angered the Kremlin, but NATO now hopes to ease these doubts by including Moscow in the planning of a broader system.

"We discussed it yesterday," Medvedev said, at a joint news conference with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel after two days of talks in France on European security.

"We heard what is being told us in relation to the idea of Russia joining global missile defence. It has been suggested that this topic will be part of discussions on our ties with NATO," he said.

"We are looking at the idea of this proposal right now. But I think NATO itself should decide how its sees Russia joining this system, what it will give, in what way agreements may be reached and how to work further.

"Only after examining this proposal will we be able to give an answer as to how we will work further in relation to European missile defence."

Medvedev added that he had accepted an invitation to NATO's summit in Lisbon next month, at which missile defence and the Western allies' broader security plan for Europe will be discussed.

© 2010 AFP

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