Medvedev to present missile defence vision at NATO: Kremlin

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President Dmitry Medvedev will lay out his vision for joint missile defence with the West when he addresses the weekend NATO summit, a top Kremlin official said in comments released Friday.

Despite a lukewarm response from Europe, Medvedev has pushed for a common European security strategy uniting the continent that was long split between the West and the Soviet bloc.

"During his address, President Medvedev will voice a number of ideas about how we shall build cooperation in the missile defense sphere in the coming years," said his top foreign policy aide Sergei Prikhodko.

"We believe that the Euro-Atlantic process has indeed been set in motion and we have a good opportunity to work to finally remove dividing lines, move towards a common indivisible security space," he told reporters in the Kremlin.

"Decisions will be taken in the next few years but the consequences will influence the nature of cooperation for decades to come."

At the summit, Russia would like NATO to put its declared willingness to cooperate with Russia on missile defence on paper, Prikhodko said.

"We would like the importance of joint participation in missile defence, which would ensure security, to be reflected in the documents in one way or another," he said.

Moscow, however, will not expect too much too early. "We are realists, we will not ask for the impossible."

US President Barack Obama, who will also attend the gathering, has shelved an initiative by his predecessor George W. Bush to place an anti-missile radar facility in the Czech Republic and interceptors in Poland, opting for what he says is more a flexible system.

Russia and NATO are also expected to agree on a number of documents, including on "reverse transit", which would allow NATO to ship non-lethal cargo from Afghanistan, and common threats, the Kremlin said.

The NATO-Russia summit will mark the highest-level meeting between the two sides since the war between Russia and the pro-Western former Soviet state of Georgia in August 2008 severely strained relations.

© 2010 AFP

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