Russia open to missile defence cooperation with NATO

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Russia is open to cooperation with NATO on missile defence but the partnership must be equal, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday.

"We proceed from the fact that if it's equal cooperation... then such cooperation is quite possible," Lavrov told reporters on the sidelines of a G20 summit in the South Korean capital.

"Strategic partnership should be built on an equal basis."

His comments came just before a scheduled weekend meeting between US President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev, on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Yokohama.

Moscow's Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said last month his country is open to talks on NATO's planned European missile shield but wants to play an equal role in developing it.

"The most important thing for us is firstly to define what are the real threats to Europe, and secondly is to see Russia put on an equal footing as a participant," Serdyukov said in an interview with German weekly Der Spiegel.

"It is only thus can an anti-missile defence system be put in place which satisfies everyone."

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

© 2010 AFP

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