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France favorable to NATO missile project

Oct. 28, 2010 at 5:10 PM

PARIS, Oct. 28 (UPI) -- In a major policy shift, France now favors NATO's proposed U.S. missile defense project as "realistic."

On Nov. 20 in Lisbon, Portugal, NATO's 27 member states will formally consider the U.S. anti-ballistic missile defense project, Le Monde reported Thursday.

Concerns about global missile proliferation are behind the shift in European thinking.

Ecole Militaire Strategic Research Institute researcher Emmanuel Nal told a meeting of industry and military experts at the National Assembly: "By 2020, some 50 countries will have medium-range missiles between 300 and 900 miles. North Korea will have very long-range missiles, more than 3,400 miles in 2015."

A ballistic missile expert, speaking on condition of anonymity added: "A realistic project, adapted to the changing ballistic threat ... and paired with dialogue with Russia about cooperation. This is not an umbrella. It is a question of stopping a salvo of three to five missiles, for which the current U.S. system is credible."

The shift presents a major diplomatic triumph for Washington.

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