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McFaul: U.S., Russia will discuss shield

March 8, 2013 at 8:41 AM

MOSCOW, March 8 (UPI) -- The United States and Russia will discuss the European missile defense this year, U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul said.

"I expect serious talks [on the issue] this year," McFaul said Thursday during an interview with Ekho Moskvy radio.

Russia and NATO initially agreed to cooperate on the defense system during a November 2010 NATO summit in Lisbon. However, talks stalled over NATO's refusal to grant legal guarantees the system would not be aimed at Russia's strategic nuclear deterrent.

NATO and the United States said the shield would defend NATO members against missiles from rogue nations such as North Korea and Iran, and would not be directed at Russia.

Russia has threatened to employ countermeasures against NATO's missile defenses, including tactical nuclear missile deployment in Kaliningrad and improving its strategic nuclear missile arsenal, RIA Novosti said.

Russia has invited U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey to Moscow for talks that will include the missile defense issue, Russian Army Gen. Valery Gerasimov said earlier this week.

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