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Russia, NATO discuss joint defense system

MOSCOW, Feb. 3 (UPI) -- Russia and NATO last year agreed to discuss creating a missile defense system in Portugal but talks have not brought results yet, Russian officials said.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in Moscow his country will do whatever it takes to ensure national security if NATO tries to shortchange Russian in building a joint European system in Lisbon, RIA Novosti reported Thursday.

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NATO proposes the creation of two separate, information-exchanging systems, RIA Novosti said.

"If negotiations between NATO and Russia will only be used as a cover for a NATO-American missile defense system that ignores the Russian interests then, of course, we will have no choice but to take adequate measures to protect ourselves," Lavrov said.

Moscow maintains Russia's national security must not be threatened by the placement of a U.S. missile defense system in several European countries, RIA Novosti said.

The missile defense issue is scheduled for discussion at the Feb. 4-6 Munich Security Conference 2011.

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