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NATO ready to discuss new missile shield proposals with Moscow

By RIA Novosti

Brussels : NATO has no objections to discussing an information exchange mechanism between Brussels and Moscow on missile launches within the framework of the Russia-NATO Council, a source in NATO headquarters said Tuesday.

During his informal talks with US President George W. Bush Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin came forward with new initiatives to set up a missile defence data exchange centre in Moscow and Brussels, and expand the number of countries involved in countering global challenges.

The NATO source said there were no serious obstacles in the way of a NATO-Russia dialogue on missile defence and the new proposals could be addressed at the next meeting of the council.

He said NATO and Russia had been cooperating on the European theatre missile defence system that NATO is planning to build by 2010, and they had already established several forms of information exchange on this issue.

The source said NATO was ready to expand the scope of cooperation in this area, but added that the new initiatives proposed by Russia demanded further and detailed explanation.

In addition to setting up data exchange centres in the framework of the Russia-NATO Council, Putin suggested Monday that Russia and the US could jointly use a radar being built in southern Russia, in addition to the early warning facility in Gabala in Azerbaijan.

Under a programme for the development of Russia's Space Forces, a Voronezh-type early warning radar is being built near the town of Armavir, 1,200 km (750 miles) southwest of Moscow. Construction of the new radar is expected to be completed in 2007.