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Russia Agrees To Missile Defense


From left, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates are seen prior to participating in a NATO Russia Council meeting at a NATO summit in Lisbon on Saturday Nov. 20, 2010.

Russia has agreed to cooperate with NATO on missile defense and other security initiatives.

Russia has agreed to cooperate with NATO on missile defense and other security initiatives.

"This important step forward," said President Barack Obama, "builds on the new phased adaptive approach to missile defense I announced for the United States last year. It offers a role for all of our allies. It responds to threats of our times. It shows our determination to protect our citizens from the threat of ballistic missiles."

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said, "We have large-scale plans, we will be working in all areas, including European missile defense." NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen called the agreement a "fresh start in NATO-Russia relations."

At the Lisbon Summit, NATO decided that it will develop a missile defense capability to provide full coverage and protection for all NATO European populations, territory, and forces. To that end, NATO will expand its missile command and control systems. The United States European Phased Adaptive Approach was also welcomed as voluntary national contribution. And NATO reiterated its commitment to exploring opportunities for missile defense cooperation with Russia.

In addition, NATO leaders approved a new Strategic Concept, a 10-year strategy aimed at reinforcing the commitments of the Alliance while preparing it for 21st century challenges such as threats from terrorism and Internet attacks. Secretary General Rasmussen said the strategic concept is "not just a statement of principles" but "an action plan" setting out concrete steps NATO will take in the future. The Strategic Concept commits NATO to working to create the conditions of a world without nuclear weapons, but also notes that NATO will remain a nuclear alliance as long nuclear weapons exist.

NATO, said President Obama, is "an alliance that is fully aligned in its vision and approach to collective security for the 21st century." The new Strategic Concept, said President Obama, "shows that NATO is fully united about the way forward and committing to addressing the full security challenges of this century."

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