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Russia, EU should set up expert group for missile shield talks - diplomat

Russia and Europe should set up an expert group for talks on missile defense for Europe.

Russia and Europe should set up an expert group for talks on missile defense for Europe, Russia's permanent envoy to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, said.

Russia and NATO agreed to cooperate on the so-called Euro missile defense system during the Russia-NATO Council summit in Lisbon in November 2010. NATO insists there should be two independent systems that exchange information, while Russia favors a joint system with full-scale interoperability.

"Some European skeptics say Europe is a passive observer in the Russian-U.S. talks on the issue... I would like to propose setting up some kind of a public and expert movement for successful implementation of this joint project," Rogozin said in Berlin.

"I suggest you think of setting up a group of European "wise men" to support official talks, first between the U.S. and Russia, and then between Russia and NATO, with their discussions and new initiatives," Russia's NATO envoy said.

He also called on his Western colleagues to see Russia as a partner, not as a potential enemy.

"Missile defense should be smart, it should be proportionate to real danger," he said.

Russia has retained staunch opposition to the deployment of missile-defense systems near its borders, claiming they would be a security threat. NATO and the United States insist that the shield would defend NATO members against missiles from North Korea and Iran and would not be directed at Russia.

BERLIN, April 14 (RIA Novosti)

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