04:58 GMT19 February 2020
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    France is reluctant to approve NATO taking control of the US-built European missile defense system.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – France is reluctant to approve NATO taking control of the US-built European missile defense system, fearing that the system would be under the control of Washington and not the alliance, The Wall Street Journal reports citing French officials.

    "It is not just a technical question, there is a political aspect," a French official told the newspaper on Wednesday.

    France wants to make sure that the system is not under American control, French officials stressed. One official pointed out that the NATO command and control system was not ready.

    "The C2 system is not sufficiently mature to allow NATO to control the situation," the official said.

    NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) has been reinforcing its military presence in Europe, particularly in Eastern European states, since the outbreak of the Ukrainian crisis, citing Russia's alleged interference in the conflict as justification for the move.

    Moscow has repeatedly denied the accusations, calling NATO's military buildup near Russia’s borders provocative.

    NATO heads of state are due to gather for a summit in Warsaw on July 8-9, with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg describing it as coming at a crucial time for the alliance.


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