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    Russia, NATO form working group on missile defence - Rogozin

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    Russia and NATO have formed a working group on missile defense issues and the first meeting will be held in January

    Russia and NATO have formed a working group on missile defense issues and the first meeting will be held in January, Russia's envoy to the military alliance said on Friday.

    Dmitry Rogozin was speaking after a Russia-NATO Council meeting in Brussels.

    "A program on military cooperation, including the creation of a working group on missile defense, was adopted," he told journalists.

    He said the first meeting would take place "straight after the Christmas holidays."

    U.S. President Barack Obama recently scrapped plans for Poland and the Czech Republic to host missile shield elements to counter possible strikes from Iran. The plans were fiercely opposed by Moscow as a security threat.

    Rogozin also said that U.S. demands on a treaty to replace the START-1 arms reduction deal that expires on December 5 are too high.

    "The Americans have excessive demands...they want to get too much. Naturally, we also want to get a lot as well," he said, without elaborating.

    The outlines of the new pact were agreed during a meeting between Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Obama in Moscow in July and include cutting their countries' nuclear arsenals to 1,500-1,675 operational warheads and delivery vehicles to 500-1,000.

    Rogozin also said that Russia would not take part in NATO's Operation Active Endeavour in 2010.

    "Next year, no. We will not take part," he said, adding however that Russia's refusal to participate in the Mediterranean naval operation was based on economics rather than politics.

    MOSCOW, December 4 (RIA Novosti)

     

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