The United States would continue to discuss with Russia plans to
deploy parts of its missile shied in Europe, visiting Defense
Secretary Robert Gates said in Berlin on Wednesday.
An invitation had been issued to the Russians to inspect
interceptor missile sites in Alaska and radar installations in
California to increase confidence, Gates said at a joint press
conference with his German counterpart Franz Josef Jung.
He said his country had offered to "co-locate" radar
installations and share data with Russia.
"We will continue to consult with the Russians on missile
defense as well as with our allies," Gates said. "We've made some
very far-reaching proposals."
Gates was on his last leg of a European tour aimed to ease
Russian opposition to the US plans to build missile defense bases
in Europe. He had visited Warsaw and Moscow.
He said there were clearly differing opinions within the Kremlin
and the Russian military, referring to remarks made by Russian
Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov when he visited Moscow on
"It will perhaps take a while for the Russians to consider what
we've discussed," Gates said, "There clearly have to be divisions
in Moscow on how to respond."
Lavrov had not taken part in the meetings in Moscow, he noted,
adding that he had an invitation to return to Moscow for further
On his part, Jung said the missile defense was a "total concept"
and Russian objections were "unjustified."
He described the missile shield as a "defensive function for the
population," adding it was aimed at countering a threat that could
be 10 years away.
Berlin has urged Washington to engage Russia on its concerns
about the US proposal to place 10 interceptor missiles in Poland
and a radar in the Czech Republic.
(Xinhua News Agency April 26, 2007)