US, EU should coop but no Russian veto, says Czechs
"It is important to develop the future missile defence system," Czech deputy PM.
The United States and central European countries should cooperate with Russia on plans to deploy a missile shield but Moscow cannot be allowed a veto over those plans, Czech Deputy Prime Minister Alexandr Vondra said.
"It is important to develop the future missile defence system," Vondra told the annual Munich Security Conference on Saturday, saying it would protect western countries from Middle East threats.
"Russia should be invited to this cooperation but must not have a veto over it," Vondra added.
Former U.S. President George W. Bush sealed deals last year to deploy 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar in the Czech Republic. Moscow has condemned the plan and threatened to put its own missiles near the Polish border in response.
On Friday in Munich, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov sent messages to new President Barack Obama, saying Moscow would not deploy its missiles if Washington reviewed its missile defence plan.
He added that Moscow was eager to hold talks on the shield with the Obama administration and was open to a joint assessment of threats with the United States.
Speaking after Vondra, NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer also backed cooperation with Russia on the missile shield.
"I think real transatlantic cooperation on missile defence including Russia is very doable and would, I think, make those who might threaten Europe with missiles think twice," he added.
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is due to speak later on Saturday in Munich and there has been speculation that he could announce a review of the missile shield plan. The Czechs and Poles remain determined to press ahead with it.
Reuters Last Mod: 07 Şubat 2009, 17:52