Russian, German defense ministers to discuss military cooperation

Russian and German defense ministers will meet on Thursday in Moscow to discuss issues of military cooperation as well as the controversial issue of the European missile shield, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

The German military delegation, led by Defense Minister Thomas De Maiziere, arrives in Moscow for a one-day official visit on Thursday and the main focus of the visit is the meeting with Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov.

“The heads of the defense ministries will discuss the state and perspectives of military cooperation, will exchange experience on the reformations armed forces as well as discuss issues of international and regional security, including the issue of the European missile shield,” the ministry said in a statement.

Russia and NATO agreed to cooperate on the so-called European missile shield during the NATO-Russia 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.

Russia has retained staunch opposition to the planned deployment of U.S. 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.

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