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Russia, US eye joint missile control centre: General

Russian Chief of the General Staff General Nikolai Makarov. A File Photo

ULAN BATOR (PTI): Russia and the US are planning creation of a missile monitoring centre, possibly in Moscow, to avoid accidents or misunderstandings on missile launches, Russia's top general said on Wednesday.

"Work is being done on making a joint control post to ensure control of missile launches and to report any unauthorised launches," General Nikolai Makarov said in Mongolia where President Dmitry Medvedev was visiting.

Russia strongly opposes US plans to install a new missile shield in eastern Europe. The administration of President Barack Obama says it is reviewing those plans and wants to ease Moscow's security concerns.

Moscow says the planned US missile shield threatens Russian security. Washington says this is not the intent of its system, which is designed instead to counter growing missile threats from "rogue states," Iran in particular.

The two sides have in recent years explored various confidence-building ideas, including incorporating a Russian radar site in Azerbaijan into the US system and giving Russian personnel access to US missile defence sites.

Makarov said talks on establishing a joint Russia-US missile launch monitoring facility was not new.

Such a centre would permit Moscow and Washington to communicate instantly in the event of an unexpected missile launch and would "protect our countries from a possible accident situation that could arise" in this regard, he said.

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