NATO Chief Proposes Linking with Russian Missile Defense

NATO is proposing a new partnership with Russia, saying the two should work together on defense.

Speaking in Brussels Friday, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen called for a “joint review” of the security challenges of the 21st century, and said Russia should be a “real stakeholder” and “partner” in European and international security.

Rasmussen said Russia, NATO, and the U.S. should look into linking missile defense systems “at an appropriate time.”

Russia’s NATO envoy Dmitri Rogozin says Rasmussen’s remarks are “very positive and very constructive,” and he says they should together analyze the various proposals.

Relations between Russia and Western Europe warmed after the communist government in Moscow fell.  But they grew tense again in the last year as Russia stepped up influence over former communist countries in Eastern Europe and sent its troops sweeping into Georgia.

The speech by Rasmussen signals a new approach to Russian-Western relations.

While pushing for a new relationship with Russia, he also urged Moscow to join the Western coalition in putting “maximum pressure” on Iran to end their nuclear aspirations.