Putin Reiterates His Proposal for Cooperation on Missile Defense
Putin defends Westphalia
June 8, 2007 (LPAC)--Speaking at a press conference at the conclusion of the G8 at Heiligendamm today, Russian President Vladimir Putin, in response to a question for Associated Press , elaborated on his proposal to utilize the Russian radar at Garbala in Azerbaijan as the basis for missile threat detection, a counter to the provocative Bush proposal of placing a radar in the Czech Republic and interceptor-missiles in Poland..
Putin again expressed strong skepticism over the need for such missiles to counter a supposed "Iran threat." "Now, Iran has the missiles with range of 1,400 kilometers, and in order to reach the southern border of Europe, this range should be 4,500 or 5,000 kilometers," Putin said. "And there are not even plans in Iran to create such missiles." The Garbala facility could be modernized, he added, although indicating that even in its present state, it could provide full coverage of any missile launches in the southern region. "And in such a case," Putin added, "our American friends would not have need to have combat forces in outer space, which is, in itself, a great threat to the international peace."
If there proved to be a need for interceptors, they should be place in the south or Europe rather than in Poland, as the Bush proposal has planned, he added. "We need to have conversations with specific countries. But these countries could be allies of the United States and NATO, Turkey, maybe, and Iraq. This can be at least some use of this country. And we can have rockets on mobile platforms or on military ships." "What are we proposing?" he continued. "Among other things, we are not going to have just unilateral, bilateral actions. We are ready to embrace all the European countries and to have real assessment of the real threat of missiles up to 2020. And we can agree on common, joint actions in order to counteract this threat. And we can agree on a mutually acceptable and equal access to the management of the system."
Later, in response to another question, Putin underlined the import of his proposal. "And I would like to repeat that when our proposal is implemented, there will be no need to create new radars in Europe or to create new bases to place missile interceptors. It will be enough to place them on floating platforms, on ships, or on the territory of third countries, on the territory of southern countries, including NATO countries. And in that case, there would be no necessity for us to target our missiles on any site in Europe or in the United States." The Foreign Ministry of Azerbaijan also issued a statement today, expressing their willingness to cooperate in such a program.