Friday, 08 Jun, 2007 Politics

Putin Offers a Surprising Alternative for Missile Defense System


Surprisingly, after heavy discussions regarding the White House plan to place defense missiles in Europe, the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, proposed an alternative, i.e. to create a joint system in Azerbaijan, a former Soviet Republic.

The system is meant to guard against possible missile attacks from Iran. However, experts say that Putin's offer may face serious diplomatic and technical barriers. United States President, George W. Bush outlined that he agreed with Mr. Putin to create a working group so military and diplomatic experts could analyze the possibilities of the missile defense cooperation.

If the offer of Mr. Putin will find its way through, it might accomplish two main goals: find a compromise on missile defense, and cool down the fires around his recent threats to aim missiles at Europe. It is worth mentioning that Russia is not the owner of the radar station located in Azerbaijan, it leases it.

Due to the fact that the trust between the two countries is quite doubtful, it would be hard to cooperate intensively. Mr. Putin's plan can become reality only in case Russia and United States work as closest allies. The representatives from both sides stated that Russia's President, though offered an alternative for US to use the radar station in Azerbaidjan, in a town called Gabala, still votes against Poland plan.

Mr. Putin stated that he had a discussion with the President of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, who in his turn agreed to contribute to global security and stability.

Kremlin's officials are worried about the defense system placed in Europe due to the fact that, theoretically, missiles launched from Iran could intercept with those from the European side, which would mean that two missiles can collide over Russia and cause damages to its people and property. Russia's president said that his offer is able to lower the risk. This is because interceptors will be launched from Aegis cruisers and not from the territory of Poland.

US officials met the proposal with curiosity and considered it to be a step in the right direction. According to Dmitri Peskov, a spokesman fro Mr. Putin, the president decided to make the proposal because "dialog is better than mutual silence."

"This offer shows once again that President Putin is ready to find consensus and he's ready to find solutions, not by confronting, not by threatening anyone - well, he’s never done that, actually - but by working together," he mentioned.

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