( P ) - Russia is welcomed to join a planned U.S. missile defense system in Europe, a senior U.S. official said.
Henry A Obering, director of the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency, said at a press briefing that the United States is "very open to Russian participation and invitation into collaboration on missile defense in the broader sense and on any level, all the way down to specifics in terms of potentially sharing data and radar data information."
Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried, who recently accompanied Obering during a trip to Europe to woo support for plans to install 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar site in the Czech Republic, said the notion that the missile defense system will trigger arms race between the United States and Russia is "odd" and unrealistic.
According to its plan, the United States hopes to have all 10 interceptors installed by 2013, if given a green light from the Polish and Czech governments within a year.
Russia firmly opposed the plan and said it will threaten peace in Europe, while the United States insisted that the plan is not aimed at Russia and will only serve as a precaution for a possible attack from Iran.
European countries are also worried that it could be a prelude of a Cold War-style arms race.